The 15 Best Hiking Socks of 2022 for Hitting the Trails

Thick but breathable, Bombas’ Merino Wool Hiking Calf Socks are our top pick

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Comfort and fit are essential when it comes to wearing hiking socks while exploring on foot. Compared to regular cotton socks, hiking socks can help keep your feet dry and protected by wicking away moisture. “Breathability is important as it allows for air exchange to reduce warm temperatures in the feet. By allowing for air exchange, incidences of foot fungus and warts can be mitigated,” Dr. Bruce Pinker, a foot and ankle surgeon and founder of Progressive Foot Care, says.

Reviewed & Approved

Bombas’ Merino Wool Hiking Calf Socks are our top pick, thanks to their premium, recycled materials and increased breathability. We also recommend Darn Tough’s Light Hiker Socks, which have lightweight, mesh panels and superior cushioning.

When searching for the perfect pair of hiking socks, it’s important to keep cushioning, materials, and length in mind. To determine the best hiking socks, we researched dozens of top-rated products across the most trusted brands. We then chose the best options based on comfort, fit, price, and more. 

Based on our research, here are the best hiking socks on the market.

Best Women’s Overall: Bombas Merino Wool Adventure Calf Socks 4-Pack

4.8
Bombas wool hiking socks

Bombas

Pros
  • Made from recycled materials

  • Breathable

  • Good arch support

Cons
  • Expensive

Bombas’ Merino Wool Hiking Calf Socks are our top overall pick because they’re made from premium materials that will keep you comfortable, dry, and cool while you’re on the move. These breathable socks are designed to regulate the temperature of your feet and manage moisture. And we love that they’re made from recycled Merino wool, with arch support woven right in. 

Although they’re lightweight, these socks may be too thick to wear in warm weather for some. They’re also more expensive than other pairs on our list. Note that each pair has a unique, one-of-a-kind pattern, so you can’t choose a specific color.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, spandex | Length: Calf | Quantity: One | Colors: Color varies | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best Men’s Overall: Darn Tough Micro Crew Light Cushion Socks

4.8
Hiker Light sock

Amazon

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Seamless to prevent blisters

  • Lifetime warranty

Cons
  • Sizes may run small

Darn Tough’s Light Hiker Socks are our best men’s overall pick because they’re breathable and seamless, to prevent blisters. They have mesh panels throughout, which helps prevent sweaty feet. And there’s a thin layer of cushioning from the toe to the heel, for a comfortable sock you can wear for hours. 

We also love that Darn Tough provides a lifetime warranty to back up this versatile pair. But you may need to order a size up, as the fit can run small for some. Otherwise, these hiking socks are a dependable, year-round option.

Materials: Nylon, merino wool, Lycra spandex | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Four | Care: Machine washable

Best Budget: REI Co-op Out The Door Merino Wool Crew Socks

REI wool socks

REI

Pros
  • Odor-resistant

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Durable

Cons
  • Only two sizes

If you’re searching for hiking socks at a budget-friendly price point, we recommend REI’s Co-Op Out The Door Socks. Although they come in at a lower price point, this durable pair is still made from a premium Merino wool blend. And we love that they quickly wick away moisture—plus, they’re odor-resistant, to cut down on unpleasant smells. 

This striped pair is an ideal option for more casual hikers and come in both blue and purple. But note that these socks are only offered in in small and medium sizes, so they may not be ideal for wearers with larger shoe sizes.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, Lycra spandex | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Two | Care: Machine wash inside out, tumble dry low

Best Anti-Blister: Smartwool Women’s Hiking Crew Socks

Smartwool sock

Amazon

Pros
  • Plush cushioning

  • Thick and warm

  • Made with recycled materials

Cons
  • Expensive

For comfortable hiking socks with good blister protection, we recommend Smartwool’s Mountaineer Socks. They feature plenty of cushioning and are made from a thick, warm blend of wool and recycled nylon to cut down on friction while you walk. This pair should also keep your feet warm, even on the coldest days. 

We also like that these socks have an elasticized arch brace and a flat knit toe seam for a close fit. But they’re more expensive than other pairs on our list.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, recycled nylon, elastane | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Two | Care: Machine wash warm inside out, tumble dry low

Best for Summer: Darn Tough Women’s Light Hiker No-Show Sock

Darn Tough No Show Sock

Darn Tough

Pros
  • Won't slip or bunch

  • Durable

  • Comes in three sizes

Cons
  • Size chart may be off

On hot, sunny days, you’ll want a barely-there pair of socks, like Darn Tough’s Light Hiker Socks. With breathable mesh on top, they’re comfortable enough to wear all day, even in warm weather. They’re also durable and come with a lifetime warranty for your satisfaction. And we like the cushioning at the bottom of the sock, which helps prevent blisters while adding extra comfort.

