The Best Hiking Socks for All Conditions | WornSimple.com
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The Best Hiking Socks for All Conditions

By April 16, 2021 No Comments
The Best Hiking Socks for All Conditions

When it comes to hiking, everybody knows that you need a good pair of boots or sandals during the summer. Too often, the importance of hiking socks gets overlooked! Even some experienced hikers sometimes skimp on their socks. This practice, however, is a terrible mistake! Hiking socks are a key part of any set of walking gear and can make all the difference between blistered heels, sore toes, and happy, healthy feet at the end of a long day of trekking.

That’s why this buying guide compiles the best, most comfortable hiking socks for all kinds of conditions. Read on to find out the truth about what makes a good hiking sock, then browse the list below to find a pair that’ll make your next hike an order of magnitude better than your last!

What kind of socks are best for hiking?

If you’re after an all-weather, all-terrain hiking sock, then it’s hard to beat the Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks. These men’s hiking socks have heavy cushioning, capable of protecting the soles and balls of your feet on even the longest treks, and thanks to their high merino wool percentage, they’re great for both summer and winter wear. The wool wicks sweat in summer and insulate heat in winter, and combined with the clever construction of these knee-high socks. It makes for one fantastic flexible pick.

Do hiking socks make a difference?

Hiking socks can make a massive difference to the health and comfort of your feet. They are specially designed with elasticated cuffs and compression points that prevent them from bunching, which is a key source of friction. They also have seamless toes and supported heels, along with cushioning in key zones. All of this combines to eliminate rubbing and stop blisters from forming in the first place, saving you a lot of pain and trouble when walking in stiff boots. 

Should hiking socks be thick or thin?

The thickness of your hiking socks should correspond directly to the activity you’re taking part in. Thinner socks are ideal for usage in warmer weather on shorter, simpler trails. Thicker socks provide more cushioning and insulation, so they’re better for tough hikes in colder weather. Half-thickness, meanwhile, is a marriage between the two and makes for a versatile hiking sock, ideal for any terrain and all weather conditions.

Are Merino wool socks good for hiking?

Merino wool socks are a perfect choice for hiking, and this is due to the unique qualities of the material. A completely natural fiber harvested from the wool coats of merino sheep, this wool is super-breathable thanks to its organic composition. This makes it ideal for even summer hikes, as it helps to wick away sweat and prevent water-based friction from occurring in your socks. And in winter, merino wool provides strong insulation, keeping you dry and warm even when hiking through cold or snowy conditions. 

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

BEST HIKING SOCKS FOR SUMMER

Summer hiking demands socks that are both lightweight and will keep your feet as cool and dry as possible. For those reasons, we recommend the REI Co-op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Quarter Socks

BEST HIKING SOCKS FOR COLD WEATHER

Designed specifically for cold weather hiking, these waterproof hiking socks from SealSkinz are your best choice. 

BEST HIKING SOCKS FOR PREVENTING BLISTERS

The targeted cushioning in areas where blisters most commonly form makes the Danish Endurance Merino Wool socks the ideal pair if you want to prevent blistering on your hikes. 

BEST HIKING SOCKS FOR BOOTS

Because they are made from a combination of merino wool, nylon, and spandex, these heavily cushioned hiking socks from Smartwool are the ideal pair if you’re wearing hiking boots. 

1. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

The Hiker Micro Crew cushion socks from Darn Tough are a great pair of summer hiking socks stitched from fine merino wool. Merino wool is known for both its insulative and its moisture-wicking properties, and so these are a good choice for long summer hikes as well as chilly winter ventures. Available in 4 sizes and six lovely colorways, there’s a pair here to suit anyone.

Key Features

  • Six colorways available
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Medium cushioning

Specifications

  • Sizes M – XXL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra

2. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini

A mini, ankle-length variation of Smartwool’s PhD Outdoor socks, these lovely socks are made with patented Reliawool technology for maximum durability. Their quick-drying weave makes them ideal for frequent use and washes, while their Y-shaped heel and mesh construction provides excellent joint support on the go.

Key Features

  • Three colorways available
  • Temperature regulating
  • Quick-drying

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Polyamide, Elastane

3. Darn Tough Light Hiker Socks

Another great pair of merino wool hiking socks from Darn Tough, these light hiker socks are a great choice for all conditions, with a performance calf-length fit and stretchable Nylon construction. These are made in Vermont and come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee, meaning you can get a free replacement pair should yours suffer any wear and tear, no questions asked.

Key Features

  • Two colorways available
  • Performance fit
  • USA-Made

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra Spandex

4. Injinji 2.0 Midweight Nuwool Socks

If you’re looking for the best hiking socks to prevent blisters, you won’t do much better than these Injinji 2.0 Nuwool socks. They use a sweat-wicking mesh construction, along with fitted toes, for a truly seamless sock with next to zero friction. This is a great performance sock for trail runners and active hikers and comes in every size from small to extra-large.

