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Best Hiking Socks for Hiking & Backpacking

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Best Hiking Socks

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This is a hiking gear review of the Best Hiking Socks of 2022.

I’ve hiked well over 10000 miles in the last couple of years and know more than most people about what makes a good pair of hiking socks. Let me share that knowledge with you.

I’m going to cover the best socks for hiking, the best socks for thru hiking, and the best socks for backpacking. All the good hiking socks on the market that are in the list below are for both men and women.


Best Hiking Socks for Backpacking 2022

The Best Hiking Socks for Backpacking in 2022 are:


Best Socks for Hiking – Overall

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Sock

Pros:
> Excellent customer ratings
> Great for keeping feet warm
> Moisture-wicking merino wool
> Knitted for mid-level cushioning
> Made in USA
Cons:
> There have been mixed reviews regarding whether they’re true to size

I have hiked 1000s of miles in these socks including the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail. Darn Tough’s socks are the real deal and are the best hiking socks in the market right now.

These ones are micro crew height, which means that they peak just above the height of a traditional standard hiking boot. 

They’re made of a composite material, mostly merino wool at 59%, and also 39% nylon, and 2% Lycra spandex to give it a little bit of stretch. 

The merino wool is thermo-regulating and will assist in wicking sweat away. Which means that it will keep your feet at a comfortable temperature no matter what the weather is doing come summer or winter.

But what really makes it such good socks for hiking, thru hiking and backpacking is the mid-level cushion density along the sole of the sock, thanks to its fine gauge knitting.

The Darn Tough Hiker Socks will keep your feet warm and comfortable for the entire duration of your hike, no matter how far you’re going. 

It also features an undetectable seam at the toes – it’s almost seamless. And this way your socks won’t rub against the insides of your hiking boot and cause discomfort. 

It’s available in a choice of 8 different colors. And I suspect that the plain black onyx option and the denim look option will be among the most popular.

It’s also available in 3 different sizes. Namely small, which in women’s sizes is 4.5 to 7, medium which is sizes 7.5 to 9.5, and large, which is sizes 10 to 11.5. And, provided you get the right fit, there will be no slipping, no bunching, and no blisters. 

Darn Tough hiker socks are made right here in the good old US of A. Specifically in Northfield, Vermont, where it is both designed and knitted. 

The other thing that impressed me about these socks is how they come backed by a lifetime guarantee. I don’t know about you, but that was the first time I’ve ever heard of an item of clothing coming with a lifetime guarantee!

Overall, these Darn Tough Micro Crew Hiker Socks are the best socks for backpacking trips that are available on the market in 2022. If you are looking for Darn Tough Hiker socks, these will be your go to choice.

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Best Lightweight Hiking Socks

Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

Pros:
> Merino wool is  ZQ-certified
> Light cushion along bottom
> Breathable & moisture wicking
> Areas reinforced where needed
> Uses 28% recycled nylon
Cons:
> Although it contains recycled materials, it’s not made up of 100% recycled materials

What I love about these socks is how the merino wool is sourced. The Smartwool Hike socks are  ZQ-certified in order to promote environmental, and economic sustainability and at the same time helping to safeguard animal welfare.

Better yet, most of the nylon used to add a little stretch among the merino wool is actually recycled, making it a more sustainable sock.

It has a light cushioning along the bottom, which is just what you need for long hikes. The merino wool is moisture wicking to deal with your sweat, and there are mesh panels for the ultimate in breathability. 

The socks reach 8 inches in height, which means that your hiking boots don’t have the chance to rub the skin on your ankles. 

And they’re really designed to last, with strategically placed extended durability zones right where you need them most. The toe area is virtually seamless, and the socks stay right in place throughout the hike.

The Smartwool Performance Hike Light Socks are available in 3 different sizes, namely medium, large and extra large. If you’re not sure what size is right for you, simply click on “Check price” to be taken to the product page, where there is a size chart available.

There are two color options available, namely charcoal and medium grey.

Overall, the Smartwool Performance Hike Light Socks are super comfortable with some of the best cushioning and will last a long time.

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Best Hiking Socks for Australia and New Zealand

Macpac Merino Hiker Socks 

Pros:
> Prevents sock riding down
> Moisture wicking properties
> Thermo-regulating wool
> Breathable mesh panelling
> Full loop pile cushioning
Cons:
> Very limited color options

What I love about these socks is that they feature an elasticated foot arch to prevent the sock from riding down.

And again it’s made with merino wool for those all important thermo-regulation and moisture wicking properties. And it also features mesh paneling through the top of the foot for breathability.

