Person wearing only hiking socks

Best Hiking Socks (Updated for 2021)

Hiking is fun, but not with hot spots and blistered feet. Fortunately, with the right pair of hiking socks, you’ll enjoy every mile of your hiking. Whether it is a short or long hike, you must look after your feet by wearing the most comfortable socks possible.

Our team have tested the socks included in this list for various short and long hikes, and found them to all meet our high standards. We also ensured that each one comes in a variety of sizes and colors, to give you plenty of choice. Some other variables looked into were cost and quality; and we chose high quality and fairly priced hiking socks for our reviews below.

Colorful Hiking socks

Choosing the Best Hiking Socks: Buyer's Guide

Finding the best hiking socks can be daunting. There are many brands to choose from, as well as different heights and materials. To save you time as you’re probably wondering what hiking socks are best; we’ve listed the most important factors to consider when purchasing hiking socks.

1) MATERIAL – Hiking socks are made of different materials. For this reason, it’s vital to know which materials to choose (and which to avoid) when buying a pair of hiking socks. Cotton is one of the worst materials for hiking socks because of its inability to absorb water and keep your feet moisture-free.

The best hiking socks are made of merino wool. The material seamlessly regulates your feet temperature, and thanks to its micro bacterial features, you’ll have odor-free feet all day long.

Nylon is combined with merino wool to make flexible and fast-drying socks that most hikers appreciate.

Spandex is an elastic material that ensures the best hiking socks remain up at all times. This is a flexible material that takes the shape of your foot for a better fit.

Polyester is often blended with merino wool to make socks that offer the needed insulation during harsh hiking conditions. Polyester dries quickly and has the ability to wick away moisture seamlessly.

2) THICKNESS – Does the thickness of your hiking socks matter? Yes, they do.

Ultralight hiking socks are ideal for warm and hot weather. They are the most breathable type of socks, and they dry pretty fast.  You may choose to wear this under thicker socks or on their own. They are good for shorter distances, so for longer distances, you may want to look for a pair that’s thicker to prevent blisters and/or shock.

Lightweight hiking socks are thicker than ultralight socks. They are a great choice for longer hikes during summer. Most of these socks come with extra padding at the toes and heels for cushioning against friction as you trek. Long-distance hikers prefer midweight socks during the cold season, as they have padding at all friction-prone areas such as the toes, balls of the feet, and heels. The major downside with these socks is that they take longer to dry – and for this reason, you may need to own several pairs.

Thick hiking socks are mainly worn when hiking in uneven terrains such as mountains and steep hills. They are available in different heights, but the only disadvantage with these socks is that they are too thick for warm climates, so keep that in mind when choosing the thickness of your hiking socks.

3) CUSHIONING – Cushioning determines how much comfort the socks offer while you hike, which makes it one of the most important factors to consider – especially on cold, long hikes. Some socks have no cushioning at all, and these are best for hot weather trekking. They provide enough ventilation to keep your feet happy.

Light cushioned hiking socks are also made for hot weather. These offer a little bit of cushioning against shocks, and have extra padding in the heels and toes. 

Medium cushioned hiking socks are ideal for average temperatures. These come with comfy padding at the balls of the feet, toes, and heels.  Once you have these on, you can head out for long hikes or trips. 

Lastly, we have heavy cushioned hiking socks, which are the warmest options in the market. They are popular in cold climate area or among long-distance trekkers thanks to their unmatched heel and toe support.

4) HEIGHT – Hiking socks come in four different heights to choose from. The best height depends on your hiking needs.

No show hiking socks are designed to be worn with low cut shoes. They lack ankle protection and are mainly worn during short races or treks.

Ankle socks run higher than the no show ones. They cover the ankle bone which makes them more comfortable. They can be worn with shoes that sit above the ankle for a classic look, and ankle socks are ideal for short-distance hiking.

Crew height is the most common for hiking socks. These have a cut above the ankle, making them offer significant protection against boot friction and other inconveniences such as mud, mosquitoes, and more. 

Knee-high socks are popular mountaineering socks; they give extra warmth past the ankle to the knee.