These sturdy socks offer a performance fit in three sizes that won’t bunch up or slip down while you’re hiking, even in a low-top hiking shoe. But note that they may not run true to size, so it may take some trial and error before you find the right pair.

Materials: Nylon, merino wool, Lycra spandex | Length: No-show | Quantity: One | Colors: Three | Care: Machine wash warm inside out, tumble dry low

Best for Winter: Thorlos Hiking Moderate Cushion Crew Sock

Thorlos High Hiking Sock

Thorlos

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Plush cushioning

Cons
  • Only comes in one color

  • No small size

For hiking on snowy winter days, we recommend Thorlos’ Hiking Moderate Cushion Crew Socks. They have a breathable ventilation panel that wicks away moisture, which helps combat sweating. And we love that the socks contain silk for a soft feel, which sets this pair apart from others on our list.

Note that these socks only come in one color, and there are no small sizes. But for a warm sock with cushioning that’s designed to take pressure off of your feet, this pair comes out on top.

Materials: Merino wool, polyester, nylon, acrylic, silk, elastic | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: One | Care: Machine wash inside out

Best Wool: Smartwool Classic Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

Smartwool Classic Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

REI

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Made from recycled materials

  • Durable

Cons
  • May not have enough cushioning for some

If you’re looking for a pair of sturdy hiking socks made from wool, we recommend Smartwool’s Classic Hike Crew Socks. Lightweight, they easily wick away moisture and resist strong odors. They also contain recycled nylon and provide light cushioning for added protection.

We like that the Classic Hike Crew Socks are durable, with extra fibers that reinforce high-friction areas, so you can be confident they’ll last for years to come. Note that these socks may be too thin for hiking rough trails. But for a basic, reliable wool sock, they’re unmatched.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, recycled nylon, elastane | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Three | Care: Not listed

Best Lightweight: Darn Tough Women’s Queen Bee Socks

Darn Tough Queen Bee Micro Crew

Amazon

Pros
  • Unique design

  • Protective ribbed cuff

  • Lifetime warranty

Cons
  • May be too tight for some

Darn Tough’s Women’s Queen Bee Socks offer a fun design that sets them apart from other hiking socks. They’re also comfortable, with cushioning throughout to keep your feet fresh and dry in all weather. And we like that they come with a lifetime warranty—the company will replace your socks if any mishaps happen on the trail.

There’s also a thick, ribbed cuff for added protection from dirt and debris while you hike. Note that the fit on these hiking socks may be too tight for some, so you may want to order a size up. But overall, this pair is a great pick for those who want well-designed hiking socks that feel nice and light.

Materials: Nylon, merino wool, Lycra spandex | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Two | Care: Machine wash warm, tumble dry low

Best Low-Cut: Smartwool Hike Light Cushion Ankle Socks

Hike Light Cushion Ankle Socks

Smartwool

Pros
  • Wide range of colors

  • Breathable

  • Durable

Cons
  • No small size

We recommend Smartwool’s Hike Light Socks if you usually wear trail shoes or short boots when hiking. Unlike other options on our list, these socks come in seven bright color combinations, so they’ll easily fit into any wardrobe. And we love that they feature mesh ventilation zones for increased breathability. 

Durable Merino wool is reinforced in the areas that need it the most, so your socks will last for countless hikes to come. However, they don’t come in any small sizes, so be sure to check Smartwool’s size chart so you can find the right fit.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, recycled nylon, elastane | Length: Ankle | Quantity: One | Colors: Seven | Care: Machine wash warm

Best Mid-Weight: Darn Tough Vermont Women's Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

Darn Tough Vermont Women's Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

Darn Tough

Pros
  • Wide range of colors

  • Extra heel cushioning

  • Lifetime warranty

Cons
  • Expensive

  • May be too thick for warm weather

Looking for mid-weight hiking socks? We recommend this pair from Darn Tough. We love that these socks are fully cushioned throughout, including extra padding behind the heel for added comfort. There’s a range of colors to choose from, and similar to other options on this list, a lifetime warranty is included.

