These Lightweight Liner Socks Will Keep Blisters At Bay During Your Next Hike

by Andrea Hannah

When you're hiking in the cold or rain, the best liner socks for hiking can help regulate your body temperature and keep blisters at bay so you can hit the trails no matter the weather.

But, there are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the right pair of liners for you. The first is the style of socks. Most liners hit at mid-calf for a reason — they tend to stay up longer and can be easily adjusted on the go. While ankle-length liners can be slightly more cost-efficient and invisible when you're wearing short hiking boots, they tend to bunch up and can't be adjusted unless you take off your boots (I know this from personal experience).

Another thing to consider is the climate you tend to hike in. Smart wool liners are great for keeping your feet toasty and, so that you don't overheat, work best in colder temperatures. But they're also slower to absorb sweat and can leave your feet more prone to blisters. If you're hiking in a warm climate or during the summer, a lightweight spandex or nylon blend can keep your feet cool and dry all day long.

Here's a roundup of the best liner socks for hiking out there for all weather and temperatures.


Best Overall, All Things Considered

These lightweight liner socks are made from a soft nylon blend that easily absorbs sweat and keeps your feet dry. They're versatile enough to keep your feet cool and blister-free in warmer weather, but they can also be paired with a thicker sock for cooler hikes. The socks' shaft rises 10 inches up your calf, making them a great mid-rise sock that'll work with most hiking boots. One thing to note: This pair of liner socks is unisex, so be sure to read the reviews before choosing a size (one woman with a size 9 foot recommends buying the medium/small).

A review from an avid hiker reads: "I have had a pair of these sox that I use as liners for my hiking boots for many years, and I love them. They last forever, wick moisture away from your feet, and prevent blisters. I needed a another pair for a long hiking trip, and this is the pair I wanted."

  • Available sizes: Medium/Small - X-Large


Best Toe Separated Liners

If you tend to get blisters or hotspots between your toes, these separator liner socks protect those sensitive spots without the added bulk. Made with lightweight Merino wool, they're thin enough to slip under your athletic or hiking socks to absorb sweat and stave off bacteria. They also feature a soft, stretchy band that helps them stay up on your calf, no matter how long you hike.

Reviewers love these liners for those extra long hikes and can't say enough about how well they hold up. One reviewer writes, "Used this pair of socks to finish 28.3 miles in a day. This pair of socks endured 16.4 miles of hiking without resulting in any blisters. Each toe was surrounded to avoid rubbing together like other socks allow while hiking."

  • Available sizes: Small - X-Large


Best For Warm-Weather Hikes

Made from a patented CoolMax polyester blend, these absorbent liner socks were designed to keep you cool in warmer weather. Built with sweat-wicking technology, the Thermolite fibers also hold in your own body's heat to help regulate your temperature and keep sweat at bay altogether. On top of that, they have a flat toe seam so there's less of a chance of rubbing and developing blisters while you hike.

The only downside to these liners is that several hikers mentioned they have to hand-wash them to keep their original shape and size. But others insist that they're well worth the effort. One reviewer writes, "Bought two pair for a climb of Mt Kilimanjaro. My hiking boots are amazing, but I also credit these for NO BLISTERS after 8 days and 42 miles!"

  • Available sizes: Small - X-Large


Best For Cold-Weather Hikes

If you tend to hike in hot weather, these smart wool liner socks will protect your feet and help regulate your body temperature. Constructed with a lightweight, wool-nylon blend, the super soft liners easily slip beneath a thicker pair of socks without being too cumbersome. Plus, they're naturally bacteria resistant, so you can hike all day long without worrying about odor.

Despite being great for hot weather, hikers who attempt a lot of cold-weather hikes also swear by these liners. One review reads, "I tried other brands and styles, but after many miles in both hiking and backpacking boots, I found Smartwool Unisex Hiking Liner Crew Socks, to be the best fit for me. They are almost seamless and stay up and in place. No slipping or twisting on my foot."

  • Available sizes: Small - X-Large

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