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7 Best Hiking Socks

There’s no point in purchasing a great pair of hiking boots without also adding a pair of quality socks into the mix. Hiking socks, together with your hiking boots or shoes, create extra cushioning and comfort for your feet that allows you to get the most out of hiking. 

With a great pair of socks, you can feel free on the trails with no blisters or discomfort. There are several things to look for in the perfect pair of hiking socks, and this guide will help you choose the right features for your needs. 

We searched a range of online resources for the best hiking socks available now. Our top pick is the Danish Endurance Unisex Merino socks, a great all-weather sock made from versatile merino wool. 

In this guide, we will explore a list of the best products available to buy now and discover the top features to look for when it comes to finding the perfect socks for hiking. And we’ve answered some frequently asked questions on the subject of hiking socks. 

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The Best Hiking Socks of 2024 

Best Overall Hiking Socks – Danish Endurance Unisex Merino 3-Pack

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Image by Danish Endurance

We picked these socks from Danish Endurance as the best overall because of their versatility for several hiking situations. 

Danish Endurance is an outdoor brand from Denmark. With a clear focus on design, their garments are carefully crafted with high-quality construction. 

These unisex socks are made from 38% merino wool. Ultralight and thermoregulating, merino wool is a sweat-wicking material that is ideal for hiking in both cold and mild climates. The socks feature targeted cushioning to reduce the risk of blisters or painful spots. 

This lightweight hiking sock is designed in partnership with Everest mountaineer Rasmus Kragh, who tests the performance of the socks while out on expeditions.

Best Breathable Socks – Merrell Men’s and Women’s Wool Socks 

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Image by Merrell

Merrell is one of the most trusted outdoor manufacturers in the world, famed for footwear. These socks, designed in conjunction with sock specialist K.Bell Socks, are a good-quality option for keeping your feet cozy and comfortable. 

They come in an assortment of lengths for men and women, including low-tab, ankle, and crew, so choose the correct length depending on your footwear. If you are going to wear hiking boots, opt for one of the longer lengths. 

Made from a blend of acrylic, wool, and nylon, these socks feature arch support and a reinforced toe and heel for long wearability. Reviewers mention how much they love the breathability of these socks and their comfort on lengthy hikes.

Best Merino Wool Hiking Socks – Icebreaker Hike + Light Crew for Men and Women 

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Image by Icebreaker

The New Zealand company Icebreaker specializes in merino wool products in the outdoor clothing industry. This merino wool hiking sock features luxurious fabric for no-itch comfort, made from mostly merino wool and nylon. The material is soft and great for sensitive skin. 

Mostly comprising of merino wool, the composition of these socks features sculpted cushioning and reinforced toes and heels. They resist odor build-up and dry quickly, making these socks a great addition to your hiking gear. 

From summer hikes to winter walks, this is a lightweight sock that ensures year-round comfort. They keep you cool and dry in the heat and warm and snug in the cold. 

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Best Wool Alternative – Darn Tough CoolMax Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock for Men and Women

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Image by Darn Tough

The Darn Tough CoolMax socks are perfect for hot-weather hikes. Made from CoolMax polyester, nylon, and Lycra spandex, this synthetic sock is designed to move moisture away from the skin.  

Founded in Vermont, Darn Tough’s hiking socks have been popular for over 40 years. These hiking socks have medium cushioning and are available in multiple sizes for men and women. 

Reviewers mention the Darn Tough socks provide comfort and support on hikes across the country from the Rocky Mountains in December to Moab in June, proving them to be a great all-weather option. 

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Best Durable Socks – Dickies Dri Tech Moisture Control Crew Socks for Men and Women

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Image by Dickies

The Dickies dry-tech moisture control socks are a good choice for everyday wear as well as hiking. They come in several designs, and the pack of six pairs is great value for money.

In their own words, Dickies has created “hard-duty work products built to stand up to whatever life throws at you” since 1922. You can trust the brand to create durable socks that last a long time. 

Thick but not too thick, these socks are form-fitting and snug. With ventilation channels, arch compression, and in-step support, they stay in place while you’re doing strenuous activities. Reviewers mention the socks last for a long time, wash well, and, best of all, no one said anything about sweaty feet.

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Best Toe Socks – Injinji Trail Midweight Crew for Men and Women

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Image by Injinji

Injinji’s patented five-toe design might look a little unusual, but it is specifically designed to minimize friction between the toes on hikes or runs. The Injinji Trail Midweight Crew socks are unisex.

The synthetic socks work to prevent blisters and hotspots while doing strenuous activities, with superior moisture management to allow for long periods of wearability.

It gives each of your toes the freedom to move with ease, with a mixture of CoolMax fibers, nylon, and a mesh top to keep your feet dry and cool. 

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Best Budget –  REI Co-op CoolMax Ultralight

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Image by REI

For a decent pair of socks available for less than $12, look no further than the REI Co-op’s ultralight hiking quarter socks. They provide just the right amount of cushioning and support for days on the trails. 

Similar to a couple of others on this list, these unisex socks are also made from CoolMax polyester, which is lightweight and allows for freedom of movement. 

