I am obsessive about the socks I wear when hiking. These small bits of fabric can make or break a decent hike. In 2004 at the start of my first 30 day hike along the Camino, I discovered blisters, unlike blisters I have ever known. A change of footwear from boots to lightweight hiking shoes and buying the best hiking socks I could afford at the time made all the difference for the next 27 days. Now I own socks for every different weather condition and season.
What do you need to make a long-distance hike enjoyable?
The promise of a good company is one vital factor and the right equipment is certainly another. You will have sourced the most comfortable and appropriate walking boots or hiking shoes, (see here for hiking shoes for women), a decent summer rated sleeping bag for the conditions you are going to be hiking in, the best hiking shirt, and a tent light enough to carry if you are planning on camping in the wild. These – as well as a good backpack, changes of clothing, and perhaps a set of trekking poles – are among the essentials, but have you thought about your hiking socks?
Think of it like this: you wouldn’t pull a regular pair of work boots out of the wardrobe for hiking any long-distance trail, so why would you wear regular socks? You need specifically designed hiking socks, and I have taken a look at the best hiking socks available, so you can choose those that suit you best. Let’s have a look at them.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 25 Hiking Socks Reviewed
- 1.1 1. Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion
- 1.2 2. Darn Tough Vermont ¼ Merino
- 1.3 3. Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew
- 1.4 4. Rockay Accelerate Running
- 1.5 5. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Medium Crew
- 1.6 6. Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Women’s
- 1.7 7. Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew
- 1.8 8. Randy Sun Waterproof Breathable Ski
- 1.9 9. FITS Medium Hiker Crew
- 1.10 10. Darn Tough Hiker Quarter Cushion
- 1.11 11. Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker
- 1.12 12. Darn Tough Coolmax
- 1.13 13. Wrightsock Coolmesh II Quarter
- 1.14 14. Balega Hidden Comfort
- 1.15 15. Sockwell Elevation Compression
- 1.16 16. Patagonia Lightweight Merino Crew
- 1.17 17. Smartwool Trekking Crew Heavy
- 1.18 18. REI Co-op Merino Wool Crew Lightweight
- 1.19 19. Farm to Feet Damascus Crew Lightweight
- 1.20 20. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light Crew
- 1.21 21. Features Merino No-Show Ultra Light
- 1.22 22. Darn Tough Mountaineering
- 1.23 23. REI EcoMade Coolmax Tech Quarter
- 1.24 24. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini
- 1.25 25. Swiftkick Pursuit Seven
- 2 Best Hiking Socks Buying Guide
- 3 My Choice
Top 25 Hiking Socks Reviewed
1. Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion
- Comfortable & exceptionally durable
- Superb padding & breathability
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Not as plush as some of the other socks on the list
This pair of socks, from the Darn Tough brand – still made as they always have been made, in Vermont, USA – is a very nice starting point, as it ticks all the boxes. Available in sizes from small to XX-large – so catering to most– the Micro Crew Light Cushion are quality socks at a price that reflects this fact.
Made from the finest Merino wool, which you will remember has certain antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that are important for this sort of footwear and long-term use, in a fine gauge, the Darn Tough Micro Crew socks are supremely comfortable, and are designed to fit perfectly, so no slipping or blistering.
The Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion socks also feature cushioning along the bottom of the foot for added comfort.
2. Darn Tough Vermont ¼ Merino
- Ankle socks
- Merino, nylon, lycra mix
- Performance fit
- Provide comfort and protection from bacteria
- High-density knit ensures unsurpassed durability
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Could be more odor-resistant
Another sock from the Darn Tough range – this brand is one of the market leaders in hiking socks, so I will make no excuse for featuring their products more than once – this is a men’s design, but is a short sock that will come up to the ankle.
Made from a combination of 61% Merino wool with 37% nylon and 2% lycra, they provide a high level of comfort and protection from bacteria, the knitting is high density for durability, and they are designed for a performance fit and are very comfortable.
They come with the Darn Tough lifetime guarantee which is an added bonus.
3. Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew
- Secure (non-slip) but comfortable fit
- Fully cushioned on the foot
- A lot of color options
- Not the most affordable socks out there
These crew socks – that’s standard length above the ankle to you and me – come from Icebreaker, another US brand.
Made in the USA, these socks are sculptured to fit – they are men’s socks – and are made from a combination of Merino wool with nylon and spandex for a more comfortable fit. They are designed to be non-slip and an excellent fit, and are a quality item that I think comes at a very competitive and sensible price.
Available in four sizes from small to XL, the Icebreaker Hike Light crew socks also come in a bewildering choice of colors and patterns, so you can choose one that you like. Fully cushioned on the foot, they also have a seamless toe closure for added comfort.
4. Rockay Accelerate Running
- Outstanding antibacterial and moisture-wicking properties
- A functional anti-blister design
- Equipped with an elastic closure
- Somewhat oversized toe box
Beautifully made from organic Merino wool sourced from South America (the socks themselves are made in Europe), these boast the best moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties of any sock of this type, and are a high-quality item.
Available for men and women and in a full range of sizes from Extra Small to Extra Large, these quality socks feature an elastic closure to keep out dirt and are designed for maximum insulation.
They have padding in the heel and toe where blisters most commonly occur, and are also available in a great range of colors. Great socks at a sensible price.
5. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Medium Crew
- Anti-blistering, non-slip design
- Indestructawool technology ensures durability
- Available in a range of sizes
- Tend to leave deep impressions on the skin
A great pair of crew-style socks from Smartwool, everything you expect is featured here.
Made from quality Merino mixed with nylon and elastane, the Smartwool PHD Outdoor Medium Crew socks provide all the protection you need. These socks are available in a range of sizes, from medium to X-large, and are designed for a performance fit for non-slip and anti-blistering.
Made in the USA, these medium-weight socks come with adequate padding and a virtually seamless toe for greater comfort and can be found in a selection of colors. Decently priced mid-quality hiking socks. Read our in-depth comparison of Smartwool vs Icebreaker.
6. Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Women’s
- The best women’s hiking socks out there
- Well-padded in all the important places
- Suitable for long-distance backpacking
- It may be too snug for some users
These women’s socks from the Darn Tough Hiker range come in some very nice colors and in sizes ranging from small to large.
Made from a Merino mix (2% lycra spandex with 39% nylon and 59% Merino wool), the Women’s Hiker Micro Crew Light socks provide an excellent fit and comfort as well as moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial protection, so are suitable for long hikes. The performance fit means no slipping and not as many blisters, and they have the usual padding in the right places.
The Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Women’s socks come with a lifetime warranty. However, keep in mind that you will pay a higher price for this brand’s items.
7. Injinji Outdoor 2.0 Midweight Crew
- Toe sock – very helpful with hotspots
- Sweat-wicking & anti-blistering properties
- Great for hiking in low temperatures
- Could be more durable
Another brand that makes its products in the USA, Injinji has a wide variety of socks and other hiking essentials.
These medium-weight toe socks are crew style and come in all sizes and are made from Merino ‘NuWool’ fiber mixed with the usual nylon and spandex for all the required properties. They are a performance fit, designed to be comfortable and non-slip, are a midweight knit so not as heavy as some, but not too light either, and are nicely made.
The Injinji Outdoor 2.0 toe sock may not be of the same quality as some of the other socks on this list, but it’s also not as expensive – so, it’s definitely worth a look.
8. Randy Sun Waterproof Breathable Ski
- The most waterproof socks on the list
- Reinforced heel for added longevity
- Stylish, eye-catching design
- A bit too tight at the ankles
Designed for skiing, these socks could also make a viable hiking pair, so I’ve included them for comparison.
Made from a three-layer construction, the outer is a mix of nylon, lycra, and elastane which provides excellent waterproofing qualities, (read: best waterproof socks). They are available in a full range of sizes for both men and women and are comfortable on the foot.
Durable and designed for long use, they are cushioned and have a reinforced heel for added longevity. They are very good, but you might be more inclined to go for dedicated hiking socks as there are many at a similar price.
