Hiking socks can be a thing many people take for granted if you have already spent money on good hiking boots and other equipment. Nevertheless, hiking socks will be indispensable on the hike and journey if one does not want to have ruined the trip by blisters, sores and sore feet. Get wiser on your choice of hiking socks in our guide below.

Why hiking socks?

It can be hard or seem strange to throw money at hiking socks if you have already bought a good pair of hiking boots. However, they make a big difference, and are an indispensable supplement that hiking enthusiasts and people who have walked long distances will agree on. A good pair of hiking socks can save your trekking or hiking trip from becoming a tiring affair with blisters and sore feet . They can be the difference between not being able to think about anything other than wanting to achieve goals versus enjoying nature and the experiences.

How do hiking socks work?

Hiking socks act as an extra layer between foot and shoe, and are specially designed to take care of and reduce wear and tear on feet under heavy load. They add extra comfort which reduces discomfort, which can be both blisters or lack of breathability and insulation for the feet.

Most hiking socks are designed with a blister-free technology and are reinforced in key areas such as the toes and heel, which allows you to walk further. Another advantage of hiking socks is that they typically have flat seams and joints that minimize friction and irritation, thus not bothering the foot like normal socks. Hiking socks typically weigh less and sit better on the foot, as they are created with an eye to protect exposed areas.

Which material should I choose?

Hiking socks can be made of different materials, or a combination of several materials. These can be, for example, the following materials, each of which has its own characteristic properties:

  • Wool – The most popular material for making hiking socks, which is good for regulating the temperature and moisture in the socks, whereby the feet remain comfortable and keep warm. Wool also minimizes odor more than synthetic fabric
  • Merino wool – Contains antibacterial properties and absorbs moisture / sweat
  • Polyester – A synthetic material that dries quickly
  • Nylon – A synthetic material that adds durability
  • Silk – A comfortable and light fabric
  • Spandex – Adds elastic properties and a good fit

Wool and Merino wool are good for warming the feet, while other materials help to regulate the heat in the summer. Polyester and nylon add durability and quick drying of the socks. Merino wool has the advantage that it is more self-cleaning so the socks do not smell as much, while wool has to be washed a little more. If the fabric is synthetic, it needs to be washed even more.

Maintenance of hiking socks

Maintenance of hiking socks must be done carefully, and it is recommended to follow the washing instructions on the socks. A good piece of advice is to wash them inside out so that the inside is completely cleaned. You should not throw them in the dryer, especially if it is wool. On the other hand, it is better to air dry your hiking socks, but feel free to look at the washing instructions if you would rather dry them in another way.

Hiking socks
Hiking socks benefit from being washed upside down .

Comfort and freedom of movement

It is important to achieve the right comfort and effect that the hiking socks sit close to the foot. Many hiking socks ensure a good fit through lycra / elastane or other elastic material. The elasticity of the socks is especially important around your ankles and ankles, as these areas are particularly exposed over longer distances and thus need freedom of movement. Several hiking socks are equipped with an anatomical grip area, which means that the socks do not slip down. 

The hiking socks should be tight, but without them definitely tightening too much. It is recommended to choose the size based on your actual foot and not your shoe size. If you are between two sizes, it is recommended to take the smallest size. It is assessed that the sock fits correctly when the heel cup is in line with the heel of your foot. Hiking socks can be tailored to gender, but in many cases the difference is small.

Hiking socks are available in different heights ranging from ankle socks, medium and long socks to socks at knee height. When choosing the height of hiking socks, one should weigh the choice based on climate, terrain and height of hiking boots and hiking shoes. The ankle socks can be used with advantage in hiking shoes, while the medium and long ones can be used in hiking boots. The knee-high hiking socks will typically need to be worn on mountaineering and cold climates.  

Should you wear inner and outer socks?

This is a question we often get when it comes to hiking socks. Here the answer is that modern hiking socks in the vast majority of cases are probably alone. As an alternative constellation, a thin inner sock that transports sweat can be a good idea and then supplement with an insulating outer sock that can transport the moisture further out into the hiking boot.  

In general, we recommend taking 2 pairs of hiking socks with you in the backpack if one pair should get wet.

When it comes to keeping your feet warm in the winter, socks can not do it alone. Do not freeze elsewhere on the body, as you quickly lose body heat if your arms freeze, for example. Therefore, make sure to be well covered throughout the body.

Summary benefits of hiking socks

Hiking socks differ from ordinary socks in several respects. It is a more advanced product, which is specially designed and with more technologies and features. Several hiking socks, for example, have been added coolmax technology, which makes the socks moisture-absorbing and breathable.

7 things you get with good hiking socks

  • Relief of foot pads
  • Increased shock absorption at each step
  • Increased support
  • Freedom of movement
  • Heat regulation, as well as sweat transport through the materials
  • Odor minimization
  • Reduces blisters, soreness, friction and irritation


Hiking socks can be a really good investment, so you ensure a comfortable and good trip or hike.