Best Hiking Socks – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024
best hiking socks

For a great quality merino wool sock, I recommend Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion.

If your feet sweat quick a bit while hiking then I recommend the Avoalre High Performance Athletic Socks for their awesome moisture wicking properties.

Below are more of my top picks for the best hiking socks to make trekking a cinch. 

Best Hiking Socks (Top Picks)

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Top Hiking Socks (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 18 hiking socks for this article. Below are the best hiking socks that made our short list.

  1. Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion - Best Overall
  2. Avoalre Athletic Socks
  3. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew - Best Lightweight
  4. Farm to Feet Damascus
  5. Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks - Best Value
  6. Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro

Read our complete buyers guide for the best hiking socks.

Best Overall Hiking Socks

1. Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion

Darn Tough (1405) Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion Men's Sock - (Charcoal, Large)

5/5 Overall Rating

Together with warmth and comfort, the Darn Tough Hiker boasts a myriad of benefits, including durability and versatility. The lifetime guarantee gives great value for money with the Merino Wool’s staying power, regardless of terrain.

Darn Tough lives up to its name as the lifetime guarantee gives seasoned hikers something to trust in. The comfortable fit makes this sock good for three-season activity.

Rated the best overall sock, the construction provides you with various comforts for your hike, while the elasticity around the arch provides a snug fit. No need to worry about bunching.

The pitfall, however, is that due to its snug tight fit the degree of breathability can be restricted. 

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Main Features
  • Made from top quality Merino Wool
  • Tight-knitting provides good cushioning
  • Temperature regulation
What we like
  • Lifetime Guarantee 
  • Durable and compatible with all hiking boots
What we dislike
  • Can be less breathable, depending on the level of hiking activity
  • Tough construction makes it less plush in feel
Key Takeaway

The lifetime guarantee gives you peace of mind that the durability and construction of the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion socks goes the extra mile, for your extra miles.

2. Avoalre Athletic Socks

Avoalre Running Socks for Men Women Coolmax Sports Athletic Socks Moisture Wicking Cushioned Breathable Quarter Low Cut Socks 3 Pairs (Black Grey, Large)

5/5 Overall Rating

The Avoalre athletic socks are my go-to-option for general athletic socks.

I really like them as they are a super comfortable, lightweight and versatile sock. They perform well across various sporting activities, including running, going to the gym, and hiking. They are also very affordable, which is a big bonus for me as I'm very budget conscious. 

The socks are made from a combination of materials: 30% Coolmax, 30% Cotton, 35% Nylon, and 5% Lycra. The Coolmax material really helps with the moisture-wicking properties, but they are obviously not as efficient as full wool socks. That being said, the nylon means they are much more durable than natural materials and you don't get much of an odour problem with them.

Main Features
  • 6 cushioned supports for extra comfort
  • 30% Coolmax material for added moisture-wicking
  • Non-slip and good elasticity for small and big feet
What we like
  • Very comfortable and durable
  • Versatile - you can use for any sporting activity
  • Very affordable - come in packs of 3
What we dislike
  • Can feel a little tight on wide feet
Key Takeaway

The Avoalre athletic socks are made with an efficient Coolmax wicking moisture fabric to keep your feet comfortable and odour-free on long and strenuous treks. However, if you have bigger or wider feet, I recommend you buy a larger pair than your actual foot size to compensate for the Avoalre's less-than-ideal snug design. 

3. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew

SmartWool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew (Chestnut - Large)

4.8/5 Overall Rating

Smartwool’s PhD provides hikers, trail runners and backpackers with sufficient cushioning under the heel and forefoot. The material is more lightweight in comparison to Darn Tough.

The new knitting technique used in the Smartwool sock provides more durability in the material, for the long haul. Moreover, the construction of the wool-based material gives you good value for money, balancing: function, form and fit.

This sock is rated as the best lightweight hiking sock. There is a cozy feel to the sock and capacity to perform in three season conditions. There is also looser women’s specific fit to the design. 

