There’s almost nothing worse than knowing you have miles left to walk along a long trail and feeling your feet start to blister. Thankfully, with the correct pair of hiking socks, you can put those painful days of fighting blisters in the past.
The winner of this product review is the Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Sock. These socks are extra comfortable and come in seven stylish colors. Designed with a combo of merino wool, nylon, and lycra spandex, the socks are sure to stay secure, preventing slippage that leads to blisters. They also wick away sweat and are versatile enough for warm or cool days.
For a thorough comparison of hiking socks and their many features that makes them so useful, read our product round-up below. With this information, you can go out and find the best hiking socks to prevent blisters from ruining your hiking days ever again!
|Best Overall||Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks||Material: 61% merino wool, 36% nylon, and 3% lycra spandex|
|Best Value||Kirkland Signature Men’s Outdoor Merino Wool Trail Socks||Material: 72% merino wool, 27% nylon, and 1% elastane|
|Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks||Material: 43% NuWool merino wool, 43% acrylic, 12% nylon, and 2% lycra spandex|
|Farm to Feet Damascus Midweight Crew Merino Wool Socks||Material: 61% merino wool, 34% nylon, and 5% spandex|
|Darn Tough Tactical Over The Calf Extra Cushion Sock||Material: 79% merino wool, 20% nylon, 1% lycra spandex|
|Best Budget Option||Smartwool unisex Phd Outdoor Light Crew||Material: 56% wool, 41% nylon, and 3% elastane|
|DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking Sock||Material: Merino wool (other materials not listed)|
Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks: Best Overall Socks
- ALL WEATHER COMFORT: Darn Tough uses the highest quality merino wool, which naturally provides all weather performance. This Mens hiking sock stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- STAY DRY AND COMFORTABLE DURING THE LONGEST DAYS ON THE TRAIL: This hiking sock features a performance fit that stays in place all day. No more slipping, bunching, or blisters. For extra comfort, these socks pull moisture away from the skin and dry rapidly.
- LEGENDARY DURABILITY: The Hiker Micro Crew is built tough and made to last with 61% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, and 3% Lycra.
- MICRO CREW HEIGHT: Shorter, more concise take on the traditional crew height. This sock will peek just above the top of a standard hiking boot. It also features mid-level cushion density under the foot.
- MADE IN THE USA & GUARANTEED FOR LIFE: If your Darn Tough socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you've ever owned, return them for another pair. No strings or conditions. Darn Tough socks are guaranteed for life. All Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont.
The Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks are the best choice in this product round-up, thanks to their ultimate comfort, excellent moisture wicking properties, high level of durability, expert cushioning, and tight fit that keeps the sock in place to prevent blistering.
These Darn Tough socks are true to their name, as they are quite durable and should last for years of hiking. They are constructed with “fine gauge knitting” with mid-weight yarns that keep rips at bay over time.
With a “micro” crew design, these socks are shorter than full crew height socks but still manage to be tall enough to protect your heels from blisters when wearing ankle boots. They may be too short for full length boots, however.
These socks are made of a combination of 61% merino wool, 36% nylon, and 3% lycra spandex. With their breathable construction and moisture wicking features, the Darn Tough socks are a great fit for warmer or cooler days.
Thanks to their merino wool construction, this will help to keep your feet from sweating. Additionally, the socks themselves will dry out very quickly in case they do become damp, which is another important feature for protection against blisters.
These no-shrink socks also feature a “performance fit” design that prevents the sock from slipping or bunching up, both of which help to keep those blisters at bay.
For added comfort, the socks have a “True Seamless” construction as well, so you won’t feel any seams rubbing against your toes as you walk. There is also extra cushioning underneath your feet, specifically at the heel and toe, as well as elasticity at the arch for added support.
Finally, Darn Tough has a lifetime guarantee on their hiking socks. This shows that Darn Tough is a company that stands behind their product.
Kirkland Signature Men’s Outdoor Merino Wool Trail Socks: Best Value
The Kirkland Signature Men’s Outdoor Merino Wool Trail Socks are the best value, as you get four pairs of crew height socks in a pack. They are available in blue and grey colors to match any outfit, and they promise comfort and durability.
