The Best Socks for Hiking in 2022
You go out on a hike and about a mile in you start to feel that burning rubbing sensations around your toes. Yep, that’s a blister coming on. Another mile through and you get another burning sensation in a different spot. In hindsight you are wishing you had bought a better pair of hiking socks.
Over countless hours of research and trialing quite a few pairs of socks. Some good and some not so much I was able to find several pairs of socks that worked well for me. All this to say, if you are tired of getting “swamp feet” and blisters like I was. I am happy to say I have found some socks that may work for you! In this guide I am going to cover what I have found to be the best socks for hiking in 2022.
Bottom line: Our top choice is Darn Tough Micro Crew because of their affordability and how durable and breathable these socks are. Overall, Darn Tough Micro Crew socks make for a versatile pick for almost all seasons except for extreme cold. Also, if these socks get worn out, they are backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Short on time? Here’s a summary of our top picks for the best hiking socks in 2022
- Best All Around Hiking Sock: Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew
- Best Sock For Trail Runs & Hiking: Swiftwick Flight XT Trail Two
- Best Toe Socks: Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew
- Best Budget Hiking Sock: Ascend Hiker Quarter Sock
- Best Double Layer Sock For Blister Prevention: Wrightsock Coolmesh ii Socks
- Best Sock For Cold And Wet Conditions: Sealskinz Cold Weather Waterproof Mid Sock
- Best Compression Socks For Hikers: Sockwell Ascend 2/Moderate Graduated Compression Socks
The Best Socks for Hiking in 2022
In this list we are covering the best hiking socks we have found. Also, we further down we discuss how to choose the best hiking socks for your needs. Important considerations to think about when trying to buy socks for your next outdoor adventure.
Best All Around Hiking Sock
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew
Darn Tough has made some reliable hiking socks and this pair is definitely no different. The fit of the socks is great, it fits snug without sliding which minimizes blisters during your outdoor adventures. Cushion is definitely well made and placed on the sock preventing your feet from getting super sore. This sock manages to keep the foot warm in the winter and breathable enough to keep it cooler in the summer. However, some may find it a little too warm for really hot summer days.
Finally, these socks are a bit expensive, but an added benefit is that Darn Tough socks are guaranteed for life and socks that get worn out can be replaced! Overall, I would say these socks are the best all-around and offer the best warranty. Though you probably won’t need to use it because these are pretty darn tough.
Best Sock for Trail Runs & Hiking
Swiftwick Flight XT Trail Two
In general, Swiftwicks are known for being lightweight and very breathable socks. The Flight XT Trail socks are no different. These socks will fit a bit snug due to having medium compression around the ankle. The compression is a great touch as it helps to minimize blisters and prevent fatigue in the legs during activity.
Overall, these socks have been a long time favorite due to how breathable and light they are. I own multiple pair of Swiftwicks and they are usually my go to sock for my trail runs and some of my summer hikes. If I’m wearing lower cut running shoes I’ll wear the Flite XT Zero instead of the Two. So far I haven’t had any blisters yet (knocking on wood).
Best Toe Socks
Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew
The Injinji Trail Mini Crew is just an all around good performing sock. These socks fit a little snug around the ankle all while maintaining comfort and breathability. The stitching of the sock is reinforced at the base on the arch for additional lift to add more support. The COOLMAX works well providing temperature control I don’t mind wearing these socks during warm weather.
The biggest feature with this sock is that each toe is individually wrapped with fabric. This greatly helps to minimize blisters and hotspots. In addition, it also allows each toe to not feel trapped which allows each toe more freedom to move efficiently on the trails. If you are looking for even lighter version the Injinji Run lightweight socks will do the trick
Best Budget Hiking Sock
Ascend Hiker Quarter Sock
The Ascend Hiker Quarter Crew is a great pick for a more budget hiking sock. All around good durability and sturdy wear. These socks are a standard fit not to tight or too loose. While staying very comfortable due to the amount of cushion. The socks aren’t quite as durable as other brands on this list and can retain some heat making them a bit warmer.
One thing we like is how the brand takes pride in quality and excellence and is 100% US made similar to Darn Tough. Each sock is handcrafted in the Carolinas and inspected for excellence. Overall, this is a good bang for your buck when it comes to performance.
Best Double Layer Socks for Blister Prevention
Wrightsock Coolmesh ii Socks
Coolmesh II make for a great sock to protect against blisters. They feature a 2 layer build of synthetic materials. The inner layer helps to keep the feet dry and protect against blisters and fits somewhat snug. While the outer layer is there for added protection and friction reduction.
Furthermore, the coolmesh works well to provide some ventilation and moisture wicking ability. Overall, the Wrightsock Coolmesh II does provide great protection against blisters and is effective at keeping the feet cool. However, the sock may not be the best for longer hikes just due to minimal cushioning.
