10 Best Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters on the Trail

A great pair of hiking socks to prevent blisters is a crucial gear for hikers. No part of the body is more important than the foot that carries us along the trail. It’s only natural that we want a pair of hiking socks to help prevent any injuries or discomfort to our feet.

Anyone that has experienced a hot spot or blister after a long day of hiking can attest to the power of good socks. The right pair of hiking socks prevent blisters and keep your feet feeling fresh. With a vast market, we dig into our favorite socks to tackle the trail. Let’s dig into the best hiking socks!


Best Hiking Socks To Prevent Blisters


Darn Tough Micro Hiker

Darn Tough Micro Hiker

Price: $24 | Fabric: Merino Wool/ Nylon/Lycra® | Cut: Crew & No Show

Pros

  • Mid Level Cushion Underfoot
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Durable
  • Moisture Management
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Price
  • Warm

The Darn Tough Micro Hiker is a standout hiking sock thanks to a tight, durable weave, quality material blend, and perfect fit. We have the best hiking socks in a drawer and these are the ones we find ourselves reaching for most frequently. Their Micro Hiker offers a nice mid cushion underfoot that feels comfortable but isn’t too much.

If you love heavily cushioned socks underneath your foot, these aren’t it, but the construction does make for a more durable sock. A wool synthetic blend allows the socks to warm and cool temperatures well. In testing, they’ve handled a variety of climates amicably.

Fit is great, and we’ve experienced no slipping or bunching. Darn Tough socks are some of the most expensive, but they have a lifetime warranty and exceptional durability. The price is far from cost-prohibitive, and your feet’ health is well worth the investment.

Shop For Darn Tough Micro Hiker Socks


Smartwool Run Targeted Socks

Price: $18 | Fabric: Wool/Nylon/Elastane | Cut: No Show, Crew, Mid Crew

Pros

  • Super Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Excellent Trail Running Sock

Cons

  • Durability
  • Padding

Smartwool’s Run Targeted socks are an excellent option for hot weather days. It’s a light and breathable sock that ensures dry feet for trail runners or hot weather hikers. The wool blend in the socks utilizes more nylon, allowing for a thinner yet still durable sock. As a result, the Run Targeted manages moisture exceptionally.

Fit is comfortable and snug without slipping or bunching, essential if you have plans for long runs. Smartwool uses their Indestructawool in critical wear areas for increased longevity. However, in our testing, no lightweight sock will last forever.

It’s great that as a lightweight running sock, it is available in a crew and mid-crew version for added protection from dirt or bugs. The “Targeted” version provides targeted panels of light cushion in the heel and toe box, which is an excellent defense against blisters.

Shop For Smartwool Run Targeted


Smartwool Performance Hike

Smartwool Performance Hike

Price: $23 | Fabric: Merino Wool/ Nylon/Elastane/Polyester | Cut: Crew

Pros

  • Moisture Management
  • Comfort
  • Colorway & Patterns
  • Odor Resistant
  • Excellent Fit
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Lacks Lifetime Warranty

Smartwool has long been a favorite sock maker for hikers. Over the years, they’ve proven to be reliable and keep feet blister-free. The Performance Hike is likely their best-selling hiking socks, and they prove to be a wonderfully reliable pair of socks.

Durability in the sock has been excellent, and we find ourselves more likely to lose the pair than wear a hole in them. The sock’s design is impressive, and the fit is perfect around our feet with no bunching or slipping. The additional padding in the toes and heels is notable, which increases the socks’ durability. The weight of the socks feels between a lightweight and midweight sock.

Shop For Smartwool Performance Hike Socks


REI Co-op COOLMAX EcoMade

REI Co-op COOLMAX EcoMade

Price: $14 | Fabric: Polyester/Nylon/Spandex | Cut: Low, Quarter, Crew

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Unisex
  • Synthetic Material
  • Moisture Management

Cons

  • Synthetic Holds On To Smell

For budget-friendly hiking socks, REI Co-op makes a great synthetic sock. Synthetic socks offer excellent performance in warm weather climates and exceptionally handle moisture. In addition to their performance in warm weather, the hiking socks offer a lightweight level of cushioning and support. It may be light, but it’s nice to have some support in a lightweight sock.

