Best Hiking Socks of 2017

Hello guys, my name is Jason, and today I'm going highlight a list of best hiking socks. The first time I went for hiking, I wore a pair of wool socks given by my grandmothers. For solid reasons, I didn't like it all. In fact, I removed them like after 10 minutes of trekking, because my feet were sweating, having breathability issues, and on top of that it was feeling hot, AF!

I used the regular cotton socks that I used to wear regularly, and it was even worse. So, that day I realized that I need best hiking socks.

The hiking socks are specially designed for warmth, comfort, and breathability, and these are normally high ankle to mid-calf height; can be worn with hiking boots - Click here to see my list of best hiking boots.​

It's obvious that hiking socks cost more than regular socks like 20$ per pair, and there are plenty of options in the market because of the plethora of brands in the market. This list of hiking socks are based on my personal experience and team members, so make sure you read the article and leave a comment below if you like the article.

Best Hiking Socks of 2017

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1. Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion

Material: 61% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 3% Lycra Spandex

Pros: Comfortable, durable, great range of temperature regulation, quick to dry, and no itch.

Cons: Not meant for hot temperatures.

best hiking socks

The Darn Tough Full Cushion Hiker is my best pick for its exceptional performance in all categories. This is a go-to sock for hikers seeking comfort, breathability, and performance.

The style cushioning along the bottom of the foot gives the ideal amount of support. You might think that the full cushion design would require dense materials. However, these socks are not thick, and it's pretty thick.

Additionally,  Its constructed from the fine gauge merino wool which is a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial.

The excellent construction offers extreme durability that makes it a good choice for the big adventure.  Our team member used it in 15+ hour endurance events in the combination of cold, sandy, muddy, wet or all at the same time and my feet have fared well when coupled with blister cream and sock liners.

It's made in the USA, and comes with a lifetime warranty! If you're looking for a socks pair that keeps your feet warmth, breathable and cushioning during the long hiking, then this is my #1 pick for best hiking socks.

2. Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro

Material: 40% Olefin, 36% X2o Acrylic, 20% Nylon, 4% Spandex.

Pros: Amazingly durable, inexpensive, breathable, warm, synthetic fibers, drys quick.

Cons: Baggy fit, looses wicking inclinations in cold weather.

Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro

My top pick for best hiking socks under budget is ​Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro. The sock is warm and breathable. The polypropylene keeps the water from absorbing the fabric, and the fabric construct provides excellent breathability.

I have worn the socks for like 500 miles; still, there was no blister. Despite the fact that the fit is a little loose, it's optimal for a dual-sock liner system.

These socks are a good investment for hiking socks, costing less than 15$. The socks are not weather specific, so you can wear it in summer, rainy, and cold weather. 

It's overall performance for its price makes it a good under budget hiking sock. 

3. SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Crew

Materials: 56% merino wool, 41% nylon, 3% elastane.

Pros: Durable & fit for hiking purpose.

Cons: Doesn't give lifetime warranty like Darn Tough

3. SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Crew

PhD Outdoor light crew is an excellent sock. It utilizes two elastics for exceptional stretch and compensation to keep the sock in place. It is manufactured using ReliaWool technology in the high impact which provides incredible durability.

​These are lightweight socks which make it reliable for camping, hiking, and trekking. During my testing, even in the hard wear, the heel and toe wool held up remarkably well.

​The ventilating mesh guarantees maximum breathability, thermoregulation and moisture control. Its height is about 8.5 inches overall which is ideal for wearing with ankle-high hiking boots

The previous model, phD line had durability issues, but it doesn't seem to be the case with Smartwool phD. This is because of the fact that company introduced the Indestructible wool technology which is a which is a thicker and stronger wool blend.

The thick woven 100% Merino wool fibers give unmatched warmth in both dry and wet conditions. While wearing it under 40 degree temperatures, it kept my feet warmed for an extended period of time.

Overall, this is a versatile sock for trekking, hiking, backpacking, and camping. Its durability is even better than the Darn Tough Hiker, but it doesn't come up with a lifetime warranty which kind of pushed it down the list otherwise it's perfectly nice pair of socks to purchase.

4. Darn Tough Vermont Cushion

Material: 61% Merino Wool/37% Nylon/2% Lycra Spandex.

Pros: lightweight, can we wore on regular days.

Cons: small ankle socks are not suitable for all backpacking shoes.​

4. Darn Tough Vermont Cushion

These socks are for the hikers or backpackers that like to move fast. These socks are not only for hiking, backpacking, and trekking; you can wear it on regular days for going outside like going gym or school.It's not as good as Darn Tough with the full ankle for obvious reasons like it's not suitable for people with high ankle boots.