Constructed of a 72% merino wool, 27% nylon, and 1% elastane blend, the Kirkland Signature trail socks are moisture-wicking and breathable. This makes them a great option for preventing your feet from sweating, while also being suitable for warm or cool temperatures.
These Kirkland socks are medium weight, meaning they are decently cushioned without being too heavy or thick. There is extra cushioning at the heel and at the toes, and they also offer plenty of arch support.
The merino wool design adds to the breathability. Also, they have a seamless design, so you won’t have to feel any pesky seams that irritate your toes.
Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks: Best Toe Sock Option
- The original performance toe sock
- Allows for better sweat wicking
- No skin on skin friction to prevent blistering
If you’re looking for a pair of toe socks, the Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks are the best option in this product round-up. Toe socks are designed to be the ultimate in blister prevention, as your toes will not be in contact with one another as you hike.
Toe socks not only prevent friction between your toes that leads to uncomfortable blistering, but they also help ensure that your toes can splay out as needed while you walk. This promotes a more natural gait and overall comfort. This helps you remain more sure-footed on difficult trails. Also, the extra fabric between your toes prevents sweat from accumulating between your digits.
The Injinji socks are designed with 43% NuWool merino wool, 43% acrylic, 12% nylon, and 2% lycra spandex. They are marketed as odor resistant and are built with added cushioning and arch support. There are also mesh designed areas at the top of the sock to keep your feet from sweating, which is another important blister prevention element.
These socks also feature a cuff at the top to keep dirt out. They are a perfect choice for nearly any weather, as they are breathable and durable.
Farm to Feet Damascus Midweight Crew Merino Wool Socks: Stretchiest Socks
- -U.S. Merino Wool: We source our 100% U.S. grown merino wool exclusively from sheep raised by American farmers on American farms. Merino wool keeps you cool in the summer and warm in winter.
- -Superior knitting techniques create a totally flat connection in the toe box, reducing bulk and eliminating blister-generating friction
- -Seamless Toe Closure: Advanced knitting techniques create a totally flat Full-density cushioning provides better insulation, wicking, impact protection and faster moisture absorption to keep you Dry and reduce friction
- -Compression from the top of the sock through the arch creates a comfortable fit that helps support the foot throughout the day
- -To ensure long-lasting comfort and fit, Farm to Feet socks should be machine washed cold and laid flat to Dry
The Farm to Feet Damascus Midweight Crew Merino Wool Socks are the best option if you’re looking for a stretchy pair of midweight, calf-height hiking socks. With the highest spandex content in this product round-up, these socks are made to be comfortable and fit your feet perfectly.
These socks are knitted with a special technique to create a completely flat, seam-free boe box, preventing areas that would normally cause friction and painful blisters. They are also highly breathable with multiple ventilation channels, making them a great choice for warm weather. They prevent your feet from sweating and absorb moisture well. The socks also dry quickly.
In addition to being breathable for warm weather, these socks are also suitable for colder weather thanks to their insulated design.
The Farm to Feet socks are machine washable and are constructed of 61% merino wool, 34% nylon, and 5% spandex. They are cushioned for added comfort with additional compression areas across the top of the foot. This also creates a much tighter fit for more support throughout the day. This will help your feet from feeling fatigued even after long hours of hiking.
Darn Tough T4050 Tactical Over The Calf Extra Cushion Sock: Best for Cold Weather
- HEAVYWEIGHT WITH FULL CUSHION - High density cushioning throughout the entire sock for full on comfort and performance. The most comfortable and warm option Darn Tough offers. True Seamless technology allows for an undetectable seam fusion for an ultra-smooth, invisible feel.
- OVER-THE-CALF HEIGHT - The name says it all. The ultimate height for keeping the outside—out. See chart below if other heights may be better for you.
