Hiking is a glorious thing — walking through untouched wilderness, observing pristine wildlife, surrounding yourself with the sounds of nature. There’s truly nothing better. However, if you don’t have the best light hiking socks, it can be the worst.
First of all, they love to slide down your leg and bunch up around your ankles, wiggling their way into that crevice between your heels and shoe and making their annoying, wadded-up presence known with every step you take. Ugh.
And then there's the fact that thick, bulky socks never fit properly with your hiking boots, so you end up having to cram your oversized marshmallow foot down into the toe area, where it spends the entire day cutting off circulation until you have to rip your shoes off entirely.
And, of course, thick socks are really hot. Some people may think that sloshing up the trail with pools of sweat puddling inside your shoes is no big deal, but they’re wrong. Sweaty feet are the most uncomfortable thing in the world and with all of the better options around, there just isn’t any reason to put yourself through that.
Nope. If you want to be comfortable and enjoy your hike, you need a pair of hiking socks that are thin and lightweight. This allows your feet to breathe and your boot to fit comfortably. That said, they'll still need to keep you warm, wick moisture, and (most importantly) prevent blisters. It’s a tall order, but these seven pairs fit the bill.
1. A Compression Sock That Regulates Your Foot Temperature
The amazing thing about this lightweight hiking sock is that the blend of materials allows it to cool you down when you're hot, and warm you up when you're cold. Made from a merino wool-polyamide mix, the fabric absorbs and wicks moisture from your feet, keeping your feet dry while you soak up the gorgeous scenery around you. The mid-cut sock also features compression technology that fits your foot snugly.
2. A Super-Affordable Hiking Sock That Comes In A Pack Of Four
Designed with high-energy outdoor activities in mind, these colorful hiking socks are a fantastic choice if you're on a budget and don't want to drop twenty bucks on a single pair. With comfy padded sole cushions and an elastic top bind, you can rest assured they'll stay put on your shin and not creep down around your ankle. The wool-nylon blend wicks moisture and block bacteria growth, ensuring your feet stay dry on your wilderness excursion. Best of all, the easy-care socks can go in both the washer and the dryer.
3. A Mohair Sock That Fights Blisters While Keeping You Dry
If you've ever had to turn around midway up a gorgeous trail because your socks were giving you unbearable blisters, check out this Blister Resist sock from Balega. Made with a natural mohair blend that protects your heels and arches from friction and hotspots while maintaining breathability and comfort, the Drynamix technology sheds moisture effortlessly. As a bonus, the high-placed tab heel holds the sock firmly in place, preventing it from sliding down to take a snooze around your ankles.
4. A Tall Thermal Sock That Keeps You Warm Without Lots Of Bulk
With Coolmax Fibre technology, this tall, warm hiking sock feels like silk next to your skin. The lightweight design combined with thermal yarn keeps you super warm in cold climates without that thick, "bulky sock" feeling. Additionally, the sock's innovative four-channel construction pulls moisture off of your foot and transports it outward, leaving your skin inside dry and cozy. And the lycra adds elasticity and stretch, making it comfy and form-fitting, so it won't slip down.
5. A Sensationally Comfortable Sock That Offers Lots Of Cushion
Amazon is brimming with glowing reviews about this soft, lightweight sock from Darn Tough that everyone says is one of the comfiest around. Made in Vermont, the seamless design makes it smooth and chafe-free, delivering silky cushioning along the base of your foot without being padded or bulky. "Quite possibly the softest, most comfortable hiking sock I've ever owned," said one reviewer.
6. A No-Show Ankle Sock That Keeps You Cool In Hot Climates
For folks who prefer an ankle sock when walking in the woods, this no-show option is lightweight and highly breathable, making it perfect for summertime hikes or outdoor enthusiasts who live in hot climates. The high-tech drying system includes synthetic materials that boost ventilation along with a breathable mesh design. The sock has a mega-comfortable reinforced toe and padding on top of the foot that feels soft while fighting blisters. It comes in a four-pack in seven different color combinations including deep green, pink, blue, red, and purple mixes.
7. A Waterproof Sock That's Perfect For Rainy Fall Hikes
This waterproof hiking sock is a godsend if you live in a wet climate where you deal with lots of rainfall. Boasting a patented three-layer structure that blocks external water molecules like rain and wet snow from entering while transporting inner moisture from sweat to outer layers, the sock keeps you dry while remaining breathable. The whole thing is seamless to reduce blisters and prevent chafing while the medium thickness keeps it lighter than most waterproof socks of its kind. It's a bit pricier than some — but if you plan to be hiking on damp trails, it's well worth the extra cost.
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