5) FITTING – If your socks don’t fit well, then there’s no chance that you’ll enjoy your hiking. Socks that are too small will create pressure on your feet and limit ventilation.  Socks that are larger than your size will wrinkle in your shoes and cause discomfort. These are the reasons why having the perfect fit of hiking socks will make your adventure much more enjoyable.

At a Glance: Our Top 10 Hiking Socks

Socks Material Thickness / cushioning Height
61% merino wool, 36% nylon, and 3% lycra spandex
Medium
Crew
64% merino wool, 34% nylon, and 2% spandex
Medium
Crew
43% nuwool, 12% acrylic, and 2% nylon lycra
Medium
Crew
Recycled polyester, nylon, bison down, work, and spandex
Medium
Crew
69% merino wool, 30% nylon, and 1% elastane
Medium
Crew
59% merino wool, 38% nylon, and 3% spandex
Medium
Crew
56% merino wool, 41% nylon, and 3% elastane
Ultralight
Crew
60% merino wool, 33% nylon, 5% acrylic, and 2% elastic
Medium
Crew
32% drynamix, 32% polyamide, 30% mohair, 4% microfiber, and 2% elastane
Medium
Quarter
52% merino wool, 45% nylon, and 3% lycra spandex
Light
Crew
Hiker with their shoes and hiking socks

10 Best Hiking Socks

Related: Best Hiking Shoes


Darn Tough Hiker Micro crew socks are the best overall hiking socks for the money. You’ll be happy to know that these socks are a product of Vermont – a state where hiking is the number sport! To say the least, we tested these socks and they proved to be great for all-weather hiking.

We love the amount of stretch that these socks provide. The 2% spandex ensures that they offer a custom fit for every hiker. Amazingly, you get the same amount of stretch even after years of wash and wear.

Another reason why these are the best hiking socks is that they feature an even and tightly woven fabric that offers you the support and breathability required for hiking. The efficient ventilation makes them perfect for hikers that are prone to sweaty feet.

For added support, the Darn Tough Hiker Micro crew features a consistent cushion that wicks away moisture to prevent blisters.  The socks will not slip or bunch up even after many miles of walking.

These Darn Tough hiker socks offer significant durability compared to other premium hiking socks within the same price range. The reinforced heel ensures that your socks don’t get holes (which is extremely important). Even after long distances, you’ll notice that the socks remain steady.

As if that’s not enough, Darn Tough Hiker let you send back your worn-out socks in exchange for a code for your next purchase on their website. We found this to be one of the most amazing hiking socks warranty policies out there.

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Swiftwick’s pursuit collection is an epitome of the best hiking socks on the market. Swiftwick pursuit seven hiking & cycling crew socks are the best illustration of the brand’s focus: comfort, performance, and durability.

Heading out for hiking, running or cycling? These socks are extremely versatile – without compromising on comfort. The high-quality merino wool construction provides significant cushioning at the calf and toes for that extra snug that you need on the trail.

You’ll love everything about this Swiftwick pursuit seven crew socks. These socks are perfect for minimalists as they feature a plain and ultralight design for those looking for a simple yet high-performance pair of socks.

The socks are designed with 63% merino wool which makes them one of the best warm socks for hiking – and we thoroughly enjoyed wearing them!

If you are after a pair of hiking socks that is also great for high-speed activities such as running and biking, then the Swiftwick’s Pursuit Seven Crew Socks is your best bet.

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The Injinji Outdoor original weight Crew Nuwool socks are uniquely designed for high performance. They are a perfect example of what the best hiking socks should be like.

The first noticeable feature about these Injinji socks is their five-toe design that cushions the hotspots adequately. Additionally, the design helps separate the toes, which reduces friction and enhances comfort as you move up and down the trail.

The Injinji’s top-quality merino wool blend ensures that the socks regulate temperature to keep your feet moisture-free for a long-wearing effect. These are one of the best waterproof hiking socks that you can find at a competitive price.

