Although you might still be shoveling snow, it’s not too early to start prepping your gear for spring. For hikers especially, spring is a special season: It offers some of the most beautiful sights of the entire year—spectacular wildflower blooms, roaring rivers, vibrant green hillsides and more. But no matter what season you like to hike in, you need to make sure your kit is in shape, and few things are more important than hiking socks.
While blister prevention is goal number one, top-of-the-line performance socks should also help with odor reduction, moisture wicking, and even reducing foot fatigue. These six pairs of socks—ranging from heavy-duty cold weather socks to lightweight options for trail running—will keep your feet happy whenever you hit the trail.
Smartwool Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Hiking Crew Socks
A leader in the outdoor performance sock category, Smartwool rarely disappoints, and this pair features more of the high-tech sock technology we’ve come to expect from the company. The 4 Degree Elite Fit system provides an exceptional fit by using two different elastics––nylon and elastane––to keep the socks in place and offer better stretch and recovery. They also feature exceptional durability thanks to patent-pending Indestructawool technology, are constructed with a virtually seamless toe area for minimal skin irritation, and they have mesh venting zones for optimum breathability and moisture wicking. The trails won’t stand a chance.
[$23; smartwool.com]Get it
Darn Tough Mountaineering Over-The-Calf Heavyweight Hiking Sock
When the path gets difficult, you want a sock that can handle even the harshest conditions. Vermont-based sock company Darn Tough lives up to its name with this heavyweight sock. Built to handle the coldest and wettest conditions, it also offers a performance fit. Whether you’re backpacking or backcountry skiing, Darn Tough’s blend of merino wool, nylon, and Lycra offers superior temperature regulation, odor resistance, flexibility, and durability. And for those traversing rugged terrain or toting heavy packs, the sock’s thick high-density cushion eases impact forces on your feet.
[$30; darntough.com]Get it
Balega Blister Resist Quarter Running Socks
If trail running is more your speed, it’s hard to beat Balega socks. This pair blends nature and technology to create a high-performance trail running option. Balega combines South African Mohair—renowned for its natural ability to reduce friction and its superior temperature regulation—with moisture wicking Drynamix polyester and reinforced microfiber mesh ventilation panels. The result: a running sock that eliminates blisters and keeps your feet cool and dry, even when you pick up the pace.
[$15; balega-socks.implus.com]Get it
Farm to Feet Damascus Light Targeted Cushion Sock
Hikers know that getting airflow to their feet is essential during a long day on the trail. Farm to Feet meets that need by offering multiple ventilation channels on these lightweight trail socks. Additionally, targeted cushion zones maximize comfort, and the seamless toe closure reduces bulk and blister-generating friction. Plus, Farm to Feet sources its high-performance merino wool exclusively from sheep raised on American farms.
[$24; farmtofeet.com]Get it
United By Blue Bison Trail Sock
When it comes to surviving difficult conditions year-round, few animals are better equipped than the mighty bison. The fibers of a bison’s fur are flexible and lightweight, offer excellent temperature regulation, and trap warmth even when wet––all qualities you want in a trail sock. Despite those benefits, bison fiber is often discarded. United by Blue began salvaging it and now utilizes this resilient raw material in several products, including these Bison Trail Socks. Featuring a blend of recycled polyester, nylon, wool, bison down, and spandex, these socks naturally regulate temperature and wick moisture to keep your feet comfortable and dry in all conditions.
[$32; unitedbyblue.com]Get it
Stance Forester Pass Crew Silver Sock
While the stylish print of the mountains and moon stands out, there’s a lot more to these socks than cool graphics. They come with a lifetime rip-free guarantee and feature a special fiber treatment––Stance calls it Feel360––that helps eliminate odor causing bacteria and wicks away sweat. They also include added cushioning for boot protection, performance mesh, and a seamless toe closure, so you’ll be comfortable and fashionable on the trail.
[$25; backcountry.com]Get it
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