13 Best Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters on the Trail

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A great pair of hiking socks to prevent blisters is one of the most important pieces of clothing to have on your hiking list. There’s nothing worse than setting out for a great day hiking, only to have your feet feel uncomfortable within the first hour of the hike. There are so many hiking socks on the market, but which ones are the best suited for you and the trails? Let’s dig into the best hiking socks of 2020!


Why You Need Proper Hiking Socks


Best hiking socks to prevent blistersBest hiking socks to prevent blisters

Good hiking socks that are going to prevent blisters while hiking is key to having a good day on the trail. I’ve hiked in cheap $2 socks before, and although they get the job done, they are nowhere near is comfortable, durable, or provide the support I need to get me up and down mountains.

Hiking socks from the top sock manufacturers are built with trail people in mind. That means they are paying specifically to things like slipping, bunching, blisters, breathability, and durability. Things generic sock manufactures aren’t paying attention to. Because you don’t need $30 socks when you’re just going to the grocery store.


Components of Good Hiking Socks


Best hiking socks to prevent blistersBest hiking socks to prevent blisters

Style

Determining what style of hiking socks you want is key before you buy. The main styles you’ll want to consider hiking are no show, 1/4 sock (just above the ankle), shorty, micro crew, mid-calf, and over the calf). When I’m hiking with trail runners on I like to wear either no show socks or 1.4 socks. When I am hiking with hiking boots I prefer crew or mid calves. Getting a few pairs in different styles ensures you are always prepared.

Comfort

These are your feet we are talking about here so comfort is absolutely key. You’ll want to make sure you find a sock that is 100% comfortable for the entire day. Even if that means spending more. Yes, good hiking socks cost more than cheap generic socks from the grocery store. Invest in your feet. I like to look for socks that have cushioning on the sole and in the heel and that are breathable.

Weather

Buying the right hiking socks for the weather you are going to be in is critical. If you plan on mostly hiking in the winter and shoulder season you’ll want to make sure you have warm hiking socks. In the summer you can relax on the warmth front and will want to focus on hiking socks that are breathable.

Material

Lastly, you’ll want to focus on the material that went into making your hiking socks. Many hiking socks on this list are made out of merino wool. Merino wool is one of the best materials you can put on your feet. It’s an ultra-soft fabric found in many hiking products. That’s because it provides a lot of warmth relative to its weight. It keeps you well insulated when needed, but it also has the ability to keep you cool and dry when sweating.

Other materials you see in this post are Nylon, Spandex, and Polyester.


Hiking Socks Comparison Table


We’re delving into only five sock and undergarment companies for this post. That’s because Darn Tough, Farm to Feet, Smartwool, Icebreakers, and REI make the best hiking and tactical socks on the market and all practice sustainable approached to manufacturing.


Best Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters


Best Darn Tough Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters


Uncle Buck Boot Cushion


  • 60% Merino Wool, 38% Nylon, 2% Lycra Spandex
  • Mid-level cushion density underfoot.
  • Mid-calf socks for added protection and warmth. A sturdy companion.

Darn Tough makes some of the best hiking socks on the market. Their Uncle Bucks are a staple for hiking. Made with performance fit in mind these boot socks won’t slip or bunch – or in other words cause any blisters.

The Uncle Bucks feature fast action wicking to pull moisture away from the skin when your sweating on the trail and are also all-weather performance. Great for the summer when you need to cool off, and fantastic in the winter when you need to keep your toes warm.

These hiking socks are naturally antimicrobial meaning no bacteria or odor – you could wear them a few times between washes if you really wanted. As with all Darn Tough products these are guaranteed for life so you really have no reason not to buy a pair!


Darn Tough Hiker


  • 61% Merino Wool 37% Nylon 2% Lycra® Spandex
  • Mid-level cushion density under foot.
  • Sits just above the ankle. But the hiker comes in a variety of styles from no show, to mid calf.

If you’re after some 1/4 hiking socks these are it. They sit just about the ankle, so if you’re wearing hiking shorts for the day these will go best with your hiking outfit. These are some of the best socks for summer you can find.

Like other Darn Tough socks, these make sure you have no slipping or bunching, essentially eliminating any blisters while hiking.

I love the feel of these, Darn Tough really has done a great job at making me feel like I have nothing on my feet with their socks! Do you plan on going out on a hot day and sweating? No worries – these repel bacteria and odor and have fast drying technology to prevent moisture build-up.

Darn Tough makes some of the best merino wool socks. Oh and you really can’t go wrong with merino wool socks, they are ideal for breathability and comfort!


Darn Tough Bear Town


  • 54% Nylon 43% Merino Wool 3% Lycra® Spandex
  • Light cushioning along the base of the foot
  • Crew length to sit right above the hiking boot.

These are some of my favorite hiking socks from Darn Tough, mainly because they are so darn cute. Who doesn’t want a bear hiking with them in spirit? You know the Darn Tough drill by now – no slipping, no bunching, no blisters, breathable, and comfortable with fast-drying technologies.


Darn Tough Stripes


  • 59% Merino Wool, 38% Nylon, 3% Lycra® Spandex
  • Mid-level cushion density under foot. Great for colder climates.
  • Sits above the standard hiking boot.

I love all the fun colors these hiking socks come in! The stripes will take you from trail running to climbing the highest mountains. They are great at preventing moisture, are super comfortable, and have blister prevention technology.


