Best Socks for Hiking in Cold Weather

Are you looking for the best socks for hiking in cold weather? When you go hiking you have to make sure that you have the right gear including socks.

It is easy to forget that socks are an important part of your wardrobe. In our everyday life, we wear socks for different reasons. Most school uniforms are paired with closed shoes and socks.

This is to avoid foot odour caused by sweat transferring from the feet to the shoes. The socks act as some sort of a buffer and absorb the sweat.

The construction and design of socks are made in such a way that it reduces the amount of sweat in the shoe, which can make it walking in the shoes uncomfortable. 

People also wear socks to keep warm and to protect their feet. When you are going hiking you will appreciate a pair of socks that keep your feet snug and protected.

You can save your legs from getting bruised as you walk through the various bushy trails, by wearing socks that ride high.

You can also get socks that protect your feet from the different weather elements such as snow, rain, and cold weather.

Hiking can present you with different challenges, you can help your feet by getting socks to complete the appropriate hiking shoes.

In this article we explore the various factors you will need to consider when buying hiking socks for hiking in cold weather.

In a Hurry

Here is a quick guide to buying the perfect hiking socks. It may seem like a non-factor however socks can make an immense difference. One of the first things you will need to consider is fit.

Did the socks fit well and snug. You also want to make sure that they are of the right length. The length will help you keep the cold out. 

Take time to understand the material the socks are made of. This way you get to understand how warm they will keep your feet.

It is not always about the thickness, but also about the construction of the socks. How they are constructed, makes socks warmer or lighter, all the while making them great for hiking.

Our Top Pick

Alvada 80% Merino Wool Hiking Socks Thermal Warm Crew Winter Sock

We have done our research and found our favourite to be the Alvada 80% Merino Wool Hiking Socks Thermal Warm Crew Winter Sock. These socks are made of merino wool and they are built to provide you with great support and comfort regardless of the weather. They are great for braving the rugged terrain. They are made of itch-free material. These wool hiking socks come blended with nylon to promote a comfortable itch-free experience. They keep your feet warm. This makes them an exceptional choice for cold weather hiking.

Reviews of the Best Socks for Hiking in Cold Weather

MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks

MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks

You cannot get any closer to “Merino Wool” than “MeriWool”. This is a brand that is built around creating fantastic products out if this equally impressive wool.

The set that we are looking at comes with 3 pairs of socks. This makes the pricing point quite attractive. All of that means nothing if the quality of the product does not live up to it.

Let us look at what they have to offer. These socks are designed to take on the harsh winter. They have what has been described as breathable insulation.

This is to say that while they keep your feet warm, they also ensure that there is sufficient blood flow to them. They have just about the right thickness for use in hiking boots as well. 

Another aspect that you will appreciate about Merino wool is that it remains comfortable even after a long hike. Unlike some wool, it does not itch.

There is great compression derived from the elasticity in the calf region. This ensures that your socks do not slide down.

According to the manufacturer, the use of nylon in this product is key to ensuring that there is no easy wear and tear. We can all appreciate the need for durability. 

Merino wool is also known for its wicking properties. These are key to ensuring that your feet are not only kept dry but are also kept without odour.

All of this is done while keeping your feet dry. This is also integral to maintaining blister-free feet.  

Pros

  • These socks do not itch.
  • They are great at wicking moisture from your feet.
  • They are very warm.
  • They have the elasticity to hold up around the calves.
  • You can choose from various colours.
  • They are quite durable.
  • They are quite reasonably priced.

Cons

  • The seams could have been better.
  • They can be too tight around the calf.

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Alvada 80% Merino Wool Hiking Socks Thermal Warm Crew Winter Sock

Alvada 80% Merino Wool Hiking Socks Thermal Warm Crew Winter Sock

Speaking of Merino wool, here is another pair of socks that uses a lot of it. Alvada market these socks as ones that will make hiking a comfortable experience.

Surely, that is not too much to ask for any hiker. These are socks that are designed for hiking in all sorts of weather conditions. They provide enough protection for the harsh winter to warrant a place on our list. 

They are designed for the rugged terrain. Before we get caught up in the other wonderful features we should probably mention that this is a pack of three.

The material that is used to make the socks is blended in such a way that it is itch-free. According to the manufacturers these socks are made out of a blend of nylon that is so comfortable and without an itch.

We can appreciate the fact that we will not have to stop mid to hike to adjust the socks or to scratch a leg.

There are two aspects that make the socks warm. One of them is that they keep the moisture out. And as you can imagine, the last thing you need in cold weather is to have wet feet.

When your feet are dry it is easier to keep warm. And that is what the wicking characteristics of the socks help you achieve. 

Onto the terrain. The socks provide sufficient cushioning to keep you comfortable regardless of what sort of terrain you are tackling.

This ensures that fatigue is kept to a minimum as are the chances of injury due to a lack of padding. From a colour perspective, there are two colours to choose from.

