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For many, there’s nothing better than stepping outside and taking a hike through the natural world. Rolling mountains, endless coasts and green forests can provide hours of fun-filled adventure. That is, of course, unless your footwear is uncomfortable or causes you pain. For this reason, it’s always important to make sure you have some great hiking shoes and, not just athletic socks, but the very best hiking socks on your feet.
When it comes to choosing the best hiking socks, there are a few elements to take into account. First, consider your hiking shoes. If your boots come up to, or even above your ankles, you’re going to want socks specifically made for that purpose. On the other hand, if your hiking shoes are lower-profile, then you can do with a quarter-crew or even a standard low-cut option.
Second, think about where you’re going hiking and what the weather will be like. Winter socks are better suited for colder conditions, while “lightweight” socks serve multiple purposes of cooling and quicker movement in warmer climates. If you’re backpacking, there’s an entirely separate set of needs to support long miles in the same pair.
We’ve tested and listed 10 of the best hiking socks we found online for various activities, conditions and styles. Whether you’re heading out into the snow or sun, or in shoes or boots, there’s a pair of high-quality hiking socks to fit your needs.
The Best Hiking Socks for Men At a Glance
1. Best Overall: WORN T3 Hike: Mountain Child — $24 at Huckberry
2. Runner Up: Weatherproof Men’s Outdoor Crew Sock (5-pack) — $12.49 at Costco
3. Best High-End: TEKO EcoRUN (2-pack) — $22 at TEKO
4. Best Lightweight: ORTOVOX Alpinist — $14.99 at Trekkinn
5. Best Liner: Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Wool — $16 at Amazon
6. Best Low-Cut: LÉ BENT Light Micro Tab Run — $20 at LÉ BENT
7. Most Stylish: Bombas x Cotopaxi Merino Wool Hiking Quarter Sock (3-pack) — $26 at Bombas
8. Best Boot Sock: Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool Full Cushion Boot Sock — From $24.95 at Amazon
9. Best Winter Sock: Darn Tough Vermont Men’s Hiker Boot Midweight Hiking Sock — $27 at Darn Tough Vermont
10. Best Budget: Danish Endurance Merino Wool Crew Light Hiking Socks — $29.95 at Amazon
What’s In the Best Hiking Socks?
Let’s be clear: the best hiking socks for you are probably not the best hiking socks for your hiking buddy, and his/her hiking sock probably isn’t the best option for the person you passed at mile six.
Finding your best hiking sock depends on several factors, including your planned activity level, weather conditions, your body type and your desired budget. What you do you want to look for is a sock that won’t tear or fragment upon repeated use, and can withstand regular laundry.
If you can, you’ll also want to try on some socks before you hit the trails and walk around the house a bit to scout any hot spots or potential chafing/blister locations. It’s much easier to diagnose and solve that issue now than out in the wilderness. If for any reason a sock doesn’t feel comfortable, take time to adjust and figure out what isn’t working. The bottom line is that hiking socks should make your overall experience better.
1. Worn T3 Hike
Best For: All-season performance (except for icy winter treks).
Why We Chose It: Worn continues to produce fantastic socks with quality, durability and performance front and center.
- 52% Merino wool
- 42% AR nylon
- 6% Elastane
If you checked out our best socks overall guide, you’ll know we’re big fans of WORN. They’re relatively unknown, but their proprietary “Arrowool” blend (a mix of Merino wool, a cooling material and elastane) will most certainly be on the map soon. The material hits that sweet spot of softness, performance and laundry durability. And because of that, it’s our surefire winner for best hiking socks overall.
Better yet, the material performs incredibly well in almost any hiking situation. Whether you’re out for summer trekking, fall leaf frolicking or winter mountaineering, you’ll find solace here.
Worn has proven to be a rising heavyweight in the sock game. The T3 Hike is a bit pricier than other Worn models at $24/pair, but it’s surely a quality investment.
- Excellent material
- Nice style
- Proven durability
- Slightly expensive
- Singular color option
2. Weatherproof Men’s Outdoor Crew Sock (5-pack)
Best For: Performance in any climate with unbelievable value.
Why We Chose It: Because after extensive testing, many name-brand hiking socks couldn’t beat the performance and value offered here.
- 44% Polyester
- 38% Acrylic
- 15% Wool
- 3% Lycra spandex
We know what you’re thinking: How did an in-house Costco brand score so high on our list?