This pair is one of the more expensive options on our list, and in warmer conditions, some may prefer lighter socks. Otherwise, this sturdy pair is ready to slip right into your regular rotation.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, spandex | Length: Calf | Quantity: One | Colors: Seven | Care: Machine wash warm

Best Unisex: Thorlos Max Cushion Crew Socks

Thorlos Sock

Thorlos

Pros
  • Thick cushioning

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Durable

Cons
  • Only two colors

  • Sizes may run small

Thorlos’ Maximum Cushion Crew Socks are our best unisex pick because of the way they’re cushioned. Plush support from the toes to the heel offers added comfort and reduces pressure on your feet, even on the longest walks. We also like that they’re durable and will stand up to daily wear.  

However, there are only two colors to choose from when it comes to these socks, and the design is fairly standard. And like with other fully cushioned socks, this thicker pair may not be ideal for hiking in warmer conditions.

Materials: Acrylic, merino wool, nylon, elastic | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Two | Care: Machine washable

Best Design: Smartwool Women's Hike Light Cushion Mountain Print Crew Socks

Women's Hike Light Cushion Mountain Print Crew Socks

Smartwool

Pros
  • Unique design

  • Breathable

  • Made from recycled materials

Cons
  • Some may need more cushioning

  • Only one color

If you’re searching for a pair of socks with a stunning design, we recommend Smartwool’s Hike Light Cushion Mountain Print Socks. With a detailed landscape scene woven right in, these socks truly stand apart from the rest. If sustainability is important to you, note that this pair also contains recycled nylon. And we like that they have added mesh for increased breathability, so your feet stay itch- and irritation-free.

Because they’re on the thinner side, some hikers may prefer more cushioning. Plus, there’s only one color and design to choose from. But with a close fit and seamless construction, these socks are built to last.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, recycled nylon, elastane | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: One | Care: Machine wash warm inside out, tumble dry low

Best Waterproof: Randy Sun Unisex Waterproof Socks

Randy Sun Waterproof Socks

Ebay

Pros
  • Wide range of colors and sizes

  • Keeps feet warm

  • Durable

Cons
  • Cuff isn’t waterproof

  • May be too tight for some

For a tough, durable hiking sock that can stand up to the elements, we recommend Randy Sun’s Unisex Waterproof Socks. There’s over 20 colors and four sizes to choose from, so you can find the right fit in a style you love. Plus, we like that there's a breathable membrane that lets air flow in, while keeping water out.

Because they’re 100% waterproof, these wool-free socks are ideal for adventuring in rainy or snowy conditions. They’re also lightweight and durable, so you can easily throw them in the washing machine before your next outing. 

Note that the cuff of the sock isn’t waterproof, so they may not be the best choice for hiking through deep water or snow. The sizing may also be tight for some, so consider ordering a size up.

Materials: Nylon, lycra, elastane | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: 21 | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low

Best Neoprene: Capas Neoprene Waterproof Socks

Neoprene Capas Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Anti-slip

  • Lightweight

  • Sandproof

Cons
  • Only one color

  • May be too thin for some

 Looking for neoprene hiking socks? We recommend this pair from Capas. They’re sandproof, so your feet will stay dry and protected, even while hiking near the beach. And we love the silicone, anti-slip pattern on the bottom, which provides extra grip while taking on tough terrain.

Note that this pair may not be as durable as other options on our list because they’re neoprene and not woven from wool. They’re also fairly thin, so not ideal for longer hikes, and only come in black.

Materials: Neoprene | Length: Ankle | Quantity: One | Colors: One | Care: Machine wash

Best for Kids: Icebreaker Hike Light Crew Macro Stripe Socks - Kids

Icebreaker kids socks

REI

Pros
  • Odor-resistant

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Soft material

Cons
  • May be too long for some kids

For kids hiking socks, we recommend the Icebreaker Kid’s Macro Stripe Socks. With a range of neutral colors to choose from, these hiking socks are odor-resistant and durable. There’s also a lifetime warranty included—so if they ever wear out or you notice a hole, the company will replace them with a brand new pair.

While these socks are listed as crew length, they may be too long to wear in warmer weather for some kids, depending on the size. But for a soft, sturdy pair of all-weather socks that won’t break the bank, they’re a solid option.

Materials: Merino wool, nylon, Lycra spandex | Length: Crew | Quantity: One | Colors: Five | Care: Not listed

Final Verdict

The Bombas Merino Wool Hiking Calf Socks are our top overall pick because they’re made from premium materials that will keep your feet comfortable, dry, and cool. They also feature arch support woven directly into the sock, for a snug and supportive fit. 