Best Sock for Cold and Wet Conditions
Sealskinz Cold Weather Waterproof Mid Sock
- MSRP: $55
- Fabric: Outer Layer – 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane
- • Middle Layer – 100% Hydrophilic Membrane
- • Inner Layer – 35% Merino Wool, 35% Acrylic, 23% Polyester, 3.5% Nylon, 3.5% Elastane
- Cushion: Midweight
- Height: Crew
- We Like: All Weather protection, good fit, and retains heat
- We Don’t Like: Very Expensive, Fair cushioning, limited colors
Sealskinz is known for making fantastic weather resistant and water proof gear. If you are looking for a great pair of socks to keep your feet warm and dry these socks are our top pick. While we don’t normally do a ton of hiking in the snow and water. We like these socks for those times that we do
Overall, these socks are surprisingly comfortable and do allow for good movement in your feet. Waterproofing material has the tendency to be limiting in breathability and unfortunately these socks do struggle a little with air flow. But, for its intended purpose that may not be too big of a deal breaker. The one glaring thing we don’t like is the price. However, Sealskinz does offer a lifetime product guarantee against any defect.
Best Compression Socks for Hiking
Sockwell Ascend 2/Moderate Graduated Compression Socks
Sock Well Ascend 2’s are the best compression socks for hiking. They have that snug feel But, also maintains good breathability and comfort. If you struggle with leg fatigue during your hikes and trail runs get some compression socks. Collective research has found that wearing compression socks does improve exercise performance and recovery.
Overall, these socks are a little on the pricy side but, for what your getting its a deal and these socks do work. One quick heads up though, it does take some practice to put these socks on. We figured it out though, you have to roll the sock up, put your foot in, and roll them up. After awhile its a piece of cake.
How to Choose Socks
When choosing hiking socks there are a lot of considerations. In our top hiking sock picks we mostly focused on light – midweight cushioned socks with ankle to crew height styles. The reason for this is because these sock heights and cushioning work well for majority of people hiking in moderate to high temperatures on average hiking trails. But, many of these hiking socks come in various height cut and cushioning.
When choosing the best hiking socks for your needs, you need to take in consideration of what footwear you’ll be wearing. In addition, to the hiking terrain, temperature, and weather forecast. In general when looking at hiking socks we want to be aware of 3 main factors
- Sock Height: This influences that size of the sock and how much coverage it provides
- Fabric Type: Various materials provide different pros and cons
- Cushioning or Weight: This affects how thick, soft, or warm the sock is
The height of the socks come in many forms, there are socks that are below the ankle and socks that go below the knee. The best way to figure out the height of sock needed is to go off of the style of boots you have. For example an ankle, crew, or knee high sock would provide plenty of cushion for a mid height boot.
No Show: These socks go below the ankle and usually aren’t really seen in a pair of shoes. This means they don’t provide very much protection and really should only be worn with low cut shoes, trail runners, or light hiking shoes.
Ankle or Quarter: A little higher than no shows they cover your ankle and provide more support. They work well for mid height boots or shoes. We also like to wear these with low cut shoes for added protections from debris.
Crew: This is my favorite style of hiking socks and probably the most standard for hiking. They provide good protections for the back of your ankle and can be worn with low or mid height shoes or boots.
Over The Calf: The halfway between Crew and Knee high socks. These are great for rough conditions and offer more protection than Crew socks. Boots that are higher above the ankle can be worn with these socks.
Knee High: These socks are usually worn in very rough conditions. High socks offer most protection up to the knee. Usually only worn with large boots the come closer to the knee.
The type of fabric plays an important role in how comfortable the sock feels, how breathable, moisture wicking, and temperature control. Most socks are usually made with a blend of fabrics with each fabric serving a purpose for the socks.
Wool (Merino wool): This is pretty much the leading fabric whenever it comes to sock design. Wool has multiple benefits. It regulates temperatures well, provides a good amount of cushions, and it also tends to be moisture wicking and mildew repellent so socks don’t smell as bad.
Nylon: is a synthetic fiber it usually adds durability, breathability, and sweat wicking capabilities. A lot of the time it is part of a blend with wool to add more temperature control and moisture wicking capabilities to the sock
Polyester: is a synthetic material that works well at keeping heat in, wicking moisture, and dries fast.
Spandex, Lycra, Elastane: Majority of hiking socks will add a small percentage of these fibers in their blend to help give the sock some ability to stretch, hold shape, and prevent bunching up during outdoor activities.
The amount of cushion in a sock will make a sock more thick and warmer. How much cushion you want depends on where you will be hiking and the weather. Cushion also helps to protect your feet as well for activities like trail running or longer hikes.
Ultralight: These socks are usually used in hot conditions. They are very breathable but have very little cushion.
Lightweight: Generally good for warm or hot temperatures. Still have very good moisture wicking and breathable design. These socks are a good option for summer and offer more padding for the foot.
Medium weight: These socks are good for majority of seasons. They provide more cushion at the heel and bottom of the foot. They are a little thicker than the lightweight socks making these socks warmer and able to be used in mild colder temperatures.
Heavy weight: These socks are full of cushion. They are the thickest, warmest, and most cushioned sock option. This makes them a good choice for mountaineering. Also, will work well for areas with tough terrain or colder temperatures. These socks are often way too thick for warm weather
How Should My Socks Fit
In general a sock should fit snug but not too tight. Also, a sock shouldn’t slip and fall down which means that it is probably too lose. One thing you can do is try your sock on with the boots or shoes your going to hike with. Then go for a walk and see how it feels.
Overall, the best thing to do is have a variety of socks available to use for different seasons and terrains. This way you have a sock you like for your occasion. I hope you enjoyed this guide about the best socks for hiking. Also, if looking for another guide check out our 10 essentials for hiking list
Editor note: This post was originally published September 28, 2021 and has been updated for more accuracy and comprehensiveness