It’s simple: These socks are fantastic. They did amazingly well in a variety of environments, from snow to early summer, and are also just as good in casual boots. They wick away moisture better than socks twice the cost and stand up to laundry time and time again.
Did we mention they’re under $13 for a five-pack? Unreal value and proven performance rank it high. It just misses the top due to the flimsy feel of the fabric mix, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a winner.
- Unreal value
- Exceptional durability
- Good neutral color
- Some may not like fabric feel
- Beware of resellers selling it for twice the cost
3. Teko EcoRUN (2-pack)
Best For: Those who need the best hiking socks for breathability and temperature control
Why We Chose It: We liked the performance and sustainability story behind the brand
- 98% Econyl polyamide
- 2% Elastic
TEKO (pronounced T-ECHO) has some history as an outdoor performance brand but was only recently reintroduced to the market through a new licensee (and is now based in Europe as opposed to North America). The sustainability effort comes from a range of initiatives and the use of recycled textiles across the product line.
Although marketed as a run sock, the EcoRUN works quite well as a summer hiker. They do lean more towards the pricier side, but that cost is merited through top performance, two included pairs and a comfortable feel through the heel and arch.
We liked the integrated tech into the overall sock, which proved to be a winner on both short and long treks.
- Good sustainability mission
- Proper quality
- Nice feel to the skin
- A bit niche
- Only available through limited channels
4. ORTOVOX Alpinist
Best For: Light-on-your-feet mountainous ascents.
Why We Chose It: We liked the padding and overall layout of this hiking sock leading to a more secure fit.
- Merino wool blend (unspecified)
- Weight: 34g
The Alpinist is billed as a summer sock for high elevations, so it should be no surprise that it performs well in the heat.
There’s some extra padding in the heel and toe, which offers both comfort and security in the fit, and even some additional cooling through the use of Merino wool throughout the sock. We also liked the quarter-length sizing as that seems to be a good bridge for higher low-profile shoes and even lower boots for those who don’t mind the fit.
These also adhere to the specific left/right sizing, which we’ve noted in many socks does work and indeed does make a difference when it comes to the overall feel of each sock. Ortovox did a good job here making sure both feet felt mighty comfy and cool through our warmest testing.
- Lightest among socks tested
- Good foot feel
- Extra secure fit where it’s needed
- Lack of good color options (and they will vary across sites)
- Pricey depending on where you buy it
5. Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Wool
Best For: The first layer of a multi-sock pursuit.
Why We Chose It: Although not advertised as a liner, we think this is the best hiking sock base layer when you need it.
- 66% Merino wool
- 30% Nylon
- 4% Lycra
Toe socks stir up a lot of debate. Are they weird? Are they ingenious? We tend to stick somewhere in the middle as simply another option for those who like more movement within a sock. So how did they make our list of best hiking socks?
This run-focused sock is light enough to fit as the base for another one and would make a fine low cushion for a boot sock or something more demanding. Be careful when drying though, as machine drying does cause the individual toe holes to shrink and potentially fray on second wear.
- Easy to wear
- Bland look
- Toe fit isn’t for everyone
6. Le Bent Light Micro Tab Run Sock
Best For: Those in the know who want high-level hiking performance without showing it.
Why We Chose It: Because it’s a great option for those really warm, sweaty days.
- Rayon from bamboo – 44%
- Merino wool – 19%
- Nylon – 35%
- Elastane – 2%
As mentioned in the best socks for men story, one of our sock secrets is finding a straightforward low or no-show sock to wear throughout late spring and well into summer. You need more out of socks through the warmest time of year, including for of-the-moment hiking pursuits and unexpected all-day city treks.
Le Bent’s low-cut, light-cushion product here was born as a mountainous trail running sock, but works just as well off the alpine, too. The mix of bamboo-sourced rayon, Merino wool, nylon and elastane proves to be a winner. Plus, the European style-cut tucks away more compared to some of its American counterparts.
The only downside is that the rayon sometimes needs an extra dry cycle, but that’s a small price to pay for a do-it-all sock that may find its way into your year-round rotation.
- Among the most comfortable we tested
- Almost no-show with the right shoes if you care about that while hiking
- Great for travel
- Priced high
- Longer drying time among what we tested
7. Bombas x Cotopaxi Merino Wool Hiking Quarter Sock
Best For: Flexing on your most photogenic hikes.
Why We Chose It: Two great brands collaborating on an as-expected great set of socks.