9. FITS Medium Hiker Crew
- Features patented “Full Contact Fit” technology
- High-impact cushioning around the foot
- Stretchy, flexible fabric for better mobility
- It may be too stretchy for some users
These socks are a Merino mix – 70% wool, 6% polyester, 22% nylon, 2% lycra – which the maker claims offers the ultimate comfort.
They also make claims for these socks being non-slip, thanks to a performance fit and clever design. High-impact cushioning around the foot means added comfort with these socks, while patented ‘Full Contact Fit’ technology ensures the best fit available.
You can get them in sizes from small to XXL and they are designed for unisex use. At the price, these are quality hiking socks that would be ideal for long trails.
10. Darn Tough Hiker Quarter Cushion
- Outstanding Darn Tough construction
- No blisters, no slipping, no bunching
- Breathable & moisture-wicking
- Shrink substantially in the wash
My next choice takes us back to Darn Tough, the brand from Vermont with a lifetime guarantee. Their Hiking Quarter Cushion socks are the shorter version and come with cushioning all around for added comfort and a better fit.
The Hiker Quarter Cushion socks are medium-weight socks with a performance fit, so non-slip, and are also truly seamless, so you have less chance of getting blisters. The material is a Merino mix (61% Merino wool, 37% nylon, as well as some lycra spandex) and they come in a full range of sizes from small to XX-large, and a choice of three different colors.
As usual, the quality shines through and the price reflects that.
11. Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker
- 62% Merino wool + spandex, polyester, nylon
- Made in the United States
- 12 color options
- Cushioning – medium
- Great for cold-weather hiking
- Good-value Merino wool socks
- Crafted in the United States
- A less tailored fit
The socks made by the Wisconsin-based company Wigwam prove that trekking enthusiasts don’t have to fork out a lot of money to obtain a good pair of hiking socks.
Not only does the company stand behind its socks with a guarantee against defects, but it also uses the same materials as Darn Tough while offering its socks at lower prices. In addition, all of their socks are made in the United States and feature wool that was sourced from American farmers.
The Merino wool hiking socks we’re looking at here are made out of 2% spandex, 34% nylon, and 62% Merino wool. They are available in many color options, and that’s always a big plus in our book. Finally, they are quite thick around the foot, which turns them into a great choice for cold-weather hiking.
12. Darn Tough Coolmax
- Highly porous Coolmax fabric…
- …as well as lycra, acrylic, and nylon
- Seamless construction
- Cushioning – medium
- A well-made synthetic hiking sock
- Well-cushioned and snug-fitting
- They peek just above the top of hiking boots
- Not the best choice for those with very sweaty feet
During warm-weather trekking, the last thing you’ll want to have on your feet is Merino wool hiking socks. For such situations, the world’s most famous manufacturer of hiking and backpacking socks has prepared something special.
Darn Tough Coolmax is a pair of synthetic hiking socks that feature the titular Coolmax polyester. This fabric was made specifically to keep your feet dry and cool – it is highly porous and very effective. Besides the fact that these socks are great for summer hiking, Darn Tough’s Coolmax socks also offer a good amount of cushioning, a snug fit, and they don’t stretch that easily with use.
The only major downside of Darn Tough’s Coolmax socks is that they hold bad smells a lot more than many Merino wool models. So, unless you’re specifically looking for an alternative, you’re better off with a pair of Merino wool socks.
13. Wrightsock Coolmesh II Quarter
- Lycra, nylon, polyester mix
- Anti-blister system
- 14 color options
- Excellent protection from blisters
- Feature a moisture-wicking layer
- A fine alternative to Merino wool models
- Not very cushioned
Those with tender feet that are susceptible to blistering will be pleased to know that Wrightsock has come up with an ingenious solution for their issue.
Manufactured with a double-layer construction, their Coolmesh II socks limit the potential trouble spots by absorbing friction from your hiking boots or shoes. In addition, the inner layer of these socks is moisture-wicking – its job is to keep your feet dry and, in that way, provide even more protection against blisters. These socks also work well in trail runners.
Made out of lycra, nylon, and polyester, the Coolmesh II hiking sock is a good alternative to most Merino wool models in this roundup. While these socks are not particularly durable or warm, they’re a phenomenal choice for folks who often have trouble with blisters. If you need more coverage, there is also a crew-length variant of this hiking sock.