The Coolmax polyester gets some sustainable credit as it recycles textile scraps to form a new material. Against the skin, the fabric feels soft and comfortable. The design is excellent, with no uncomfortable seams and slight compression. Compression and fit keep the socks from bunching or slipping.

Synthetic socks are more affordable, but they do come with some downsides. Polyester stretches out faster than wool which will cause longevity issues. We also find synthetic materials tend to smell more than merino wool. If you’re after a long-lasting hiking sock, it’s better to opt for the merino option. However, for casual use and light hikes, it’s tough to deny the value of these socks.

Shop For REI Co-op COOLMAX EcoMade


Swiftwick PURSUIT Four

Swiftwick PURSUIT Four

Price: $20 | Fabric: Merino Wool/ Nylon/Spandex | Cut: Crew, 3/4 Crew

Pros

  • Performance-Focused Sock
  • Wonderful Fit
  • Breathable
  • Decent Cushion
  • Moisture Management

Cons

  • Skews Towards Performance Over Casual Use

Swiftwick has a knack for socks with excellent performance and tech. The Pursuit Seven is their wool-blend hiking sock with anatomical first and strategic cushioning. Quality is impressive, and Swiftwick socks have an apparent knack for design performance. If I’m after a more robust long-distance trail running sock, the Pursuit line is a perfect choice.

Thanks to their compression, cushion, and active panels for reliable temperature management. They skew a little too far towards performance for casual use. They feel too tight for everyday use, but it’s a welcome design feature when we need performance. Pursuit Four is between an ankle and crew sock with an excellent height for ankle protection.

Swiftwick describes the socks as a medium cushion, but it’s a much lighter cushion than other sock brands. The lightweight cushion shouldn’t surprise you as it plays well with the socks’ streamlined design. We love the price at around $20 for a decent compression sock.

Shop For Pursuit Four


Icebreaker Hike+Light Crew Socks

Icebreaker Hike+Light Hiking Socks

Price: $22 | Fabric: Merino Wool/ Nylon/Lycra | Cut: Crew, Ankle

Pros

  • Comfort
  • Odor Resistant
  • Excellent Fit
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Expensive

We love the quality of Icebreaker products, thanks in part to their excellent merino wool. Their Hike+ Light lightweight wool hiking socks are ultra-soft. It’s an ideal all-around sock that feels comfortable and handles a variety of temperatures well.

The design is good with an anatomical fit that feels secure around the midfoot and ankle. Fabric comfort is excellent as it is soft and not itchy. It also does a fantastic job at odor resistance and moisture management. Icebreaker also deserves credit for doing all of this with a sustainable approach. The production uses renewable or recycled sources for the fabric.

The Hike+ Light makes for a tremendous low-profile hiking sock to help prevent blisters. Support and cushion are medium to light with enough to remain comfortable. They aren’t our favorites as fit is not quite as comfortable as similar socks from Darn Tough or Smartwool.

Shop For Icebreaker Hike+Light Crew Socks


Farm to Feet Damascus Socks

Price: $22 | Fabric: Nylon/ Wool/Lycra | Cut: Crew, Ankle

Pros

  • Excellent Quality
  • Performance
  • U.S.A. Made
  • Excellent Panel Design
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Expensive

Farm To Feet’s Damascus hiking sock delivers excellent performance for long-distance and thru-hikers. It is due to a performance design and an extraordinary amount of breathability and cushioning. They utilize an anatomical design, cushioning, and panels to reduce the chance of hotspots and blisters. Construction is seamless, and the fabric handles moisture with ease.

The fabric relies on nylon as the primary material for superior moisture management. While a blend of wool in the fabric makes the socks comfortable and helps fight bacteria. However, the reliance on nylon does mean the fabric will stretch out over time. Not that the socks feel anything, but they are super high quality.

Most notable are the thick panels over the forefoot that help reduce friction between boot and foot bones. That anatomical design we mentioned earlier also feels well suited to keep you comfortable for long days on the trail. We also love the fantastic lifetime warranty and that Farm To Feet produce all their products in the U.S.A.

