When it comes to hiking, nothing is better than roaming away from the city and into nature, taking in the world around you, as well as fresh air. Aaah, bliss!
There is something about using paper maps instead of Google to find your way around, as well as stopping for a well prepared snack (and break) to keep you energized for the walk ahead. Even when it rains, it only makes you feel closer to that raw feeling of nature. You just cannot beat it.Fear not though, because this was just a first-time mistake - at least for the socks. There is a better option out there and it is called Merino wool! So, let us show you the best picks when it comes to wool socks that are great for hiking. Plus, we have added a handy buyer’s guide so you never need to second guess what to look for when it comes to hiking socks.
Then the foot pain starts, and you realise you are getting a blister. Those thin cotton socks that promised they were perfect for hiking are just not cutting it - instead your feet are being cut up. Nasty!
5 Best Wool Socks
OUR TOP PICK
The Danish Endurance socks are a good all-rounder sock made for hiking and general sports such as running.
Born in Copenhagen where all of their design ideas are established and then made in Portugal, the brand has worked with Olympic Athletes and a Mount Everest climber to make sure the socks have the highest standards of quality when it comes to overall performance.
The brand itself is all about the planet too, having switched to recyclable packaging. Also, the Merino wool has been sourced using an animal-friendly way, rather than Mulesing practices.
The socks are made from Climayarn, a type of Merino wool that has a very high absorption rate that is great at regulating temperature and wicking away sweat on the feet.
The sock itself also has a targeted padding area which has no bulk to it ensuring they stay comfortable, also to help reduce injuries such as blisters and any shocks the feet may receive through walking.
The classic designed sock is available in both men’s and women’s sizes, making it a great option for everyone.
If you are after thick socks, these are not it, but do not be put off by this. The material itself is enough to protect the feet, but there is also nothing wrong with wearing two pairs at a time for extra protection and comfort.
Also the elasticated band at the top of the sock has been reported as snug by some wearers, so the socks may not be suitable for a diabetic.
- Made from Climayarn - a sweat absorbing Merino wool
- Targeted padding - that is not bulky to reduce blisters and shocks whilst feeling comfortable
- Olympian tested - to ensure a high quality pair of socks
- Snug sock band - may not be suitable for a diabetic
- Thin Socks - though this does not change the quality or how well they perform
When it comes to hiking socks, we do not always think about the compression ability. The Footland (it is all in the name) socks use a figure 8 wrapping technique that applies compression where it is needed in order to provide stability.
This means you are supported within the joins for better mobility, as well as stability, in order to hike for longer distances.
There is also extra protection on the achilles tendon area. This is because the sock has a weaving structured pattern that includes extra thickness to protect and compress.
Also, the socks are made using three thread terry cloth produced by Italian knitting machines. This increases the thickness of the socks in order to give the wearer better protection, and more elasticity to help move the foot.
The extra protection works by absorbing the shocks produced from placing the foot onto the ground. The socks will cushion your feet, ultimately making the hike a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.
The Merino wool is great for eliminating smelly feet. As a natural material to regulate temperature, it will keep your feet airy and ‘deodorize’ them throughout the walk.
Also, any sweat produced will be dried quickly within the wool due to its great moisture-wicking capabilities that are found in Merino wool. In fact, Merino wool can absorb five times the moisture than artificial fibers.
This means they are great to be worn during the summer too when the feet will become extra sweaty! Also, the socks include keratin which means after a long walk you can air them and they will be odorless the next day ready to take on another hike.
They are middle thickness which will suit more footwear and comfortability making these a great choice for that next hike, though it may not suit every hiking boot if you do not want the tightness.
- Compression ability - for more stability during a hike
- Shock absorbing - meaning you can walk for longer without pain
- Includes keratin - you can wear them longer between washes if no washing machine is available. Gives you the option to air dry them and have no odor on the socks
- Middle thickness - that may not suit every boot
Proudly designed and manufactured in the USA, the Swiftwick hiking sock is made using Olefin, a type of Merino wool mixed with Olefin fibers. Just like all Merino wool, it has the capabilities of wicking away sweat and helping to manage excess moisture.
This will help to keep those feet dry even during the summer months and to avoid blisters due to the skin rubbing and moving because they are sweaty.
The socks also have a temperature control that works all year round meaning they will be a great option during the coldest day in winter, to the hottest day in summer - just do not forget to hydrate!
The socks have a nearly seamless toe which has been purposely done to help eliminate friction that can be caused there during a long walk. This will help you to avoid blisters and feeling uncomfortable.
They also have a mid-level strength of cushioning which has been designed to feel comfortable alongside most hiking boots. An arch band also supports the foot during a walk as it makes sure to keep the sock in place all the whilst supporting the arch of the foot.
The Y-shaped heel has been stitched in a way to provide a snugger fit for extra comfort, and the mesh heel has been created to ensure a dryer foot and to help avoid any abrasions.
It has a lower sock band than others, so some people may find these too short if they are after something longer up the leg.
- Temperature control - for all year comfort
- Great support - includes different techniques to ensure better comfort and protection
- Gets rid of moisture - because of being made from natural Merino wool
- Shorter leg band than other brands - some people may want something longer up the leg
If you want snazzy, vibrant colors, then the EnerWear socks are the ones for you. Featuring ombre color effects in yellows, blues, oranges and pinks (amongst others), these socks are perfect for anyone who wants to add a bit of color and fun to their hike.
There are plain options too, but we particularly love the idea of wearing something bright underneath our hiking gear, or to show a pop of color during the summer months as we wind our way along trails.
