It’s essential to put a solid foundation in place before you start building. When hiking or backpacking, your feet are your foundation, and that’s why I’ll spend more on the best hiking socks than I will on most of my other camping gear.
If you don’t take care of your feet, it simply doesn’t matter how nice the gear is on your back. I learned the hard way by dealing with trench foot when hiking the John Muir Trail in 2014. Get yourself a pair of excellent hiking socks so you don’t repeat my mistake!
My Picks for the Best Hiking Socks
Swiftwick Hiking Socks
While I have many stories from those 5.5 months on the road, there’s one important takeaway for today’s topic: our runner swore by Swiftwick Socks. In fact, it’s the only brand he wore.
Being a very casual trail runner myself, I’ve personally found their socks to be everything that’s advertised and more. But they also make excellent socks for hikers and backpackers. A couple of their best hiking socks include the Pursuit Hike Six Medium Cushion and the Pursuit Seven.
Point6 Hiking Socks
In the midst of that 2014 trench foot predicament, I found a sporting goods store on a resupply day in Mammoth and inquired about sock recommendations. They pointed me toward the Point6 brand out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Those Point6 socks not only got me back on the trail, but they lasted for years! They played an instrumental in helping me finish the JMT comfortably and they’ve kept my feet happy on countless hikes since.
Smartwool Hiking Socks
When I purchased those Point6 hiking socks in Mammoth, I also bought pair of Smartwool hiking socks. The recipe for making my feet comfortable was simple. Change socks at least once a day and apply Gold Bond at every change, as well as before bed.
While it increased my pack weight, carrying those extra socks was worth it. My feet were much happier, and anyone that has experienced their comfort knows it’s tough to beat Smartwool. Their hiking socks are extremely comfortable and breathe well to keep your feet dry on long trail days.
They also have a remarkable ability NOT to retain the odors from your previous day’s excursions. If I hiked the John Muir Trail again, I’d be fine with two pairs of Smartwool socks. In fact, maybe I’ll grab myself a pair of their Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew socks right now!
Darn Tough Hiking Socks
Darn Tough socks come highly recommended from a number of trusted reviewers, and I couldn’t agree more. They undoubtedly deserve a spot on my list of the best hiking socks because of their comfort and durability.
But one of the things I like most about Darn Tough is this quote from their President and CEO: “Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality.” That speaks to their values and commitment to making their products in their home state of Vermont.
REI Co-Op Hiking Socks
It’s hard to beat the team at REI Co-Op that has been doing it for more than 80 years. They’re recognized for much more than hiking socks, but they haven’t forgotten that the best adventures
Whether you’re looking for short, crew, or knee-length socks, they’ve got you covered. They offer varying designs and different types of wool. Some of the offerings that caught my eye were the COOLMAX EcoMade Midweight Crew Socks and the Merino Ultralight Hiker Crew Socks.
Runner Ups For The Best Hiking Socks
In addition to my top five, my research turned up a few additional runner-ups for the best hiking socks:
Injinji Hiking Socks
Injinji is unique in the bunch because they make “Performance Toesocks.” But they also have a number of hiking socks that fit the more “traditional” mold.
FITS Hiking Socks
Using U.S. engineering and manufacturing, FITS’ technological approach sets it apart from the competition. Many of their best hiking socks include gradient compression, which improves blood flow from your toes through your legs, ultimately reducing fatigue on long hiking adventures.
Farm to Feet Hiking Socks
Farm to Feet offers a 100% American-made product and its name is inspired by a completely domestic supply chain. All the wool, nylon, and spandex used in their socks come from farms right here in the United States.
Find YOUR Best Hiking Socks!
Do you have experience with any of these hiking socks? I’d love to know which you’ve used, what your favorites are, and what you look for in a pair of the best hiking socks. If you have suggestions that I didn’t mention, I’d love to hear about them!
Also, if you decide to purchase a pair of the best hiking socks after reading this review, I’d love to know how you like them once you’ve put them to use for a few hiking trips!
About The Backpack Guide
I’m always looking for new trails and wildernesses to explore and I’m also interested in the experiences of others in the wild. If there is one thing I am sure of it’s that we can all spend more time enjoying and connecting with Nature.
Feel free to reach out directly (email below) or share your latest adventure by tagging @thebackpackguide on Instagram!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. I’ll be quick to reply to any questions, comments, or concerns you feel like sharing!
Side note: If you’ve got your foundation in place and you’re interested in other product reviews, be sure to check out my Outdoor Gear and Backpack Reviews pages for reviews on water filters, tents, hiking shoes, trekking poles, and backpacks from brands like Kelty, REI, Gregory, and more. Also, check out my Tips and Trails page for more hiking tips and trail recommendations!
Take Care of your Feet!
The Backpack Guide