If you suffer from blisters each time you go hiking, then the Injinji Outdoor original weight Crew Nuwoool socks are ideal for you.

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United by Blue-Bison Trail socks are fantastic if you’re looking for a pair with an innovative design that doesn’t compromise on functionality. These are all-season socks that are made of recycled nylon, boson down, spandex, and polyester.

The reinforced sole, toe, and heel makes it ideal for multiple different occasions. Additionally, the cuffs and ankles come with a ribbed compression for extra comfort. The crew height ensures that your socks serve you well throughout the year (regardless of the season).

United by Blue Bison Trail socks are the best hiking socks for men and women with small feet. It comes in several other sizes, too, so you can find the perfect fit for your feet.

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Smartwool hiking socks are a great choice for those looking for the best hiking socks for men at an affordable price.

The arch support ensures that the socks remain in place all day long. The medium heel cushioning functions as a shock absorber for every step you take on the trail.

These socks capitalize on breathability and thermoregulation. You can have them on for extended periods of time thanks to their moisture-wicking function that won’t let your feet accumulate sweat.

The extra layer of wool used to make these socks ensures durability at all costs. The extra layer is tacked in the high friction areas so that your feet don’t start to hurt at any time.

There are several colors to choose from, and this makes Smartwool Men’s Crew hiking socks versatile and (relatively) customizable. 

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Hiking during summer can be tricky due to the extreme heat. However, with Icebreaker Men’s Hike medium socks, you get to enjoy your long summer treks without having to put up with sweaty and smelly feet.

These medium cushioned crew socks are actually thinner than they look. They have the ability to trap heat in air bubbles, thus preventing the annoying heat from getting to your feet. The cushioning does a good job of protecting your feet from resistance, as well as increasing ventilation for extra dry feet.

The socks remain dedicated to keeping your feet dry – even after several washes. When looking for the best men waterproof hiking socks, definitely consider the Icebreaker Medium Cushion Crew Socks.

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Smartwool is a renown socks brand that focuses on high-performance at an affordable price. Smartwool PHD Outdoor Ultra Light crew is an example of the best wool socks on the market. The pair is designed for maximum moisture wicking to keep your feet dry at all times – regardless of the hiking temperatures.

The socks feature indestructawool technology, which has proven to be the denser and most durable wool blend on the market. This smart PHD outdoor socks have indestructawool in the toes and heels, where friction is unavoidable. This leads to consistent comfort and makes these socks a joy to wear when hiking.

The socks fit snuggly, thus holding your arch comfortably. Their medium height ensures that the socks stay up even when trekking on uneven terrain. The non-slid feature makes the pair suitable for other rigorous activities such as running, football, and extensive backpacking.

The socks are available in different thicknesses: light, medium, and ultralight cushioning. However, if you’re looking for a pair that is comfortable in all weather conditions, go for the Ultralight crew.

Designed with 56% merino wool, these are among the best wool socks that the market has to offer. With these socks, you get to appreciate the combination of different fabrics such as elastin and nylon that ensure breathability, comfort, and incredible functionality.

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Looking for the best value hiking socks? When it comes to affordability and comfort, nothing can beat the Wigwam Merino wool socks.

For more bang for your buck, you get a better deal when you buy these socks in packs. Most hikers will attest that the pair remains dry and warm during snowy weather, hence making them the best waterproof socks for hiking.

We appreciate the elastic arch and ventilated panels featured in this best value hiking socks.  With 62% merino wool design, these socks will provide warmth without running your feet sweaty.

You can wear these Wigmam socks when headed to other casual excursions. They are generally thick at the base, thus great for heavy use and cold weather. Additionally, they resist the odor that comes with long trekking.

We feel like the these Wigman socks are a classic example of best warm socks for the money.

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It’s about time we covered the best unisex hiking socks, and the Balega Blister Resist Quarter socks definitely get first prize. These socks are designed to put a stop to blisters and feet pain that are common when hiking, which makes them one of the best hiking socks for blisters.