However, everyone's is taste and a lot of individuals like these short ankle socks. I tested them and really liked them, these certainly performed better than I thought. Here are the few highlights:

a) It keeps the sweaty feet warm/cool: These socks are my go-to outside socks, because when I workout in Gym, my feet get sweaty quickly, but these socks help me to keep my feet warm throughout the workout.

b) These socks naturally repel odor and moisture. So, these socks don't feel nasty to wear for the second day without washing them.

c) These socks are soft as anything I've ever worn. These socks don't feel Itchy at all.That said, these socks might not be the best choice, but I really liked them, and I know people around me who only purchase short ankle socks. Not to forget that there is a reason, for these socks to be popular with high mileage thru-hikers and ultralight hikers and backpackers.​

That said, these socks might not be the best choice, but I really liked them, and I know people around me who only purchase short ankle socks. Not to forget that there is a reason, for these socks to be popular with high mileage thru-hikers and ultralight hikers and backpackers.

5. People Socks Unisex Merino Wool

Material: Premium 71% Australian Merino Wool

Pros: durable, air dry quickly, reinforced toe and heel, and antimicrobial.

Cons: Thick socks, so it fit better on old boots.

People Socks Unisex Merino Wool

People Socks is an American company that makes socks from the best Merino Wool from Australia. This is a unisex sock so that both men and women can wear it. The socks are thick and keep the feet dry from moisture. It is antimicrobial which keeps the feet healthy. It drains very swiftly after washing & hanging them up.

​The socks fit absolutely precise to the skin, meaning that these socks are skin tight. These socks are thick, so you've to be careful about it if you're going to wear them in extremely hot conditions, but in my testing, it kept my feet dry, I did sweat but little to Nothing so I would definitely recommend it to the people with sweaty feet.

​Like I said, These socks are thick, so it's a better choice for people with old boots because old boots get shrunk over the time. If you have got new shoes, then the chances are that your boot is going to be extremely tight after wearing the socks.

​I've read a couple of articles, and don't have any idea why no one mentioned these pair of socks. The other downside I found during my research is that recently "People Socks" started to deliver the socks with less quality because people are complaining about the thickness of the socks, however, my pair of socks are absolutely fine and I'm still rocking them.

​These socks come with four pairs which is definitely a bang for the bucks.

6. Smartwool Men's PhD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini

Material: 48% Merino Wool, 47% Nylon, 5% Elastane

Pros: Ultralightweight hiking socks great for summer hiking.

Cons: Less durable for long trips.

Smartwool Men's PhD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini

These ultra lightweight socks are the best lightweight hiking socks. For the warm weather hiking, trail running or casual wear, these socks do the job nicely. This multi-sport sock features the power of Merino for moisture management, maximum breathability, temperature regulation, and extra comfort.

These socks use two elastics for greater stretch and recovery to keep the sock in place​. Though this is a great option, however, being ultra lightweight it has a couple of downsides which a regular hiker should consider for buying it. These are thinner socks even in the heel and toebox. If your feet are strong like me, then it's a good option as these socks are lightweight and very durable as compared to normal hiking socks.

Overall, it's a good option for people who are looking for regular socks that can be worn while trekking, camping, and hiking. If you're a regular or serious hiker, then this might not be the best option, but people with comfortable hiking boots and healthy feet can give it a shot.​

7. SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks

Construction: 70% Merino Wool, 29% Nylon, 1% Elastane

Pros: Durable & best trekking socks for extended hiking.

Cons: Not lightweight and fitting isn't satisfying.

SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks

SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks are heavy cushion socks that significantly impact absorption for extended backcountry excursions. These socks are 50% denser than your regular pair of athletic socks, except on the bottom where it's about double the thickness.

​SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew socks provide excellent breathability, and there is a slight boost in the warmth. It is consist of 70% merino wool and have the same regular look and feel as the Hike Light Crew.

These socks are perfect for trekking and extended backpacking trips. Since these socks are thick, you've to consider the boot size as these socks are bulk than other lightweight socks, and takes extra place in the shoes to fit. So, if you've super fit boots, then it would be a problem.

​The other downside of SmartWool trekking heavy crew is elasticity, the spandex around the arch gets loose over the time, so for the price of 20$, it's definitely a concern. 

​Overall, it's a good sock for extra breathability and stability. You won't be able to wear it for casual outdoor activities.

8. MudGear Trail Running Socks

Material: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex.

Pros: best trail running socks, excellent for running and casual wear.

Cons: Quarter ankle trailing socks, more on that in the review section.

mudgear trail running socks

Alright, last but not the least MudGear Trail Running Socks are constructed by renowned company MudGear. This is my best socks pick for athletes and trailing runners.

Though I've mentioned in "Cons" that it's a quarter ankle sock, because it might be a concern for a few but lemme tell you, this sock construction design is just on another level. These socks are the relatively high ankle that is tight enough to keep the rocks and dirt out, but at the same time it is not a tight compression fit, unlike most high ankle or small ankle socks.​

These socks are very comfortable, prevent blisters over long miles, and wick water. These socks are not particularly for "trailing," but it designed a way that you can wear it throughout the day for any outdoor sports like Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, and training and all-day wear.

