10 Best Hiking Socks of 2019 – Top Products on the Market

It is amazing how many people devote their money to a great pair of hiking shoes or boots but completely ignore a good pair of hiking socks. You could argue that socks are the most important foot product you could own.

While a few years ago very few companies truly devoted their resources to developing socks specific to hiking, the market has become quite lucrative. There are dozens of brands and hundreds of different styles. To break that down, here are the top 10 hiking socks available today.

Best Hiking Socks

Top 10 Best Hiking Socks 2019

Preview
Product
Waterproof
 
Darn Tough Hiker Review
Darn Tough Hiker
Best of the Best
No
SmartWool Light Crew Review
SmartWool Light Crew
The Best Lightweight
No
SealSkinz Review
SealSkinz
The Best Waterproof
Yes
Farm to Feet Damascus Review
Farm to Feet Damascus
Best Overall Quality
No
Minus 33 Day Hiker Review
Minus 33 Day Hiker
Best Wool for the Money
No
Wigwam Comfort Hiker Review
Wigwam Comfort Hiker
Best All-Around
No
Icebreaker Marino Hike+ Review
No
Danish Endurance Review
Danish Endurance
Best Bang for the Buck
No
Keen Utility Flint Review
Keen Utility Flint
Best High Cut
No
Merrell Performance Hiker Review
Merrell Performance Hiker
Best on a Budget
No

1. Darn Tough Hiker – Best of the Best

Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks Cushion Review

In just about every way it’s hard to beat Darn Tough socks. They have been the bestselling hiking socks for years now and with plenty of reasons. They have a perfect blend of materials based around a Merino Wool sock that is comfortable, supportive, breathes well, and is all-around outstanding. Even the price is fair considering what you are getting.

Among the best traits of the Darn Tough Hiker is its durability. They are made to last and can take hard use but as a side effect, they are a little warm in the summer months. They even have a lifetime guarantee that is unconditional. When you get a pair of these socks, you are getting them for life and that can’t be beaten. And should it interest you, their wool is ethically sourced and they are made in the U.S.A.

Pros

  • Superb Construction
  • Great Comfort
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Cons

  • Little Warm for Summer Wear

2. SmartWool Light Crew – The Best Lightweight

SmartWool Men's Hiking Light Crew Review

The easy second-place contender for best wool-based socks has to be SmartWool. They incorporate some interesting tailoring into their mostly merino wool socks to make them fit just a little better. They have an elastic arch that gives you extra support and use flattened seams to make the sock wear better and not cause any irritation to your toes on long hikes.

They are fairly durable, made in the U.S.A, and are well worth the cost. They run a little cheaper than Darn Tough but lack a little of the durability and the warranty. This is a blow when picking the best socks but if you want something a little lighter weight for warm weather, they are a good choice. They will stay in place, keep your feet dry, and make those miles a little more bearable.

Pros

  • Well Fitted
  • Great Construction
  • Very Good Support

Cons

  • Not As Durable

3. SealSkinz – The Best Waterproof

SEALSKINZ Review

SealSkinz tend to be a little controversial in the hiking community, you either love them or hate them. No matter which, in the deepest cold, these socks can save your toes a lot of grief and abuse. They are fully waterproof and windproof but do breath enough to keep your feet dry unless you are sweating heavily. I would not consider these for warm-weather outings but if you are hiking in the cold and wet, they are a solid bet.

Though these socks do have some wool, they are mostly made of various poly fabrics. This is what gives them the waterproof nature with just enough wool to keep your feet in good shape and provide a little comfort. Depending on when and where you use them, these could be the best socks out there or a brand that does nothing for you. It all depends on your needs.

Pros

  • Fully Wind and Waterproof
  • Fairly Comfortable

Cons

  • Quite Warm
  • Don’t Wick as Fast

4. Farm to Feet Damascus – Best Overall Quality

Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Crew Socks Review

As a somewhat new company in the world of Merino Wool hiking socks, Farm to Feet is taking a more customer-oriented approach. They have novel features like a fully flat toe box, full cushioning, and arch support. They are wonderful socks but offer little over many of the other brands in the same market. In other words, they aren’t exceptional for the added cost of the socks.

