With every purchase of a pair of hiking boots, you should also be purchasing a pair of hiking socks. Even if your current boots feel comfortable and snug, have a good few pairs of men’s hiking socks can make a big difference to the health of your feet.
If you’ve been on a few serious hikes in your time, you’ll know why this is important. Your feet can take some solid punishment on the trails, and sweaty feet, rain, too much friction, socks that are too thick or too rough – all of these contribute to the things everybody hates about hiking – blisters, plantar fasciitis, chafing, smelly feet, banged up toenails. When you’ve been on the trails for hours, one body part needs to be looked after more than any other – your feet!
What to look for in a pair of good men’s hiking socks
If you want the best performing socks, you’ll pay close attention to the cushion.
Specifically, you’ll want to ensure that any men’s hiking socks you purchase are weighted in different areas. This is commonly referred to as “mapping” or “zoning”.
The best men’s hiking socks will be heaviest in the the heel and ball of the foot, as those areas of the feet typically feel the most pressure when hiking. Additionally, the fabric should be light on the top of the foot, to promote breathability.
Finally, the fabric in the arch should be tightly stitched for maximum support and comfort.
Men’s hiking socks come in all types of fabric, wool, cotton, nylon, polyester, etc.
There isn’t really one overall top choice, as it depends on the terrain and climate you’ll be hiking in, as well as individual preference.
Generally when it comes to any hiking gear, including socks, you’ll want to avoid cotton. It’s terrible at moisture wicking and will thus keep you damp and cold, neither of which are ideal when out on the trails!
Nylon is synthetic, generally decent at keeping your feet aired and dry, however, it’s not the warmest material. Thus, it’s recommend for warm weather hikes due to it’s exceptional breathability.
Wool, specifically merino wool, is great at keeping your feet warm and is much, much better at moisture wicking, stays warm in the dampest of situations and is extremely comfortable. Not to mention men’s merino wool hiking socks naturally keeps odors at bay. It’s also typically the most expensive choice, but for good reason, particularly if you’ll be hiking in winter weather or snowy terrain.
Polyester is a blend of fabrics, and is light and breathable like nylon and typically an economical choice.
You’ll have your choice of height with men’s hiking socks. From ankle length, to just above, to “crew” (usually boot height), all the way up to knee length.
Just like material, there is no single “best” choice, it’ll depend on your preference and the type of hiking you’ll be doing.
Ankle length or just above are generally recommended if you’ll mostly be taking country walks or short, light hikes. Anything longer or more strenuous is not recommended, as short socks often fall down or bunch up after a while, creating the perfect environment for blisters.
“Crew” length is the classic choice for hiking. It’s tall enough for long, steep hikes without falling down, yet leaves enough of the leg exposed for maximum breathability.
Knee length can also be a good choice, as it comes with all the perks of crew length, with more coverage for warmth in cold climates.
You’ll want socks as durable as possible. And while cotton is generally the least durable material (another reason to avoid it), a pair of wool socks can fall apart much faster than a pair of nylon, or you can have polyester last forever.
It really depends on the quality of socks you purchase. So make sure you don’t skimp on quality!
It’s also important to factor in what climate you’ll be hiking in, as certain materials do better than others. Generally wool is best in colder climates, but if you’ll be in the tropics best to avoid, more on that later.
Reviews – Best Men’s Hiking Socks UK
KOOOGEAR 3 Terry Hiking Socks
Looking for a comfortable, multi-colour pack of hiking socks? Made up of a cotton polyester blend, the KOOGEARs feet will stay dry and well-ventilated on even the longest of hikes. The Terry insulation provides warmth in all weather.
The tightly knit material provides great compression support for your arches, while the padded cushion in the heel and ball ensure maximum comfort.
The high cut is also great for those that prefer the longer length. Made specifically for hiking, but suitable for all sports, and comes with a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee.
- Terry blend material
- Compression arch support
- Crew height
- Shock absorption
- 3 colour pack (grey, blue, khaki)
Rymora Merino Wool Hiking Socks
These Rymora Merino wool men’s hiking socks are the perfect lightweight wool socks for any wardrobe.
Genuine Merino wool is some of the best moisture wicking material out there, with anti-bacterial properties that will keep your feet dry and odor-free on the toughest of hikes.
This particular pair also comes with seamless toe construction for maximum comfort.
Additionally, the ventilated arches ensure breathability throughout your foot for fresh feet all day.
- Merino wool material
- Arch ventilation
- Crew height
- Seamless toes
Jeep JM273 Luxury Terrain Socks
For a no-fuss no-frills pair of hiker’s socks no further than these Jeep JM273 luxury terrain socks.
The polyester blend is practical for day hikes and mild climate, while the cushioned heel, toe and sole ensures your feet will have maximum comfort.
The best part however, is unlike many men’s hiking socks, this pair is machine wash, no need to worry about washing with delicates. Not to mention you have a choice of five different colours, there’s something for everyone!
Coming in at a very low price point, these are some of the best value men’s hiking socks on the UK market today.
- Polyester blend
- Cushioned sole
- Crew height
- Machine washable
- 5 colour choices (black, brown, forest green, navy, ecru)
SEALSKINZ Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Hiking Sock
These SEALSKINZ Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Hiking Sock are some of the best out there for those who like to hit unfriendlier terrains. We’re talking hikes in the rain, dewy mornings and marshes or heavily puddled trails.