We also recommend the Darn Tough Light Hiker Socks because they have breathable mesh panels and plenty of cushioning underfoot. With a seamless construction and a lifetime warranty, they’re a sure bet for almost any adventure.

How We Selected the Best Hiking Socks

When choosing the best hiking socks, we first spoke with Dr. Bruce Pinker, a foot and ankle surgeon, and Kristen Bor, a hiking expert and the founder of Bearfoot Theory. They shared their advice on how hiking socks should fit, which materials and lengths to look for, and how breathable the right pair should be.

Then, we researched dozens of different hiking socks from the most popular and trusted brands. We chose the best pairs based on quality and price. We also considered fit, material, cushioning, and length.

What to Look For in Hiking Socks

Materials

Hiking socks can be made from a range of materials. Wool is the most common and is usually the main fiber used, like in Bombas' Merino Wool Calf Socks. Other materials may include polyester, nylon, silk, elastane, and spandex. Choose a pair of socks that feel comfortable and breathable while you’re wearing them.

Cushioning

Cushioning in hiking socks can vary—some pairs have no added cushioning, and some have plenty. “The amount of cushioning required in a hiking sock depends upon the fit of the hiking boot. In some types of hiking boots there may be a need for added cushioning,” Pinker says. After purchasing a pair of socks, try them on with your hiking shoes or boots to see if they provide the right level of cushioning.

Fit

The right fit for your hiking socks is essential to stay comfortable and prevent blisters while hiking. You’ll know when your hiking socks fit well because they’ll be snug, but not overly tight. There shouldn’t be too much room in the toes or the heel, and they shouldn’t dig in, either.

Length

Hiking socks vary in length, from ankle socks to below-the-knee socks. When choosing the best length, your boots are an important factor. “If you're hiking in trail runners or low-ankle boots, a low-ankle or mid-sock is great. If you're wearing a high-ankle boot, be sure to wear mid-ankle or crew socks so your boots don't rub against your ankle. This can cause friction and discomfort,” Bor says.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of socks are good for hiking?

    The best socks for hiking depend on a range of factors, including length, material, fit, cushioning, the time of year, the weather, and more. There’s no right or wrong answer, as every hiker is different. Ultimately, choose a pair of socks that fit you well and that have the additional features you’re looking for based on the trail you’ll be taking on.

  • Do hiking socks make a difference?

    Compared to regular cotton socks, hiking socks can make a difference when hiking. Hiking socks are usually thicker and more durable than regular socks are, which can be beneficial on the trail. “While hiking, your feet are likely to get sweaty and rub against the inside of your shoes, so it’s important to invest in a good pair of hiking socks to prevent blisters,” Bor says.

  • What is the best hiking sock material?

    Wool is the most popular hiking sock material because it keeps your feet warm and can absorb more water than other materials before it feels wet or damp to the touch. Wool is also more odor-resistant than other materials, like cotton. Most hiking socks are made from a blend of wool plus another material, like polyester, nylon, silk, elastane, or spandex, to combine these benefits with other features like stretch and breathability. For example, Darn Tough's Micro Crew Light Cushion Socks contain Merino wool, nylon, and Lycra spandex.

  • Should you wear two pairs of socks when hiking?

    Generally, it’s not recommended to wear two pairs of socks when hiking. “I don't recommend wearing multiple pairs of socks at the same time unless the socks are thin and the layering of socks is necessary to ensure a better fit in the hiking boot. Too many layers can be unnecessary and lead to discomfort, a poor fit in the hiking boots, and increased perspiration that can lead to the development of foot fungus and warts,” Pinker says.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a qualified personal trainer and health and fitness writer, Ravi Davda understands how important quality product recommendations can be. He recommends products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Wool and cotton blends for the high-end apparel sector. Procedia Engineering. 2017;200:96-103.

By Ravi Davda
Ravi Davda has been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 10 years, having gone through a major weight loss journey in his 20s.He is a certified personal trainer and loves the nutrition side of health and fitness. He has a degree in Mathematics with Economics and runs a marketing agency, Rockstar Marketing.Ravi loves lifting weights in the gym and is also a digital nomad. He has learned to adapt his training style based on the different situations he's been put in (for example, the pandemic, keeping up with fitness whilst on the move) and therefore understands the importance of honest product reviews.