Best REI Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters


REI Co-op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew


  • 79% RWS merino wool/20% nylon/1% Lycra spandex
  • Light cushioning on heel
  • Crew length

I love REI products as they are often much cheaper than name brand products. Yes, they are the budget-friendly option on this list so keep that in mind when comparing with brands like Darn Tough, Icebreakers, and Smartwool.

These lightweight hiking socks are great for summertime hikes. They are breathable, quick-drying, odor-resistant, and sweat-wicking.

REI made these with hiking in mind as there is solid reinforcement in the heel, toes, achilles, and footbeds making sure you are good to go all day on the trails. The only thing is they may shrink in the dryer, so make sure you pick your size correctly.


REI Cool Max


  • 77% COOLMAX EcoMade polyester/22% nylon/1% spandex
  • Lightweight cushioning
  • Ankle height

These unisex hiking socks by REI are the cheapest pair of hiking socks on this whole list, but they provide excellent value for male and female hikers alike.

These hiking socks to prevent blisters are ankle height so they are another pair that would be good to wear with hiking shorts or hiking leggings. They’re best suited for summer hikes to keep you cool. What I love most about these socks is that they are made with eco fabric from recycled water bottles, keeping waste out of landfills. We love REI!


Best Smartwool Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters


Smartwool PhD Pro


  • 62% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 2% Elastane
  • Light cushioning
  • Come in variety of styles

The PhD Pro is one of Smartwool’s best hiking socks for men and women. They come in a variety of styles from low ankle cut to crew. The PhD Pro socks were made with elite performance technology, flexible ankles, and mesh venting.

These socks have a reputation in the hiking world and there is a reason for it. They are comfortable, durable, look great, and last. They come in women and men in every single style so you literally cannot go wrong with a pair of these bad boys.


Smartwool Light Hiking Socks


  • 60% Merino Wool, 37% Nylon, 2% Elastane, 1% Polyester
  • Light cushioning
  • Crew

These aren’t nearly as revered as the PhD pro socks, but they are a great budget option for those looking for Smartwool specific socks. We have a few pairs of these hiking socks just because we absolutely love the fun prints.

They provide an excellent amount of support for a light hiking day on the trails. They feel great with my hiking boots, and are even warm enough to wear when we go snowboarding in the mountains, making them some of the best winter hiking socks.


Best Farm to Feet Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters


Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Socks


  • 54% US Nylon, 43% US Merino Wool. 3% US LYCRA Spandex
  • Light cushioning
  • Low cut to crew lengths

Farm to Feet makes 100% American made products and the best socks to keep feet dry. They carry the best hiking socks on the market and also have great hunting, sport, everyday, snow sport, and tactical socks. You really can’t go wrong with a pair from them.

Their Damascus socks are a flagship sock made from soft, itch-free wool. Their socks are naturally odor and bacteria-resistant, and are cool enough for summer hikes but warm enough for winter adventures.

All their socks are durable and made with reinforced construction. Meaning they will last you all summer long for many years outdoors.


Farm to Feet Cascade Hiking Socks


  • 54% US Nylon, 43% US Merino Wool. 3% US LYCRA Spandex
  • Light cushioning
  • 3/4 Crew

The Cascade line of hiking socks are a very popular option from Farm to Feet. They are made with comfort and durability in mind, and are well suited for even the most grueling trails. We use them here in the Canadian Rockies where we live and they outlast every single day out.

These hiking socks are lightweight but will keep you warm even in cooler climates. They come in really fun designs for the whole family to enjoy.


Farm to Feet Max Patch


Best Hiking Sock1Best Hiking Sock1
  • 49% US Nylon, 47% US Merino Wool, 4% US LYCRA® Spandex
  • Light cushioning
  • 3/4 Crew

The Max Patch is named after one of the most popular spots on the Appalachian Trail, right near Asheville. It’s a beautiful spot in the world, and that shows in the design of this sock!

These are popular hiking socks for climbing mountains as they stay taught around the ankle and calf preventing blisters. The foot of this sock has extra cushioning providing hikers extreme comfort to go all day!


Best Icebreaker Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters


Icebreakers Cool Lite


  • 41% Polyamide 28% Wool 28% Lyocell 3% Elastane
  • Light cushioning
  • From no show to crew length

The Icebreakers Lool lite are a staple lightweight hiking sock that are great for warm weather conditions. They’ll take you from the beginning of a trailhead to the top of the mountain all in comfortable fashion. Cool-Lite technology means that Icebreakers is combining premium merino wool and TENCEL wood fibers to make a cool hiking sock to keep you comfortable even in the hottest conditions.

The Cool Lites come in a variety of styles and are great for men and women alike.


Hike+Light Crew Socks


  • 61% Wool, 37% Nylon, 2% Lycra
  • Light cushioning.
  • Ankle Length

These lightweight hiking socks for women are made out of the softest merino wool. If you’ve ever had Icebreakers products before you know that they make some of the softest merino wool sustainably. That means these socks are soft, not itchy, odor-resistant, and non-clammy. All from renewable and recyclable resources.

These socks have a six-inch height making them great for even low profile hiking boots. They have excellent achilles, ankle, and instep support to help reduce the chance of injury on the trail!

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Last Updated on May 12, 2020

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