14. Balega Hidden Comfort
- Drynamix, elastane, neofil, nylon mix
- Impact-resistant cushioning
- Microfiber mesh ventilation
- 19 color options
- Breathable Drynamix construction
- A stylish, super-soft pair of hiking socks
- Thicker cushioning underfoot
- Minimal coverage
A lot of no-show socks available on the market aren’t really well-padded. The Balega Hidden Comfort socks are an exception to that rule – they’re a fantastic choice for people who want more comfort in their low-profile socks.
The medium cushioning of Balega Hidden Comfort translates to better impact resistance and overall protection. Obviously, this can be of great help when it comes to long days on the trail. And while a lot of medium-cushioning models run quite warm in hot weather, the Drynamix construction of this hiking sock ventilates the user’s feet and wicks away moisture.
An important thing to keep in mind here is that no-show socks such as these don’t offer a lot of protection against trail debris. If you decide to go with Balega Hidden Comfort socks, remember to always pair them with low-profile hiking footwear. In summary, this is a stylish, breathable, and comfortable hiking sock that you won’t regret buying.
15. Sockwell Elevation Compression
- Merino wool, spandex, rayon, nylon mix
- Knee-high design
- Cushioning – light
- A comfortable but secure & snug fit
- Calf-hugging design with light cushioning
- Provide extra support and protection
- Expensive for the amount of Merino wool
A lot of trekking enthusiasts turn to compression socks when it comes to mileage-heavy pursuits such as long-distance hiking. This is because compression socks provide additional support and tend to improve blood flow.
While nobody really knows how efficient the compression technology actually is, the extra snugness of the Sockwell Elevation Compression hiking sock undoubtedly minimizes user’s fatigue during long-distance hikes. In addition, this sock is a pretty good choice for folks who always have trouble with cold feet. In other words, the Elevation Compression socks are a great pick for anyone looking for a calf-hugging design that provides extra support during backcountry adventures.
The main downside of these hiking socks is that they cost quite a lot for the amount of Merino wool that they offer (32%). Still, they add much-needed security, protection, and coverage for those who often venture off the trail. Besides hiking, the Sockwell Elevation Compression socks are also great for cycling and skiing.
16. Patagonia Lightweight Merino Crew
- Merino wool, lucra, nylon mix
- RWS-certified Merino wool
- Breathable & durable
- Well-known Patagonia comfort and build quality
- Responsible Wool Standard certified Merino wool
- A well-made, breathable hiking sock
- Not as performance-focused
One of the best hiking socks on the list, Patagonia’s Lightweight Merino Crew model is something special. If you know a thing or two about hiking, you know about the high quality of Patagonia’s outerwear – this hiking sock is no exception to that rule.
Besides the minimalistic design, these crew-length socks sport a durable construction with 39% nylon, 2% lycra, and 59% RWS-certified Merino wool. As such, they go head to head with two similar pairs of socks – Icebreaker Hike+ Lite (which I’ve analyzed above) and Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light (which I’ll review later in the article). All of these socks are made from the relatively same amount of wool and come at similar prices.
Both of these pairs of socks are more specialized than Patagonia’s model – the Icebreaker hiking sock sports an anatomical toe box while the Smartwool’s model provides a genuinely foot-hugging fit. Still, with its light cushioning and typical Patagonia build quality, the Lightweight Merino Crew sock offers an excellent balance of all-day comfort and on-the-trail performance.
17. Smartwool Trekking Crew Heavy
- Merino wool, elastane, nylon mix
- Heavy cushioning
- Elasticized arch brace
- Heavy cushioning ensures comfort and protection
- An exceptionally durable pair of hiking socks
- Extra-stretchy and warm
- Not the most tailored fit
Are you a fan of Smartwool’s lightweight wool socks? If so, there’s a pretty good chance you will like their heavy-cushion socks as well.
