High quality hiking socks offer remarkable comfort and support and are a must pack item when preparing for a good hike. However, with so many hiking socks on the market it can be overwhelming to find the right pair. So we’ve set out to answer the question, “What are the best socks for hiking?” and have found several quality options which will help you hike without having to worry about blisters or aching feet ever again.
Comparison Table of the Best Hiking Socks
Below is a list of the best socks for hiking. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
|Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion||61% merino, 36% nylon, 3% spandex||Light/medium|
|Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew||56% merino, 41% nylon, 3% elastane||Light|
|Darn Tough Quarter Cushion||61% merino, 37% nylon, 2% spandex||Light/medium|
|Icebreaker Hike+ Mid Crew||61% merino, 37% nylon, 2% Lycra||Medium|
|Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew||70% merino, 29% nylon, 1% elastane||Heavy|
|Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion||37% nylon, 34% Coolmax, 26% acrylic, 2% Lycra, 1% other||Light/medium|
|Smartwool Hike Light Crew||69% merino, 30% nylon, 1% elastane||Light/medium|
|Danish Endurance Merino Crew||33% merino, 33% acrylic, 33% polyamide, 1% elastane||Medium|
|Meriwool Merino Crew||75% merino, 15% nylon, 10% elastic||Heavy|
|Mirmaru Multi Performance||55% cotton, 40% polyester, 2% spandex||Medium|
What to Look for in Good Hiking Socks
There are a handful of qualities in a sock you need to consider before making a purchase. Many of these will be dependent on the terrain and length of your hike, so with all of that in mind take a look through the following list.
1. Hiking Sock Materials
- Merino Wool: This is typically the fan favorite when it comes to hiking sock materials. A merino is a breed of sheep which lives in a tough environment. Because of that, the wool performs great in hiking socks and does not itch like typical wool socks. This material is loved because it’s comfortable, has good breathability, is moisture-wicking, regulates temperature, and has natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
- Polyester: While many people love merino wool, there are several reasons why polyester is still favored by others. Polyester is very durable, quick-drying, and is also ideal for breathability when it comes to hiking in high temperatures. Hiking socks made from polyester are usually also cheaper than merino socks.
The level of cushion will determine the thickness of the sock. When discussing the level of cushioning, you may see terms like light cushion, mid-level cushion, or heavy / full cushion. The type of hiking you’re doing and when you’re doing it will determine what level of cushioning / thickness will work best for you. For three-season hiking you’ll want to look for lightweight hiking socks. Some companies also offer ultralight hiking socks for things like hiking in New Mexico in August. Then for winter hiking you’ll want at least mid-level cushioning, if not heavyweight.
3. Sock Height
- Crew: Crew socks are the most common hiking socks and will typically stretch between six and eight inches above your heel. These are ideal for hiking because of the extra protection they’ll add to your lower leg from bushes, rocks, etc.
- ¼ or Quarter: Typically minimalist hikers or people who prefer summer hikes like these socks. They’ll cover your heel and ankle but won’t extend up your leg like crew socks. Quarter socks work great with trekking shoes but not with high ankle hiking boots.
One thing that will affect durability is how you care for the socks. Be sure to pay close attention to the care instructions listed on the socks packaging. The longevity of socks will decrease if they’re not properly taken care of. It’s also always best to air dry merino socks to avoid pilling.
Assuming you don’t wear them 24/7, a good pair of hiking socks should last you at minimum for a couple seasons.
5. Women’s vs. Men’s Socks
Besides maybe the color, men’s and women’s socks are pretty much always identical. So don’t get too hung up on finding the “best women’s hiking socks” or the “best men’s hiking socks”. With that being said, we did provide a link to both the men’s and women’s version for each sock below.
Best Hiking Socks Reviews
Below are the best of the best hiking socks currently on the market:
Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion
The Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion socks have been tested on the Vermont Long Trail and are considered to be some of the best wool socks for hiking. They have a medium level of cushioning which can offer miles of durability and comfort. The shrink-treated merino wool contributes to the durability and comfort of the socks. The wool is moisture-wicking while also being breathable which regulates temperatures. They’re equipped with elastic support around the arch as well as reinforcement at the toes and heels. It’s difficult to find a hiking sock more loved than the Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion.
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew
No matter which one of the world’s greatest hikes are next on your list, the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew is up for the challenge. They boast a patent-pending Indestructawool technology which has strategic merino wool placement and allows you to experience the peak of durability. The 4 Degree Elite Fit system includes two elastics so you’ll get a greater stretch and recovery to help the sock stay in place. The fibers are reinforced where necessary to improve comfort and durability. These socks also have an impressive ventilating mesh which helps to maximize moisture management, breathability, and thermoregulation. The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew socks are the easily the best lightweight hiking socks and will be a welcomed companion on your next hike.