Key Features

  • Fitted toes
  • Low friction
  • Sweat-wicking

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Wool, Acrylic, Nylon, Lycra

5. Swiftwick Pursuit Two

A great little pair of ankle socks for hiking, the Swiftwick Pursuit Two are medium-cushioned socks with strong temperature control and a merino wool weave. The heel of these socks is nicely reinforced, too, providing decent cushioning and a gentle compression sure to support your ankles on long hikes, cycles, or trail running sessions.

Key Features

  • Two colorways available
  • Medium cushioning
  • Temperature controlled
  • Y-shaped heel

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Spandex

6. Farm to Feet Damascus Merino Socks

Farm to Feet’s Damascus merino socks is a nice calf-length option available in 7 colorways with a compressed supportive cuff and moisture-wicking merino wool weave. These are full-density socks, so they’re some of the best winter hiking socks in terms of insulation, while a flat connection in the toe box prevents blisters and rubbing during long slogs through the snow.

Key Features

  • Seven colorways available
  • Compressed cuff
  • Moisture-wicking

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Spandex

7. Balega Hidden Comfort Running Socks

These reliable ankle socks are some of the best trail running and hiking socks for women and men alike. Their popularity is undisputed thanks to their affordable price and high-quality build. These socks have a hidden heel tab, a low ankle cut, and mesh construction to allow your feet to breathe while you run. Made primarily from polyester and Nylon, they can really take a beating out on the road without showing signs of wear and tear.

Key Features

  • Nineteen colorways available
  • Heel tab
  • Mesh construction

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Polyester, Nylon, Neofil, Elastane

8. Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks

Darn Tough’s best hiking socks for men are probably these smoke-colored mountaineering knee-lengths. They’re a quick-drying, heavily cushioned pair of socks made for taking on all conditions, including heavy snowdrifts. They’re super-durable and have a compressed performance fit, which is exactly what you need to prevent bunching while you’re midway through a freezing cold journey.

Key Features

  • Smoke colorway
  • Heavy cushioning
  • Knee-high
  • Quick-drying

Specifications

  • Sizes M – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Spandex

9. Darn Tough Vertex Cushion Socks

Another great pair of running socks, the Darn Tough Vertex ankle-lengths, are USA-Made and guaranteed for life. They have a no-show heel tab to give them a nice overall silhouette and are constructed from a blend of merino wool and nylon, making them both durable and foot-friendly. Knitted in Vermont, they’re a great homegrown pair of socks.

Key Features

  • Gray colorway
  • No-show heel tab
  • Guaranteed for life
  • USA-Made

Specifications

  • Size XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra

10. Feetures Merino 10 Socks

Feetures’ Merino 10 running socks are a favorite for their cushioned ankle arch and seamless toe box, both of which contribute to a no-feel sock that’s designed to free your feet from blisters and bunching. With targeted compression around the heel, you’re sure to avoid the rubbing that you’d get with thinner running socks, and thanks to the moisture-wicking merino wool weave you’ll have even less troublesome friction.

Key Features

  • Six colorways available
  • Heel tab
  • Seamless toe box
  • Targeted compression

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Tencel, Spandex

11. Farm to Feet Damascus Elite Socks

Farm to Feet’s Damascus Elites is a variation of their original Damascus socks with a quarter crew rather than full crew height and a seamless toe box designed to prevent bunching and pinching between the toes. These are USA-made once again and some of the best hiking socks for all-weather use. That’s thanks to their high wool percentage and compressed overall structure.

Key Features

  • Six colorways available
  • Quarter crew height
  • Seamless toe box
  • USA-Made

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino Wool, Nylon, Spandex

12. Smartwool Trekking Heavy Socks

A pair of thick winter hiking socks with heavy cushioning, the Smartwool Trekking socks are designed for snowy climbs and cold weather excursions. They’ve been crafted from merino wool, Nylon, and Spandex, the three of which combine for a well-balanced sock with a nice amount of stretch despite its thick cushioning. These socks are unisex, so they are great for men and women alike.

Key Features

  • Two colorways available
  • Heavy cushioning
  • Unisex

Specifications

  • Sizes S – M
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Spandex

13. Icebreaker Merino Hike+ Socks

The Icebreaker Merino Hike+ socks are another example of some of the best winter hiking socks in terms of their high 70% wool percentage, which makes for a thick, warm sock. They’re fully cushioned but won’t feel too tight thanks to their anatomically designed structure, with a seamless toe closure to prevent blisters and a mesh surface upper to help your feet stay cool.