While they feature the look and feel of the company’s Hike+ Light Crew model (No. 3 on this list), these hiking socks are significantly burlier. As such, they provide long-term durability, as well as a noticeable boost in warmth around the foot. Obviously, this full-cushion construction works well for those who are willing to sacrifice breathability for maximum cushioning.
Just like in the case of Darn Tough’s Mountaineering hiking socks, which I’ll analyze later in the article, it’s very important to take the boot size into account when buying this model. After all, these hiking crew socks add a lot more bulk than your standard lightweight sock, and can, therefore, bump you up a size.
18. REI Co-op Merino Wool Crew Lightweight
- Great value for the money
- RWS-certified Merino Wool
- Odor-resistant, sweat-wicking, and breathable
- Spandex loosens with time
In case you’d really like to own a pair of socks made out of Merino wool but also save some money, these crew-length socks may be your best option.
Coming at the price of just $17, these socks are made out of Merino wool, spandex, and nylon. As such, they provide temperature regulation and overall comfort one can expect from Merino wool, with only a couple of sacrifices (more on that later). These socks also sport a good amount of cushioning and perform very similarly to Darn Tough’s popular Micro Crew Cushion hiking sock (No. 1 on the list).
When it comes to downsides, the spandex around the arch of this sock tends to become loose with time and isn’t as durable as spandex featured in pricier socks. Furthermore, putting these socks in a dryer causes pilling (no troubles with line-drying, however). Still, at the price they come at, REI’s Merino socks can and will keep your feet warm, dry, and protected.
19. Farm to Feet Damascus Crew Lightweight
- Fast moisture absorption
- Snug, comfortable fit
- Cushioning – light
- A high-quality trekking sock made in the US
- Accompanied by a lifetime warranty
- Snug performance fit
- Less Merino than PHD Outdoor Light Crew by Smartwool
Designed specifically for thru-hiking enthusiasts, the Damascus socks by Farm to Feet offer an excellent combination of cushioning and breathability for demanding backpacking trips.
With padding in its high-wear sections, a seamless toe area for blister prevention and bulk minimization, as well as a snug performance fit, the Farm to Feet Damascus sock is made to easily handle long backcountry journeys. Moreover, this sock comes accompanied by the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty. Another great thing is that these socks are made from American-raised sheep – it’s a US-made product and a mighty fine one at that.
Out of all the socks in this roundup, the closest competitor would be the PHD Outdoor Light Crew by Smartwool, which I’ll analyze next. Those socks cost a bit less while also having more Merino wool in their construction. Still, Farm to Feet Damascus is undoubtedly a worthwhile purchase due to its high-quality design and a superb warranty.
20. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light Crew
- Indestructawool technology
- Light cushioning
Pros & Cons
- Snug, performance-oriented fit
- Indestructawool technology – improved durability
- Great for lightweight backpacking, hiking, and trail running
- No lifetime warranty (like in Darn Tough’s case, for example)
Next up is the Outdoor Light Crew sock from Smartwool’s PHD line, a model that offers the same comfort and fit as the company’s popular Hike+ Light Crew socks.
The snug, more dialed-in fit of these socks holds the wearer’s instep and arch really well. The stretchy nylon section, which goes over the wearer’s foot, keeps everything in place. In terms of materials, this sock uses a blend of the following materials (and their amounts): 56% Merino wool, 41% nylon, 3% elastane. It is available in three thicknesses (medium, light, and ultralight). The lightweight Outdoor Light Crew socks, which are my favorite, can even be used inside trail runners due to the sufficient padding in their forefoot and under-the-heel areas.
Another important feature to mention here is the so-called Indestructawool technology. In simple terms, this is a tougher and denser wool blend that ensures long-term durability and is present in the heel and toe sections of these socks. It is something that turns this model into one of the best hiking socks for demanding backpacking trips.
21. Features Merino No-Show Ultra Light
- Merino wool, spandex, Tencel, nylon mix
- Low-profile design
- Blister-free & moisture-free
- Zone-specific compression
- A fantastic choice for ultralight backpacking enthusiasts
- An odor-resistant and moisture-wicking sock
- Keeps the feet dry and cool
- Not for high-mileage hikes
Behind this interesting name hides one of the best hiking socks of its type on the list. These are low-cut, low-profile, no-show socks that work great for fast-and-light backpacking trips when they’re paired with trail runners or similar low-profile footwear.