The form-fitting style with padded heels and toes allow the socks to feel extra comfy and secure while you navigate narrow trails. They’re made sustainably using yarn from recycled water bottles.

How to Find the Best Hiking Socks 

When choosing any technical piece of clothing, it is important to do your research. Look out for the following features when you are searching for the perfect pair of hiking socks. 

Material

Look for socks made from moisture-wicking materials such as merino wool, synthetic blends, or a combination of both. 

Merino wool is excellent for regulating temperature and wicking moisture away from the skin. It has amazing properties that will keep you cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather, so it’s a popular choice for many types of hiking clothing.   

Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester add durability and help with moisture management and breathability. CoolMax is a type of specially engineered polyester used in several outdoor performance products.  

Cushioning

Most hiking socks will feature a level of cushioning in order to make them comfortable to wear with either hiking shoes or hiking boots. Thick socks with extra cushioning are very comfortable and will offer plenty of protection on challenging hikes or when exploring rugged terrain. 

Socks with light cushioning will still add comfort, but they are likely to be more suited to everyday wear, short hikes, or warm weather. For something in between, opt for a mid-weight hiking sock.

Size and Fit 

Make sure your socks fit well and don’t bunch up or slide around in your hiking boots. There’s nothing worse than when a sock slips down into your boot or shoe while you’re on the go. 

Try to find socks with a snug but not too tight fit. Sock sizes usually correlate to your shoe size, so use your shoe size as a rough guide or check the sizing chart for specific measurements. 

Find a sock that will conform to the shape of your foot without causing discomfort or restricting circulation. Many hiking socks come in multiple sizes to accommodate different foot shapes.

Sock Height

Hiking socks come in various heights, including crew, quarter, and ankle lengths. No-show socks can also be used for hiking when worn with low-cut hiking shoes and can be suitable for warm-weather hikes.

Choose a height that works best with your hiking boots or shoes and provides adequate coverage and protection for your ankles.

These are the most common sock heights: 

  • Crew socks stop in the middle of the calf. 
  • Ankle socks cover just above or slightly below your ankle bone.
  • A quarter-length sock covers just above the ankle bone.
  • No-show socks are designed to sit just below the ankle so no one can see them above your shoe.

Durability and Design

Socks with seamless toe closures can help prevent chafing and blisters, especially during long hikes.

Look for socks with reinforced areas such as the heel and toe to withstand abrasion and extend the lifespan of the socks. Durable materials and construction will ensure that your socks hold up well to repeated use and maintain their shape over time.

Design features such as mesh panels or ventilation zones allow air to circulate around your feet, preventing moisture build-up, which can lead to blisters or hotspots.  

Odor Control

Some hiking socks are treated with anti-microbial or odor-resistant coatings to prevent bacteria growth and minimize odor build-up, keeping your feet feeling fresh even after long hours on the trail.

Brand Reputation and User Reviews 

It’s a good idea to choose reputable outdoor brands known for producing quality gear. 

Remember that the best hiking socks for you will depend on your specific needs and the conditions you expect to encounter on your hikes.

If in doubt, always read user reviews when you are shopping online. It is a great way to find out information about the product, including how socks perform in different temperatures. Important details about the fit and sizing will also help you to make a decision.

FAQs 

Which sock height is best for hiking? 

Taller socks, such as ankle or crew styles, provide the most coverage for the ankle and lower leg, which can protect against debris and abrasions. You might want to opt for these socks if you will be hiking through rough terrain. 

Extra length also secures the sock in place and reduces slipping. You might also consider these styles when wearing hiking boots to help avoid skin irritation and friction from the boot. 

Quarter socks or no-show socks are great for warm-weather hiking. You can wear them with lower-cut hiking shoes or trail runners. (Check out our picks for the best trail running shoes.)

Should I choose synthetic or merino wool socks? 

This really comes down to personal preference. Both materials are known for their moisture-wicking properties, allowing your feet to stay nice and dry. 

Merino wool is very adaptable to different conditions and has odor-resistant properties. Stinky socks, no more. 

Synthetic socks are quicker to dry and possibly better value for money. If you struggle to wear wool due to skin sensitivity, synthetic socks can be a great alternative. 

Do I really need specialized socks for hiking?

It’s not essential, but it’s always important in life to look after your feet properly. Show them some love by purchasing a great pair of hiking socks. It will make wearing your hiking boots, hiking shoes, or trail runners more comfortable. 

Hiking socks are specifically designed to be worn for strenuous activity, so your feet will benefit from the additional cushioning and extra technology. Wearing hiking socks rather than everyday socks might even allow you to hike for longer.  

Final Thoughts 

Don’t forget about hiking socks when you are expanding your collection of hiking footwear. A great all-around pair are the Danish Endurance Unisex Merino socks.

When it comes to having comfortable and happy feet, there’s no point in spending a small fortune on the best hiking boots money can buy if you are not going to consider the importance of socks, too. 

Wherever you are heading on your next hiking adventure, socks with moisture-wicking and breathable properties will play an important role in your overall comfort, especially at the end of a long day on the trails.

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