The nylon material is breathable and light, while the Merino wool lining keeps feet dry. The coolest feature however, is of course that these are waterproof socks. Hike in winter, snow and extreme cold without fear of the wet freezing your feet.
These are great long day hikes, with cushioned toes and heels for great cushion and comfort. Standard crew height and 6 different colour choices ensure you’ll find one you like!
- Nylon material
- Merino wool lining
- Crew height
- 6 colour choices (black, grey, green, purple, yellow, red)
TANSTC Ankle Hiking Socks
These TANSTC Ankle Hiking Socks are a unisex pair of hiking socks and extremely popular.
Whether you run for conditioning, or would like a base layer below your crew or knee height hiking socks, you can’t go wrong with this pair! The shock-absorbing and moisture-wicking material makes these a great base layer.
Not to mention, they’re non-slip, with a handy anti-skid strip down the middle. The arch support is also excellent and it has special mesh zones for breathability. All will contribute to less blisters and more comfort.
- Cotton polyester blend
- Moisture wicking
- Ankle height
- Mesh zones
- Arch support
Vihir Merino Wool Hiking Socks
The Vihir Merino men’s wool hiking socks are an all-round all-season pair that should serve just as well throughout both summers and winters.
Anti-bacterial, excellent moisture wicking ability and odor prevention technology.
The seamless construction prevents uncomfortable rubbing which causes blisters, for maximum comfort all day, or even longer.
Not only are they great for all-weather hiking, they’re great for ski trips and other winter sports too.
- Merino wool
- Seamless construction
- Quick dry
- Crew height
- All season
Alpaca Country Knee High Thermal Hiking SocksNo products found.
The Alpaca Country knee high thermal hiking socks are the ultimate winter pair.
The knee high cut is great in cold weather, not only will your feet stay warm with the thermal technology and Alpaca wool, your entire lower leg will as well! Choice of seven different, colours.
There is extra cushion in the sole, thermal material, and built with anti-bacterial fabric.
Made from 75% alpaca wool, they’re also very durable and quick to dry. If you’re a fan of knee-high socks, these are the best we have! Made in England.
No products found.
Bridgedale CoolFushion Light Hiking Socks
These Bridgedale socks are a great pair to add to your collection. The synthetic material ensures your feet stay cool in warm weather, and dry from sweat. Additionally, the ventilated mesh panels are great for breathability.
Your feet are sure to stay well circulated all day with the extra cushioning around the heel, toe and ball.
The design is retro too, which we think is pretty slick.
- Synthetic material
- Ventilated mesh panels
- Crew height
FAQs of Use
Care for hiking socks
This begins as soon as you’re done trekking. Don’t leave your socks cramped into a ball in your boots. Make sure to pull them inside out and lay them flat to air out, especially if you’re on a multi-day hike and need to wear one pair more than once.
When you wash them only do so at a low temperature and inside out. It’s best to avoid heat drying, but if you must, do so at a low temperature and only for a short while before putting them on the line to finish drying. If possible, full drying in the sun is always best.
Note – do NOT under any circumstances tumble dry wool socks, as they’ll shrink and become damaged.
Once your socks are sufficiently clean and dry, make sure to store them in a low moisture place away from the light. This will ensure they last as long as possible.
If you hike or play sports daily, it’s also good to have at least 3 pairs on rotation, so your socks have time to “rest” between uses. This not only slows down wear but prevents stretching.
What is drying speed?
The drying speed is how quickly your socks (or any clothing item) dries in use. This may not seem very important initially, but it can be. This is related to moisture wicking, as the drying time is how quickly your feet will get rid of any dampness incurred on the trails.
Generally cotton blends and nylon will dry quicker than wool, if dampened by a puddle or rain. However, if dampened by sweat, Merino wool is your best bet for quick drying.
Does climate matter?
Absolutely, you don’t want to be hiking the Grand Canyon in June in merino wool (your feet will be puddles of sweat). Nor do you want to be trekking New Zealand in the middle of winter with only cotton or nylon.
Think about where you live, where you’ll mostly be hiking and go from there. If you’ll mostly be in winter climates (particularly freezing temps), stock up on merino wool socks. If you prefer tropic or desert heat hikes, a lighter option like nylon or polyester is a better bet.
However, make sure you always have options. Have at least one pair of different materials, so you’re prepared for anything the elements throw your way!
Our Top Picks
Our favourite budget choice is the KOOOGEAR 3 Terry hiking socks. Made out of a Terry cotton-polyester blend, they’re comfortable and breathable, but for a great price! However, the great value doesn’t sacrifice quality, as the compression and arch support ensures maximum blood circulation and ventilation. This will leave your feet well-supported, pain free and sweat free!
For casual hikers, we like the Bridgedale CoolFusion Light Hikers. They are perfect for all seasons, keeping feet warm in the winter and well-ventilated and sweat free in warmer months. Their Coolmax technology is a combination of feet-friendly materials – ensuring your feet are well looked after in all conditions.
Our pick for best men’s hiking socks overall – the Rymora Merino Wool Hiking Socks. Constructed out of the ever popular Merino wool, they’re sure to keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable. The material is anti-bacterial, ventilated in the arch and seamless throughout the toes, keeping your feet fresh and blister free for kilometres.
Looking for men’s hiking boots? Check out our buyer’s guide here.
Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API