Hiking Socks—How To Find The Best Socks For Hiking

Taking care of your feet while on the trail starts with cushioning and protecting them with proper socks. Your trail shoes should work in tandem with your hiking socks to offer support and comfort without friction.


Finding the best socks for hiking begins by thinking about what shoes you’ll wear.

Hiking Socks Article
Trail Running Shoes

If you have lightweight trail runners, pick thinner hiking socks that also offer reinforcement on the heel and arch. Your hiking socks will last longer if they have more padding in high-impact areas, and the thinner padding in low-impact areas allows for better breathability and cooling. These hiking socks are often cut at the ankle or lower. Running-specific socks made of synthetic materials work well with trail running shoes and can be found at running stores.


Backroads Pro Tip

As with just about all outdoor clothing, avoid cotton. Once wet, it takes very long to dry and is a poor insulator.



Hiking Boots

While in the backcountry or on hikes more than 10 miles, hiking boots that stabilize the ankle are preferred. Pair boots with hiking socks that extend to mid-calf—or even to the knee, if the weather is cold. Snowboarding socks work well for cold weather hiking. Darn Tough’s Ski/Ride socks are one good option. Wool socks are best in the backcountry, especially thick ones that will keep your feet feeling dry no matter what. Wool hiking socks can absorb up to 30 percent of their weight in liquid  before they begin to feel wet to the touch! Wool also has magical anti-odor properties that make this fabric a terrific option for backpacking.

Backroads Pro Tip

Always pack an extra pair of quality hiking socks on long hikes. They’ll come in handy in case of stormy weather or river crossings!


Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes offer the same features as hiking boots but without the added weight. The best socks for hiking with this footwear are light to midweight socks. Since these are the most versatile shoes, you can wear any length of hiking socks. Experiment and see what works best for you.

The best socks for hiking vary depending on trail type, the shoe style you are pairing them with, personal preference and even weather conditions. To find the best combination for you, pick up a few styles of hiking socks to try with your various shoes.

Backroads Pro Tip

Hiking socks go on sale nearly year-round, so take advantage and experiment! If you ever need to reach a minimum order for free shipping, throw in a pair of socks in your online shopping cart. #winning!


Hiking socks are good for everyday use too. Whether you’re running, traveling or sliding around on wooden floors just for fun, invest in quality pairs that’ll last for years.

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