Exploring a new trail is way more fun when your feet start and end the hike in one piece. Avoiding blisters isn’t just about wearing great shoes. The groundwork for an injury-free hike begins when you select your best socks for hiking.

A good pair of hiking socks will provide support. They will also keep your feet dry and blister-free for your entire adventure. With so many hiking sock options available, how do you which ones are the right choice for your feet?

That’s where we come in. Our Hiking Sock Guide breaks down the many types of hiking socks available and will help you find the best ones for your journey.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST SOCKS FOR HIKING

  1. Darn Tough Extra Cushion
  2. SmartWool Mountaineer
  3. Wigwam Hiking/Outdoor Pro
  4. Darn Tough Vermont 1/4
  5. SmartWool Hike Medium
  6. Thorlos® Lite Hiking
  7. Darn Tough Micro
  8. Wigwam Cool-Lite Pro
  9. Smartwool Hiking Liner
  10. Injinji LinerToesocks

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Hiking

 

THE BEST SOCKS FOR HIKING – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
SOCKS
WEIGHT
HEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SOCKS
WEIGHT
HEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
Darn Tough Extra Cushion
Heavy
Over the Calf
$$$
4.8
SmartWool Mountaineer
Heavy
Crew
$$$
4.6
Wigwam Hiking/Outdoor Pro
Mid-weight
Crew
$
4.5
Darn Tough Vermont 1/4
Mid-weight
Quarter Length
$$
4.8
SmartWool Hike Medium
Mid-weight
Crew
$$
4.7
Thorlos® Lite Hiking
Light-weight
Crew
$$
4.6
Darn Tough Micro
Light-weight
Micro Crew
$$
4.8
Wigwam Cool-Lite Pro
Light-weight
Quarter Length
$
4.4
Smartwool Hiking Liner
Liner
Crew
$
4.4
Injinji LinerToesocks
Liner
Crew
$
4.5

 

HIKING SOCKS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST HIKING SOCKS

1. PROTECTION

Socks are your first line of defense against blisters and other foot ailments that can ruin your hike. If you’re prone to blisters, then consider using a liner sock as a base layer. Blisters are caused by the friction between your boot, your sock, and your feet as you hike. Liner socks, which are worn beneath another pair of socks, act like a second skin to reduce friction.

You may also want to consider a sock with extra cushioning. If you get hot spots and blisters on the balls of your feet, for example, look for a sock with more cushioning in that location. Always look for a sock that has cushioning where you need it most.

 

2. TERRAIN

Before choosing your sock, think about the kind terrain you will encounter on your hike. Are you hiking up a mountain? Then you might want a sock with more cushion around the toes and heel. This type of sock will lessen the impact on your feet as you hike up and down the trail. If you’re hiking in a flat, dusty area, then you may need a sock that is crew cut or higher to keep out dirt and other debris.

 

3. WEATHER

Seasonal conditions are an important factor in selecting the right hiking sock. For winter hiking, select a heavier weight sock that is crew cut or higher to protect your feet from the elements. In warmer months, you should choose a lighter weight sock that is crew cut or lower to help your feet stay cooler. Hiking in wet conditions? Look for a breathable, quick-drying sock that can help you keep your feet dry.

 

4. LENGTH OF HIKE

How long will you be out on the trail? Will you be racking up the miles on a multi-day backpacking journey? Then make sure the socks you wear (and bring) are quick-drying and suitable to wear more than once. You may also want a sock with extra cushioning and arch support if you plan on hiking for more than a few hours at a time.

 

best hiking socks

Photo by Jonathan Colman, licensed under CC BY

 

HIKING SOCKS REVIEWS

THE TOP 10 BEST HIKING SOCKS OF THE YEAR

 

DARN TOUGH OVER THE CALF EXTRA CUSHION SOCKS – Men’s

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Mountaineering, cold weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Heavy

SOCK HEIGHT: Over the calf

WOMEN’S VERSION: Darn Tough Vermont Women’s Mountaineering Over-the-Calf Extra Cushion Socks

PROS: Warm, quick drying, breathable, ideal for cold weather hikes

CONS: Expensive, too warm for summer months

 

 

SMARTWOOL MOUNTAINEER SOCKS – Unisex

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Mountaineering, cold weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Heavy

SOCK HEIGHT: Crew

PROS: Warm, breathable, thick knit provides extra protection, Lycra arch for extra support

CONS: Expensive, fit is too loose, sock height is short for mountaineering socks, too warm for summer months

 

 

WIGWAM HIKING/OUTDOOR PRO LENGTH SOCK – Men’s

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Cool to warmer weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Medium

SOCK HEIGHT: Crew

WOMEN’S VERSION: Wigwam Women’s Hiking Pro Socks

PROS: Warm, quick drying, smooth toe closure to prevent blisters

CONS: Fit runs tight

 

 

DARN TOUGH VERMONT 1/4 MERINO WOOL CUSHION HIKING SOCK – Men’s

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Cool to warm weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Medium

SOCK HEIGHT: Quarter Length

WOMEN’S VERSION: Darn Tough Vermont Women’s Hiker 1/4 Sock Cushion

PROS: Breathable, quick drying, cushioning on foot bottom, arch support, invisible seams to prevent blisters

CONS: Too warm for summer months, sock height is too low to protect against the elements

 

 

SMARTWOOL HIKE MEDIUM CREW SOCKS – Unisex

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: All weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Medium

SOCK HEIGHT: Crew

PROS: All-purpose sock works well in every season, good for rugged/moderate terrain, arch brace for support, flat-knit toe seam to prevent blisters

CONS: Wears out quickly

 

 

THORLOS® LITE HIKING MODERATE PADDED CREW SOCKS – Men’s

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Cool to warm weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Medium

SOCK HEIGHT: Crew

WOMEN’S VERSION: Thorlos® Women’s Lite Hiking Moderate Padded Crew Socks

PROS: Breathable, quick drying, cushioned instep and arch, low profile toe seam to prevent blisters

CONS: Too warm for summer months, too snug

 

 

DARN TOUGH MICRO CREW CUSHION HIKING SOCKS – Men’s

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Warm weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Light

SOCK HEIGHT: Micro Crew

WOMEN’S VERSION: Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Women’s Hiking Socks

PROS: Breathable, quick drying, cushioning underfoot, reinforced heels and toes, elastic support around the arch

CONS: Thin, limited padding and cushioning, not enough insulation for cold months

 

 

WIGWAM COOL-LITE PRO QUARTER LENGTH SOCK – Unisex

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Warm weather hiking

CUSHIONING: Medium

SOCK HEIGHT: Quarter Length

PROS: Quick drying, cushioned foot, seamless toe to prevent blisters

CONS: Thin, not enough insulation for cold months, sock height is too low to protect against the elements

 

 

SMARTWOOL HIKING LINER CREW SOCKS – Unisex

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Liner layer

CUSHIONING: None

SOCK HEIGHT: Crew

PROS: Lightweight, liner layer designed to reduce blisters, quick drying, flat knit toe seam to prevent blisters

CONS: No cushioning, too thin to be worn without an additional layer on most hikes

 

 

INJINJI LINER CREW TOESOCKS – Unisex

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Liner layer

CUSHIONING: None

SOCK HEIGHT: Crew

PROS: Lightweight, toe sock design keeps toes from rubbing together, liner layer designed to reduce blisters, quick drying

CONS: No cushioning, wear out quickly, some people experience discomfort from the toe slots, too thin to be worn without an additional layer on most hikes

 

The 10 Best Socks For Hiking of 2017 – Hiking Clothes for Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring – Hiking Outfits for Women, Men and Kids – Backpacking Gear For Beginners
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