The ultralight, short design of this sock is guaranteed to keep your feet dry and cool during warm-weather backcountry adventures. Even though it sports only a moderate amount of Merino wool (25%), this sock still successfully resists bad odors and effortlessly wicks moisture. In other words, these are among the best hiking socks for folks who want to minimize bulk underfoot.
On the downside, one cannot expect much from this sock when it comes to durability. After all, the model is equipped with thin, ultralight cushioning – not the best choice for long-distance hikes. Moreover, the low-cut design of this sock means that it’s far more prone to letting grime and dirt sneak in from the top. However, Features Merino No-Show Ultra Light socks are still a fine choice for those looking for an ultralight companion and don’t mind the sacrifices in padding and protection.
22. Darn Tough Mountaineering
- Heavy cushioning
- Quick-drying & moisture-wicking
- Tight, secure fit
- Guaranteed for life
- An extremely well-made knee-high sock
- Heavy cushioning ensures top-notch warmth
- Breathable & moisture-wicking
- Not for summer hikes
Here we have yet another quality sock from Darn Tough. To appreciate it, you don’t actually need to be a mountaineer.
This is a genuinely well-made sock that can be used for a number of activities – mountain climbing, snowshoeing, or simple cold-weather trekking. What’s more, a lot of people use this sock for shoulder-season hiking due to its superb cushioning (don’t forget to account for this additional thickness when you’re sizing your boots).
This model runs up to just below the wearer’s knees. You won’t have to worry about slipping, though – the fit is as tight and secure as it can be. Most hiking enthusiasts will find these to be too hot for warm-weather trekking, but they can certainly be of great help when it comes to blister prevention on long-distance backcountry adventures. In summary, these hiking socks best fit people who want additional warmth and thickness in their shoulder season and/or winter socks.
23. REI EcoMade Coolmax Tech Quarter
Pros & Cons
- “EcoMade” – the fabric is constructed from recycled plastic bottles
- Decent support, cushioning, and moisture wicking
- Not as expensive as Merino wool models
- Holds onto stink
Not everyone is willing to spend a lot of money on a Merino wool sock, and that is completely understandable. If you’re among those people, one of your best alternatives is REI’s EcoMade Coolmax Tech Quarter, a synthetic and budget-friendlier alternative to socks made out of Merino wool.
One of the most interesting things about this sock is that its fabric is constructed out of recycled plastic bottles. This doesn’t make them less cozy, though – the sock feels super-soft and comfortable on the skin. In addition, these socks are pretty good at moisture-wicking, which turns them into an excellent choice for those summer adventures when you’re still in need of decent support and cushioning.
When it comes to disadvantages, this sock holds onto stink a lot more than your standard Merino wool sock. It also doesn’t provide a very snug fit, especially when compared to many Darn Tough models reviewed in this article. Still, REI EcoMade Coolmax Tech Quarter is a fine choice for everyday use and casual outings, which is precisely what you may be looking for.
24. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini
- Light & breathable
- Merino wool blend
- Indestructawool technology
- 8 color options
- An excellent choice for summer hiking
- Superb breathability and a great fit
- Durable – designed with Indestructawool technology
- Too thin for serious trekking
For casual use under sneakers, trail running, as well as summer hiking, these Smartwool socks are among the best on the market.
The PHD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini sock brings a very comfortable feel, superb breathability, and excellent fit at a relatively affordable price. And, just like in the case of the Light Crew sock (No. 20 on this list), this model features Indestructawool technology which adds to its durability. While it’s certainly not the most durable sock out there, the Ultra Light Mini is a decent option for August hikes when serious cushioning isn’t that necessary.
In terms of disadvantages, these Smartwool socks are quite thin in sections such as the toe box and the heel. However, if you’re one of those hikers with tough feet and you don’t get blisters that often, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just keep in mind that you’re better off with some well-cushioned socks if you’re really serious about hiking.
