Good hiking wool socks can help you feel comfortable and secure while you’re on a hike through nature, or just trying to get a nice walk through the neighborhood. They can be beneficial to wear to protect your soles and keep you warm in excessively frigid temperatures. Fortunately, there are a lot of wool hiking socks on the market, here are our top picks of the best wool socks for hiking in 2021 for you.
This is a nice set of hiking socks with merino wool not only for comfort, but the right cushioning for heel support. Made of a stretchable material, these socks provide optimal flexibility and movement.
Stretchable material for better movement
Breathable to insulate feet well in different temperatures
MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks for Men and Women have good wicking to keep feet dry
May shrink in the washer
MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks for Men and Women material might irritate the skin
The average hiker takes several thousands of steps on every journey, depending on how much distance he or she has to cover. As time goes on, the frequent climbing, descending and maneuvering your way through the stones and rocks get to your feet and ankles, making them sore and achy.
The good news is that the impact of all of these activities can be greatly reduced by wearing the right kind of socks. Experts say that wool socks are the best because they provide your feet with the proper cushioning during activities such as running and mountaineering.
They also provide enough warmth for your feet and legs in cold weather. This way your feet are kept safe and strong, ready for yet another walk in the wild.
This buying guide will take you through the different types of wool hiking socks, enlighten you on what features to look out for as you purchase, give you a price range to help you make a reasonable budget and finally, answer a few questions that you might probably have about your wool socks. Read on.
What are the different types of wool hiking socks?
Wool hiking socks can be categorized based on two outlooks. First, by their height and second, by how much cushioning they provide. To pick a sock of a particular height, you first have to check out how high the cuffs of your footwear are, and the kind of terrain you would be walking on.
The higher the shoe cuffs, the longer your socks should be to prevent the cuffs from rubbing against your skin. Also, if you are walking through thick vegetation while wearing shorts, you need long socks to prevent your legs from the bushes and insects.
Here are the types of wool hiking socks based on their height:
These socks are very short and barely provide any protection for your leg skin. You should only wear them with footwear that has low cuffs like trail-running shoes.
Ankle socks are slightly higher than no-show socks, covering your ankle bone better and therefore offering more protection for your skin. They can be worn with low/mid-cut boots.
The most common height of socks out there is the crew socks. This is because they provide enough insulation for your skin against abrasion, and at the same time, do not make you feel excessive heat.
These socks are mostly for mountaineering. They offer protection for your calves and shins against big boots, and also provide extra warmth for your legs in cold weather.
Based on how much cushioning they provide, your choice of a wool hiking sock should be made depending on the types of activities you embark on, and the weather you expect to encounter outdoors. If you do a lot of high-impact activities, you would definitely need a sock with an extra cushion, but this choice is also largely affected by the kind of weather outdoors.
The last thing that you want is to have your feet swimming in sweat due to too much warmth, and for these reasons, it is important that you find the right cushion-to-warmth balance that would work just fine for you.
Here are the types of wool hiking socks based on the amount of cushioning they offer:
These socks are specifically made to be used in hot weather, are breathable and offer very slight padding. Examples are liner socks that are mostly worn beneath other hiking socks to absorb moisture and keep the feet dry.
These socks are designed for warm weather conditions. Although they are thin, they offer some sort of cushioning in the right places.
They come with a sufficient amount of cushioning in the heel and ball of the feet, making them perfect for hiking and backpacking. These socks also provide some warmth in cold weather.
Specifically designed for lengthy trips, rough paths and cold weather, these are usually very thick and highly cushioned. They are too thick to be worn in warm weather, and are only advisable for activities such as mountaineering.
What should you look out for when getting wool hiking socks?
The length of socks that you get largely depends on the temperature outdoors, the kind of boot you’re wearing and other factors such as insects or dense vegetation. Whether longer or shorter, make sure whatever socks you’re getting meets your needs.
As mentioned earlier, there is a variety of cushioning levels available, and a choice should be made depending on what activities (casual wear, hiking, running, backpacking, mountaineering) you are embarking on, and what weather you are going to be performing them in.
If you would be walking in it for extended periods of time, you might as well get comfortable in it. Whatever socks you are getting should offer as much comfort as insulation. It should keep your feet warm and dry always, and the material should not be harsh against your skin.
Socks have a high tendency to gather up a lot of dirt and sweat which could make them very difficult to wash with hands. A good pair of socks should be able to absorb a few days’ worth of dirt and sweat without reeking. It should also be machine washable and quick to dry.
A good sock should be able to stand the test of seasons of wear, adverse weather conditions and frequent washing. The material should not develop holes, neither should it slacken or loosen by the seams. It is advisable for you to have a few pairs that you can rotate so as to take off pressure any one particular pair.
How much do wool hiking socks cost?
Wool hiking socks are pretty affordable. Their prices largely vary from brand to brand, material used in making them and their functions. The inexpensive ones cost between $15-$30, usually lightweight and suitable for only basic hiking.
Pairs designed for slightly heavier activities cost about $30-$50, which is the general midrange price. The most expensive of all, which are usually heavyweight, mid-calf socks for activities such as mountaineering could cost anything between $70 and $120.
Wool Socks For Hiking FAQs
Do wool socks smell?
Yes, wool socks definitely smell after they have been worn for quite a number of days. They absorb a lot of sweat and slow down bacteria growth, and eventually, all the dirt buildup would begin to smell. When this happens, they need to be washed.
How long can I wear my wool socks for without washing?
Without washing them, you should be able to wear your wool socks for about three or four days, although this is largely dependent on the climatic conditions and what activities you’re performing.
How do I clean my dirty wool socks?
You can get rid of the smell and dirt through gentle washing with mild detergents and warm water. At times, you might have to soak the sock for a while to let all of the dirt dissolve and flow out. This ensures cleaner, longer lasting socks.
Olivia has seen every up and down that a runner can, and knows how important the right training and the right equipment can be. She loves to share the outdoors with her golden retriever, Rocky, traveling through trails both on and off the beaten path. Olivia will often be providing her reviews from where ever she is at the time: the track, the road, or the woods.