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    What Are the Best Hiking Socks?

    37% of Americans hit the hiking trail at least once a year. If you’re part of that 37% and you’ve ever gone for a long hike, you know that having the right gear can make or break your adventure. While there are many important pieces of outdoor clothing and equipment to consider, arguably one of the most important items ishiking socks.

    Like choosing a hiking boot uniquely suited to your terrain and activity style, selecting the best hiking socks will help ensure that every step on your next excursion is as enjoyable as possible. After all, these faithful companions carry us through every trek we make, providing warmth and comfort along the way.

    Let’s look at what makes the best hiking socks, well,the best.

    What to Know About Socks for Hikers

    We often get this question:Why do I need special hiking socks? Can’t I just wear regular socks with my hiking boots?

    You can, yes, but you’re running the risk of injury or nasty blisters. Regular socks won’t suffice when hiking as they may not protect your feet sufficiently from the elements or difficult terrain. In this case, hiking socks are a must-have!

    With features such as cushioning on the heel and ball of the foot (areas where you need more support during vigorous activity and on coarse trail surfaces), hiking socks can provide a much-needed barrier against outside elements like blisters and abrasions.

    Additionally, hiking socks are usually made of lightweight material and even have built-in moisture-wicking technology to help keep your feet cool and comfortable during long treks. So if you’re considering hitting the trails anytime soon, don’t forget to wear hiking socks for maximum protection. Here’s why.


    Hiking socks are designed to provide added insulation in extreme temperatures and conditions. Regular socks are typically too thin and don’t keep moisture away from your feet, leading to blisters.

    Hiking socks, on the other hand, contain more insulation with added layers of wool or synthetic fleece that are breathable and durable, allowing hikers to take on the toughest terrains confidently. The added insulation helps keep your feet dry and warm, even on long-distance treks over tough terrain or snow-covered mountains.

    Friction Reduction

    Hiking socks are an amazing way to minimize friction and friction-related wear and tear on your feet during a long day out in the wilderness. Reducing friction on your feet is important to stay comfortable over long periods when hiking.

    Regular socks can give you some friction resistance. However, they don’t compare to the cushioning, friction reduction, and overall comfort a good pair of hiking socks provides. While this isn’t the biggest or most important feature of a good pair of socks, it’s certainly a plus.


    The best hiking socks provide adequate cushioning compared to regular socks, making them more comfortable for walking on uneven terrain. The cushioning reduces friction, absorbing the impact of each step. This helps support your feet better throughout the journey.

    With smoother fabric, and specialized cushion zones, hiking socks provide an extra layer of protection. As mentioned above, this ensures you don’t end up with painful blisters or sore feet after a long day out in nature. Not only does this increase comfort, but it gives you peace of mind knowing that your feet are well taken care of!

    Great Water Movement to Evaporate

    "Water Movement" essentially means that moisture is drawn away from the surface of your skin and which gives you a drier feel no matter how intense the hike or how hot it is outside. This quality keeps your feet fresh and comfortable for longer walks on different surfaces, making them ideal for various terrains and temperatures.


    Compression is key when it comes to strenuous outdoor activities such as through hiking. And that’s why it’s so important to have a compression sock when hiking.

    Not only do compression socks provide extra support when you’re trekking on challenging terrain, but they also help prevent fatigue and any minor muscle discomfort. Unlike traditional socks, compression hiking socks are engineered to give your feet and ankles more support while helping increase blood flow and circulation.

    Hiking Sock Materials

    Are you compelled by the benefits of choosing hiking socks versus regular socks? Great! Our job here is (almost) done. First, however, we’d like to explore different hiking sock materials. We’re big believers in merino wool socks. However, you do have other options.

    Here’s why merino wool socks are best, followed by a few other options you’ll see when searching for backpacking socks or hiking socks online.


    Merino wool is an extremely soft yet durable fabric ideal for outdoor activities like hiking. The fabric’s ability to insulate even when wet makes merino wool the perfect material for keeping your feet dry and comfortable on longer hikes. For hikers, merino wool socks offer superior comfort levels as they move away moisture and keep cushioning intact over time.

    Furthermore, merino wool fibers are lightweight and won’t feel heavy or bulky in your shoes. With merino wool socks in your pack, you can hit the trail with one less thing to worry about — assured of cozy and comfortable feet from beginning to end!


    These types of socks typically have reinforced cushioning in the sole and heel areas. This is designed to provide extra protection and comfort when navigating any terrain. However, polyester hiking socks are usually better for running and mountain biking. Due to their lack of insulation, they’re not the best for those looking for temperature control.


    Spandex hiking socks are a type of sock made mostly or completely out of spandex, a material known for its elasticity and durability. They’re great for activities that include the following:

    • Skiing
    • Running
    • Light hiking

    Unfortunately, spandex hiking socks don’t perform as well as merino wool socks in sweat absorption, padding, and heat retention. Spandex is often used for liner socks rather than outer socks when paired with merino wool to form one pair. Still, spandex can be a good choice if you require a sturdy pair of lightweight fixed-fit beginner hiking socks.

