Best Hiking Socks for Women iMore 2021
Hiking socks are an underrated hiking necessity. The right socks are so comfortable that you forget you're wearing them, even though they're cushioning your joints and protecting your feet against blisters. I've tested the best hiking socks available today, and these are my top five picks for this year.
- Lifetime guarantee: Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion
- Ultralight: SmartWool Cable II
- Best temperature regulating: Danish Endurance Merino Wool 3-pack
- Most comfortable shoe sock: Darn Tough Hiker 1/4 Cushion
- Great arch support: SmartWool Medium Cushion Wool
- Best for day hikes: Merrell Low Cut Tab 3-pack
Lifetime guarantee: Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock CushionStaff Pick
I've worn Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socks for the last three years during massive thru-hikes and short day hikes and haven't regretted it once. Extra padding under the toes, balls of the foot, and at the heels cushions joints and babies your skin, guarding against a sore body, hot spots, and blister formation. The fine merino wool fibers are soft, never scratchy, and they effectively pull moisture away from the skin, making these great socks for cold or warm weather hiking. Available in six fun color styles, these Darn Tough socks come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
Ultralight: SmartWool Cable II
When you're serious about keeping your pack and bodyweight down, you want SmartWool Cable II socks. Made just for women, the Cable IIs have a narrow heel and slim fit that hugs your feet and calves without pinching. The socks never bunch up or slide down, and they're fluffy soft. There's minimal cushioning on this model. This keeps weight down but still offers enough of a buffer between your foot and boot to prevent blisters. Made of merino wool, nylon, and elastane, these durable socks can be machine washed and tumble dried or hand-washed during adventures and hung to dry. This offering from SmartWool comes in 14 color choices, and they feel every bit as good as they look.
Best temperature regulating: Danish Endurance Merino Wool 3-pack
I love Danish Endurance socks for their ability to keep my feet warm when the temps dip below zero and cool when Mother Nature turns the heat up. These are thick socks, but not so bulky as to make your footwear feel too tight. Ventilation mesh lanes stripe through the ankles and over the tops of the feet to keep air moving while merino wool works to make sure your feet stay dry. Cushioning is medium weight in these crew length socks, making them the perfect companions for long treks or chilly afternoons. This set of three comes in a variety of color choices, and each is anatomically designed for a perfect fit.
Most comfortable shoe sock: Darn Tough Hiker 1/4 Cushion
If you hike in trail running shoes or low cut hikers, Darn Tough quarter cushion socks are a beautiful thing. They hug your foot just above the ankle, so they're not too high nor too low. A combination of Lycra, merino wool, nylon, and Spandex gives these a lightweight feel and moisture-wicking capabilities. The cuffs stay up without fail, and the soles of the feet have added padding to cushion your steps. Seriously, these are the most comfortable midweight socks I've ever worn. Made in Vermont and backed by a lifetime guarantee, Darn Tough quarter cushion socks come in three bold colors choices and are perfect for three-season outdoor adventures.
Great arch support: SmartWool Medium Cushion Wool
If foot pain prevents you from hiking or enjoying other activities, SmartWool's medium cushioned hiking crew socks could be the answer to your prayers. Flat knit toe seams do away with bunched fabric at the front of the shoe and give your toes lots of room to spread out. Meanwhile, a superbly designed elasticized arch brace and padded heel supports your foot and relieves the pain of arthritis, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and fatigue. These SmartWool socks are tall enough to wear with boots and protect your shins against scratches and abrasions on the trail. SmartWool socks are made of genuine wool that's naturally antimicrobial. Get these in all seven colors and treat your feet to real arch support.
Best for day hikes: Merrell Low Cut Tab 3-pack
If you're a summer hiker or trail runner, Merrel's Performance line of socks has a lot to offer, including these low cut tab models. You'll get a three-pack for your money. A small tab of fabric sewn into the back of the sock helps you pull the socks on without stretching them out, hold them in place during activity, and act as a buffer between your shoes and skin. Arch support is superb at preventing foot fatigue and adds to the overall comfort. These are polyester, nylon, and Lycra Spandex, so they're best worn during afternoon walks in the woods and not on your next long-distance hike.
From one hiker to another
I've spent months at a time on hiking trails, and I put my trust in Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socks. The merino wool in Darn Tough socks prevents moisture from building up in boots by wicking sweat away from the skin. No matter how far you travel on the trail, your feet stay fresh and dry. There's ample padding on the heels, balls of the feet, and toes that guard against blisters and joint pain. Like all Darn Tough socks, these come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. You can't beat that!
When temperatures dip below zero or swing up into the 80s, I pack Danish Endurance Merino Wool Socks. Thin wool fibers and ventilation lanes do a great job of keeping feet dry and irritation-free, and thickly padded soles guard against the fatigue, joint pain, and hot spots. Even when I've been on my feet for hours in scorching temperatures, Danish Endurance leaves my feet feeling and smelling fresh.
If you like to spend leisurely afternoons meandering through the woods or you enjoy trail running, you'll want to check out the Merrel Low Cut Tab Socks. Excellent arch support, a padded tab above the heel, and ventilation stripes all add up to make this a solid summer sock for day hikes.
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