When it comes to hiking gear, the most overlooked is socks. Most people think any sock will do for a hike. Not so. Believe it or not, socks can make or break a hike. Let’s see why you really need hiking socks.
Conventional Socks vs. Hiking Socks
Hiking socks aren’t just a gimmick, explains Hiking Dude. As with any hiking gear, hiking socks are designed for - wait for it - hiking!
Conventional socks, while comfortable for everyday walking, can be a disaster on a hike. Why? Because most conventional socks are made from cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture. When you’re hiking, your feet will perspire, and that cotton will soak it up. Skin irritation and even blisters are a sure result, not to mention how uncomfortable your soggy feet will feel.
Today’s hiking socks are a technical wonder, making the old rag-wool socks a thing of the past.
Hiking socks now are made from a special spun wool, like Merino wool, or a blend of wool and synthetics. These wick moisture – basically pulling the perspiration away from your skin to the outer part of the sock. This keeps your feet dry, warm, and comfortable.
Additionally, hiking socks are thicker than regular socks and usually have a cushioned sole. This reduces friction and prevents chafing and blisters. Stronger materials are used in the heel and toe areas.
Types of Hiking Socks
Crew, lower-calf, low-cut, wool, wool/synthetic blend, thick, mid-weight, thin; these are the typical choices for hiking socks. The choice depends on the season, type of hike (extended or short), terrain, and of course, just personal choice.
1. Crew – This is the most popular and versatile. It covers the top of the ankle and extends to the mid-calf.
2. Lower-calf – These cover just the ankle.
3. Low-cut – Also known as shorty socks, the top end sits just under the ankle.
4. Wool – A wool sock provides great insulation, is breathable and moisture wicking. It can be worn in summer or winter.
5. Wool/synthetic blend – Polyester, Lycra, nylon, and spandex are the typical synthetics blended with wool. Synthetics help wick moisture, dry quickly, and are durable.
6. Thick – A thick hiking sock provides the best cushioning and comfort, especially in winter or on a long hike.
7. Mid-weight – A versatile weight for most conditions.
8. Thin – For light hikes in warm weather.
While there are many brand and types hiking socks to choose, one of the most unique is FlipSockz.
FlipSockz was born out of the simple desire to keep Mother Nature out of your shoes and your feet happy while on the trails, at work or working around the yard, according to their website. The creators found themselves often having to empty their boots of dirt and stones during a hike.
After 25 years of hiking throughout the country and working in the landscaping and tree industry, they realized there had to be an easy solution to keep stones and dirt out of their boots. FlipSockz was born!
An innovative feature is a nylon flap attached to the ankle of the sock that can be flipped down over the top of your hiking or works boots. This keeps out dirt and debris while keeping your feet dry and comfortable. FlipSockz offers the comfort and durability of any top-of-the line wool blend hiking/outdoor boot sock.
You Really Need Hiking Socks
So, now your can see why you really need hiking socks. They should be part of your hiking gear.