    How to choose the Best Hiking Socks

    Now that you know what to look for, how do you choose the best hiking socks for your adventures? The hiking you’ll be doing should heavily inform the kind of socks you choose.

    For example, a light day hike calls for thinner and more breathable socks since you won’t be doing much climbing. On the other hand, a more strenuous climb involving lots of rocky terrains would require thicker socks that can better protect your feet against blisters.

    Additionally, if you’re backpacking and will go through different temperatures and weather conditions, choose thicker wool that offers superior insulation and moisture-wicking capabilities. Whatever the case may be, here are a few factors to consider.


    We’ve made it clear we suggest merino wool socks. Aside from material, though, you need to consider the ideal length (also known as hiking sock height).

    The right hiking sock height will depend on the cuffs of your footwear, as the higher those cuffs go up your leg, the taller the hiking socks should be. If the hiking socks are too short, areas such as your ankles and calves may be exposed to direct contact with your shoes or boots. That’ll result inpainful blisters.


    Next, consider the cushioning you need to enjoy your outdoor activities comfortably. If you frequently engage in high-impact activities like running or hiking, adding some cushion can help protect your feet from injury and soreness. However, too much cushion can make your feet overheat with sweat.


    Hiking sock style should be more than an afterthought; expression of individuality is possible even outdoors. When looking for the perfect sock for your journey, think about your fashion sense and what you want to express through your sock style.

    Perhaps color blocking or a subtle pattern? Or perhaps some fun animal faces for an added bit of character? Whatever your choice, sock style is important. You deserve to stand out from the crowd no matter how far from home you may wander into the wilderness.

    Most Common Hiking Sock Heights

    We briefly mentioned hiking sock heights above, but it’s worth delving further into this feature. When choosing the right hiking sock height, you typically have three main options.

    Note that, aside from these three main options, some companies will try to sell your no-show hiking socks. These are great for light hikes or walks through nature. However, we don’t typically recommend no-show hiking socks for longer hikes as they can lead to blisters if your footwear is too tall.


    If you’re looking for something between no-show ankle socks and mid-cut ankle boots, ankle-height hiking socks are just the thing. They offer more coverage than your average ankle sock but don’t come up as far as a mid-cut ankle boot.

    All in all, they’re perfect for those low-cut to mid-cut shoes or boots that don’t quite fit the fashion of ankle boots but still require a bit more ankle protection. 


    Crew hiking socks are essential for those long, arduous treks alongside mountain trails. They provide the perfect amount of protection when wearing higher-cut boots. Their crew length lands just a few inches above the ankle bones to prevent abrasion and blisters when trekking over rough terrain.

    What if you have low-cut hiking or walking shoes? Crew socks can still be a great option in cooler weather, as they keep your feet extra snug and warm.

    Over The Calf 

    Finally, you have Over the calf (OTC)socks. Not only do they protect you against abrasions that heavy boots can cause, but they also provide additional warmth. This is essential for those long climbs through the night or traversing a glacier! If you buy the right pairs with quality material, Over the calf will last longer and even keep your feet dry if there’s water around. 

    What Are the Best Hiking Socks?

    The best hiking socks provide you with the protection and comfort you need to enjoy the Great Outdoors with ease. This means that choosing the best socks is a personal decision. However, we can help guide you toward a few great options.

    Here are three great hiking sock options to start with (all top-rated by Point6 customers who’ve tried them and love’ em!).

    Hiking Essential Medium Mini Crew

    Looking for a medium-cushioned mini-crew sock? Try our Hiking Essential Medium Crew. It’s one of our top-rated merino wool hiking socks.

    With this sock, you can enjoy superior cushioning with a two 1/2-inch cuff. This eliminates most of the lace pressure from the top of the foot. Plus, thanks to 37.5 Technology, you get even more support that won’t wear out quickly due to sweat or other moisture. Enjoy long hikes in low-cut hiking shoes again with this innovative medium mini merino wool sock designed to last.

    Hiking Essential Light Crew

    What if you don’t need so much cushion? Our Mixed Stripe Light Crew is ideal for hikers looking for a bit of cushion without the extra volume that comes with thicker socks. These socks boast the same 37.5 Technology as the previously mentioned socks, meaning your feet will stay drier for longer.

    Classic Medium Crew

    Finally, our Classic Medium Crew wool socks are another top-rated option. They're all-climate socks, making them versatile for various terrains. They also boast a medium cushion that surrounds the entire foot and leg. Plus, you can enjoy extra arch support and protection via the reinforced heel and toe.

    Browse Point6 Hiking Socks

    Point6 is a family-owned outdoor apparel company that caters to the best of the best. Our cozy and durable hiking socks are, to us, some of the best hiking socks around. They’re perfect for taking on any terrain while providing every adventurer warmth and comfort. 

    To support our cause and to enjoy premium-quality hiking socks, browse all of our wool hiking socks. Have questions about our products? Get in touch with any sizing questions or other concerns you might have!