Updated: March 5, 2021. This review for best hiking socks has been updated to reflect some newer options that have been put on the market.

We all understand the importance of wearing a good pair of hiking boots when walking; however, sometimes we forget about hiking socks. These play a crucial part in protecting your feet and keeping them warm, dry, and reducing the risk of blisters.

When it comes to choosing your hiking socks, there are so many to pick from so to help you, we have selected some of the best hiking socks on the market at the moment.

Researched Sources

Reviews Considered

Hours of Research

Products Evaluated

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Fine Guage Knitting Technology
  • Cushioned Foot Bed
  • Durable
  • Moisture-Wicking

CONS:

  • Fabric Can Stretch
More Information

If you prefer an extra level of cushioning, the hiking walking socks from FEIDEER are a great choice. Built with a fine gauge knitting technology, these socks are thicker than normal, making your feet feel well supported. Available in a multi-pack, these are a brilliant price.

Warmth and Comfort
These FEIDEER Men’s hiking socks feature a cushioned foot-bed that works by absorbing impact when doing high-impact exercise. The cushioning protects your ankles and eases the level of friction so you can enjoy being active in pure comfort. The thicker style ankle sock also makes these socks a lot warmer in comparison to some of the other socks in our collection.

Drying Speed
Made from 85% cotton, 12% polyester fiber, and 3% spandex, these hiking socks from FEIDEER are best hand washed in cold water, however, they may be machine washed below 40 degrees. For longer-lasting socks, these are best air-dried or can be tumble dried on low heat. Avoid ironing or dry cleaning as this can cause damage.

Durability
Suitable to wear for a variety of activities like hiking, mountaineering, and cycling, these men’s socks are extremely durable.

Breathability and Wicking
This option has been built with the perfect amount of advanced technical fibers that work by wicking away sweat from your feet. The socks feature a mesh ventilation zone that helps your feet to breathe easily so you can go hiking all day and still have dry feet.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Quick-Drying
  • Comfortable Mid-Rise Length
  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • Arch Compression

CONS:

  • Only One Color Option
More Information

The Razer is a tough addition that is a great hiking companion. It is made from high-density knit durable materials and also comes with a lifetime guarantee. The mid-rise of the garment helps to keep out debris and also provides warmth. One of the best features of this item is the fact that it is finished off with an anti-odor and bacteria blocking technology.

Warmth and Comfort
This high-density knit sock feature a high-rise cut that will not only keep out debris but will also provide warmth. The garment features impressive arch support and a well-thought-out blend of materials. The 4% elastane provides just the right amount of compression without sacrificing comfort. The seamless toe lessens the chances of blisters or chafing and the reflective logo is a life-saver in low-light situations.

Drying Speed
Another reason that the Razer makes a great hiking companion is because of its quick-drying abilities. Nylon is innately water-resistant and dries within hours. The high-density knit materials provide great comfort, breathability, and a great option for multi-day hikes or traveling.

Durability
Besides the fact that these socks come with a lifetime guarantee, you can rest easy knowing that they are made from high-quality materials. The 100% recycled nylon, polyamide, and elastane are built to last. Nylon is well known for being soft and abrasion-resistant. The Razer is a great option for ascending or descending any trail.

Breathability and Wicking
Besides the fact that the materials used to knit this garment are naturally moisture-wicking, the strategically placed mesh zones also provide great breathability. The bottom and top of the foot, along with the back of the ankle, will breathe easily through any adventure.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Elastic Compression
  • Soft Padding
  • Quick-Drying
  • Reinforced Toes

CONS:

  • Too Short for Some Users
More Information

The Time May Tell hiking socks are a great option if you need a warm, comfy, and durable pair of socks. Providing plenty of support, cushioning, and built with moisture-wicking technology, you will not be disappointed with these socks. Suitable to wear when hiking, cycling, and climbing, these socks are extremely durable. 

Warmth and Comfort
Featuring elastic compression support, these socks have been designed so they !t your feet well, and arch support reduces the risk of plantar displacement. The socks lengthened welt makes them less likely to slip down. They also have soft cushioning padding that prevents blisters, and a reinforced toe makes them more comfortable to wear.

Drying Speed
Made from 80% Merino wool, these socks are quick drying. Best hand washed or machine washed at 30 degrees, these socks can be hung up in the shade to dry naturally. Avoid dry cleaning.