Key Features

  • Two colorways available
  • Anatomically sculpted
  • Fully cushioned

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino Wool, Nylon, Lycra

14. Thorlos Experia Xccu Socks

Thorlos Experia Xccu socks are a little different from what we’ve seen so far in that they go for a super-thin overall build rather than thick cushioning. As such, they’re made for lighter hikes in hiking sneakers and shoes rather than boots, and they’re ideal for trail running too. They’re USA-made from polyester, Nylon, and elastic, and though less durable than thicker socks, they’re a perfect choice if you’re streamlining your gear.

Key Features

  • Seventeen colorways available
  • Thin cushioning
  • USA-Made

Specifications

  • Sizes XS-XL
  • Materials: Polyester, Nylon, Elastic

15. Patagonia Merino Performance Socks

Available in various patterned colorways, including a classic white and red logo print and a soft feather grey weave, these Merino Performance socks from Patagonia are a fantastic pair of all-weather hiking socks. They’re made from a blend of merino wool, Nylon, and Spandex, with light cushioning that makes them ideal for casual wear too.

Key Features

  • Six colorways available
  • Lightly cushioned
  • Calf-length
  • Stretchable fabric

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Spandex

16. Danish Endurance Merino Cushioned Socks

Available in 4 colorways ranging from wine-red to oak brown, these unisex multipurpose hiking socks are crafted to Danish designer and mountaineer Rasmus Kragh’s specifications. He was the first Dane ever to climb Mount Everest, or so he says, and based on how good his socks are, I’m willing to believe him. They’re lightly cushioned, with a seamless flat-front toe box and a compressed cuff and ankle that give excellent walking support, making them a great pair of hiking socks for mountain climbing.

Key Features

  • Four colorways available
  • Danish design
  • Cushioned

Specifications

  • Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s sizes available
  • Materials: Merino wool

17. Feetures Elite Quarter Socks

Feetures’ quarter socks are another great product in their strong repertoire, ideal for hiking and sports, including jogging, tennis, and golf. They have a nice ankle-length cuff and an overall lightweight build, and like Feetures’ other products, they come with a lifetime guarantee. They’re available in black of white colorways, so you can pick the one that matches the rest of your gear.

Key Features

  • Two colorways available
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Quarter-length

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Nylon, Spandex

18. Danish Endurance Merino Wool Socks

Another fine pair of socks from Rasmus Kragh, these merino wool performance socks come in six lovely colorways and are woven from a blend of wool, nylon, and acrylic for a flexible, comfortable blend. They are lined with ventilation lanes that make cooling down easy during long hikes and come in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Key Features

  • Six colorways available
  • Ventilation lanes
  • Sweat-wicking

Specifications

  • Sizes S – L
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Acrylic

19. REI Co-op Merino Quarter Hiking Socks

These sleek, well-designed quarter hiking socks from REI Co-op are some of the best hiking socks for hot weather use, thanks to their breathable merino wool weave and ankle-length cut. They have a simple overall silhouette backed up by highly technical geometry, with a seamless toe box and a stretch arch band designed to contour perfectly to your foot. They’re a great choice for hiking shoes and sneakers and a brilliant mix of casual and technical styles.

Key Features

  • Three colorways available
  • Stretch arch band
  • Seamless toe box

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra Spandex

20. Wrightsock Coolmesh II Quarter Socks

A nifty pair of running socks with a double-layer anti-blister system, the Wrightsock Coolmesh II’s are perfect for sports use and jogging, with a high-percentage polyester weave that can handle sweat and stretching without strain. Mesh paneling is built into the sock’s upper to help with cooling, and a Lycra Spandex cuff makes them a great fit for any foot.

Key Features

  • Fifteen colorways available
  • Double-layer anti-blister system
  • Mesh paneling

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Polyester, Nylon, Lycra Spandex 

21. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Socks

Smartwool’s classic PhD Outdoor socks are some of the best wool hiking socks you’ll find. What makes them so good is their versatility – they have half-cushioning, which makes for a comfortable fit, a ribbed cuff to prevent sliding and bunching, and a contoured upper that allows them to sit comfortably in any walking boot or sneaker. The toe box and heel also employ impact reduction to protect you from joint pain and blisters, making them a great choice for health-conscious hikers.

Key Features

  • Three colorways available
  • Ribbed cuff
  • Half-cushioning
  • Calf-length

Specifications

  • Sizes M – XL
  • Materials: Wool, Nylon, Elastane

22. Mirmaru Men’s Performance Socks

Mirmaru’s men’s performance socks are great for mixed usage, as they have a middle-of-the-road design that makes them suitable for biking, trail running, hiking, and outdoor sports. This is thanks to their reinforced cushioning and calf-length fit, and if you find that they’re not quite right for you, you can always refund them free of charge. I doubt you’d want to do that, though, as they’re an excellent pair of hiking socks.

