If you want to hike, backpack, or trek around the world, you should treat your feet to the best socks for backpacking. Getting in touch with nature and your inner self may be an amazing experience, but it wouldn’t be too enjoyable with oozing blisters or frostbite.
When we’re out hiking or backpacking, it usually means walking thousands of steps in one go. That puts a lot of strain on our feet, which are already taking on a lot of work. To avoid smelly, sweaty, or blistered feet, there’s nothing like the best socks for backpacking.
These socks should have a special construction that actively prevents blisters. They might also be thick enough to protect you from the cold, or thin enough to prevent any unwanted sweat. Bacteria control, moisture wicking, and cushioning properties are just a few more features.
Yet with so many products on the market to consider, it can be more difficult than it seems to be sure you’re getting the most out of your money. Before you go shopping, there are a few things to think about.
Best Socks for Backpacking Comparison Table
What to Consider Before Choosing the Best Socks for Backpacking
If you want nothing but the best socks for backpacking and hiking purposes, here are a few factors to consider. These will help to shortlist the most relevant options and enhance your outdoor experience:
If you’ve never looked around for the best socks for backpacking, you might be thinking of them having a thick, warm material. That is mostly true, but only for those pairs designed especially for winter excursions. If you’re going for a long trek or want them for warm weather, the best socks for backpacking will be a bit thinner.
The safest bet is socks that are mostly merino wool and other fibers that have moisture wicking properties. It helps in regulating body temperature, minimizing foot odor, and managing moisture. You’ll have a comfortable and safe backpacking experience without welcoming any foot diseases or painful blisters.
Merino wool is also excellent for keeping you warm when it’s cold, yet fresh and dry when it’s warm outside. It’s also of a quality that won’t sag much, even when you’re using the socks for a long period.
You may also choose a polyester option, which provides insulation, moisture wicking, and quick drying. When polyester blends with wool or nylon, it also provides warmth and comfort. Nylon is another option of synthetic material that provides a durable and quick-drying result.
If you prefer to go for a luxurious yet natural option, you should consider silk socks. These are lightweight and comfy, though not too durable. However, silk comes in handy as a sock liner to provide excellent moisture wicking. Finally, many of the best socks for backpacking also include a certain amount of spandex. This is an elastic material that helps socks to retain their shape, prevents bunching, and minimizes wrinkles.
You can usually find hiking or backpacking socks in several lengths. No-show socks are the shortest kind, with very little protection from abrasion. These are only good for wearing with low-cut footwear such as light hiking or trail-running shoes. Ankle socks will cover up the ankle bone, but that’s about it. You can wear these with boots and shoes with a low or mid cut.
Crew socks cover your ankles and part of your leg, hence protecting from abrasions. These are suitable for wearing with high-cuff boots, though lower cuts would also suffice. For huge boots worn for mountaineering purposes, you may be able to find some knee-high options.
Wondering if the best socks for backpacking will weigh much? After all, these are going to be on your feet for hours on end, so even a few grams would make a lot of difference. Lighter socks are the best recommendation if you’re trekking in warmer weather or/and on varied terrain.
If you go for a thicker kind to protect yourself from the cold, you can’t do better than merino wool. If you’re going with a lighter version, you should make sure they don’t leave too much room in your shoes. All that sliding around could give you blisters and rashes in a very short time.
In addition to the above factors, you should also choose the best socks for backpacking based on your personal choices. These include the kind of hiking boots you have, the time you’ll backpacking for, the condition of the trail, and the terrain.
If you compare them to regular socks, the best socks for backpacking are relatively expensive. They also last much longer than most of your wardrobe, so we can safely say that they’re probably worth it. Nevertheless, the price for such socks ranges from $ to $. You can pick and choose according to your budget, but we don’t recommend compromising on your requirements. Therefore, it’s always better to choose the best socks for backpacking based on their durability rather than price.
How We Reviewed
We’ve reviewed the best socks for backpacking based on their Amazon ratings, user feedback, online reviews, price ranges, and quality. You’ll find a varied selection here, with different thicknesses and cushioning features that cater to all kinds of backpackers. Once you’re sure of the level of thickness and cushioning your feet need for carrying out outdoor activities, you’ll easily be able to select the brand that suits you the most.
The Best Socks for Backpacking
Next time you go backpacking or on any similar excursion, you can consider the following choices or something similar:
Balega Blister Resist
The Balega Blister Resist socks are a no-show option, which means they’re only suitable for low-cut, light footwear. They also have lighter cushioning than most other pairs, making them a lightweight choice. The seamless construction makes for a smooth fit without causing clipping or blisters. Plus, the 17.2-micron merino wool makes sure the wearer is comfortable no matter what the weather is like.
These socks are also antimicrobial. The sizing could be a bit tricky, though. These socks have an Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. The price range is between $ and $, which some consider high, but is pretty reasonable for a long-lasting pair of socks.
These Swiftwick Socks are suitable for hiking, backpacking, or trekking during any time of the year. They have merino wool in their construction, making them warm in the cold and cool in the warmer season. The upper sections have channels, so these socks ventilate heat as well as moisture. They thus have breathable properties without compromising on the cushioning. The material is also no-itch, so you’ll have a soft, comfy experience.
The fabric here also has a half-density, which prevents bunching at the ankles or toes. You can choose from a variety of color combinations, but you should make sure to order a size up as these run small. The Amazon rating for these all-weather socks is 4.4 out of 5 stars. Their price ranges from $ to $, which seems to be quite reasonable.
