Best Hiking Socks for Outdoor Adventures in 2018
Like with backpacking tents, a great pair of hiking socks to go with your hiking clothing and other backpacking gear potentially means the difference between a great hike and hours or days of hiking misery. Anyone with any experience hiking knows that socks are one of the most important pieces of hiking gear—and not just standard wool socks! Some people consider socks just as important as their shoes.
Lightweight hiking socks with base layers and boot sock cushion make sure your feet stay dry and comfortable and prevent blisters from forming. In most cases, the best hiking socks will be costlier than run-of-the-mill hiking crew socks, but they are still a far cry from the most important piece of equipment you can get. Often, even the best hiking socks will be inexpensive enough to stock up on a few pairs if you’re planning a longer hike. And, if your hike will be just a few hours, you can invest in one great pair of socks and wear them during your hike.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite hiking socks for outdoor adventures and hiking light this year. Here’s what we found:
Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Socks
Darn Tough’s Micro Crew Cushion Socks are made from 61% merino wool, 36% nylon, and 3% spandex. They offer a light to medium cushion and are very comfortable. The tough construction takes away some of the plush feel of other socks—but these last forever.
Darn Tough socks are made from Smartwool, which is one of the most popular fibers used for making hiking socks. They are seamless and backed up by a lifetime warranty from Darn Tough. This high-density model offers plenty of padding without sacrificing breathability.
These socks tend to be a little warmer than needed for hotter days, at least compared to lighter weight socks. Their durable construction means they are a little less comfortable than other brands, but they are known to last—sometimes for years of hiking.
These socks retail for about $21.95 .
Wigwam Hiker Midweight Crew
If you’re looking for hiking socks a little cheaper than what Darn Tough has to offer, Wigwam has an option for you. They are made from 67% merino wool, 21% nylon, 7% elastic and 5% acrylic. They offer medium cushioning, but the fit isn’t quite what you’ll find with other socks. They are a great value option though and you’ll get what you pay for.
These socks aren’t built for heavy, long-distance hikes, but they’ll do just fine for new or casual hikers. They are fairly thick and will definitely ensure your feet stay warm when hiking or hanging out in colder weather.
These socks retail for about $11.25 .
Icebreaker Hike+ Lite Crew
These socks are made from 57% merino wool, 41% nylon, and 2% Lycra. They fit well and feature an anatomical toe box. This company is based out of New Zealand and sources its wool from the sheep in the Southern Alps.
This Lite version is a thinner hiking sock, so it doesn’t feature as much cushioning as some other options, and many consider this more of an ultralight hiking sock. They are well-ventilated and work great for warmer weather hikes. They aren’t ideal for winter or colder hikes but will keep your feet comfortable even on longer hikes in warmer months.
These socks are a favorite among those who prefer to hike in lightweight socks, but they do tend to stretch out a bit more than other socks and some wearers reported drooping or slouchy ankles.
These socks retail for about $18 .
Feetures Elite Merino Ultra Light Hiking Socks
Another budget-friendly option, the Feetures Elite Merion Wool Ultra Light Socks are made from 33% nylon, 32% rayon, 31% wool, and 4% spandex. They are one of the few options on our list that don’t include merino wool.
These are arguably the most comfortable lightweight socks on the market.
Unfortunately, as is the case with many lighter weight socks, their durability isn’t quite what you’ll find in heavy duty or thicker socks. They also won’t give you what more expensive lightweight socks will provide, but for the cost, they are a fairly good value. They fit snugly, which can go a long way when it comes to preventing blisters and hot spots but aren’t too snug to be uncomfortable.
These socks have a good cushion and thin panels on top of the sock which allows your feet to breathe.
These are ultralight socks with a good fit and breath ability. We love them for summer hikes. Keep in mind because they are ultralight, they aren’t going to last as long as thicker, more durable socks.
These socks retail for about $15.99 .
Tips for Finding the Right Hiking Socks
No matter what brand or style you opt for, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for hiking socks.
Consider the season or seasons in which you spend the most time hiking. If you want to invest in quality hiking socks on the pricier side and you tend to be a cold weather hiker, shop for thicker socks that give your feet warmth and cushioning. If you are a summer hiker, shop for lightweight socks that allow your feet to breathe.
If you choose lighter weight socks that are thinner, remember it will affect the fit of your hiking boots. If your boots were fitted for thicker socks, lightweight socks are going to give you a roomier feel. This might be welcome over the course of a long hike, but it can also be an issue if your feet are shifting or moving around in your hiking boots. If you’re the type who enjoys year-round hiking and you want to wear both warm and cold weather socks, you might also want to invest in boots custom fit for your seasonal socks.
Finally, don’t be afraid to spend a little more than you normally would on socks for one pair of really great socks. These can be your go-to socks for longer, more trying hikes.