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Socks That Don’t Suck: The 4 Best Hiking Socks I’ve Tried

I have to admit, I’ve spent most of my life without owning or wearing hiking socks (even though I’ve been hiking for many years). Surely I’m not the only outdoorsy person who has spent too long wearing all-purpose or athletic socks for hiking when I should have been wearing hiking socks. But now that I know what I’m missing, you won’t catch me wearing regular socks inside my hiking boots ever again.

Here are the four best hiking socks I’ve tried and why they’re great. Hopefully, this will help you in your search for socks that don’t suck. Happy hiking!

My 4 Favorite Hiking Socks

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Fox River Jasper Medium Weight Crew Hiking Sock (Adults and Kids)

Fox River hiking socks
Image courtesy of Fox River

I’m tentatively going to call these my favorite hiking socks, but it’s a really tough call. Fox River’s medium-weight Merino wool crew hike/trek socks are soft, supportive without being too tight, and—bonus—they’re the least-expensive option on this list. They’re a bit longer than other crew socks I’ve tried, and I like that.

These socks are made from soft Merino wool and have a slightly cushioned heel and toe to absorb shocks as you hike. Fox River’s Wick Dry technology offers moisture and odor control, even when it’s hot. The company proudly knits its FoxSox in Iowa using a range of sustainable fibers and offers a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects.

Both of my kids also own the Kid’s Scramble Medium Weight Crew Hiking Socks, which are functional, affordable, and cute.

See more recommendations for hiking gear for kids.

Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Crew Sock (Unisex)

Smartwool hiking socks
Image courtesy of Smartwool

Smartwool is the company that turned me into a Merino wool believer. I’ve tried a few different socks from this brand, and my favorites are the originals, the Smartwool Hike Classic. These comfy socks were Smartwool’s first sock construction over 25 years ago, and they’ve remained relatively unchanged—probably because they’re awesome.

One change the company did make to the Hike Classic design is to switch a majority of the nylon fibers in the sock over to recycled nylon, making them more eco-friendly. The current construction is 56% Merino wool, 31% recycled nylon, 11% nylon, and 2% elastane.

The Hike Classic socks have light cushion along the sole, but they don’t feel bulky. For a slightly narrower fit, there’s also a women-specific version of the Hike Classics. I prefer the unisex version, though they’re nearly a tie in my book.

No matter what you buy from Smartwool, the company offers its go far. feel good™ Guarantee, ensuring you get what you love and love what you get.

See more of my favorite Smartwool items in this roundup of gear I brought to the Amazon.

Bombas Merino Wool Blend Hiking Calf Sock (Women and Men)

Bombas merino wool hiking socks
Image courtesy of Bombas

Of the socks on this list, the Bombas Merino Wool Blend Hiking Socks offer the most compression. You feel it when you first put the socks on, but shortly after, you forget they’re there. Bombas socks have some cool tech built in—from the honeycomb arch support and the airflow venting to the strategic zone cushioning.

I wore these with brand-new hiking boots and did not get any blisters, despite the boots’ stiff leather. The Merino wool blend felt almost silky inside my boots. Compared to Bombas’s Performance Hiking Sock, which doesn’t have Merino wool, the Merino Wool Blend Hiking Sock is lighter. If you prefer full cushioning, though, consider the Performance Hiking Sock.

Bombas is a socially conscious company that donates one essential clothing item to someone in need for every item purchased. They’ve donated over 100 million products! Bombas also offers a fantastic 100% Happiness Guarantee.

United By Blue Bison Trail Sock (Unisex)

bison trail socks
Image courtesy of United By Blue

Leave it to United By Blue to think of a clever way to reuse something valuable. The Bison Trail Sock features yarn comprised of 10% bison fiber, and the resulting product is 13% bison (plus 52% wool, 34% nylon, and 1% spandex). The company salvages fibers from bison hides before they’re discarded, thereby leveraging an existing, underutilized natural resource.

The Bison Trail Sock regulates temperature, wicks moisture, and doesn’t lose heat when wet. The socks have light cushioning along the sole, but this “trail” version of United By Blue’s original bison sock is lightweight and designed for all four seasons. The fabric and fit are comfortable and the socks perform well on the trail.

United By Blue cleans up one pound of trash from the environment for every product sold, and they’ve removed over 5 million pounds over the past 12 years. You can definitely feel good about supporting this brand.

See more cool gear from this eco-conscious company here.

Do Hiking Socks Matter?

Hiking socks are designed specifically for the act of walking long distances over uneven, rough terrain. Good hiking socks are moisture wicking, offer temperature regulation and a varying level of cushion, and prevent blisters. They are well constructed to hold up over time and use, they don’t slip down as you hike, and they typically offer targeted compression for your arches.

Now that I’ve discovered how much more comfortable hiking socks make my feet while hiking, I won’t switch back to regular-old gym socks for outdoor activities. There are a lot of options out there, but these are the ones I’ll be wearing for years to come.

For even more recommendations, see this roundup of best hiking socks.

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