Durability
These professional hiking socks are suitable to wear whilst taking part in a variety of outdoor pursuits including hiking, climbing, and cycling. Exceptionally durable, these socks can withstand a lot of wear and still look brand new.

Breathability and Wicking
This option has been built with moisture-wicking technology, ensuring moisture is wicked away from the skin during periods of intense activity which may result in higher levels of sweat. Designed so your feet stay dry and well ventilated, you can wear these all day long without having to worry about your feet getting too hot or sweaty.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • High-Performance Comfort
  • Very Warm Wool
  • Moisture-Wicking

CONS:

  • Runs Small
More Information

This company, Darn Tough, means business for both men and women. The socks have been made, tried, and tested in Vermont, USA. The company prides its self on making hiking socks that can not only compete with the rest, but go beyond your needs when it comes to hiking, and these socks do. 

Warmth and Comfort
A Merino wool base makes these women’s socks, both antimicrobial and antibacterial naturally. With the fine-gauge knitting that makes these socks extremely comfortable, you will forget that they are on your feet.

Drying Speed
Many reviewers have reported that even if these socks got wet during a hike, they were already dry by the time they got home. Made of 67% Merino wool, these socks will always be dry and ready to go with you on your next adventure.

Durability
With high-density knitting of Merino wool, nylon, and spandex, these socks are incredibly durable. As if that wasn’t enough, the company also supplies a lifetime guarantee.

Breathability and Wicking
Wool is a magical component that is wicking away sweat. It absorbs the wetness without wetting your foot. It has been proven that these socks can be worn on multiple hikes while staying dry and odorless.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Separate Toe Holes
  • Outstanding Breathability
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • Takes Some Getting Used To
More Information

These five-finger beauties feature a lightweight, technical design and were the fastest-drying hiking socks we tested. The toes are meant to prevent blisters and even improve your balance and posture (more so if you wear them with five-finger running shoes). This sock was easily the fastest drying, but overall we felt that it didn’t really offer enough comfort and warmth for the price. 

Warmth and comfort
The sock was quite warm, but not really satisfying for the price point. The five-finger design is a novel experience and lovely if that’s what you are used to, but can become a little stifling after a long hike.

Drying Speed
The Injinji NuWool may be the fastest drying thick hiking sock out there. It was definitely the best of the bunch this time around.

Durability
Not as impressive as other hiking socks in this testing round. The soles have a tendency to generate fluff, suggesting that this fabric might start to wear through faster than we’d like.

Breathability and Wicking
These offered good breathability thanks to the airflow panels around the top of the foot.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Good Breathability
  • Quick-Drying Synthetic-Material
  • Good Stretch
  • Built-In Ventilation

CONS:

  • Lack of Color Options
More Information

The comfort is up to par with excellence, providing freedom from scratchiness. In the cold winter, you get a feeling of warmth and comfort and in the summer months, you get fresh and cool. You will find a built-in cushion exactly where you want it and a great moisture control performance. 

Warmth and Comfort
The warmth and comfort are guaranteed through a subtle blending of Merino wool at 33%, acrylic at 33% and for the needed sock stretch factor elastane at 1%. These socks mold comfortably to the foot and work for you in all weather conditions. You get a toe to heel padding with good shock-absorbent characteristics.

Drying speed
Dry out time is ultra-fast due to the use of comfortable synthetic fibers that do not hold and absorb moisture. Moisture sits on the surface of synthetic fibers, so evaporation quickly takes moisture away.

Durability
In past times, cotton socks were much favored for comfort and durability. The synthetic combination of purposely designed fibers in these socks has taken the concept of durability forward. These socks have a high durability level and will be a long-time part of your hiking or casual wear kit.

Breathability and Wicking
From toe to heel, Merino wool has sock ventilation areas that ensure breath-ability. In these socks, your feet can #ex and breathe regardless of how you use them. Use them for trekking, hiking, other outdoor activities, or just for everyday wear, these socks give you comfort, quality, breath-ability, wick factor, and style.

Wicking comes from the synthetic qualities of the blended materials, these synthetic fibers are created to wick moisture away from your feet through evaporation. Do not hot iron these socks because they are constructed from synthetics and it is best to wash them in warm water. This way you will prolong the durability of these socks.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Soft Merino Wool
  • 3-Pack
  • Good Color Options

CONS:

  • Sizing is Off
More Information

These socks from Danish Endurance are not only made from Merino wool but they also come in a 3 pack to ensure that you not only have a quality pair of hiking socks but you also have some backup pairs as well. 