- COMPOSITION - Designed and Knit in Vermont with 79% Merino Wool 20% Nylon 1% Lycra Spandex. The fast action wicking pulls moisture away from skin, so no more sweaty, stinky socks. The soft, breathable merino wool has fast drying, all weather performance that keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- GUARANTEED FOR LIFE - Darn Tough's famous guarantee - if these socks wear, tear, or develop holes, Darn Tough will replace them no questions asked. No strings. No conditions. Over the years, when you open your sock drawer this is the pair you’ll keep grabbing first.
- MADE IN THE USA - Every pair of socks is knit in Northfield, Vermont - the perfect testing ground for the finest premium all weather performance socks.
The Darn Tough T4050 Tactical Over The Calf Extra Cushion Sock is the ultimate choice if you are looking for a sock that will truly keep you warm. These are marketed as a heavyweight sock, which is designed to truly keep you warmer when you need it most. Not only are they heavyweight, but they are also tall with an over-calf design.
These Darn Tough socks are made out of 79% merino wool, 20% nylon, and 1% lycra spandex. They have a truly seamless, slip-free, bunch-free design to prevent blisters, as well as cushioned zones throughout the sock for added comfort.
There is reinforcement at the toe and heel for even more support, as well as elastic support across your arches to keep you comfortable all day. The fine-gauge knitting ensures durability as well, so you can rely on these socks for years of hiking adventures.
The merino wool in these socks wicks away moisture, so you won’t have to worry about your feet sweating, either. The merino wool is breathable and dries very quickly, so it is great for warmer temperatures as well. It is also odor-resistant.
Finally, just like other Darn Tough socks, these also have a lifetime guarantee.
Smartwool Unisex Phd Outdoor Light Crew Socks: Best Budget Option
- WARM INSULATION: Experience durability at its peak with the Smartwool Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks. These socks are built for performance in the highest degree, making them ready for any adventure on your list.
- COMFORTABLE FIT: The Men's PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks feature a 4 Degree Elite Fit System for a dialed, performance-oriented fit with a flex zone at the ankle and a Virtually Seamless toe for enhanced comfort.
- DURABLE YET BREATHABLE: The Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks are designed with Indestructawool technology for exceptional durability and comfort. The body-mapped mesh zones featured on these socks offer added breathability for all-day wear.
- LIGHT CUSHION: The lightly cushioned bottom on the Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks allows you to wear these performance socks on various trails and road terrains without discomfort. These socks will provide you with padded comfort during any season.
- CARE INSTRUCTIONS: Comprised of 56% Merino Wool, 41% Nylon, and 3% Elastane, the Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks should be machine washed inside out in warm water and tumble dried on low. These socks should not be bleached, ironed, or dry cleaned.
The Smartwool Unisex Phd Outdoor Light Crew socks are the best option if you’re trying to find comfortable, calf-height hiking socks on a limited budget. Although you can find them as low as $18, these socks do not skip out on the quality.
The Smartwool socks are available in eight fashionable color options. They are designed to be extra durable with the patented “Indestructawool” design of their material. Also, these socks are equipped with mesh zones for breathability and a seamless toe box area for added comfort and blister prevention. There is also an ankle band at the top to keep debris away.
The material composition of these socks is 56% wool, 41% nylon, and 3% elastane. With a “4 Degree Elite Fit System” design, these socks feature “flex zones” at the ankle joint as well as arch bands across the instep. This gives the socks a tight fit geared towards high performance and long hikes. There is also light cushioning for shock absorption throughout the sock body.
These Smartwool socks are designed with “Wool on Wool” technology via additional layers of wool focused at the heel and forefoot. This feature allows for improved shock absorption in these areas and adds to the socks’ durability over time. The “SmartWool” itself is moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and breathable for a comfortable, versatile fit.
DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking Socks: Another Great Value for the Price
- MERINO WOOL FOR COMFORTABLE & DRY FEET: The natural thermoregulation of the merino wool blend ensures that your feet will be fresh in the summer and warm in the winter due to moisture wicking technology. Ventilation mesh lanes wick away sweat, increasing breathability while promoting odor control. Targeted cushioning and padding reduce the risk of getting blisters, aches and aid in shock absorbance
- IDEAL FOR HIKING & OUTDOOR: Our unisex socks are great for hiking, trekking, outdoor adventures, walking, travelling or everyday wear. The cushioning of the socks also provides comfort in work boots. Our hiking and outdoor socks make the perfect gift. Available in sizes: X-Small: US Kids 13-3, Small: US Women 5-7 / US Men 3.5-6, Medium: US Women 8-10 / US Men 6.5-8.5, Large: US Women 11-13 / US Men 9.5-12.5, X-Large: US Men 13.5-16.0. We recommend to size down if you are in-between sizes
- DESIGNED IN DENMARK - MADE IN EUROPE: Our Danish Endurance design team develops these socks in Copenhagen, Denmark. The production facilities are located in Portugal, where we ensure fair working conditions. In addition, the merino wool we use is sourced in an animal-friendly way without Mulesing practices
- RECOMMENDED BY EVEREST CLIMBER AND ELITE ATHETE: These hiking socks are developed with mountaineer Rasmus Kragh, the first Dane to climb Mount Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen in May 2019. During his training and excursions, Rasmus is continuously testing our socks to ensure the highest standards of performance and material endurance
- EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SUPPORT: We want our customers to be happy - In case you have any questions or issues, do not hesitate to contact us. Our customer service team is always ready to help you and find the best solution for you
The DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking Socks also offer an excellent value for the price, as you get three pairs of crew length socks for only $26-30. These socks are fashionable and comfortable, offering plenty of ventilation and cushion.
Available in six different packs of various colors, these socks are stylish enough to wear with everyday outfits when you want to stay a little warmer. Merino wool is also excellent for moisture wicking and staying cool in warmer temperatures if that’s more your speed.
Unfortunately, it is unclear what materials (other than merino wool) these socks are designed with, so it is possible that they may not be as durable or flexible.
The DANISH ENDURANCE socks also feature ventilated mesh areas, perfect for breathability and preventing odor build-up. They are also equipped with cushioned sections along the sock that keep blisters away and help keep your ride bouncy.
Buying Guide: What to Know Before Purchasing Hiking Socks
What you should know about the best hiking socks to prevent blisters
First, it’s important to know why blisters form in order to know how to prevent them. Blisters on your feet are caused by friction between your toes, friction between your feet and the shoe, ill-fitting shoes that put pressure on areas of your feet as you walk, or moisture within your socks (often caused by sweating).
One of the best ways to prevent blisters is to buy a pair of hiking socks from a reputable brand, such as Smartwool or Darn Tough, as we talked about above. These socks are tested and designed to be suited for hours of hiking and are constructed of the most comfortable, blister-preventing materials possible.
Many of these brands also give their socks a lifetime guarantee, so purchasing from them may even save you money in the long run.
As far as the design of hiking socks, it’s important that your socks are supportive and cushioned to protect your joints during long or difficult hiking sessions.
Hiking socks should have extra cushion at high-wear areas of contact, such as the ball of your feet as well as your heels and across the laces where friction may occur. There should also be added support along your arches. This will help support your foot throughout the long hiking day and keep your feet from feeling as tired.
Additionally, hiking socks should have a seamless design where the seams are hidden to prevent friction. This will be another important feature for blister prevention.
Also, hiking socks are constructed overall to be more durable. They are less likely to wear down and create holes over time. This will not only save you money but also ensure that holes don’t expand and allow friction to occur between your skin and the inside of the shoe.
Hiking socks are also designed so that they won’t bunch up inside your shoes, which would create blisters. To truly prevent your socks from bunching up, however, make sure that they aren’t too large. You want to make sure that your socks aren’t too small, either, because this will create added pressure on your feet which can cause blisters to form.
Also, remember that the longer you hike, the more your feet will swell throughout the day. For this reason, before purchasing, you may want to try on socks at the end of the day after you’ve been walking around. This can help ensure that you are buying them in the correct size.