Key Features

  • Five colorways available
  • Reinforced cushioning
  • Satisfaction guaranteed

Specifications

  • Sizes M – XL
  • Materials: Cotton, Polyester, Spandex

23. Sealskinz Unisex Waterproof Socks

Designed for comfort, these unisex socks from Sealskinz are the best waterproof socks for hiking, thanks to their three-layer bonded membrane, which is sure to keep off the rain even after stepping in a few puddles. Flat toe seams and a close stretch fit make them a comfortable choice to boot, and you can be sure of their reliability, as they’ve been hand-tested in 20 liters of water and come with a waterproof guarantee – meaning you can send them back with no fuss if you don’t think they’re up to scratch.

Key Features

  • Four colorways available
  • Three-layer construction
  • Flat toe seams
  • Close stretch fit

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Polypropylene, Nylon, Elastane, Merino wool, Acrylic, Polyester

24. Swiftwick Pursuit Seven Hiking Socks

A pair of crew socks designed primarily for hiking and cycling, the Swiftwick Pursuit Seven’s use a contoured construction and seamless toe box for a super comfortable overall feel. They are lined with breathable channels to allow your sock to release moisture and cool your feet quickly, even during intense exercise, and their merino wool weave makes them skin-friendly too.

Key Features

  • Four colorways available
  • Contoured compression
  • Breathable lining
  • USA-Made

Specifications

  • Sizes S – XL
  • Materials: Merino wool

25. United by Blue Bison Trail Sock

United by Blue’s Bison trail socks are completely unique in one respect: they contain real bison down for natural warmth and a bouncy cushioned feel. They’re calf-length and calf red and not just good for your feet. They also come with a cleaner ocean promise: United by Blue removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans for every pair of socks purchased. Now, if that’s not a good reason to buy a great pair of socks, I don’t know what is!

Key Features

  • Calf red colorway
  • Reinforced soles
  • Calf-length
  • Cleaner Oceans promise

Specifications

  • Women’s, Men’s, and Children’s sizes available
  • Materials: Polyester, Nylon, Wool, Bison down, Spandex

COMPARE HIKING SOCKS

Use this handy table to sort and compare the hiking socks featured here.

Hiking SocksPrimary MaterialSock HeightCushioningMoisture-WickingPrice
Darn Tough Higher Micro Crew Cushion SocksMerino WoolCrewMediumYes$23.00
Smartwool Performance Outdoor Ultra Light Mini SockMerino Wool & NylonMiniLightYes$16.95
Darn Tough Light Higher Micro Crew SockMerino Wool & NylonMicro CrewLightYes$23.95
Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool SocksWool & AcrylicCrewLightNo$21.00
Swiftwick Pursuit Two SockMerino WoolCrewLightYes$17.99
Farm to Feet Damascus Merino SocksMerino WoolCrewHeavyYes$19.74
Balega Hidden Comfort Running SocksPolyesterNo-ShowMediumNo$12.00
Darn Tough Mountaineering SocksMerino WoolKnee-highHeavyYes$30.00
Darn Tough Men’s Vertex No ShowMerino WoolNo-ShowLightYes$15.95
Feetures - Merino 10 Ultra Light No Show TabMerino WoolNo-ShowLightYes$17.99
Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Elite Hiking SocksMerino WoolQuarter-CrewLightYes$18.94
Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew SocksMerino WoolCrewHeavyYes$21.95
Icebreaker Merino Men’s Hike SocksMerino WoolCrewHeavyYes$18.44
Thorlos Experia Xccu Thin Cushion SocksPolyesterAnkleLightNo$8.22
Patagonia - Lightweight Merino Performance Crew SocksMerino WoolCrewLightYes$22.00
Danish Endurance Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking SocksMerino WoolCrewHeavyYes$12.75
Feetures Elite Ultra Light Quarter SockLycraQuarter-CrewLightYes$30.99
Danish Endurance Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking SocksMerino WoolCrewMediumYes$25.95
REI Co-Op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Quarter SocksMerino WoolQuarter-CrewLightYes$14.95
Wrightstock Coolmesh II Quarter Running SocksPolyesterQuarter-CrewLightNo$27.69
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light CrewWoolCrewLightNo$22.95
Mirmaru Men’s Multi Performance Outdoor Hiking SocksCottonCrewMediumNo$24.99
Sealskinz Unisex Waterproof SockPolypropyleneCalf-heightLightYes$37.34
Swiftkick - Pursuit Seven Hiking Crew SocksMerino WoolCrewMediumYes$21.99
United By Blue - Bison Trail SockPolyesterCrewMediumYes$32.00