25. Swiftkick Pursuit Seven
- Mid-calf height
- Merino wool, spandex, nylon blend
- Well-cushioned – excellent comfort and support
- Reinforced toe & heel ensure durability
- Good breathability in hot weather
- Could be a bit thicker
The last socks I’ll be taking a look at come from Swiftkick, a relatively new name in the hiking socks game. Besides running and hiking socks, the company also manufactures fitness socks, cycling socks, and more. Their Pursuit Seven model, made out of spandex, nylon, and Merino wool, came out 3 years ago and is now held in high regard by many backpacking enthusiasts all over the world.
These mid-calf socks have reinforced toes and heels that guarantee durability, and they come with medium cushioning. Their seamless knit construction provides a smooth-to-the-touch feel, an excellent fit, and a decent amount of comfort. The ventilation “channels” that are sewn into the sock’s upper part ensure breathability during summer hikes. Swiftkick Pursuit Seven socks can be purchased in 4 different sizes.
An important thing to mention here is that the company has also launched its Pursuit Hike collection. The socks from this lineup are of similar style, but they also feature olefin fibers that make them a bit more “technical”. The socks from this range also come in varying cushion options.
That’s my list of the top 25 hiking socks for long trails complete, but which is for you? Let’s quickly recap some of the considerations you need to make when choosing the right socks for your future hiking exploits.
Best Hiking Socks Buying Guide
This is a very important consideration when choosing hiking socks. For many people, the material of choice is Merino wool, and this is largely because it insulates well and has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Some are a mix of Merino and nylon plus either lycra or elastane for added protection and durability.
Thickness/ Insulation of Hiking Socks
You will find different thicknesses among my choice of socks and, therefore, different levels of insulation. I advise you to check the manufacturer’s specifications carefully before making your choice.
There’s a distinction here between the ‘crew’ style – this is the standard length above the ankle height that we think of with socks – and the lower ankle high designs, which are suitable for shoes rather than boots.
The Comfort of Hiking Socks
Some factors are a personal choice, and this is one; I am talking about the overall fit of the hiking socks you choose, as some are more defined than others. For the highest level of comfort, look for ‘performance fit’ in the description as this distinguishes socks that are designed to be fitted to as high a degree as possible. Also, check for cushioning and seamless construction for added comfort.
Hiking Socks Durability
You want to buy quality socks that will last a long time, and remember they are going to come in for some arduous and prolonged use. Obviously, socks that are thicker and feature reinforced sections will last a lot longer than paper-thin models designed for fast-and-light hikes.
Hiking Sock Warranties
These products have gotten a lot pricier in recent years. That is precisely why the warranty is now a vital part of the buying process. As you’ve probably noticed in my reviews, Darn Tough is the unsurpassed leader in this department, with its unconditional lifetime guarantee.
How to Care for Hiking Socks
Hiking socks, like all footwear, will need the regular care that normal socks get, but check the manufacturer specs for details on how best to wash and care for your socks, but most of the ones on this list are machine washable.
That’s my checklist of things to consider, so which of the above socks is for you? Let’s see if I can help you choose.
- Salomon vs Keen
- Teva vs Chaco Sandals
- Merrell vs Keen: Shoes & Sandals
- Merrell vs Salomon
- Teva vs Keen
- Legging for hiking
- Salomon vs North Face
- Smartwool vs Darn Tough
I have picked the 25 products listed because I believe that they give you a good indication of what to expect when looking for hiking socks suitable for long trails. You will also have noticed that I kept coming back to one brand – Darn Tough.
There are good reasons for this, and while the other products mentioned are all of decent quality, there is no doubt this is the brand that offers the best quality products of this type. They also offer a lifetime guarantee, which is practically unheard of in this day and age.
The only thing I will say about Darn Tough socks is that you will pay more for them than for any of the other brands featured here – indeed you can have some of these for bargain prices – but this is a product where the economies of scale come very much into the picture.
For long trail walking on potentially arduous terrain, you want the very best in comfort and fit that you can get, and socks that will be comfortably worn for long periods, that can be washed and used over and over again, and that is durable and warm. You get all of that with any of the Darn Tough socks on this list, so my suggestion is that you take your pick from those.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.