It also features full loop pile full cushion along the base of the sock, which is just what you need for long hikes and thru hiking. And it has a very smooth toe seam that won’t rub as you walk.

The sock is a nice height, one that will stop your hiking boots from rubbing the skin on your  ankles.

It’s available in 2 colors, namely black, and dark grey. It’s also available in 3 different sizes, namely small, medium, and large.

And luckily, the price doesn’t go up with size. To see the size chart, simply click on “check price” to be taken to the product page. 

Overall, these are the Best Hiking Socks for Australia and New Zealand which is the only place you can buy these socks. Having used them on multiple hikes I love the full cushion on these socks. They work well on cold weather and warm weather too.

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Best Thru Hiking Socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion

Pros:
> Excellent customer ratings
> Great for keeping feet warm
> Moisture-wicking merino wool
> Knitted for mid-level cushioning
> Made in good ol’ USA
Cons:
> There aren’t many color options available, and they are all a little dull

The Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion socks are seriously good. I’ve used these socks for 1000s of miles of hiking along with the Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight.

The Darn Tough Light Hiker micro crew are crew length socks, which means that they peak just above the height of a traditional standard hiking boot. 

They’re made of a composite material, mostly lightweight merino wool at 59%, and also 39% nylon, and 2% Lycra spandex to give it a little bit of stretch. 

And because it’s got so much merino wool, it will wick your sweat away.

The Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew socks is a merino wool hiking sock which is thermo-regulating, which means that it will keep your feet at a comfortable temperature no matter what the weather is doing come summer or winter.

It’s a lightweight sock with a thin layer of cushioning going all along the base – just what you need for a long hike in the countryside.

The Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew socks have been redesigned from previous socks, with better breathability thanks to the mesh panels on the top of the foot. And there’s also extended cushioning over the Achilles.

And better yet, Darn Tough’s socks will stay right in place throughout your hike, with no slouching or bunching to worry about. 

It also features an undetectable seam at the toes – it’s almost seamless. And this way your socks won’t rub against the insides of your hiking boot and cause discomfort. 

It’s available in a choice of 8 different colors, namely black, grey, taupe, and denim.

All of which look very masculine. It’s also available in 5 different sizes, namely small, medium, large, X-large, and XX-large.

And luckily the price doesn’t go up by much for the bigger sizes. To see the size chart, simply click on “check price” to be taken to the product page. 

And, provided you get the right fit, there will be no slipping, no bunching, and no blisters. 

The Darn Tough Light Hiker Merino Crew Light Cushion hiker socks are made right here in the good old US of A. Specifically in Northfield, Vermont, where it is both designed and knitted. 

The other thing that impressed me about these socks is how they come backed by a lifetime guarantee. I don’t know about you, but that was the first time I’ve ever heard of an item of clothing coming with a lifetime guarantee. Get a hole and return them, yep, it is that simple.

The Darn Tough Light Hiker Socks are the best socks for thru hiking and I’ve used them on every thru hike I have done.

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Best Budget Hiking Socks

REI Co-Op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew Socks

Pros:
> Certified to Responsible Wool Standard
> Plenty of strategically placed reinforcement
> Light cushioning for long-wearing comfort
> Sweat wicking properties
> Machine washable
Cons:
> They are described as summer-weight which suggests they aren’t suited for use in winter

What I love about the REI Co Op Merino wool socks is how much merino wool they use, 79% no less. This way they really make the most of the wool’s properties, such as the sweat wicking, quick drying, and odor resistance.

And there’s also a little nylon and Lycra spandex to give it a little stretch where needed.

I also love that the wool is certified to the Responsible Wool Standard, very reassuring.

There’s also light cushioning and plenty of reinforcement at the heels, toes, footbeds and Achilles for that all important long-wearing comfort. And they’re machine washable to boot.

It’s available in a choice of three colors. I like the indigo strip. And it’s available in 4 sizes, small, medium, large and extra large. To see the size chart, simply click on “check price” to be taken to the product page.

If you are looking for a budget sock then the REI Co-Op Merino socks are the best backpacking socks for budget hikers.

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REI

More of the Best Backpacking Socks

Icebreaker Merino Hike+ Light Cushion Merino Wool Crew Socks

Pros:
> Made with 70% merino wool
> Thermo-regulating
> Moisture wicking
Machine washable
Cons:
> Price goes up with size

The Icebreaker Hike Light Crew are a great pair of socks, and again with a substantial proportion of merino wool, 70% in fact. This gives it excellent thermo-regulating and sweat wicking properties.

It has been specially sculptured to provide light cushioning and extra durability where needed.

It’s available in 2 color options, jet black and red, or heather and silver. It’s also available in 4 sizes, small, medium, large, and extra large.