Shop For Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Socks


Darn Tough Hiker Boot Full-cushion

best hiking socks to prevent blisters

Price: $27 | Fabric: Wool/Nylon/Lycra | Cut: Crew

Pros

  • Excellent Quality
  • Performance
  • U.S.A. Made
  • Excellent Panel Design
  • Warmth

Cons

  • Expensive

We prefer a lightweight to medium cushion sock for most hikes as thick socks are far too warm. However, a full cushion sock that provides some warmth for winter, fall, and mountaineering objectives is necessary. For a thru-hiker, we’d recommend these socks in conjunction with a lightweight pair to deal with weather fluctuations.

The Full Cushion is similar to the Micro Hiker above with a beautiful wool blend and tough weave. Thanks to the full cushion, the comfort of these hiking socks is notable. It’s great for long objectives in cool weather or if you’re on your feet all day. A wool synthetic blend allows the socks to manage temperature still reasonably well. It’s only in warm weather with thick boots that they become restrictive.

Fit is great, and we’ve experienced no slipping or bunching. Darn Tough socks are some of the most expensive, but they have a lifetime warranty and exceptional durability. The price is high with these full cushion socks, but your feet will thank you if you require a full cushion sock.

Shop For Darn Tough Hiker Boot Full-Cushion


REI Co-op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew

REI Co-op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew

Price: $16 | Fabric: Wool/Nylon/Lycra | Cut: Crew

Pros

  • Wool Performance
  • Wonderful Value
  • Cushion

Cons

  • Dated Design
  • Meh Colors

Leave it to REI Co-op to deliver an affordable wool hiking sock. We love the brand for its value and reliable products. These hiking socks offer outstanding performance for a sock that is a fraction of the price of many competitors.

The wool fabric offers good thermoregulation and comfort. REI Co-op bills the socks as lightweight, but they are closer to a mid-weight. Compared to the more expensive lightweight wool socks, these feel dated. It’s a classic hiking sock with thick material and reinforcement in the heel and toes.

Color options leave a lot to be desired as they only come in the classic mute options. Darn Tough and Smartwool both offer more personality in their hiking socks. The dated design still provides plenty of performance. It just lags behind the newer models these days.

Shop For Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew


WrightSock CoolMesh II Quarter Socks

WRIGHTSOCK CoolMesh II Quarter Socks

Price: $15 | Fabric: Polyester/Nylon/Lycra | Cut: Crew

Pros

  • Very Comfortable
  • Super Lightweight

Cons

  • Durability
  • Lacks Cushion

The CoolMesh II from WrightSock is a superb option if you’re after an ultralight hiking sock. The company is best known for its excellent running socks. These ultralight synthetic socks offer superior performance in warm weather climates and exceptionally handle moisture.

The Cool Mesh II offers hikers an innovative two-layer construction with a noticeable inner and outer layer. It allows the inner layer to move independently from the external and reduces the possibility of blisters or hotspots. WrightSock even offers a “blister-free guarantee” on the socks but no warranty on construction.

In addition to their innovative design, they are incredibly comfortable and offer an excellent fit. It makes for an awesome ultralight sock for minimalist hikers or trail runners. However, it does come with a few negatives, such as a lack of cushion and some durability issues. The dual-layer construction is fantastic, but it makes for a sock that will fail.

Shop For WRIGHTSOCK CoolMesh II Socks


Why You Need Proper Hiking Socks

Best hiking socks to prevent blisters

Good hiking socks that 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 comfortable, durable, or provide the support I need to get me up and down mountains.

Hiking socks from the top sock manufacturers are ready for the trail. They are paying attention specifically to things like slipping, bunching, blisters, breathability, and durability. Things generic sock manufacturers fail to account for when they design hiking socks. You don’t need $30 socks when you’re just going to the grocery store.


Components of Good Hiking Socks



Style

Determining what style of hiking socks you want is vital before you buy. The main types 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) I like to wear either no-show socks or quarter socks when hiking with trail runners. When 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 vital. 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. Look for socks with cushioning in the sole and heel.


Weather

Buying the right hiking socks for the weather you will 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 breathable socks.


Material

Lastly, you’ll want to focus on the material that went into making your hiking socks. Many hiking socks on this list use 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 can keep you cool and dry when sweating.

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

About Cameron

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past six years. During this time he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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