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Hiking is one of the most strenuous activities a person can put themselves through. It requires a lot of preparation, stamina, and a passion for the great outdoors. With all the climbing, walking, and moving about someone does while hiking, having good hiking socks makes all the difference in how long you can stay on the trail. That is why Able Camper has got you covered with what is the best hiking socks of 2020.

Types of hiking socks

There are a lot of different things to consider when you are choosing the right hiking socks. There is the length of the sock, the cushioning, and the material. All of these factors play to preference or the type of trail you may be going on.

LENGTH

Just like any socks, there are different lengths to choose from.

  • No-show socks: These socks hide and can not be seen once the shoe is on. This type of sock is perfect for a hot and dry day.
  • Ankle socks: These socks come up to your ankle and can provide a layer of protection from your shoes, preventing blisters.
  • Crew: These socks are perfect height if you have hiking boots. They also will keep you warm if you go hiking on a wet and cold day and also where you will find the majority of hiking socks.
  • Knee-High: A bit less common than the ones listed before. Mainly used for the purpose of mountaineering.

CUSHIONING

Cushioning in hiking socks varies depending on what you will be doing in the socks.

  • No cushioning: These types of socks liked to be used by hikers due to how lightweight they are. It allows for breathability and is perfect for use on a hot and humid day.
  • Light cushioning: These types of socks allow for the benefits of keeping relatively thin and light while providing some cushioning to the heel and ball of the foot. Good for running or anything where you need a little bit of extra support.
  • Medium cushioning: These types of socks are much warmer due to the amount of cushioning in them, but these hiking socks are perfect for cold weather and especially great for any rough terrain.
  • Heavy cushioning: These hiking socks were made with all types of heavy terrain in mind. These socks can be a bit much, so only wear them in super cold temperatures or you will be super uncomfortable.

MATERIAL

Most hiking socks are made of merino wool because it keeps your body warm or cool depending on the weather. There are socks made of other materials as well. These are

  • Polyester
  • Silk
  • Nylon
  • Spandex

Notice how hiking socks are not made from cotton. Cotton absorbs so much moisture from sweat or rain that it loses its ability to retain warmth. When hiking, this is not a great thing, so it’s best to avoid cotton socks if you can.

Now that we know what it is we are looking for, let’s go ahead and get this list started!

These hiking socks are made of a merino wool blend that ensures that your feet stay dry and comfortable through whatever it is your doing.

The cushioning throughout the sock prevents blisters from happening. These socks come in all sorts of sizes, amounts of cushioning, and colors!

They can also be bought in kid’s sizes and are unisex. One downside to this sock, though, is it can not be machine dried. Everything else about this sock is perfect!

pros
  • Blister Prevention

  • Great Selection
cons
  • Not machine washable

Darn Tough is known for its amazing hiking socks. They are durable, comfortable, and true to size.

Made from merino wool and nylon blend, this sock will keep you comfortable on the hottest of days. Another cool part about these socks is they come with a lifetime guarantee.

They offer a vast selection of cuts and colors that suit everyone’s personality. The only downside to these hiking socks is they do not offer a lot of variety of cushioning, but the comfort of the merino wool keeps the sock comfy.

pros
  •  Lifetime Guarantee

  • True to size
cons
  • Not a lot of cushioning options

These hiking socks are perfect for someone who wants a good sock but does not want it to be made almost entirely out of wool.

This sock is made from a blend of 40% Polyester, 35% Acrylic, 11% Nylon, 10% Wool, 3% Other Fibers, and 1% Spandex, which means that it is machine washable.

It also features a unique pull-on closure feature that makes sure the sock stays in place and does not fall down in a boot. One downside is the lack of choices as far as cushioning goes.

There is a light cushion on the heel, which is perfect to help keep you comfortable while running or walking.

pros
  • Polyester focused blend
  • Pull-on closure
cons
  • Not a lot of cushioning options

These hiking socks are another polyester blend that features a no-closure closure. These socks are lacking in the cushion, but they make up for it with their breathability factor.

Not only do they have polyester fabric, but they also have mesh inserts to allow maximum comfort. These socks will keep you comfy no matter the temperature.

The socks also reach mid-calf, so they are perfect for your hiking boots. They are also true to size, so if you know your shoe size, you know your sock size.

pros
  • Mesh inserts

  • True to size
cons
  • Almost no cushioning

The Darn Tough brand makes another appearance! This time as a fully cushioned sock. As with all cushioned socks, this hiking sock provides an ultimate cushion for the terrain that could prove to be a bit more demanding.

This sock guarantees no bunching and no blisters due to its timeless design and lifetime guarantee. With this sock being made from nylon, spandex, and merino wool, it will keep you comfortable no matter the weather.

Since the fibers are so tightly knit together, the durability of this sock will last for years. It’s also machine washable!

pros
  • Machine washable

  • Lifetime guarantee
cons
  • None!

Do I really need hiking socks?

That is really up to you. Hiking socks provide comfort and stability, and this therefore increases your endurance. It is important to consider what it is you want to do, though.

Are you running around the neighborhood or running through a rocky terrain? Are you walking through the streets or hiking a mountain? All the different types of socks can do different things. It’s important to know what a hiking sock can offer and if it can get you where you need to go. The cushioning really plays an important factor. More physically demanding activities typically benefit from having that extra support, while less stressful undertakings do not need that extra padding.

Many well-known hikers have said that their pair of hiking socks was an essential part of their journey. Often praising how it kept them comfortable in some pretty wild conditions. If you know you will be wanting to do the same, then you will definitely need a hiking sock to get it done. Socks also prevent the treacherous smelly foot that plagues all avid hikers.

What about sock liners?

Sock liners are a super thin liner that goes on top of your original hiking sock. Sock liners are very helpful in adding additional moisture-wicking power to socks that may be under performing in that department.

They also add another layer of protection against blisters. While sock liners are handy, they mainly became popularized when hiking socks were not really a thing. While it does not hurt to have sock liners today if you have really sensitive feet, most hiking socks these days do the job just fine. Again, this all plays into what you feel the most comfortable with and what you need from your hiking socks.

Hiking requires a lot of planning ahead and knowing what you need. There are so many things to consider: how long are you planning on being gone, how much water or food will you need, what do you need to pack, should you bring any sunscreen? It can be stressful at times, especially for beginners.

If you are not sure what it is you need for your adventure, check out our complete 3-day backpacking list to guide you through everything you need to be the best adventurer there is!

Monica White
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