There are several brands of hiking socks that are specifically made to prevent blisters; however, we feel the Balega Blisters Resist Quarter socks have a lot to offer. The socks are made of Angora goat hair and synthetic Drynamix, which makes them one of the best waterproof hiking socks available thanks to wick moisture that prevents slipperiness and toe friction.

The Dry-Mo fabric feature at the base of the socks remains consistent through several washes to ensure your feet are protected throughout.

These socks stay put regardless of your hiking situation thanks to the dedicated elastic grip construction under the ankle. The socks also come with a patented Vtech Arch Support System that increases the fit through the arch.

The socks look great and fit snuggly. We love the deep heel pocket that increases the hug you get for that comfortable and better fit. The Tri-ply cushioning also reduces resistance when hiking for long periods of time.

The Balega Blister Resist Quarter socks come with several features that make it an attractive pair of hiking socks. The fact that both men and women can wear it is a big plus. These socks make the cut for the best hiking socks for men and women.

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Here’s another high-quality pair of socks from Darn Tough. The Darn Tough Micro Crew sock is fit for those looking for a versatile, long-lasting pair of hiking socks. These are uniquely designed using high standard knitting machines that ensure proper packing of the fabric – without adding weight.

The socks are made of three materials that make them durable and functional. With 43% merino wool, these are one of the most breathable and comfortable socks on the market. The wool dries quickly, therefore preventing bad odor. The fact that 54% of nylon is added to its design makes these socks last for ages. Lastly, the 3% spandex offers a nice stretch and provides a customizable fit.

The socks come with a smooth upper ribbing that ensures they don’t slide down. The light cushioning at the Achilles increases comfort and ensures that your feet remain warm during cold weather.

We found that these socks are perfectly designed for comfort. You don’t have to worry about blisters bunching and discomfort that come with some other socks on the market. The true seamless construction offers a smooth and neat design that you will love.

These Darn Tough socks are ideal for anyone looking a lightweight, versatile, and high-quality pair of hiking socks that will withstand heavy use.

Although the Darn Tough socks are priced on the higher side, but they make up for it with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.

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Cyclists shoes and socks

Honorable Mentions

The following hiking socks didn’t make it to our top 10 list, but are still great options to consider when looking for the best hiking socks:

  • Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks – can be worn all-year-round thanks to their medium weight and merino wool design, which provides maximum breathability.  They are ideal for men and women who are looking for a long-lasting pair for long-distance hiking.
  • Wrightsock Coolmesh II Crew Running Socks – a great choice for those who suffer from blisters after a hiking excursion. These socks are made of two layers to eliminate friction as a result of long treks. The inner layer fits perfectly and serves to wick away moisture, while the outer layer cushions your feet against shock. They are affordable and have many positive customer reviews.
  • Sealskinz Unisex Waterproof Mid-length Socks – fast drying socks that are perfect for hiking in harsh weather conditions. They feature  proprietary technology that enables dryness and breathability all day long. They are versatile and will keep your feet dry and warm.
  • FITS Light Hiker Quarter Socks – made of a decent amount of merino wool which enhances warmth and comfort. FITS feature extra padding in all the right places for reduced friction during treks. They are affordable and come in a variety of colors to choose from.
  • CEP Outdoor Merino Mid-cut Socks – great for long-distance hiking thanks to their compression feature that significantly enhances blood circulation. These are great for those looking for cuff-hugging socks for extra cuff support while hiking.
Man drying shoes and hiking socks

Why trust us?

As avid adventurers, we know the importance of getting the right gear for your trip. Finding the right source to provide you with trustworthy information is crucial, which is why we built HelloHiking. Here’s why you should trust us:

  • The products we review have been tested by members of our team.
  • We don’t have any bias in terms of brands – if the product is great, it’ll be listed.
  • We update our guides each year so you have the latest information.
  • We’ve covered over 20,000 miles of trails – it’s in our blood.
  • We always consider feedback from our audience, so feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions and/or complaints.
HelloHiking Team

Need more gear advice?

If you enjoyed this list, then you’ll love our other gear reviews on some of the most essential hiking equipment. We’ve listed some popular ones that you might enjoy here:

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