Darn Tough Quarter Cushion
Many thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail rave about the Darn Tough Quarter Cushion sock. It has a mid-level cushion density and is constructed of mostly merino wool. The sock has been designed with an undetectable seam fusion and to offer high performance without slipping, bunching, or blistering your feet. They’ve become some of the best hiking socks for sweaty feet because of the fast-action wicking which pulls moisture away from the skin and allows the socks to quick-dry. Along with that, these socks are antimicrobial so they repel odor and bacteria. If durability and warmth are high on your priority list, then the Darn Tough Quarter Cushion might be the sock for you.
Icebreaker Hike+ Mid Crew
Moisture management, thermal regulation, and a precise and anatomical fit combine to create some of the best socks for hiking on the market. The Icebreaker Hike+ Mid Crew socks are constructed mainly with merino wool, offer a good amount of warmth, and have a mid-level cushioning which makes them a perfect option for lengthy hikes at any time of the year. They offer achilles support to help keep the sock in place along with ankle and instep support to help with fit and stability. The reinforced toe and heel enhance strength and durability while the seamless toe closure can prevent blisters and reduce bulk. Those are only some of the features included in the Icebreaker Hike+ Mid Crew sock. With so much to offer, there’s no wonder why it’s one of the best hiking socks.
Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew
If you’re looking for the best socks for hiking in cold weather, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew socks. This heavy full-cushioning sock provides shock and impact absorption, warmth for extended adventures, and insulation against the elements. To keep the sock in place there’s an elasticized arch brace which also adds additional support to keep your foot muscles protected and relaxed. The blend of wool and nylon manages moisture and regulates temperature while being naturally resistant to odors. So whether you’re heading off the beaten path in South America or you’re preparing for Australia’s Great Ocean Walk, the Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew socks will make sure your feet stay comfy.
Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion
The Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion’s claim to fame is that it is amongst the best socks for hiking in warm weather. These are the ideal companion for hikes in high temperatures because the CoolMax® socks are designed to move moisture away from your skin, increase comfort, and be quick-drying. They were engineered to remain in place all day while preventing slippage, blisters, hot spots, and bunching. While they were primarily designed to keep your feet cool, they’re still warm enough to wear if you decide to venture out in the wilderness in cooler temperatures. The Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion sock still has a mid-level cushioning which allows for a fit, comfort, and bounce that hikers absolutely love.
Smartwool Hike Light Crew
These light cushioned socks are best utilized if you’re planning to do a moderate hike or an aggressive walk. They have elasticized arch braces to add support to your stride and to keep the socks in place. The socks are constructed with a merino blend to assist in regulating body temperature along with moving moisture. There’s even a flat-knit toe seam to reduce chafing and to keep you as comfortable as possible. Especially if you know you’ll be hiking along a variety of terrain or trails, the Smartwool Hike Light Crew sock is a great option to add to your hiking gear collection.
Danish Endurance Merino Crew
Developed in collaboration with renowned Danish trail runner Rasmus Kragh, the Danish Endurance Merino Hiking Socks have been designed with all of your outdoor adventures in mind. In particular, people love that they keep your feet warm in the winter but also fresh and cool in the summer. They offer a seamless toe and mid to high-level cushioning from toe to heel to help reduce rubbing and to keep your feet from blistering, aching, and chafing. They’re also temperature controlled and have targeted ventilation mesh lanes to optimize airflow and wick away sweat. A perfect gift for yourself or somebody else, the Danish Endurance Merino Hiking Socks are some of the best on the market.
Meriwool Merino Crew
These are great socks for any high-intensity outdoors person and will be on their feet for long periods of time. Whether it’s for intense hiking or other sports in which your feet will take a pounding, definitely consider the Meriwool Merino Hiking Socks. The 75% merino wool blend will keep you comfy, the 15% nylon will reduce the wear and tear, and the 10% elastic will keep your socks from loosening. The insulation is breathable, which can keep your feet warm in the winter but won’t let them overheat. The socks are equipped with natural odor-resistant and wicking properties to keep your feet dry and comfortable when they’re in action. It should come as no surprise that the machine-washable Meriwool Merino Hiking Socks are a hit in the hiking community.
Mirmaru Multi Performance Crew
Whether you’re trekking in the mountains or spending a weekend in Big Sur, you’ll thank yourself for bringing along the Mirmaru Multi Performance Hiking Socks. These socks are constructed with a mix of cotton and polyester, and are designed to help you enjoy any outdoor adventure. They are reinforced with high-density fibers and pile cushioning to keep your feet supported and protected while exploring the great outdoors. The dense cushioning is incorporated all around the foot and shin and there is elastic support in the arch. They’ve also been purposefully built to maintain their sturdiness and shape so they can come with you on countless adventures. The Mirmaru Multi Performance Hiking Socks will be dearly loved whether you’re wearing them at home or on the go.
While they may not seem like a necessity, you’ll learn that hiking socks have a huge impact on how you feel during and after the hike. Getting some quality hiking socks is an investment that you’ll quickly grow to appreciate whether hiking in the USA or abroad.