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Main Features
  • Elastic Nylon over the top of your foot 
  • Combination of varying thickness in the material makes it more breathable
  • Manages to dry fast
What we like
  • Great cushioning, comfort and warmth
  • Excellent breathability
What we dislike
  • Does not have as much longevity as Darn Tough
Key Takeaway

As far as lightweight socks go, the Smartwool PhD range is an excellent choice. The sock is versatile for various activities and the mix of materials helps you put your best foot forward.

4. Farm to Feet Damascus

Farm to Feet Men's Damascus Lightweight Crew Merino Wool Socks, Dark Shadow, Large

4/5 Overall Rating

These Farm to Feet Damascus hiking socks work well in cool climates and are made to manage moisture effectively. The design compliments hiking shoes and boots.

The benefits of the Farm to Feet Damascus lies in its comfort and breathability. It is however, not suited for hot weather.

The components that add to this sock’s comfort level include: fit, thickness, cushioning and areas of compression. It is understandable that a gender neutral option like this one makes all hikers happy.

Main Features
  • There are ventilation and impact zones embedded in the Merino wool
  • Lycra spandex fibres decreases foot fatigue with the comfort compression
  • Quick drying
What we like
  • Useful for off-trail hiking as the sock provides more shin protection
  • Incredibly lightweight and breathable
What we dislike
  • Not suitable for hot conditions
Key Takeaway

If you're looking for great breathability and comfortable cushioning socks, then you can't go wrong with the Farm to Feet Damascus range.

5. Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks

Merino Wool Hiking & Trekking Socks (Forest Green 1 Pair, US Women 11-13/US Men 9.5-12.5)

4/5 Overall Rating

The Danish Endurance Merino Wool hiking socks are a great option for those on a tight budget.

The sock is made from  33% Merino Wool, 33% Acrylic, 33% Polyamide and 1% Elastane. This makes it great for breathability airflow to prevent moisture build from sweat.

The sock also comes with additional cushioning in high impact areas.

The one negative though is related to comfort. As the material is heavily synthesized with wool, the sock doesn't feel very soft and it may take a few washes for it to soften up.

Main Features
  • Materials blend to provide service to the hike
  • Mid to high level cushioning to protect your entire foot
  • Temperature controlled Merino wool
What we like
  • Great price
  • Warmth
What we dislike
  • The wool blend is not as soft and comfortable as the other socks in this review
Key Takeaway

This budget-friendly Danish Endurance Merino Wool hiking sock will keep you dry and warm throughout your hike, but don't expect a super comfortable feel.

6. Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro

Wigwam Hiking Outdoor F6077 Sock, Light Grey Heather - Large

4/5 Overall Rating

Wigwam are market leaders in the synthetic hiking sock industry, and with the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro they have really upped the ante.

The Outdood Pro sock is a midweight / mid-calf sock that is suitable for all types of outdoor adventures. The sock is heavily cushioned for comfort under the foot, and includes a reinforced heel for added durability and long wear.

There is a lightweight instep for enhanced breathability and the patented Wigwam Ultimax moisture management system ensures sweat escapes the foot with ease.

With a lifetime product guarantee, you can't go wrong with the Wigwam Outdoor Pro hiking sock.

Main Features
  • The Olefin material is comfortable and super durable
  • Midweight cushioning and medium fabric thickness to support your foot
  • Ultimax moisture management for improved breathability
What we like
  • Ultra-smooth toe closure and dense terry loop footbed provides great comfort
  • Abrasion resistant Achilles cradle
What we dislike
  • They can feel a little small and tight on wide feet
Key Takeaway

As far as synthetic hiking socks go, Wigwam are our preferred choice and with the Outdoor Pro range - they don't disappoint.

Hiking Socks - Buyer's Guide (Key Features)

These are a few essentials considerations to help you find the right sock for your particular hiking needs.


The fundamentals of hiking sock materials lies in its capacity to be breathable, for the fabric to prevent absorption of moisture, and to provide adequate insulation when temperatures change.