Warmth and Comfort

As stated above the fact that these hiking socks are constructed from Merino wool is a big bonus and means that these socks will last you many hiking adventures to come. This is important when looking for a pair of hiking socks as if they do not !t properly then there is no use for them. These socks are offered in a variety of sizes to ensure you receive the best fit and are comfortable throughout your hike.

Drying Speed

Insulation is what these socks were made for. They not only are breathable for your feet but they are also constructed from Merino wool which means they will keep your feet not only protected and warm but also will also keep your feet dry which is crucial when you out in the wilderness.

Durability

Users of these socks have raved about the number of uses they actually get from these socks. Which is, in fact, perfect when you are considering the longevity of the product. No one wants socks that won’t hold up after one or two times on your feet.

Breathability and Wicking

When it comes to the look and style of these Merino wool socks from Danish Endurance, the simple design and all-around color actually work and add a sense of style even with their simplicity. They also have some areas throughout the sock that allows for breathability to ensure that your feet do not get stuffy and sweaty while on your hike.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Cushioned Sole
  • Arch Support
  • Machine Washable
  • Long-Lasting

CONS:

  • No Wicking Technology
More Information

Merrell has partnered with K. Bell socks, a leading manufacturer of socks, to create some of the best-performing socks on the market. 

Warmth and Comfort
These hiking socks from Merrell are some of the comfiest hiking socks on our list. They feature a cushioned sole that provides extra comfort when walking along rough terrains. The socks offer plenty of arch support, particularly when feeling fatigued after a long walk.

Drying Speed
Made from 60% acrylic, 25% wool, 13% nylon, and 2% lycra, these hiking socks can be easily machine washed and tumble dried.

Durability
This option features a reinforced toe and heel that provide a good level of durability, making the socks last longer.

Breathability and Wicking
Different from some of the other options, these socks have not been designed with any wicking or ventilation properties.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Great Fit for Active Use
  • Great Durability
  • Very Warm

CONS:

  • Not As Breathable As Others
More Information

A superbly warm and comfortable sock, with excellent fit and compression for running around all day long. The SmartWool Ph.D. has definitely upped the competition, with great support for your instep and arch and a stretchy ‘X’ bracing the top of the sock. There are three levels of cushioning available for different activities and different bodies: Ultralight, Light, and Medium. 

Warmth and Comfort
These were the warmest and most comfortable socks we tried in the medium-weight hiking socks category. Even warmer than the Darn Toughs. With three different levels of cushioning, you can find your perfect match.

Drying Speed
Not bad, not great. Quick-drying speed compared to department store sports socks, unimpressive drying speed compared to the other superbly designed and tested hiking socks on this list.

Durability
With the SmartWool Ph.D. Midweight, you’re looking at the great durability of the shape and fabric, and continued performance in all the other key areas. Just not quite as durable as the Darn Tough range, whose lifetime guarantee is hard to beat. One common detractor with Merino thermals is that they don’t last forever: after a few years of wearing your favorite thermals day in day out, they tend to develop tiny holes and runs around areas of high abrasion. Merino socks are no exception, though we think it’s well worth the extra performance you get from merino.

Breathability and Wicking
The warmest and cushiest sock we tested, and understandably not the most breathable, though they came pretty close. Very good wicking ability. The Lightweight version of SmartWool’s Ph.D. hiking sock range is a much better model for breathability, combining ample cushioning below the foot but minimal thickness everywhere else.

  • Style 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Insulation 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Arch Support
  • Mesh Cooling Panels
  • Odor-Fighting Properties
  • Quick-Drying

CONS:

  • Very Long Size
More Information

One of the reasons we like Carhartt socks is that they are super comfy and are built to last as long as your boots. Available in a multi-pack of 6, these socks are made for wearing all year round. 

Warmth and Comfort
The Carhartt boot socks are one of the comfiest pairs on this list. Featuring arch support that helps provide a secure fit, these are great for feet that are always on the go. The socks have NanoGLIDE reinforcement that enhances the durability of the socks and reduces the risk of blisters.

Drying Speed
Made from 43% polyester, 35% acrylic, 8% nylon, and 1% spandex, these hiking socks from Carhartt can be machine washed and dried easily.

Durability
The hiking socks are suitable to wear when walking along with a variety of terrains and rough weather conditions. They are also suitable to wear all year round.