Made of 42% Merino wool, the socks will keep your feet snuggly and warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Due to the properties of Merino wool, it will wick away any sweat your feet produce to stop the foot from rubbing and forming blisters, but also to keep them fresh.
The socks have cushioned support to ensure you have maximum protection from the shocks absorbed during a long hike. They have also been designed for more extreme weather conditions, which also means they are perfect for outdoor sports such as skiing, cycling and mountaineering.
They are thinner than other brands, but the Merino wool should help to keep them resistant to shocks, blisters and other things your feet may endure during an activity.
- 42% Merino wool - wicks sweat away and helps to keep your feet fresh and protected
- Designed for extreme weather - so can be used for outdoor sports too
- Lot of color options - to add brightness to your hiking gear
- Quite thin - but also they should be able to withstand a long hike very easily due to being made out of Merino wool
If you are looking for socks particularly for the winter months, then look no further. The Cozia socks contain 80% Merino wool which will not only protect the feet and keep them extra comfortable, but also they will keep them snuggly warm during a hike.
The sock also provides cushioning to avoid sudden impact to the foot, and will protect the skin from any nasty insect bites and rubbing of the skin against the shoe.
There is also a form of compression that will help with the blood circulation, as well as take pressure off foot fatigue. This means you can hike for a lot longer and will still feel really comfortable whilst doing so.
Due to its design, the sock features reinforced yarn within the toe and heel areas to increase the ventilation for much better breathability due to air flow, and doing so also gives the sock more durability.
This also helps the Merino wool to wick sweat away and fight any odors that may be present.
The sock also includes ankle vents for less bulkiness around that area, especially to make wearing shoes a lot more comfortable. Also, there is added arch support for better motion and stability.
As stated above, they are thicker socks created especially for cold seasons, so these may not be suitable for wearing in the summer as the majority of the ingredients is wool. Keep this in mind, though it does not mean you cannot wear them in the sun because Merino wool is good at regulating temperature.
- Highly rated - great socks that do the job well
- 80% Merino wool - more wool than other brands for better warmth and protection
- Great protection - due to its construction and high levels of wool
- Compression - for better support of the foot
- Winter only - 80% of ingredients is wool, but can still be worn in the summer if you want to
As promised, here is the buyer’s guide so you can see what key areas to look at before you buy the perfect pair (or two) of wool socks ready for that next hike.
As you are probably already aware, the best material when it comes to hiking socks is wool. There are many benefits to choosing wool over synthetic, and it does not have to be an expensive choice either - plus, they should last longer than a synthetic pair which may rub and cause holes quicker than wool.
Firstly, Merino wool is naturally a material that will cushion the feet, something that is really important if you are going to be on your feet for a few hours at a time. It also is a perfect fabric to wick away any sweat.
This is ideal because it means it will regulate the temperature of the feet, and they will not smell unlike if you were wearing a synthetic fabric.
During the summer they will be a good option too because Merino wool can be knitted as a thin sock, meaning it will still give you all the benefits of the wool, and not overheat the feet due to its natural ability as a breathable fabric.
Some of the socks offer a longer or shorter leg band. None of this gives better protection or any extras, though it is beneficial to know which size will be best for the boot cut your shoes have.
If you have boots with a higher up cut, then you will want to have a higher leg band to protect the leg. If it is shorter, you can either go for a shorter leg band or a higher one - really the option here is all about preference.
Another thing to consider is the tightness of the leg band. Whilst you do want it to be a snug fit, you do not want it to be so tight it hurts. Also, if you are a diabetic, you will want to make sure it feels comfortable and will not harm you in any way by being too tight.
Even though Merino wool is a great first choice when it comes to hiking socks, you will want to take a look at the thickness of the sock. This is because some socks will be more suited to winter, whilst others may be better suited to summer, or all year round weather conditions.
The thicker the sock, the better for winter, but also they are really good for if you are bedding in new hiking boots - nobody has time for blisters! The thicker sock will keep your feet cosy and warm, especially if you are hiking through the snow.
A thinner sock can still be worn in colder weather due to Merino wool being a warmer fabric, and if you want, you can even wear two pairs at the same time. This may be handy during winter.
A thicker wool sock can also be worn during the summer. This is because Merino wool has breathable capabilities that keeps the air flow moving, whilst making sure to regulate the temperature of the foot.
Whilst this does not stop your feet sweating, it will help to wick away any moistness to control odor and wetness.
Some hiking socks offer compression support which is great if you want extra stability and protection during a hike. It is also likely to help you to walk a further distance due to its ability to combat foot fatigue.
Also, as you probably already know, compression is great for blood circulation, which is only a bonus if you are going to be using your feet for hours on end. All this extra protection is beneficial if you want to look after your feet during long walks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Wool Socks Suitable For Hiking?
Wool is the preferred material when it comes to hiking socks. They are a popular choice because, not only is wool recommended by specialists, it helps to regulate temperature to stop feet from getting sweaty, and also provides a form of cushioning to protect the feet.
The material is also breathable, and is just a great wool to help wick away sweat on those long hikes.
Are Wool Socks Suitable To Wear During Hiking In The Summer?
Yes, they are still a good option when it comes to the summer because the fabric is antimicrobial. This means that the socks, and your feet, do not become smelly quite as quickly as synthetic material used for socks.
Because Merino wool (the material normally used for hiking socks) can be knitted thinly to produce a thin fabric, they are also not always warmer than a synthetic sock.
Should You Wear Two Pairs Of Socks During A Hike?
You do not need to, though a lot of people prefer to. This is because not only does it help you to avoid bugs getting into your hiking boots, but it also helps to prevent the build-up of moisture to help keep the feet dry, and doing so adds extra protection to the feet to avoid blisters.