The Best Hiking Socks for 2023

Get ready for some fun hiking adventures by donning these best hiking socks!

Whether you’re a fan of arduous mountain hikes or slow rambles along well-worn footpaths, there’s no doubt that having comfortable footwear is a convenience. While it’s important to invest in quality hiking shoes, keep in mind that the quality of the socks you wear is just as important. Wearing the right hiking socks can help to prevent blisters, hotspots, and cold or overheated feet.

In warm weather, it’s important to choose socks that have wicking properties so your feet can breathe. Cooler temperatures require warm, well-padded socks to prevent you from getting cold feet. 

We’ve got you covered — literally — with our list of top picks, which includes insightful customer reviews, maintenance tips, and detailed product specifications to help you make the right decision.

 

 

How We Picked

  • Material + Comfort

    In warm weather, it’s important to choose socks that are snug yet breathable. When the cold season comes, thick socks with padding should be your go-to. The best socks are made of materials like merino wool and a blend of other appropriate fabrics

  • Fit

    When picking out socks, it’s important to pay attention to the size of your feet. Otherwise, you might end up with socks that are either slack or pinchy. The right socks should fit so well that you'll forget you’re even wearing them!

  • Drying Time + Odor Resistance

    It’s important to choose socks made of odor-resistant and moisture-wicking fabrics. This will save you a world of stress when it comes to laundering

  • Price

    Although socks are usually considered to be low-budget items, hiking socks are known to cost a bit more. Nevertheless, you’re bound to find a pair that suits your budget.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

These Darn Tough socks have won many hearts with their unprecedented lifetime warranty assurance. Many customers report that they’ve never needed to take advantage of the warranty because of how well-made and durable these socks are! Made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and Lycra spandex, they’re guaranteed to keep your feet warm on cold days and still provide breathability when the weather gets warm.

Buy Now for $23.95

These socks are made to last, with a tightly woven and high-quality blend of fabrics.

Runner Up

Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

These performance-oriented socks combine durability and lightness.

Using Smartwool’s Indestructawool technology, these socks are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and elastane. Lightly cushioned along the bottom for premium comfort, these socks are just snug enough to provide a comfortable fit without creating too much warmth. The merino wool composition also has odor-resistant properties to keep away bad odors. In spite of its lightweight texture, it possesses activity-specific mesh zones to prevent undue wear and tear.

Buy Now for $24.00

These lightly-cushioned socks help to keep you comfortable when the trail isn’t.

Most cost-effective

REI Coolmax EcoMade Ultralight Hiking Crew Socks

These aren't your average hiking socks because they're made of unusual fabric.

The REI Coolmax Ecomade socks are a great option for hikers shopping on a tight budget. In order to reduce landfill waste, they are made of fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and polyester. Their ultra-lightweight texture and breathability make them an excellent choice for warm-weather activities. Cushioned at only critical points, these socks are ideal for minimalist hikers.

Buy Now

The lightweight design makes them a perfect option for minimalist hikers on a tight budget.

Almost made the cut

Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

The no-show, ankle-length design provides medium cushioning without adding excessive bulk.

These socks are perfect for minimalistic hiking. They are made from a blend of Drynamix, polyamide, and nylon elastic. They are constructed with fine yarn and a 200-needle-count fabric and have a reinforced heel and toe for impact resistance. With the hand-linked toe, you get to experience a smooth and seamless feel on the trail.

Buy Now

With a stylish design and plush cushioning, these ankle-length socks are a minimalist hiker’s dream.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

$23.95

Buy Now

Runner Up

Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

These performance-oriented socks combine durability and lightness.

$24.00

Buy Now

Most cost-effective

REI Coolmax EcoMade Ultralight Hiking Crew Socks

These aren't your average hiking socks because they're made of unusual fabric.

Buy Now

Almost made the cut

Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

The no-show, ankle-length design provides medium cushioning without adding excessive bulk.

Buy Now

Who This Is For

The products on our list are for any and all hikers who appreciate the importance of hiking socks. No matter your age, gender, or preferred activity, you’ll find something on our list that’s just right for you.

 

Hiking socks vs regular socks – what’s the difference?

The major difference between regular socks and hiking socks is that the latter are specifically made with fabrics that prevent blisters, stave off bad odors, keep your feet dry and provide impact resistance. In fact, merino wool is capable of absorbing up to 30% of its dry weight before your feet start to feel any wetness. 