Breathability and Wicking
The Carhartt hiking socks feature mesh cooling panels and instep channels that provided added airflow and breathability. They have odor-fighting properties that keep your feet smelling fresh after a long walk. The socks have been built with fast-drying technology and sweat-wicking technology, keeping your feet dry.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

 

Style

Liners
Most people who hike or backpack in cold weather are familiar with glove liners. It’s amazing how much extra warmth you get out of your winter gloves when you add a wafer-thin, weighs-as-much-as-a-penny 100% Merino glove liner.

The same logic is true of sock liners. They’re simple in construction: thin and uniform, without any cushioning. There’s a bit of compression, but no patches of extra thickness, reinforced sections, or elasticated support panels. Because of this, they’re pretty cheap, even the ones made of the highest quality materials by the best designers. Yet adding one of these liners to an average pair of hiking socks makes a world of difference, increasing the performance (and therefore the value) of the sock. You can wear liners by themselves in a pinch, on a warm day, but be aware that you’ll wear out the heel in no time.

Ultra-lightweight
Best for easy treks and summer weather, ultra-lightweight hiking socks are basically sports socks like any other: they stress airflow and moisture-wicking over the warmth or the ability to perform well in cold, wet weather. Ultra-lightweight socks tend to be cushioned only under the sole, leaving the rest of the foot covered by a thin breathable material. Slightly more sock than a liner.

Lightweight
Lightweight socks are a little warmer and more cushioned than ultra-lightweights and suitable for multiple-day hikes on a decent terrain in nice weather. They’re often nicely fitted and supportive feeling though, even without thick fibers or dense weaves all over. It can be worn with or without a liner.

Mid-weight
Midweight hiking socks offer more warmth, and are ideal for extended hiking in three or four seasons, depending on where you’re traveling to. They usually have some extra cushioning thickness around the top of the foot and the ankle as well as underfoot. They should have durable, reinforced heels and toes, but, worn by themselves. aren’t so bulky as to push your hiking boot size up a level.

Mountaineering socks
Mountaineering socks or full-cushion socks are the thickest, warmest, most protective socks you can get. They are made for extended trips, rough trails, and alpine or arctic conditions. In anything milder, they are hot and heavy and you will regret carrying them around in your pack after you realize it’s way too hot to wear them. Usually tall enough to sit over the calf or under the knee, and thick enough to deffect lots of trail debris and blackberry snags.

Insulation

Pairing a durable synthetic cushioning ‘outer’ sock with a luxurious, wafer-thin Merino liner can be a great way to enjoy the best of both.

Layering your socks can also prevent blistering, i.e. two lightweights socks prevent blistering better than one thick sock that weighs as much as both put together. This is because the layers of sock rub against the shoe and each other, and rarely your feet. If you’re breaking in new hiking boots or expecting a particularly slippery hike, consider using a liner or layering lightweight socks. There’s no rule that says you can’t layer with an ultra-lightweight sock instead of a cushion-less liner.

If you’re really pushed for space in your pack, liners are your friend: take seven pairs of liners and two pairs of thick socks instead of seven pairs of thick. Overall you want a pair of socks that will offer you the comfort you expect when going on a hike as without proper insulation you will have a comfortable time and could put yourself in harm’s way in cold climates.

Fit

You may have to (and want to) wear a sock liner, meaning you can’t feel how silky smooth the sock does or doesn’t feel against your skin, but you do get a sense of how much compression you’ll get, how much underfoot cushioning, how snugly the end sits on your toes, how high the sock comes up your leg and how well it sits on your calf. Obviously, it will be a fraction looser without the liner, but remember that feet do tend to swell up within a couple of hours of activity.

Overall, when it comes to fit check to make sure the socks you are interested in are available in a variety of sizes as if you decide to get a pair of socks that do not fit, they will be useless. Another way to check the sizing of the socks is to check the customer reviews as this will give you an inside look at if the sizing is accurate and if they fit well for other customers.

Materials

You’ll probably experiment for a few years with different blends before you’re confidently picking the right socks for every hike with no regrets. In the meantime, it’s great to travel with options and layer/swap out as needed. You’ll get to know what performs better in your conditions, and which materials your feet like to have on them.

Wool
A very popular choice for hiking socks, wool provides fantastic all-around performance in terms of comfort, warmth, breathability, moisture-wicking, and durability, with the added advantages of being anti-microbial and odor resistant. It can be heavier than synthetics and take a little longer to dry.

Many people remember wool as itchy, but new Merino blends are incredibly soft and wearable. Some brands even offer an itch-free guarantee. Icebreaker has been making merino underwear for over a decade now, so it must be ok!