- 63% Merino Wool
- 35% Nylon
- 2% Spandex
You probably already know Cotopaxi and Bombas. The former is one of the fastest-growing brands in the outdoor space, upending the space with a modern take on colorful apparel. The latter is one of the more reliable names in casual socks.
No two pairs within this limited edition collaboration are the same as each includes a portion of leftover Merino wool from past production runs. The good news is, whichever pattern you get, it’s sure to be a fun and usable style.
As for performance, they’re cozy and comfortable for short to medium hikes with reliable arch support and durability through the laundry. They also have a surprising amount of air circulation for a tight-knit sock. All of this comes at a price, but when style counts, it’s worth it.
- Fun colors
- Definitely on-trend
- Performance to back it all up
- No two pairs are the same if symmetry matters to you
- Not cheap
8. Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool Full Cushion Boot Sock
Best Boot Sock
Best For: Boot-first treks wherever you’re headed.
Why We Chose It: One of the most trusted names In hiking socks remains trustworthy.
- 66% Merino Wool
- 32% Nylon
- 2% Lycra Spandex
There isn’t much to say about Darn Tough Vermont that hasn’t already been said.
The brand simply makes some of the best hiking socks. It’s their flagship activity and we’d put our money into just about anything they make. These hiking socks perform well over and over (and over) again. There’s a reason why you see so many thru-hikers and long-time mountaineers turn to DTV.
- Legendary durability
- Awesome comfort
- Classic hiking style
- A bit pricey
- Crew finish may chafe some legs
9. Darn Tough Vermont Men’s Hiker Boot Midweight Hiking Sock
Best Winter Sock
Best For: See above.
Why We Chose It: Also, see above.
- Full Cushion
- 64% Merino Wool
- 33% Nylon
- 3% Lycra Spandex
DTV is the only brand to make our list twice because the socks are simply that good.
This burlier edition is set up for winter success (you might as well grab a pair of their ski/snowboard socks while you’re at it) and you’ll find warm, yet ventilated feet whoever your activity takes you.
The only thing that keeps DTV from taking top honors is the higher price point.
- Great balance of ventilation and warmth
- Easy laundry care
- Maintains shape and fit over time
- Limited availability often due to popularity
10. Danish Endurance Merino Wool Crew Light Hiking Socks
Best For: Budget hikers looking for reliable wear.
Why We Chose It: We liked the value-to-performance ratio.
- 30% Merino wool
- 36% Nylon
- 33% Acrylic
- 1% Elastane
Buying hiking socks from a secondary brand can be a bit of a toss-up, but this offering from Danish Endurance makes the cut for our best hiking socks. The lower mix of Merino means better laundry performance while offering good on-trail usability for short and medium treks.
Taller hikers will appreciate the higher cut of these crew socks with the right weight of material to keep the temperature in check.
Overall, a decent option for hikers on a budget.
- Good for taller hikers
- Extra heel and toe padding
- Security in fit
- Somewhat flimsy material
- Lack of color choices
How We Chose the Best Hiking Socks: About Our Process
Our hiking sock testing process included a range of terrain and conditions from snowy trails to the High Sierra.
We did everything from short, family-level hikes to 5-plus mile treks to put the fabrics and fits through the works to determine which were truly the best. Our testing revealed a ton of minute differences between even the highest-priced options, which sent us back for another round on the trails.
Our final choices reflect those that performed best while considering cost and availability.
Why Trust Spy When Searching for the Best Hiking Socks?
The SPY team is always on the lookout for the best men’s clothing and accessories, and so far this year we’ve offered advice in a range of categories, including choosing a hiking hat and options for hiking safety essentials. We know what to look for in the best men’s clothing and accessories and we regularly update our articles to reflect new revelations and new product releases.
About the Author
Geoff Nudelman is a lifestyle copywriter and journalist helping brands make the world a better place through compelling copy. Recently, Geoff has reviewed the Osprey Talon Earth as well as the Taxa Cricket Overland. Aside from Spy, he regularly contributes to publications including Barron’s, AskMen, InsideHook and many more. You can check out more of his work at geoffnudelman.com.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Hiking Socks
A: While this is very subjective, a the best hiking sock should support your foot, offer ideal arch support and stand up to the needs of your chosen trail, the weather and repeated laundering to follow.
A: It is really important to follow all care instructions when washing pricier and specialty socks. When in doubt, wash on a gentle setting and air dry.
A: Stay away from cotton as it retains moisture and will make for very uncomfortable hiking. We recommend a Merino wool blend for the best mix of performance, durability and value.
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