These are lightweight and comfortable to wear. It's almost been a year, and I'm still wearing this socks for sprinting, running, and trail hiking. I generally prefer them in summer as its breathability is really excellent, keeps the feet dry.

Overall, it's a great knife because its compression works to help fight fatigue, fits good, Dries quickly, and can be worn on multiple occasions.​

Buying Guide - FAQ!

  • Materials
  • Thickness
  • Height
  • Comfort
  • Durability

Material: Back in the 90s people were used to cotton and polyester hiking socks on the trails, but things have changed over the time, and now Merino wool has taken over everyone's choice.

Reasons for Merino wool's success are simple: Merino wool is comfortable, soaks moisture properly, and does an excellent job of breathing. Not only that, Merino wool doesn't stink quickly unlike cotton and plyester, so you can wear Merrino wool socks for a longer period of time.​

Talking about cotton, it doesn't soak moisture, stays wet for a more extended period, and are not lightweight as compared to Merino Wool & Polyester.

  • So, polyester is a good choice?

Well, polyester is lightweight and also dries quickly as compared to merino wool, but it starts to stink soon which is a problem for extended backpacking.

So, end of the day, Merino is the real winner. Merino wool is extracted from the rare kind of sheep that lives in the harsh and terrible environment which made their wool excellent for such conditions. However, you might have noticed that all the socks mentioned above don't have 100% wool, ranging between 50% and 80% rest being a blend of nylon and spandex which makes the socks more suitable for human beings.​

  • So, Merino wool is for everyone?

The simple answer is No. Although the merino wool is not itchy like any other regular, still some people are allergic to it. Therefore, many people purchase both wool and synthetic baselayers and switch between them depending on the activity and outside temperature.

Thickness: There are types of socks (Lightweight, Ultra Lightweight, Midweight). The term itself pretty much tells about it, therefore I wouldn't cover it, valuing your & my time.

  • So, what type of sock you should pick for yourself?

Lightweight hiking & backpacking socks best for hot conditions and natural trails, these stress moisture wicking, and comfort over warmth. They are comparatively thin, still are warmer and give more cushioning than liners alone.

Lightweight socks provide provide trustworthy levels of insulation and padding for temperatures from approximately 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and on the top of that you can wear it for regular outdoor activities.

however, if you're considering or you actually hike in hot conditions, then ultralightweight would be the best choice for you. You can also pick quarter or high ankle socks which are extra roomy and more breathable.

For hiking in the winter season, you should choose a midlightweight sock from the options, but keep in mind that these socks are only for the winter months, not for the summer season. If you wear them on hot summer your feet will damp, so choose carefully!​

Sock Height: Another standard for picking up a sock is height. Well, it's more of a personal or style preference, but Crew socks are the most common hiking sock height that extends 6 to 8 inches above the heel and at least a couple of inches above just about any pair of hiking boots.

Crew socks cover half of your leg which gives you protection from bushes and rocks as hiking pants are usually quite thin. Quarter socks also work fine as they cover your ankle, but it doesn't cover the lower leg which lacks in protection.​

Comfort:  Comfort is yet another essential element with hiking socks. Not only with hiking socks, but with every wearable object comfort is one of the most important parts. With hiking socks in the list, you can go wrong with the comfort.

The most comfortable sock in our list is MudGear trail running socks because this sock has excellent build quality and can also be worn for running and casual wear. On the other hand, Darn Tough hiker is the overall winner for hiking socks as it's slightly denser and specifically built for the hiking and trailing purpose.

Durability: The durability of socks depends brand to brand and its type. I've listed my sustainability experience in the review of each sock, so hopefully, you don't a doubt about the durability of the models I listed above.

In short, Merino wool socks the most durable socks as these socks are built denser/thicker, and these socks are the least fragile. There is still not a single hole on Darn Tough hiker which is very amazing. On the other hand, less thick/denser socks like SmartWool tend to lack in durability as compared to Merino wool.

From the above statement, it's pretty much clear that Merino wool socks are extra durable, but you can't go wrong with either of these listed trailing /camping socks. If you're multiple pairs of socks, then these socks will last for a couple of years.​

Wrapping it up

So, guys this is my advise for everyone who is looking for hiking sock. If you purchase Merino Wool sock, then I would recommend it wash it with cold water. If my top pick is Darn Tough Hiker Full cushion, but if you want a overall sock for regular wearing alongside hiking socks characteristics, then I would recommend going with MudGear trail running socks.

If you guys have any question, then kindly drop it in the comment section below. And, don't forget to share it on your social media networks, so that can get some extra exposure to like minded audience.