Although 100% Merino thermals can be found, pure Merino isn’t quite as durable or as stretchy as 90% wool blends. As a result, most high-performance hiking socks incorporate 30-50% synthetic to increase elasticity and durability.

Synthetic
Dries fast, weighs less than wool, and is cheaper to produce. Synthetic blends made from propylene, nylon, and acrylic do a good enough job of mimicking wool or cotton, with the advantage of being longer-lasting.

Bamboo
Silky smooth and naturally insulating, bamboo is lightweight and comfy. Blended with synthetics or cotton, it makes hiking socks feel softer and better fitting. A fast-growing, lower-resource-intensive renewable resource. Bamboo-blend hiking socks are a good choice for vegans looking for extra comfort but wanting to keep clear of silk and wool blends.

Cotton
Not recommended for hiking socks, cotton tends to absorb sweat instead of wicking it away and gives no insulation whatsoever when wet (have you ever tried to grab a hot oven tray with a wet kitchen towel?). Cotton takes ages to dry, and due to a combination of all these factors, cotton socks can cause blisters if worn when hiking.

Silk
Exceedingly comfortable and lightweight, silk socks are superb at wicking away sweat. Silk is often used in high-end sleeping bag liners to trap extra warmth without the sweatiness that contact with synthetics can induce, and silk does just as well in sock liners. Not durable enough to feature in ‘outer’ socks very often.

Other Factors to Consider

 

Size

Hiking socks come in a really wide variety of sizes as well as thicknesses. Generally, the more expensive the sock and the more dialed-in the fit, the more sizing options the company will give you. Sock sizings are usually done in ranges (Eg. 11-14). If you are at one end of a range and your feet are a little broad or a little narrow, go up or down to the next size to ensure a better !t. Remember that your feet swell, and you want to accommodate that. Socks that are too small might dig into your calves or cramp your toes, and also don’t give you any room for liners.

Overall when looking for the perfect sizing of a sock, you want to do the same thing you would do if you were looking for shoes. Measure your foot by using the sellers sizing chart to ensure which size will best fit. It is sometimes recommended to go a size up as it is better to have extra room than a sock that is too small as that may cut off the circulation and be uncomfortable and the last thing you want when you’re in the middle of a hike. Your feet are your most important tool when hiking so ensure that your socks and shoes fit properly, so you will have no issues on your next hiking adventure.

If you want to double-check you are getting a quality sock and the sizing will be correct even after you have measured your foot using the sizing chart supplied by the seller is to check the customer reviews. This way you can see if the sizing was accurate from other customers that decided to purchase the socks you have your eyes on.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What kind of socks are best for hiking?

A: Hiking socks can vary depending on the individual, however, the most important things to consider when choosing your hiking socks are the height of the sock, the amount of cushioning, what fabric they are made from, and ensuring they fit you correctly. If you get all these things right, you are on your way to having a good pair of hiking socks.

Q: Why do hiking socks have spandex?


A: The reason is that spandex when blended with other materials allows a nice level of the stretch factor to give your foot flexibility while wearing the sock. Another bonus is that spandex is synthetic so it helps wick factor because it will not absorb moisture.

Q: I have a great pair of hiking socks, they really perform well but cause huge odor problems, what can I do?

A: Clearly your encountering either sweaty feet or wet hiking conditions and you need a pair of socks with antibacterial functions. Try a pair of Darn Tough Men’s Hiker socks, we think the result will solve your situation.

Q: Why do the in-between of my toes blister when I go for a long hike?

A: It sounds like you are experiencing moisture build-up between your toes. We suggest you try a pair of hiking socks that offer a separate toe compartment. These will keep your toes separated and the sock material between your toes will wick away moisture from the skin.

Q: For long hikes a friend recently suggested I take along a backup pair of socks, is this sound advice?

A: The advice is very sound for long-distance hiking, you can never fully predict what weather conditions you will encounter. If your feet get very wet no matter how protective the sock, you can change socks and avoid discomfort, potential foot rashes, and blistering due to friction from a wet sock. Nowadays, hiking socks dry out very quickly, the wet socks can be carried and they will dry out and become your backup socks again.

Q: Should you wear two pairs of socks when hiking?


A: Wearing two pairs of socks is a great way of keeping your feet dry. It is also a good way of providing an extra layer of protection for your feet and preventing any blisters from occurring.