If you’re an avid hiker, you’ve probably experienced some form of sock regret on the trail. Whether it was picking a pair of socks that were too light and paying for it with blisters all over your feet or wearing something too heavy and having to deal with sweat, the right pair of socks can make or break your hiking experience. But how do you know what type of socks to pick? What if it’s hot? What if it’s cold? What if you’re going on a multi-day hiking trip where the weather can be unpredictable?
This guide to long-distance hiking socks will be able to give you the answers you need to make sure you can keep your attention on the natural world around you instead of focusing on your feet.
The Three Main Factors to Consider in a Pair of Long-Distance Hiking Socks
Before we take a look at the different types of hiking socks best for different climates, it’s important to understand some fundamentals about hiking socks. Whatever the time of year you plan to hike, you’ll want to take the following three factors into account before you purchase a pair of hiking socks:
1. Best Hiking Sock Materials
A good hiking sock should be made of materials that provide moisture-wicking. If your feet get too sweaty while you’re hiking, you could run into blister issues. Merino wool is your best bet for a sturdy sock that will keep your feet dry and provide natural odor resistance. While you might think Merino wool would be too hot for summer hiking, it’s also very breathable when paired with synthetic yarns and won’t overheat your feet like regular wool would.
2. The Right Hiking Sock Length
It’s important to take sock length into consideration when you’re prepping for a long-distance hike. You don’t want your socks to be too short, as that can cause rubbing on your ankles if you have boots with higher tops. A pair of quarter-length socks that reach slightly above the ankles are usually a solid all-around choice for an extended period of time out on the trails. With quarter-length socks, you’ll have protection for your ankles without the risk of overheating that over-the-calf socks can cause.
3. Durable Hiking Socks
You’ll want to make sure that your socks can withstand all of the miles you’ll be hiking. Selecting a pair featuring a double-layer design will reduce the risk of hot spots that can wear away at the yarn and cause holes to form. If you want to evaluate a sock’s durability, it’s typically best to check their reviews, buy socks made in America, and see if the seller offers a satisfaction guarantee.
What Socks to Wear In Different Climates
After considering a sock’s durability, material, and length, you’ll want to think about how it will perform in different climates. Learn more about how to choose long-distance hiking socks for various weather conditions below:
The Best Socks for Cold Weather Hikes
Insulation should be the biggest factor when picking a sock for a hike in lower temperatures. Merino wool is once again the best choice for materials when it comes to keeping your feet warm on the trail. In terms of length, you may want to go with an over-the-calf sock, as the higher length will protect your legs from freezing temperatures.
You may also want to consider a sock that has a double-layer system. With double-layer socks, you can receive the warmth and protection of wearing two pairs of socks without the discomfort of doubling up. Plus, double-layer socks protect against blisters that can form while out on a hike.
The Best Socks for Hot Weather Hikes
Because hiking socks tend to be bulkier than everyday socks, choosing a pair for a hike on a hot day can be hard. You’ll want to look for a pair of socks that combines synthetic material and merino wool. This combination ensures you’ll receive all of the benefits that merino wool has to offer with the greater breathability that many synthetic materials provide.
Good hot weather hiking socks will also have a ventilation system to keep your feet from getting too warm. Finally, much like cold weather socks, anti-blister technology is a must when it comes to any kind of hiking footwear.
The Best Socks for Unpredictable Weather
If you’re venturing off into unpredictable climates for a long-distance trek, you’ll want a pair of socks that won’t cause your feet to get too hot but can stand up to lower temperatures if they happen to drop. Typically, the best choice for unpredictable weather is a sock made out of Merino wool and synthetic materials. However, instead of going with the thinnest sock you can find, like you would on a hot day, you’ll want to look for a pair that’s a bit more bulky.
It’s also smart to wear socks that come up a little higher onto your calves, as they’ll provide some extra coverage in the cold. You can always roll cuff them downwards if they get to be too hot as well!
Choose Wrightsock for All of Your Hiking Adventures
When it’s time to finally head out for a long trek into the wilderness, Wrightsock has you covered. We have double-layer hiking socks for all different types of environments, so whether you’re off to the mountains or out in the desert, we have a pair to keep you comfortable. All of our double-layer socks are backed by our No Blister Guarantee. We’ve worked hard to make a name for ourselves with our anti-blister technology, and we stand by it 100% or your money back.