Best Hiking Socks

Hiking Socks - Reviews & Guides For 2020

Our Top Hiking Socks

Need Help Choosing Hiking Socks?

Hiking Socks Buyers Guide

Socks are a simple addition to your clothes that can make a massive impact on your comfort and performance. It almost feels borderline boring to decide the type of hiking socks you want. However, similar to any other hiking gear, there is a wide range of choices available.

Many companies work their best to bring you an extensive range to fit your individual needs. This guide aims to help you find your requirements. Through some tips and suggestions, you will have an easier time making a decision.

Additionally, you will understand what your preference regarding hiking socks is. Thus, you will be able to get hiking socks that are worth your money. From cheap hiking socks to premium-grade, this guide breaks down everything to bare essentials.

But should you consider this tip? What are the benefits of using hiking socks over regular socks? Should you buy hiking socks? If you have questions like these, then read ahead to clarify your doubts!

Are hiking socks any different?

Just like any other hiking gear, hiking socks have received a revolutionary innovation. These socks fall second on the priority list after hiking boots. Once you get the right hiking boots, socks should be the second consideration.

The right match of hiking socks for your boot will prevent blisters, aching, and other similar uncomfortable problems. Most of the hiking socks have anti-odor qualities, or at least the ability to last longer than conventional socks. Thus, you can use them for an extended period without worrying about stinky feet.

There's outstanding quality in hiking socks known as cushioning. It helps you withstand the force of the impacts and general walking to provide comfort for feet. Thus, it makes you feel more relaxed and less exhausted as you hike through your favorite trails.

Hiking socks becomes an indispensable requirement if you're going for longer hikes that might make a better half of the day or even more than one day. For campers and backpackers, hiking socks can be a valuable asset. Given below are some other benefits and reasons to buy hiking socks.

Benefits of wearing hiking socks

Hiking socks are better than regular socks in many aspects. Alternatively, you can replace your regular socks with hiking socks if you have the budget. Thus, you will find them to be very comforting in everyday use.

Many fitness enthusiasts also use hiking socks instead of regular ones. People even use thick hiking socks for winters to keep their feet warm and comfortable. Overall, hiking socks are a versatile choice.

Here are some other similar and more logical benefits of socks that will prove that these are a valuable addition to your collection.

Better fitting and right warmth

If you are not in your comfort zone, there's no point in doing something. Hiking is for you to cherish nature and have a relaxing experience. For this, comfort matters, and you shouldn't compromise the warmth either.

Hiking socks offer you a great fitting and snug against your feet. The fitting of any gear, especially while hiking, makes a significant impact on your performance.

A dry experience for foot

You might have seen that almost any gear for hiking, camping, and other activities prioritizes drying. Whether you sweat profusely or not, you will require proper drying. It is through wicking capacity that hiking socks have a better ability to stay dry.

Dryness also means that your feet are not slippery, and you won't lubricate them for slipping the socks or boots off. Thus, you maintain optimum grip and balance.

Prevent foot problems

There are many foot problems that you can suffer if you don't have the proper gear. Blisters are a widespread occurrence. There's also aching in the foot or joints. Some people even suffer post-hiking swelling. You can eliminate all of these problems by choosing the right pair of hiking socks and boots.

Eliminates hiking after-effects on feet

Apart from post-hiking swelling, there are some after-effects that you can feel for days to come after hiking. You might not want to wear shoes but keep your feet open and free. By using the hiking socks, you will most likely eliminate these problems for a better experience.

Reduce the requirement for rest

As your feet are more comfortable and suffer less impact from the physical activities, you won't have to rest often. Sometimes, while resting, the aching and discomfort of the foot lead people to take longer rests than required.

You can eliminate this problem if you get the right hiking socks for you.

Enhance your performance

If you combined all of these benefits, you could notice that there will be a significant tweak in your performance. You will have an easier time traveling around, less requirement to rest, and maintain comfort. Thus, you can enjoy hiking while you also increase performance. Overall, it's a win-win for everyone.

Factors to consider when buying hiking socks

You can't just walk into a store and pick almost any sock and say it's for hiking. There are certain aspects that you have to consider and factors that make hiking socks better.

It's pretty exciting, and you will never have difficulties in selecting the right pair in the future. You can consider these tips for regular socks, as well. So let's begin:

The fabric of the hiking socks

The first consideration to make is the fabric of the socks. However, hiking socks mostly comprise a blend of different materials to bring you well-versed comfort. Most of the time, factors like comfort, durability, breathability, and dryness of the socks are prioritized. Hence, fabric plays a vital role.

Spandex

It is often mixed with other fabrics of hiking socks. You will find that almost every hiking sock has at least a small quantity of spandex. It is to ensure the elasticity of your socks, their flexibility, and shape retention. Many socks benefit from the anti-wrinkling capacity of the spandex and a snuggle fit it offers for your feet.