Well, there is one thing that Farm to Feet does better. They have about the highest quality wool you could ever hope to buy. This makes them a little smoother to help prevent blistering and friction. They move well with your feet and offer excellent support. They are durable provided you give them proper care. If you want something a little different than what the main competitors offer, these are a great bet!

Pros

  • Very Comfortable
  • Great Support
  • Good Durability

Cons

  • Somewhat Costly
  • Quite Durable

5. Minus 33 Day Hiker – Best Wool for the Money

Minus33 Merino Wool Day Hiker Sock Review

There are two things to love about Minus 33. The first is their age in the merino wool hiking market. They have been making these socks for almost 15 years and bring a lot of experience to the table. The second thing to love is these particular socks have a higher wool content than most of their competitors. They do require a little more care but with that, they are very durable and comfortable with exceptional wicking capabilities.

As far as material goes, these are probably the most comfortable socks out there. They don’t have the extra fitting of some brands but do have plenty of cushion, especially through the arch. They are also a better deal in most cases than the other big wool brands. For a sock that is 85% merino wool, that is a big step!  These do tend to be a little warm considering the extra wool and padding.

Pros

  • Highest Wool Percentage
  • Very Soft and Comfortable
  • Great Price Point

Cons

  • Not as Fitted
  • Need Extra Care

6. Wigwam Comfort Hiker – Best All-Around

Wigwam Men's Merino Wool Comfort Hiker midweight Crew Length Socks Review

While no brand is really experienced in the hiking sock market, Wigwam is a huge name when it comes to socks in general. They have been making hiking socks for about a decade but they have been making socks for work and leisure for over a century. Even with that experience, they have adopted the standard recipe for hikers which is about 70% wool and the rest poly fibers.

None of this takes away from their quality. They may lack the popularity of some of the big names but these are great socks that are comfortable and a little lighter weight than some options. Still probably not a summer weight sock but great through the spring and fall. They wick well and support your foot decently. Even the price is fair and they do offer a lifetime warranty on their amazing socks.

Pros

  • Great Company
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Good Wicking
  • Great Comfort

Cons

  • Not as Fitted as Most Hiking Socks
  • Quite Warm for Summer Months

7. Icebreaker Marino Hike+ – Best Fitted

Icebreaker Merino Hike+ Medium Crew Review

Icebreaker socks tend to always be around the margins of the sock world but never in the mainstream. While they may not be the best, they have a lot of features that make them a solid contender and some that are unique to their brand. They come in at a fair price and are light enough for summer wear. That alone gives them a place on this list.

So, what is so special?  The weaving process of Icebreaker incorporates Lycra into their yarns, giving their sock an exceptional fit. They are woven without a toe seam so there are no concerns there. They are, in truth, probably the best fitting wool sock. These are definitely a warm-weather option despite the name. They are not warm enough for winter wear. Otherwise, they are a great option in a big market.

Pros

  • Exceptional Fitting
  • Good Comfort
  • Good Price
  • Great for Summer

Cons

  • Less Durable
  • Can Be Harder on Feet

8. Danish Endurance –  Best Bang for the Buck

DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Hiking Socks Review

In the wool market, Danish Endurance is really the newcomer though they really don’t have enough wool to be considered wool socks. They are about 1/3 wool which is just enough to give you the smooth comfort of wool but not quite the blister protection that more wool would have. They are quite warm regardless of that and are a great option for cooler weather.

Despite the lack of wool, these actually wick quite well and have plenty of padding. They aren’t as soft as wool options but are also more affordable. They have specific areas that are made to breathe and circulate air which is quite clever but does add some cold spots in really cold weather. Usually, you won’t have to worry but if it’s down in the teens, these aren’t the best socks. Otherwise, they are well worth a try considering the price. They make a great backup option on those longer hikes.

Pros

  • Great Price
  • Good Padding and Comfort

Cons

  • Run a Little Cold
  • Not as Soft

9. Keen Utility Flint – Best High Cut

Keen Utility Men's Flint Medium Crew Sock Review

While some companies devote themselves to wool clothing and socks, some shoe companies have jumped into the ring and are doing a fair job of making some decent socks. Keen, a favorite in outdoor footwear has a small line of socks that are a good fit for many hikers though for the price they tend to fall a little short when it comes to value and comfort.