SmartWool Women’s Ph.D. Outdoor
These SmartWool Women’s socks are ankle-high and made for trekking long miles. They’re best for backpacking in summer, giving you a decent amount of support, recovery, and stretch. You’ll also appreciate the light cushioning and seamless toe, providing more comfort on the trails.
While these socks may not have a lifetime guarantee, they’re snug enough for arch and heel support for about two years. You’ll be sure of everything staying in place along with proper air movement to prevent fungus growth.
These light crew socks have a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Their price range is slightly high, ranging from $ to $. Therefore, if you buy this pair, you should make sure you get enough use out of them.
Injinji Trail Midweight Crew Xtralife
Blisters and chafing can ruin most backpacking experiences, so you might want the Injinji Trail Midweight socks to prevent such situations. These aren’t your regular toe socks, but they do provide athletic experience as they’re designed to be among the best socks for backpacking and hiking. They have excellent moisture management plus toe separation. As a result, your feet won’t get overheated, and there will be no chafing between the toes.
What’s even more delightful are the nine patterns you get with these socks. These include prints of forests, palm trees, and mountain landscapes. However, the spate toe design may not be for everyone.
These midweight crew socks have an excellent Amazon rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. The price range varies greatly, ranging from $ to $, depending on your specific choice.
YUEDGE Men’s Cushion Performance Outdoor Sports
The YUEDGE Performance Crew Socks are suitable for hiking and workouts along with being among the best socks for backpacking. You get a breathable fabric here, with mostly cotton for coolness and durability. Some spandex is also included, meaning the socks will spring back into shape after heavy use and washing. The moisture wicking system will ensure that your feet stay dry and cool.
Other advantages of this option include the high-density fabric, Y-heel design, reinforced cushioning, and elastic rubber bands in the foot arch plus welt. Reviews also state that their appearance and packaging are commendable. Some sizing issues might arise, with not every size having every color option.
These performance socks have a decent Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The price range between $ and $ makes them among the most affordable options.
AIvada 80 Percent Merino Wool
The AIvada Hiking Socks are a unisex option, with 80 percent merino wool to keep you warm and toasty on those snowy excursions. These will give you excellent support as well as the comfort you crave in all sorts of weather. The merino wool is what every backpacker is looking for, as it provides no itching, high comfort, and versatile experience.
There’s superior cushioning at the footbed here, allowing for a comfy trek even on rugged terrains. However, the natural material also means they wear out very quickly if you use them without footwear.
These thermal socks have an Amazon rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The price ranges from $ to $, which is fair enough for the high merino content.
The Icebreaker Merino Hiking Crew Socks have light cushioning, an anatomical toe area, and a great fit. They’re mostly merino wool, making it suitable for all types of weather. A large amount of nylon in these socks ensures durability, while the two percent Lycra helps in maintaining the overall elasticity.
There are some complaints about the cuffs of these socks sliding down and bunching, making it uncomfortable for the backpacker. However, their merino wool is unmatchable, so it’s worth putting an elastic band around the cuff. These socks achieved an excellent Amazon rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The price range is quite staggering though, being from $ to $.
Wrightsock Men’s Escape Crew
These Wrightsock Crew socks are mostly polyester, with around a quarter of material being nylon and the rest Lycra. There are two layers to these pairs, with the composition changing slightly. The cushioning is light, but the protection from blisters is still excellent.
While the lack of cushioning may not be good news for extreme backpackers, the protective construction will absorb most of the friction from continuous walking. That means no more chafing or blisters, while the inner layer wicks away moisture and prevents fungus. There is even a blister-free guarantee straight from the company.
These socks have an Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The price range between $ and is again very reasonable, especially with the double layer.
Darn Tough Vermont Women’s Mountaineering Cushion Socks
These Darn Tough mountaineering socks come from a company that’s synonymous with cozy construction, seamless fitting, quality merino wool content, and a famous lifetime guarantee. While other options may be more lightweight, the guarantee here is unbeatable. Of course, the merino wool provides extreme comfort no matter what the weather is like outside. There’s also no bunching involved, which is always a plus.
The supremely tough construction makes the item lose a bit of softness, but it’s worth it for the amazing durability you’ll get. These are designed to last a lifetime and have proven to be up to the task. The high-density kitting makes for great padding with no compromising on the breathability.
It shouldn’t be surprising that these Darn Tough socks got an Amazon rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars. The price range is between $ and $, which is still a bit cheaper than the Icebreakers.
Feetures Men’s Elite Merino Ultra-Light Quarter
The Feetures Elite Merino Ultra-Light Quarter socks are a nylon, rayon, and wool mixture with just a touch of spandex. There’s ultra-light cushioning, so you’ll be better off wearing them for light trekking and backpacking instead of extreme hiking. The fit is also extremely comfortable, making it comparable with well-known brands like Darn Tough and Smartwool.
There are some durability issues with these socks, but the snug fit and breathability more than make up for it. The quarter height is probably the most versatile option, but there are more choices for different boots and shoes. The Amazon rating here is 4.2 out of 5 stars. The price ranging from $ to $ makes it an accessible choice for those who are serious about their foot health.
So, Which Are the Best Socks to Keep You Going?
While most of the options above are undoubtedly among the best socks for backpacking purposes, we simply can’t resist the Darn Tough Crew Socks. The price might be a tad higher than most would like, but they sure do have it all. You’ll get the merino wool, the padding, and everything else for many years to come. It’s time to grab a pair or several for your next backpacking excursion!