 

Furthermore, many hiking socks are specially constructed to prevent the formation of blisters with seamless designs and heel tabs. With regular socks, hiking might end up being a painful experience due to the formation of sores, blisters, and hotspots. Regular socks aren’t designed to protect your feet over rough terrain and long distances, so it’s best to kit yourself out with some quality hiking socks for your next trail adventure.

 

Is it worth splurging on?

The phrase “buy cheap, buy twice” is certainly true when it comes to socks. Although most hiking socks cost several dollars more than regular socks, they end up being well worth the price. Quality hiking socks can last for years without breaking a seam, a fact that many customers have testified to. Therefore, it’s best to consider them a one-time purchase. In any case, our favorite picks are all decently priced, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. So the answer is: yes! Hiking socks are definitely worth splurging on.

Why You Should Trust Us

Most people are accustomed to getting those annoying toe holes in their socks after a while. That’s almost an impossibility with the products advertised here, as all are made with high-quality fabrics designed to withstand all kinds of outdoor activities and terrain. In addition, they also have seamless closures that aren’t likely to come apart. 

 

How We Picked

Our picks have been tested by customers over a wide range of activities, including horse riding, mountain hikes, desert treks, long walks, or just regular indoor activities. Across all of these experiences, they have proven to remain intact after multiple uses. All our picks are also made of fabrics that have moisture-wicking properties so your feet will stay dry no matter how humid it gets. Those made of merino wool have natural odor-resistant properties to keep unpleasant odors away.

We also looked for socks that are snug without being overly tight and pinchy. Each comes in various sizes, ranging from small to extra-large so you can find the perfect pit no matter what size you wear. For premium comfort, we only selected cushioned socks with varying degrees of thickness. So you can choose depending on the weather and the nature of your activities. Whether you’re a fan of angle-length or crew socks, there’s definitely something on our list for you. Although most of these socks come at above-average prices, they spare you the trouble of having to get replacements over and over again.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Best Pick

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

These Darn Tough socks have won many hearts with their unprecedented lifetime warranty assurance. Many customers report that they’ve never needed to take advantage of the warranty because of how well-made and durable these socks are! Made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and Lycra spandex, they’re guaranteed to keep your feet warm on cold days and still provide breathability when the weather gets warm.

Buy Now for $23.95

Who it is for

The Darn Tough Micro Crew Socks are an excellent choice for those who frequently participate in strenuous outdoor activities. They have separate options for men and women.

Why it is great

Darn Tough’s lifetime warranty isn’t just another marketing gimmick to draw people in. After being tested by thousands of customers, the consensus is the same. These socks are durable enough to last through years of use on the trail. Made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and Lycra spandex, the high-density knitting and padding keep the elements away on cold days. They also have moisture-wicking properties for when the temperatures heat up. Its ring-toe construction gives it a seamless look. Thanks to the high-density cushioning, customers enjoy a snug fit without experiencing pressure points or bunching. It also comes in multiple sizes, from small to extra-large depending on whether you’re a man or a woman.

Potential flaws

For lightweight socks, these could stand to have a little more breathability.

Other features

With an average rating of 4.8 stars on Amazon, the Darn Tough Micro Crew socks top the charts when it comes to quality and durability. Although they cost a bit more than the average, the unconditional lifetime warranty makes them well worth the price.

Product Specifications

Fabrics: 54% Merino wool, 43% Nylon, 3% Lycra spandex
Sock Height: Crew

Runner Up - Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

Runner Up

Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

These performance-oriented socks combine durability and lightness.

Using Smartwool’s Indestructawool technology, these socks are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and elastane. Lightly cushioned along the bottom for premium comfort, these socks are just snug enough to provide a comfortable fit without creating too much warmth. The merino wool composition also has odor-resistant properties to keep away bad odors. In spite of its lightweight texture, it possesses activity-specific mesh zones to prevent undue wear and tear.

Buy Now for $24.00

Who it is for

Available for both male and female hikers, these socks are suitable for warm-weather hiking.

Why it is great

These socks are made of environmentally-sustainable materials such as recycled nylon and are built for comfort. Formerly called PhD Outdoor, the improved Performance Hike Light contains thoughtful updates and fan-favorite technologies. Made of merino wool, nylon, and elastane, they’re constructed with Smartwool’s ‘Indestructawool’ technology. The seamless toe design provides comfort, while strategically-placed mesh zones allow for breathability.
Best of all, these socks are cushioned along the bottom to provide comfort when the trail is anything but. You don’t have to worry about bunching or slacking as these socks have an excellent fit. They also come in a variety of patterns and colors, so you’re bound to find one that suits your taste. The merino wool keeps bad odors away in addition to providing that soft, smooth feel.

