Choosing Right Hiking Socks
When you are outdoors your feet is your most important “vehicle” so, choosing Right Hiking Socks is important. Without your feet you won’t get anywhere and you will be immobile, that’s why you need to look after your feet and keep them happy. You need to be wise when choosing the right socks for you, they need to keep your feet dry, control temperature of your feet and prevent them from getting painful blisters. Remember that no socks will be good for everything, you should choose the right socks, depending on your activity.
Crew socks are the most common type of socks. They are thick, mid- calf length and usually ribbed at the top. They usually have a cushioned sole and heel as well as a stretchy top. The top portion of these socks usually contains some form of elastic and they are very stretchy, which is why they are often worn during athletics or while exercising.
The main function of a liner sock is to prevent blisters by wicking away moisture that causes friction and to add some padding to boots so they don’t move up and down. Liner socks can be worn on their own in warmer conditions or pair them with another set of lightweight socks for added insulation. Liner socks are usually made from silk or synthetic polypropylene.
Double Layer Socks
These are very thick socks with a built in lining sock, which will help to prevent blisters and add comfort.
Trainer socks shouldn’t be used for long hikes or tricky terrains, but they can be worn with walking shoes for short walks in warmer conditions.
Wool is the most popular natural sock material. It is warm, cushioning and retains warmth when they are wet. Most wool socks use blends of wool and synthetic materials for better durability and faster drying. Older ragg wool socks could be scratchy next to your skin, but newer merino wool socks are itch-free. Merino wool unique material comes from a specialized New Zealand sheep that has softer wool than ordinary wool, keeping the same water repelling qualities as ordinary wool.
Synthetic sock is usually a weave of multiple natural and synthetic materials. Coolmax and polypropylene increase the moisture wicking capabilities of cotton or wool socks. Nylon and spandex are added to many hiking socks of all kinds to provide a fitted design. This is especially important for maintaining the socks shape, which prevents it from sliding on your foot, thereby reducing blisters.
Silk is a comfortable and lightweight natural insulator, but not as durable as most other materials. It is luxuriously comfortable while also capable of wicking moisture away from your foot. With a natural insulating properties that make it a great choice for warm weather hiking or as the main material in a sock liner.
100% cotton is not recommended as a sock material for hiking. Cotton absorbs sweat, dries slowly, provides no insulation when wet and it can lead to blisters. However, when combined with wool or other wicking and insulating fibers, it can be a good choice for light hiking in summer.
Similar as Merino wool, alpaca wool is less itchy than ordinary wool because the individual fiber length is much shorter. Alpaca wool is soft and comfortable against your skin and also it is a great insulator and it wicks moisture very well. Alpacha is a hypoallergenic material that contains no lanolin and it is a great alternative to Merino wool.
What To Look For
Wicking – The best hiking socks will move moisture away from your feet, keep you dry and prevent your feet from getting blisters. That will also help to regulate the temperature of your feet.
Cooling Technology – Some socks will be made from natural and technical fibres constructed specially to allow air to circulate and wick moisture away. Highly ventilated socks like these are ideal for Summer.
Fit – Your socks should fit properly.
- Too tight and they will cut off the circulation in your feet.
- Too loose then you risk of getting blisters and chafing.
- Too low on the ankle can lead to lack of protection.
- Too high and your feet may become too warm.
Material – You should consider what material is best suited for the hiking you will be doing. It is worth checking if you are not allergic to any of the materials.
Thickness – Ranging from very thin lining socks to thick double layered, socks are available in various thicknesses to suit your activity.
- Choose thin light socks for warm days or on short easy trails.
- Choose mid-thickness socks for reasonably warm tougher hikes.
- For tough hikes or in colder temperatures choose thicker socks.
Added Padding – Best hiking socks will provide enough cushioning for extra protection.
Flat seams – It will help prevent blisters.
Anti-bacterial/Silver Technology – Silver technology provides long lasting antibacterial protection. This allow to wear them for several days without bad odour.
Anti-mosquito – These socks are treated with insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay and they are perfect for hot climates.