But you will need some good pairs of hiking socks.
Of course, it's technically possible to hike with any old socks. But you will quickly start to regret it, especially as you start to tackle longer or more grueling hikes. And even on the easy hikes, wearing high-quality hiking socks makes the experience much more comfortable.
Not sure how to choose the best hiking socks? Let's dive into our top tips for keeping your feet comfortable during hikes of all levels!
Hiking Socks: Features to Consider
Hiking socks come in many different materials, styles, and designs. Let's take a look at which of these features are best suited for your preferences or hiking style.
The weight, or thickness, of the sock is one of the most important categories to consider. You'll probably want to buy hiking socks in different weights if you plan to tackle different terrains at different times of the year.
A lightweight hiking sock is best for hiking in hot or mild weather. The thin material doesn't offer a lot of padding, but it will also keep your feet from getting too hot. Keeping Cool & Keeping Warm
Midweight hiking socks are better for cold weather or for longer hikes. The longer your hike is, the more padding you'll want, even if it's going to be hot. If you're not sure what kind of hikes you'll be doing, a midweight sock is a good versatile option that works for many different situations.
Finally, there's the heavyweight hiking sock. You'll want these when you're hiking on really cold days or spending multiple days on your excursion. The best thick socks offer not just warmth, but also protection from discomfort.
Wicking is tied to other features, like weight and material. As mentioned above, some sock weights are better at wicking than others. Moisture Removal
Wicking simply means the ability to take moisture off your feet. This helps prevent blisters and is also valuable if the socks accidentally get wet. Wet feet are uncomfortable and can even result in serious health problems. For damp or sweaty hikes, prioritize having socks that wick moisture well.
The material is the other factor that affects wicking and also has a big effect on many other things about your hiking socks.
Many hiking socks are made from a mix of materials, rather than a single one. But these blends are usually made from the same list of materials.
Bamboo Viscose and Merino Wool are the top materials in many hiking socks for good reason. These materials help regulate the temperature of your feet. Even in hot weather, wool socks can be comfortable if they aren't too thick, or if they're blended with other materials.
Synthetic fabrics like nylon, spandex, and polyester are often blended with these natural materials or used alone. These materials help insulate, add durability, and keep the socks molded to your feet for comfort.
The length of your hiking socks, or how far they go up your leg, matters too.
If you plan to wear tall, sturdy hiking boots, you'll want taller socks. This is often the best choice for cold-weather hikes since more length means more warmth and protection. Tall socks also protect you from bugs and plants you might encounter along the way.
With short socks, your legs have more breathing room and won't get as hot. However, they won't protect your leg from flora, fauna, and the elements as well.
No matter how well your hiking socks are made, they won't serve you well if they don't fit right.
Hiking socks that are too tight will reduce the circulation in your feet, which can be uncomfortable and also damaging. But if your socks don't fit tightly enough, they can chafe and cause blisters on your feet.
Similarly, you won't want socks that aren't low or high enough for your needs. If you wear low socks with tall boots, your boots will rub on your ankles and legs, for example.
Breathability is important in socks as it aids in evaporation and removal of moisture. Materials that are good at removing moisture are often good at breathing. Again merino wool and bamboo viscose are at the top of breathability.
Choosing the Best Hiking Socks
When you shop with these features in mind, you'll easily be able to choose the best hiking socks for you. It's a good idea to start with a versatile design, like a midweight bamboo viscose sock in a medium height, if you're a beginner hiker. The more hikes you go on, the better you'll understand your hiking sock needs.
Not sure where to start shopping? Some of the best hiking socks can be found in online stores-check out our selection today!