These are a wool-based sock that breathes well and is quite comfortable in most moderate weather. They are durable and have the expected arch support and flat toe seam. While they aren’t exceptional, they are far above socks not tailored to the hiking environment. If you are a fan of the brand or want to try something a little different, these are quite a good sock if not quite so good as some of the better-known options.

Pros

  • Great High Cut Fit
  • Great Padding
  • Good Fit

Cons

  • Costly
  • Run a Little Warm

10. Merrell Performance Hiker – Best on a Budget

Merrell Men's 3 Pack Cushioned Performance Hiker Socks Review

Where Keen went high end with the socks and perhaps fell a little short, Merrell has done something a little different. While these are a wool-based sock, the content is so low that it hardly matters. What does matter is the total composition of the yarns which are made to mimic wool but without the wool price. All in all, they are similar to wool if not quite so warm or comfortable.

That said, you will never find a better hiking sock for this price. I personally own a ton of these socks and though they aren’t my go-to, they are always in my pack as spares. They have gone miles without issue and I have never had a blister. Even in the warmest temps, the sweat wicks away. They do run a little cool so they aren’t the best cold-weather sock. Any other time, you can’t beat them for the money!

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • Quite Comfortable
  • Good Durability
  • Great Wicking

Cons

  • Low Wool Content

How to Choose the Best Hiking Socks

How to Choose the Best Hiking Socks

With every product, it’s always good to know what you are getting into but socks are a far more important consideration than most other things we buy for the outdoors. They are one item we are guaranteed to use on every trip in every situation. For that reason, socks merit special consideration. Luckily it isn’t complicated. There are just a few things you want to keep in mind.

1. Fit

While fit can mean how the sock conforms to your foot, everyone’s feet are different. Sometimes it will take some trial and error to get what you need there. But one part of the fit we can decide on up front is the height of the sock. Much of what you need will depend on where and how you hike as well as the seasons you hike in.

The most popular and versatile sock type is the crew. This is generally high enough to provide some warmth in cool weather but not so high as to overheat you when it’s hot outside. They also offer protection against scratches, insects, and poison ivy. For most people, this is the sock type you should probably consider.

Hiking Socks Fit

Low cut socks are great for warm weather on well-kept trails like those at city parks. If you no concerns about getting scratches on your ankles and things like ticks and poison ivy are low risk. These are never appropriate for cool weather.

High socks are generally a cold-weather sock though some do like the added coverage over their calves. These are also great for those who wear taller boots. In the summer these can be overly warm but they are lifesavers starting in late fall. A couple of pair of these are a good investment.

2. Material

Hiking Socks Material

While this is a single entry, the material will affect almost every aspect of how a sock performs. This means warmth, moisture-wicking, overall fit, comfort, durability, and many other points. For this, the main point to remember is not to use plant-based fibers. These hold water in and will cause you blisters and can lead to other problems.

That said, most outdoor socks are not a single material. Blends are used to cover weak points in a single material and can help keep cost down. Each of the materials will have their own benefits but what you want to look at is the proportion of natural materials to poly materials.

Wool is the primary material in most hiking socks but wool is expensive and has no stretch so it is usually combined with other materials to cover those gaps. On its own, wool is an amazing fabric. It regulates temperatures well making it good in warm or cold weather. It is amazing at wicking moisture and dries quickly. And as a final trait, wool is slick and cushioning to avoid hot spots and blisters.

When it comes to poly-based materials, there are dozens but they all perform in similar fashion. Generally, these are added to help the wool base of the sock hold its shape. It preserves the fit and adds a little durability. Sometimes these materials are used to add some stretch to the sock to improve fit. They can also be fashioned in a way to provide added support and cushioning as is normally done around the arch of the foot.

When it comes to percentages, if the wool is less than 60% it will often perform more like a pure poly sock than as a wool sock. At that point in most sock designs, the wool traits are overshadowed by the poly traits. This isn’t always a bad thing as poly on its own makes a decent sock. The small amount of added wool usually adds a small amount of moisture-wicking and is generally softer on the foot. The amount of difference this adds will be small in socks that are less than half wool.

Conclusion

Of all the gear you own, don’t let your socks be the place you look to save a little money. This is the one place where you really need to invest a little. In truth, this is the one place where a small amount of extra cost can make a big difference in your experience outdoors.

It’s hard to enjoy when you are uncomfortable and for just a few extra dollars, you can increase your chances of being comfortable by a huge margin.

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