Hiking socks for a day-hike or longer backpacking trip should match the forecast weather and hike conditions.

A well-fitting sock can benefit from compression ache panels, cushioned toes and heels. Plus, a liner system can help protect the feet on a long hike. A thick sock in wool is great for extra comfort and warmth while also helping to prevent issues with blisters.

What are the Best Socks for Hiking

Here are seven things to look for when searching the right pair of socks for the next hiking trip:

Cooling Technology

Sock with a cooling technology are manufactured from a fabric with technical and natural fibers which is useful for its ability to wick moisture from the skin and promote air circulation.

Socks of this nature are a practical choice for hikes taking place through the warmer months of the year.


A pair of hiking socks should provide a comfortable and tight fit. Socks that are too tight can have a negative impact on circulation in the region of the feet – but socks too loose will rub and lead to chafing and blisters.

The length of the socks is also important. If the socks don’t pull up above the height of the boots, discomfort might be noticed from the tongue and heel of the boots – although, for the socks that can be pulled too far up this can result in the feet/lower legs getting too warm.


The preferred material of the hiking socks should match the planned hike. A preferred fabric for wet-weather hiking is wool which is great at protecting the feet, but will take a while to dry after getting wet.

For the hike in wet or cold climates it can benefit to wear a mid-range to heavy sock in wool for the outer layer and a tight first layer sock can also be worn. For the hikes in mild temperature, fast-drying fabric in a synthetic material might be advisable. Socks with nylon in the makeup are useful for wicking moisture from the skin.

Also for the lighter socks that don’t perform well with wicking, it might benefit to wear liners. Plus, make sure you aren’t allergic to a particular fabric before buying the socks.


Extra padding for the socks means more comfort for the feet on the trails, especially in the toe and heel area.

Plus, padding can even appear underfoot to increase the cushioning while hiking over the most difficult terrain.


Hiking socks vary in the thickness of the material from thin to double-layered. A thin, light pair of socks is a practical choice for the short length, easy or warm day hikes. A mid-range pair of sock is best for the reasonably warm weather hikes and tougher hikes.

Upgrade to the thick socks if planning a hike in cold or damp hiking conditions.


Hiking socks can be treated with special technology for better and long-lasting protection on the trails.

Socks with anti-mosquito properties are great at repelling insects in the warmer climates. Plus, the anti-bacterial socks help to prevent issues with odor to make them wearable for longer if needed.


The most effective socks for hiking or similar outdoor activities are those rated with high wicking which means the fabric has the ability to move the build-up of moisture from the skin.

This has a practical benefit from preventing the development of blisters and helps to control the temperature of the feet.