Unfortunately, the price does go up with size. To see the size chart, simply click on “check price” to be taken to the product page.

Overall, these are great Merino Wool Hiking Socks.

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Farm To Feet Damascus Lightweight Crew Merino Wool Socks

Pros:
> 100% US grown merino wool
> Thermo-regulating properties
> Targeted high density cushioning 
> Reinforced for added durability
> Won’t cause any discomfort
Cons:
> Although it’s made with merino wool, there’s no mention of moisture wicking properties in the product description

The Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Crew hiking sock is made in the USA, and are made with 100% US grown merino wool. This merino wool has excellent thermo-regulating properties (more on that in our buying guide later).

But what I really love about these socks is their targeted high density cushioning, which is perfect for long hikes in the countryside. It also features a reinforced construction for added durability.

It’s a nice height that stretches beyond the upper lip of your hiking boots, so you know they won’t rub. And there’s a seamless toe closure, so it won’t rub there either. 

It’s available in a choice of 7 colors and is available in 4 different sizes, namely small, medium, large, and X-large. To see the size chart, simply click on “check price” to be taken to the product page.

Overall, the Farm to Feet hiker socks are good value, good quality and comfortable to wear.

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Macpac Merino Crew Socks

Pros:
> High content of merino wool
> Loop pile cushioning
> Moisture wicking
> Full crew height
Cons:
> Color options are a little dull

Like the other Macpac socks I showed you earlier, again there’s a very high content of merino wool. This is what gives it both it’s thermo-regulating and its moisture wicking properties.

But that’s not all. There’s also luxury loop pile cushioning along the base of the sock, which is great for long hikes. I also love that it has a very smooth toe seam that will not chaf.

The Macpac Merino Crew Hiking Socks come in 3 color options, black, navy and light grey. And there are 3 sizes available,  small, medium, and large.

To see the size chart, simply click on “check price” to be taken to the product page.

The are the one of the best hiking socks for Australian and New Zealand hikers due to the company Macpac being so huge in both these countries.

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Other Quality Hiking Socks

Here are a couple more high quality merino wool hiking socks that have not made the list:

  • Injinji Toe Socks : The Injinji Toe Socks have a cult like following with many hikers swearing they prevent blisters and feel super comfortable but the truth is they are not for everyone.
  • Wrightsock CoolMesh II : The Wrightsock Coolmesh II socks are one of the best socks on the market to prevent blisters. They will be added to the review when I get the chance to fully review the,

Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. If you can buy the perfect sock for your feet then you can Prevent Blisters when Hiking. Also, I have written a complete guide to the Best Waterproof Socks if you want waterproof socks.


Socks for Women

All of the socks mentioned in this review are unisex and can be used by either men or women. A lot of the sock companies mentioned in the reviews above make socks womens socks. But overall there is little difference to the unisex socks. Some offer a wider choice of colors and some may go down to smaller sizing.

Women’s Socks are not much different than men’s socks. If you choose to buy a pair of socks then all of the companies that sell them have a size chart that matches with either US Sizing, UK Sizing or EU sizing. You can be sure to find a sock that fits your feet.


Sock Size Guide

It’s important that you get the right size hiking sock for your size of feet. A stretched out hiking sock will be uncomfortable to wear, as will one where the fabric gets bunched up in your hiking shoes.

When you see a pair of nice socks that you like the look and sound of, I strongly recommend that you check if your sock size is available and to also check whether the socks are true to size, because they can sometimes be larger or smaller.

Wherever possible, you should look on the product pages for a size chart, so you can see whether your shoe size is classed by the manufacturer, as small, medium, or large and so on.

You can get to the product page of the socks you want to check out by clicking on “Check price”.

Crew Height Socks are best for most people
Crew Height Socks are best for most people, so is clean feet!

Height of the Sock

We recommend that you go for socks that are at least as tall as your hiking boots, that way the boots won’t rub the skin on your ankles.

Crew Socks

For most people that means buying Crew Hiking socks. Crew socks refers to the height of the sock which means they will be long enough to rise just above the height of Lightweight Hiking Boots.

Crew Socks are the most popular backpacking socks and the most featured in this hiking sock review.

Quarter Socks

Quarter Socks are lower and better suited for use with Lightweight Hiking Shoes. If you love to use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking then quarter socks are also a good choice for you. I like to use quarter socks for trail running. I find them better than ankle socks. The quarter socks are lower than Crew Socks and will also work well with a pair of ultralight gaiters.