Potential flaws

Despite being cushioned along the bottom, they may be too light for cold weather or rough trails.

Other features

Although one might balk at their double-digit price, buying these socks is a better investment than purchasing cheaper options that require frequent replacement. With past customer experiences being overwhelmingly positive, these socks have been tested and come out unscathed. On REI, they have an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars!

Product Specifications

Fabrics: 56% Merino wool, 29% Recycled nylon, 12% Nylon, 3% Elastane
Sock Height: Crew

Most cost-effective - REI Coolmax EcoMade Ultralight Hiking Crew Socks

Most cost-effective

REI Coolmax EcoMade Ultralight Hiking Crew Socks

These aren't your average hiking socks because they're made of unusual fabric.

The REI Coolmax Ecomade socks are a great option for hikers shopping on a tight budget. In order to reduce landfill waste, they are made of fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and polyester. Their ultra-lightweight texture and breathability make them an excellent choice for warm-weather activities. Cushioned at only critical points, these socks are ideal for minimalist hikers.

Buy Now

Who it is for

Get the REI Coolmax Ecomade socks if you’re a minimalist hiker who wants to keep things as light as possible.

Why it is great

You don’t have to worry about overheating on warm days with these socks. They are called ultralight for a reason; they are cushioned only at critical points in order to prevent stuffiness. Despite being lightweight, customers report that they’re able to withstand long walks, horse rides, and hikes. Made from recycled polyester and plastic bottles, they promote sustainability and protect the planet. In addition to the recycled polyester, they’re also made up of nylon and Lycra spandex.

Potential flaws

Since they aren’t made of wool, these socks may have less odor resistance and stink a bit more.

Other features

The REI Coolmax Ecomade socks are unbeatable when it comes to price. Despite this, they don’t compromise on quality. With an average of 4.5 stars on REI, customer satisfaction is way above average. The seamless toe closure also gives them a lovely finish. What’s even better is that these socks are unisex, perfect for both male and female hikers.

Product Specifications

Fabrics: 51% COOLMAX EcoMade recycled polyester, 46% Nylon, 3% Lycra spandex
Sock Height: Crew

Almost made the cut - Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

Almost made the cut

Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

The no-show, ankle-length design provides medium cushioning without adding excessive bulk.

These socks are perfect for minimalistic hiking. They are made from a blend of Drynamix, polyamide, and nylon elastic. They are constructed with fine yarn and a 200-needle-count fabric and have a reinforced heel and toe for impact resistance. With the hand-linked toe, you get to experience a smooth and seamless feel on the trail.

Buy Now

Who it is for

The Balega Hidden Comfort socks are another perfect choice for minimalist hikers who don’t want the extra bulk of thicker or longer pairs.

Why it is great

With the Balega Hidden Comfort socks, you can say goodbye to sweaty feet. Their premium moisture-wicking properties keep your feet dry, mile after mile on the hiking trail. The 200-needle-count fabric provides plush cushioning without adding too much bulk. In spite of having a lightweight structure, it still provides impact resistance. You never have to worry about friction thanks to the seamless, hand-linked toe design. In addition, the extended heel tab not only prevents slipping but also protects your heel from developing blisters caused by constant friction. Your toes can also stay protected with the reinforced toe and bottom cushioning. It also comes in a wide variety of patterns that are suitable for both men and women. Ranging from small to extra-large, the sizing options make sure that almost no one is left out.

Potential flaws

Due to their lightweight texture and length, these socks may not be suitable for cold weather. As their composition does not include wool, they may be less odor-resistant as well. Due to their short length, they’re more likely to capture dirt and grime than longer pairs.

Other features

The Balega Hidden Comfort No-show socks are exactly what they claim to be: lightweight, plush, and comfortable. Despite their length, they’re a minimalist hiker’s dream come true. On Amazon, they’ve been rated an average of 4.7 stars, over almost 20,000 global ratings.

Product specifications

Fabrics: 84% Drynamix Polyester, 11% Nylon, 3% Neofil, 2% Elastane
Sock Height: Ankle

Care and maintenance

Keeping your hiking socks clean is important to prevent them from turning into breeding grounds for infections. Most hiking socks come with specific maintenance instructions depending on the type of fabric involved. However, all our picks can be machine-washed with warm water. However, most manufacturers warn against using bleach or fabric softener. Also, do not iron or dry clean to avoid damage. When not in use, simply lay them out in a plastic container so the fibers can relax without becoming scrunched up or misshapen.