Synthetic material

Nylon and polyester are two common synthetic materials, apart from spandex. Nylon is a better choice for durability. It has fast drying capacity but is generally suitable for warm weather. Polyester is an alternative to nylon for colder climates due to its insulation. It brings you better wicking quality.

Silk

It is the less common option available in hiking socks. Silk is more commonly used in linear socks for hiking. You will find more information about linear socks below, under the cushioning section. If you want a natural fabric with insulation instead of polyester, it is a perfect alternative. Silk is very comfortable and relatively lightweight.

Wool

This is the most common material available in hiking socks. Many experts would recommend that you should get wool socks. You will even find these socks in merino wool, which is an all-rounder alternative. Most wool socks have better temperature regulation and cushioning capacity.

If you get the right wool socks, you will find that they have the anti-odor and antimicrobial capacity to last longer without requiring wash. Thus, it also boosts your hygiene and foot health by reducing the risk of catching an infection. Merino wool is overall better for its soft appeal without any fiction and non-itchy build.

The thickness of the socks

It goes without saying that a thickness would have a significant impact on comfort. The thickness of socks determines the fitting for your shoes. More importantly, it defines the temperature regulation of your foot.

Like other hiking clothes, there are three different 'weight' categories to determine the thickness of the socks. Of course, each weight category certainly adds actual weight, as well. Lightweight would feel breezy, while heavyweight or trekking socks will feel a little heavy on foot.

However, it's negligible, not like it adds a couple of pounds to you, just a minor, noticeable difference. So you can always eliminate the weight factor when considering socks, as boots will already add the weight. What matters is the thickness of the socks. Here are the categories for better understanding:

Lightweight

Lightweight socks are great for hikers who want a breeze feeling in their foot as if they're not wearing any layer. It's great for hot climates as it provides proper breathability for your feet.

Lightweight socks are great and fit almost any kind of shoes, not just hiking-specific gear. Thus, you can use them regularly, as well. However, they might not provide you apt fitting for your hiking shoes or boots if you have year-round hiking shoes or boots. If you have specific ones, there shouldn't be many problems.

Medium

These are the jack of all trades as you can wear them in a hot or cold climate. Many hikers prefer medium weight socks as they can keep your feet warm while you hike around without making it sweat or uncomfortable. However, medium weight is better for colder weather.

They fit very-well with different types of shoes, especially hiking boots, without packing too much. Thus, if you have spacious boots, it wouldn't be a problem getting these in your collection. You can also wear them in winter.

Heavyweight or Trekking

By now, you can probably guess that heavyweight is better for cold climates and provides apt comfort in frigid zones. These will snug your feet and offer a tight-fitting for the boots, as it is vital in extreme temperatures.

Often, heavyweight socks have added insulation that makes them warmer. Alternatively, trekking is a well-versed version of heavyweight hiking socks that provide the utmost comfort. They are suitable for a frigid climate.

If you want something for winter to wear and walk around the house, these are a fantastic choice for you.

Cushioning of the socks

The cushioning factor of the socks for hiking is paramount for a comfortable experience and to optimize your performance. If you get better cushioning, you can survive the force of the jumps and feel no recoil or impact on your feet. Thus, you will increase the pleasure of hiking.

Moreover, cushioning also determines a sock's moisture-wicking capabilities, breathability, and other significant factors. Correlatively, the thickness of the socks will impact the cushioning of your socks. Here's a quick guide on the cushioning of your hiking socks:

Linear socks

The best thing about linear socks is that you can wear them over other layers of socks. That's right! It allows you to have a double layer of socks. Now, what is the reason behind that? Well, linear socks are highly breathable with remarkable moisture-wicking capacity.

Thus, they help in keeping your feet dry for a longer time. However, many brands have managed to bring you hiking socks with linear socks capabilities. Therefore, these socks grew less prevalent. Moreover, linear socks have no cushioning at all.

Light cushion

A light cushioning is available on the vital part of your feet, like the heel and ball that are prone to receiving the force from the impact. Thus, they help you get more comfort while walking, and especially against the shoes.

If you want socks with better moisture-wicking quality and comfort, light cushion hiking socks might be your cup of tea.

Medium cushion

Medium cushion hiking socks are also known as backpacking socks. These are great for rough trails and bumpy roads as they provide better comfort. You will find them paired with medium-weight socks to bring you well-versed protection.

Medium cushioning often has a layer for your soles, as well for a softer experience inside the boots.

Heavy cushion

If you want something for warm weather, these are not the right choice for you. Apart from that, heavy cushioning is excellent for active hiking. If you're going to jump around a lot, you might want to consider these. For cold climates, the heavy cushion is pivotal.

Thus, you will find these are medium-weight to heavyweight hiking socks.