Ankle Socks

Ankle Socks are not so common for use as hiking socks as they don’t work with Hiking Boots and are not comfortable with most Hiking Shoes. Ankle socks work will with trail runners but only when running. Wearing a pair of ankle socks while hiking just doesn’t feel as comfortable as quarter socks or Crew Socks.


Material

One of the more popular materials used in hiking socks is merino wool. But there are also synthetics such as nylons and spandex materials

Merino Wool

Merino wool socks are moisture wicking, which means that they will disperse any sweat on your ankles and feet through the sock and out the other side.

That way, no matter how much hiking you do, your feet will remain dry.

Hiking Socks made with Merino wool is also thermo-regulating, which means it will retain the same temperature and not become too hot.

It’s also flame resistant, so if you were to take your hiking shoes off at the campfire, you don’t have to worry about your socks getting burned.

Nylon and Spandex

All quality backpacking need some amount of nylon in them. This material adds strength to the weave of the socks. While you might want to have 100 percent merino socks they would not last very long. Spandex or some sort of stretchy material will assist the weave of the socks with stretch will is equally as important as strength.


Cushioning

Cushioning along the base of the hiking sock is a very nice feature to have during a long hike, but this doesn’t have to be excessive. Light cushioning will be sufficient for most people and most situations.

I’ve used both the light cushioning hiking sock and Mid weight cushioning hiking sock. I prefer a light sock for trail runners and shoes and mid weight cushioning on the hiker sock for boots. That is my preference and recommendation.


Brand

As with many other types of products, there are some brands of hiking socks that outperform others. And these brands formed my starting point as I put together my shortlist of the best socks for hiking. 

These brands include the likes of Darn Tough Socks, Smartwool, REI Co-op, Icebreaker, and Macpac.

Socks for hiking being used during gear testing of the socks in this review
The Best Hiking Socks from the best brands

Value for Money

Ok, I’m going to level with you here. Good, proper hiking socks can often cost way more than standard regular socks. In fact, you can often get a pack of 10 regular socks for less than the cost of one pair of socks that are good quality for hiking.

My advice to you is to check the prices as you go along, so that you know what to generally expect, and decide on your budget accordingly. All the best hiking socks of 2022 are high quality and will last for 100s of days backpacking on the trails


Warranty for Socks

Having a warranty with a pair of your socks might not sound like the sort of thing that a company might offer. You wear a pair of socks on a couple of week long backpacking trips and ask the company for your money back.

Maybe you are unhappy with them or you managed to rip a hole in your your almost new pair of hiking socks. Some companies back their product and offer an exchange or refund if you are nor happy. I have used this with Darn Tough’s warranty to exchange a pair of hiker socks that got a hole for a new pair. The Darn Tough Socks warranty is that good.

REI Co Op Socks are also good as the company offers a no questions asked 1 month warranty on all the staff they sell.


Sock Care

Hiking Socks can wear out very quickly when you are hiking in muddy, sandy or rocky terrain. I like to carry two pair of hiking socks which I swap out during the day. If I am lucky enough to come across a stream or river then I have the perfect opportunity to wash the socks and give them time to dry.

When you are home from your backpacking trip it is best to line dry the socks and avoid using a tumble dryer. If you do, ensure that you avoid using a high heat. Most of the material in socks do not like high heat such as Merino Wool. They will shrink if you do this.


Conclusion

Overall, the Best Pair of Socks for Hiking are:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wear two pair of socks when hiking?

Many people like to wear 2 pair of socks when hiking to prevent blisters. You can combine a thin pair of socks next to the skin with a thicker pair of socks next to the boots or shoes. This will cause the friction to occur between each of the pairs of socks rather than the skin, thus preventing blisters.

Are thick socks better than thin socks for hiking?

Thick socks are usually not better than thin socks for hiking. However, think socks will provide more cushioning and will be much better in cold weather. Most hikers prefer thinner style socks for hiking.

What kind of socks do Thru Hikers wear?

Thru Hikers walk very long distances so need comfortable socks that will last a very long time. Most Thru Hikers use Darn Tough Socks due to their durability, comfort and lifetime warranty. Although they might cost more they will save thru hikers a lot of money over the length of their hike.

Are Merino Hiking Socks any good?

Merino Hiking socks provide natural resistance to bacteria, work well in both hot and cold climates and are very comfortable. Most of the best hiking socks available on the market are made from a combination of Merino Wool and Synthetics.

Another one of the Best Hiking Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

Read More

Best Hiking Insoles
Best Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots
Best Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Best Trail Running Shoes for Thru Hiking
Best Hiking Sandals
Best Gaiters for Backpacking
How to Stop Blisters when Hiking

Best Backpacking Socks
Hiking Socks for Backpacking

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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