Any seasoned hiker will tell you that a great set of hiking socks is a must-have on the trail. But despite their simple look, hiking socks might be complex purchase. That’s why we spent 25 hours researching 65 sock choices. We then took to the trails of Vancouver, British Columbia, hiking for more than 75 hours, 160 miles, and 350,000 measures in 18 pairs of socks. Eventually we determined that the women’s and men’s Darn Hard Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion socks will be the best hiking socks for many people. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, these wool socks offer you the perfect mix of durability, comfort, and texture.
The Darn Hard Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion sock comes in women’s and men’s models and will be the most versatile trekking sock we tested. Its micro-crew elevation is taller than an ankle sock however a few inches shorter than the ordinary crew sock, climbing just above the surface of a typical pair of hiking boots. The Darn Tough Light Hiker is constructed with exceptionally breathable merino wool, so your feet will not feel sweaty during summertime swells. The sock’s form-fitted toe, additional arch support, and underfoot cushioning allow it to be especially comfortable too. And while these socks are among the priciest we analyzed, Darn Tough’s unparalleled lifetime warranty will save you at a pinch: You are able to send back any item, at any time–even if it’s just a tired sock–and the company will replace it for free.
The Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Technical Crew sock, which comes from women’s and men’s variations, is a terrific second-best choice if our top pick is out of stock. The Damascus is also a great alternative when you’re planning to increase off-trail often and need extra shin protection, since this sock comes up high on the shin than most of the other versions we’ve tested. The Damascus is very lightweight, highly elastic, and loaded with padding around the toe, along the heel, and round the top of the foot. The tight knit keeps microgrit from getting into a foot. Plus, these socks are also guaranteed for lifetime if the cloth ever wear thin.
If you’re looking for a non-wool hiking sock, then we believe the Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion, that comes in women’s and men’s options, is the best choice. This synthetic sock includes midlevel cushioning, so it is more cushioned around the heel and toes compared to other lightweight non-wool socks we attempted. Additionally, it is breathable: While wearing the Coolmax Micro Crew in warm summer season, our feet remained dry and sweat-free. The briefer micro-crew height makes the Coolmax Micro Crew appropriate for both shoes and boots, too. And like all Darn Tough socks, this version includes a lifetime warranty.
The Icebreaker Hike Light Crew sock (which comes in both women’s and men’s models) comprises light cushioning and has ventilated areas along the foot, which makes it a good sock for hikers with sweaty feet. These socks were one of the softest we analyzed, and they were also the only set that match anatomically. Why does that matter? An anatomical fit means better breathability, with much more distance around your foot in the boot. Note that these socks showed signs of wear more quickly compared to other versions we’ve tested–but like the rest of our selections, Icebreaker’s socks include a lifetime guarantee.