There is an adage that states one should buy quality items that separate you from the ground. These are things such as tires, mattresses, and socks and shoes. As an avid hiker having spent many years on hikes around the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, this adage is even more important when you’re doing activities that keep you on your feet for hours at a time throughout the day, such as hiking. Nothing can spoil even a short hike faster than blistered and injured feet. That being said, there are a few things to consider when picking out socks for the trail.
Are you planning for a leisurely two mile stroll around a lake in the summer in your sneakers, or are you going to be spending two weeks on a trail that is full of snow and ice? The kind of hiking, and how active you will be, will determine what kind of socks you need. Below are some lightweight and medium-weight socks that will serve you well on many trails to come.
- Lightweight hiking and backpacking socks. If you’re not spending a lot of time on the trail, say a day hike, or your feet are thoroughly used to hiking, modern sport socks can work as well as specialty “hiking” socks that are three or four times as expensive. These socks are relatively thin and are usually made of synthetic materials to wick sweat away from your feet and stay light. Here are some low cut sport socks great for ankle-high hiking shoes and sneakers.
- Medium weight hiking and backpacking socks. If you have taller hiking boots, or are going to be spending more time on the trail or in cooler conditions, a more substantial sock may be needed. Merino Wool is a great fabric and one of the most popular natural sock materials around. It is warm, cushioned, and unlike cotton it retains warmth if it gets wet. Merino Wool is also itch-free, so these socks won’t be like those old wool sweaters you used to get at Christmas that drove you crazy. Here are two merino wool socks blended with synthetic materials that will serve you well.