When choosing your socks, also be aware of the climate in which you plan to hike. Midweight or medium-weight socks are designed to be more versatile and are suited for cooler or warmer weather. Heavyweight socks (like the Darn Tough T4050 Tactical Over The Calf Extra Cushion Sock above) are constructed of a thicker material meant for colder weather.
It’s also important to consider the height of your socks. For the ultimate protection against blisters, make sure that your sock rises above the top of your shoe. This will prevent the back of the shoe from rubbing painfully against your heel with each step.
Socks meant for colder hikes are typically the tallest, but there are also socks that hit at your calf that may be tall enough. Other options are crew socks, which are designed to be compatible with lower cut boots. Ankle socks are best for warmer hikes.
For added protection against blisters, you want to ensure that debris stays out of your shoes. You can attach a gaiter over the top of your shoe to keep any dust or sand out.
What is the best sock material for blister prevention?
You want to avoid cotton socks when hiking, because cotton unfortunately holds onto moisture too heavily. This means that sweat will build up inside the sock, causing the sock to bunch up and create friction against your skin as you walk. Cotton socks also take forever to dry.
Most hiking socks will be designed with merino wool as the main fabric type. This is a soft material that is incredibly versatile, suited well for cooler or warmer temperatures.
Merino wool excels at wicking moisture away from your feet. Unlike cotton, merino wool does not hold onto moisture. Rather, it allows the water to evaporate through the sock and boot, where it will no longer pose a threat to your feet. Merino wool dries very quickly, which is of course the ultimate way to keep your feet dry.
Breathability is incredibly important with blister prevention, and merino wool is an excellent material for this. Breathable socks will help prevent your feet from overheating and getting sweaty, which is a major component of blister prevention.
In addition to merino wool, your hiking socks will likely contain some amount of nylon. Nylon is a more durable material and is generally used in the high-friction areas of the sock.
Finally, your hiking socks will probably contain elastane or spandex. This material helps the sock to be flexible and stretchy. It allows the sock to fit tightly over your foot.
Should you wear liner socks when hiking to prevent blisters?
While it is not a necessity, liner socks can be an excellent way to ensure that blisters stay away.
Liner socks are very thin and add an extra boundary between your feet and the socks. They ensure that any moisture is wicked away immediately. Liner socks are designed to cover your whole foot and each toe individually to prevent friction even between your toes.
However, make sure that the liner sock does not have any seams that you can feel. The liner sock should fit very snugly without any bunching or creased areas.
Tips to prevent sweating and deal with moisture to keep your feet dry
To be prepared to replace your socks in case they get sweaty or wet, make sure that you always bring at least one extra pair of hiking socks in your hiking bag.
Before you put on your socks, you can coat your feet in Gold Bond powder. This will help absorb moisture and prevent chafing. Another option is to put on antiperspirant for your feet.
When hiking, let your feet air out whenever you have a chance. If you stop for lunch, for example, it might be a great time to take off your shoes and socks so that your feet have time to breathe.
If you start to feel that your feet are getting sweaty, you should stop and take a break. Remove your shoes and socks to examine your feet. Look for any areas that appear red (these are hot spots). Let your feet cool down and become dry again.
To prevent a blister from getting worse once it’s started, you may want to put a bandage or tape on the area. Before starting your hike again, put on your spare pair of dry socks.
Blisters can ruin even the most exciting of hiking trips. Thankfully, your days of worrying about blisters can be over with the right pair of hiking socks.
The winner of this product round-up is the Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks. These comfortable socks are built to be durable, cushioned and supportive for all-day hikes, and versatile for cooler or warm weather. They are moisture-wicking, so you won’t have to fret about sweaty feet.
For the ultimate tactical option, check out the Darn Tough Tactical Over The Calf Extra Cushion Sock. These are the tallest socks in this review and are meant for colder hiking days while still providing plenty of breathabilities, moisture-wicking, and cushion.
If you’re looking for a toe sock, your best bet is the Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks. You won’t need a liner sock with these socks, because they are designed to protect each of your toes from friction and blistering.
In the end, hopefully, this product round-up was helpful in guiding you towards the best hiking socks to prevent blisters. Happy hiking!