Personal preferences

There are some things in every clothing article that depends on your personal preference. Here are some quick overviews of items that will depend more on your personal preference.

You don't need too much information; you need to understand what you want. These are mentioned to ensure that you have complete knowledge and that the guide doesn't miss anything. Some may have added tips for your ease:

Size of the socks

There is a variety of hiking socks you will size with various sizes. If you talk about fitting, large would fit most men while the medium is for women. Small is for people with smaller feet or young teens and kids. Similarly, if you consider length, there are a variety of choices.

Some might like hiking socks that cover your shins or even reach knees. Others might like ankle level socks. The general rule is that if you want more space and breathability, go for an ankle-length. If you are in a cold climate or like to feel 'packed,' then the longer length is an apt choice.

Abrasion is the primary consideration when going for the length of the socks. No-show length is better for running and gym shoes. Ankle length is for mid-cut shoes that you won't find much for hiking.

Crew and knee-high are a better choice, especially if you have hiking boots. It will prevent the boot's cuffs and such from inflicting any abrasion.

Fitting of the socks

Some people like a tight fit, while others admire a loose and comfortable fit. However, if your socks are too loose, they may produce lines, folds, and wrinkles that will create additional friction and discomfort. Thus, you might end up with blisters.

If you get too tight socks, they might compress against your foot and prevent proper blood flow. Some may even fail to provide any cushioning and open you to pressure point problems. Thus, it is pivotal to keep the fitting of the socks in mind.

Here's a pro tip. If the heel of your feet fit perfectly with the heel cup of the socks, it's a perfect match. You might want to consider socks that snug but not choke your feet. Don't rely on your boots' size to get the right socks. First, buy the socks according to your feet size and then try them with the shoes to see if it's fine.

Brand matters

Hiking socks are a premium luxury, and you might find them costing a little more than standard socks. If you're going to invest in them, you should look for recognized brands—the brand of any hiking gear matters. If you buy low-end, unknown brands, you might not get what you need.

Many brands learn from years of experience and research. The collective product enables them to modify and produce high-grade socks. They know a better blend and utilize various tools and equipment for their production.

Quality of fabric

The second reason why the brand of hiking socks matter is the quality of the fabric. Several well-known companies work on investing in high-grade raw material for their production. They might even integrate unique methods of manufacturing.

The quality of fabric matters a lot for its durability and appeal. You might not know, but even two similar socks of the same material will provide a different feel and comfort. It's because of the region the cotton was imported from and it's quality.

Remember that just like how there are different brands for the same things, there are other ingredient qualities for the same thing. It's the primary aspect that helps you distinguish between two brands.

Satisfaction guarantee

Some brands travel an extra mile to bring you money back or satisfaction guarantee. Many brands even offer some form of warranty if you go for high-end socks with more technicalities in hiking, such as trekking socks.

However, most of the time, you will find money back choice more. You can test socks for a certain amount of time before you return them. Of course, there are some criteria to fulfill. If a company is offering some form of guarantee, it leads you to have more trust.

It also shows the company's confidence in its brand. To prevent people from abusing the mechanism, they might impose some hard-pressed procedures. Overall, it's one more reason to go for branded hiking socks.

FAQs: Best Hiking Socks

Q: What is wicking in hiking socks?

A: In excessive warmth or with intense body heat, your feet generate sweat. It can lead to moisture building inside the boots. Now, this moisture isn't ample for your feet as it can promote infection, even blisters, and other discomforts. Often, excessive sweat can lead to slippage or feeling like you have a loosening grip on the surface that will trick your balance. Sometimes, the shoes, boots, or socks even slip off.

To counter this problem, hiking socks have a wicking capacity to efficiently drain the moisture and dry out your feet with proper breathability. Hence, it prevents your feet from getting wet.

Q: How to wash and maintain hiking socks?

A: It depends on the type of fabric your socks have. Each material has a different requirement for washing. For some, you might have to use cold waters; others might require warm water. You can find instructions on how to wash your socks on the package you bought them with.

Alternatively, if you know the material, you can search the internet to find the answer.

Q: Can you use hiking socks regularly?

Yes, you can. Hiking socks might provide better comfort and performance in daily wear. However, these usually cost extra, and you might wear them out faster. So you can consider this factor, as well, before getting hiking socks for regular use.

Conclusion

Now you have complete information about the essential aspects of hiking socks. Remember that you need the right combination of wicking and breathability with cushioning to get the best hiking socks in the market.

As mentioned, the brand does matter, and the cost of the hiking socks will depend on the brand you opt for. It's better to buy them by trying them first, so you should go for dedicated outlets. Don't go for standard marts and shops as they usually don't have performance or sport-specific gear or variety.

If you ever find yourself confused, the tips and suggestions should be able to ease things up for you. So, go ahead and enjoy your comfortable pair for the perfect hiking or backpacking trip!

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