The dominant material used in these socks is Merino Wool. The benefit of this material lies in its capacity to regulate temperature, thereby keeping unnecessary moisture at bay. The wool is more durable and has longevity. The insulation that the sock provides keeps your feet warm and dry, throughout your trek. Merino wool ensures cushioning, breathability and solid fit on your foot so that your journey is not disrupted by bunching or socks losing their grip.

The blends of material that are in the socks mentioned in this review helps in the sock’s versatility. Nylon draws moisture away from one’s foot; Acrylic minimises absorbency with its synthetic make-up, whereas Spandex and Elastane brings about a good fit with an elastic component.

The Olefin material, characteristic of the Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro, has similar properties of: fit, warmth and comfort to protect your foot while hiking.


Gaiters generally come in three height options:

1. Low: The shortest, over the ankle option is ideal for trail runs or light hikes. Their function primarily to keep trail debris out.

2. Mid calf: A mid-calf option offers the best of both worlds, providing additional protection in denser foliage or shallow river crossings.

3. Knee High: The tall gaiter is designed for rugged terrain, deep snow and wet brush. 

Thickness and Material Weight

When considering the preferred thickness, it is helpful to understand the purpose of varying thickness that you can get. The thickness provides your foot with cushioning that protect your feet during high impact activities.

The medium thickness of these five socks suits the terrain of hiking and acts as a versatile option for varying conditions in which one may hike.

Socks are categorised into different material “weights” or thickness in order to suit specific activities.

In the comparison table above, three of the five socks are categorised as: Midweight. This category is best suited for hiking and backpacking because there is more cushioning where it matters most - the heel and forefoot.

This added cushioning provides comfort for longer trips and cold to warm weather. The Lightweight category that Farm to Feet Damascus falls under, is suited for breathability in warm to cool weather, and preventing moisture from collecting on the foot.


When embarking on a hike, one needs a sock that is going to endure the conditions of the terrain. As mentioned above Merino Wool socks have sufficient cushioning that assists with the material’s durability. The tightly woven fit and length of the sock accommodates hiking boots and the intensity of the activity.

Synthetic and blend materials also have a degree of durability to them and aim to bring together the best of the combination of materials to suit a hiker’s needs.

In order to minimise breakage and unnecessary stretch the combination of Spandex and Elastane reinforces the strength of the fabric and maximises the fit.

One would not want to sacrifice performance with blisters and bruises and the socks in this review are designed to provide comfort, endurance and longevity.

Sock Length and Warmth

The length of most hiking socks taper off at the midcalf and are understood to be crew style. The benefits of the length assist with shin protection and if the sock is above your hiking boots you lessen the risk of chafing and blisters.

The length of the sock also aids in understanding whether the fit suits the particular activity you are going to be doing.

Socks that are taller offer better protection and warmth and work hand-in-hand with hiking boots. Shorter socks do not offer as much protection and are better suited for hiking shoes, and activities like: trail running or mountain-biking. 

You are more than likely going to be tested in adverse weather conditions and the warmth of your toes in your boots should not be compromised. The key thing is to recognise that a sock’s versatility in terms of drying time and adaptability needs to be on your criteria.

It is helpful to note that socks that keep you warm whether they are wet or dry, shows its adaptability with differing hiking climates. Merino Wool provides good warmth and regulates temperature well. 


When embarking on a hike, one would like that peace of mind that the socks you choose are going to provide sufficient airflow to your feet because.

If a sock has breathability panelling you can rest assured that the moisture will not be retained in the sock but that your foot will be kept dry and warm, particularly in colder conditions.

Thicker materials might not provide as much breathability as a lightweight material. Merino Wool does breathe better than synthetic options so all the bases are covered.

A sock’s capacity for wicking is also something worth noting because one needs a sock that draws moisture away from the foot.

A variety of weather conditions requires that a sock be versatile enough to keep you warm in cooler temperatures and cool in hotter temperatures. The socks available in this review have the capacity to adapt to the weather variations as your hike progresses. 


About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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