I’ll be the first to admit that neither of them is the most exciting to look at. But function always trumps looks. The material composition of the socks is 80% luxurious Merino wool, 15% polyester, 4% nylon and 1% spandex.

It is the wool that provides you with lots of warmth, while the polyester and nylon ensured that the socks are durable.

Pros

  • The socks are reasonably priced.
  • They are made out of a soft material.
  • They are very thick.
  • They have moisture-wicking properties.
  • They provide some ventilation.
  • The cotton is not itchy.

Cons

  • They tend to run too large.
  • Some bad seams have been reported.

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Darn Tough Men’s Merino Wool Hiker Boot Sock

Darn Tough Men's Merino Wool Hiker Boot Sock

If you looking for tough socks you have got to make a Darn Tough decision. Do you see what we did there? Jokes aside. These Merino wool socks are out of the US.

They feature water can be described as Truth Sims construction. This ensures that your socks perform quite smoothly due to a snug fit around your feet.

There are many fewer chances of them sleeping down the calf or bunching. The comfortable fit also ensures that there are much fewer chances of developing blisters.

You may already know that Merino wool is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. These tend to be unsung heroes during the winter.

It is usually in the summer months with feet starting to develop a stench that people tend to appreciate these properties more. 

What the manufacturers promise are socks that they described as the “worlds best-hiking socks underfoot”. While that is some incredibly bold statement to make.

They give us very little reason to doubt them. From a construction standpoint, each pair of socks is built with Darn Tough’s High-density knitting construction.

This is where they pack a lot of stitching into small areas ensuring that the socks are much stronger than they otherwise would be.

The underfoot as mid-level cushioning density is what makes them warm and very comfortable.

Pros

  • The socks are well-made.
  • The brand is family run in Vermont.
  • The socks provide mid-level cushion underfoot density
  • They do not slide down the calf or bunch.
  • They have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
  • These socks are backed by a lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Somewhat on the high end of the pricing range
  • Sizing can be hard to get right.

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HJ Hall ProTrek Challenger Merino Wool Technical Heavy Weight Socks

HJ Hall ProTrek Challenger Merino Wool Technical Heavy Weight Socks

If you like socks that are very thick this may just be the stock for you. Are you find it cushioning from the tours all the way up to the top of the calf is of high density this ensures that your feet are fully protected in the winter as are your legs.

We may go as far as to say that these are socks that can be used in all sorts of conditions as well as sports and other activities.

You may already have noticed that the socks are quite long. Which is even better for the thermal features that we are after.

Merino is known to be both breathable and to have antibacterial properties. To harness this feature, the manufacturers of these socks have used what they call the TriSeal.

This is a treatment that is specially designed for their brand it provides socks that are both water and stain-resistant. You will also be happy to find that the socks provide arch support.

One feature that is not as common in other brands are the hand linked toes. These are designed to reduce the rate of irritation and chafing.

Finally, for material perspective, the socks are made out of 42% Merino wool, 42% acrylic, 11% Polyamide and 5% Elastane. 

Pros

  • These socks provide great cushioning.
  • They feature heavy fabric thickness.
  • They provide arch support.
  • They do to bunch at the ankles.
  • They have antibacterial properties.
  • They are water and stain-resistant.

Cons

  • Toe reinforcement could be better.

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Bridgedale Endurance Summit Knee High Socks For Winter Expeditions

Our final pick comes from Bridgedale Endurance. The fact that they come with a 3-year guarantee is a telling sign of their quality. They contain what has been described as “WoolFusion”.

As their name would suggest, these socks are designed with long-distance hiking in mind. They are the sort of socks that have long-haul resilience.

They are just tough enough to take on all sorts of conditions that you may confront them with when you are out on a hike. These are adequate to face off with the harsh winter. When the temperature drops, they rise to the occasion. 

Now onto that WoolFusion technology that we briefly mentioned. It is a combination of Endurofil yarn and wool. The result is socks that are well-insulated.

They also have the ability to wick moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry. You will also be pleased to find that durability has not been ignored.

These socks are padded from calf-to-toe. They have high-density foot padding to provide you with additional warmth when needed. This also makes them impact resistant and quite comfortable.

From a material point of view, they are made of 51% wool, 29% Polyamide, 19% Endurofil and 1% Elastane. The cuff makes the length adjustable. 

Pros

  • The fabric is of medium thickness.
  • They are very warm.
  • They are well-padded.
  • They provide impact resistance.
  • The cuffs make the length adjustable.
  • They are durable.

Cons

  • Durability remains to be tested to the full.

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Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have revealed all of our picks. We want to ensure that some of the questions that you would have concerning hiking socks are also addressed.

That is the purpose of this guide. It will provide you with enough information to reach an informed conclusion. 

Can I use ski socks for hiking?

Ski socks are made of wool and synthetic materials. They are longer to accommodate the boots you would wear when skiing. Ski socks breathe well and they are typically warmer.

They range from lightweight to heavyweight. Hiking socks are also made of wool and synthetic materials. They come in varying lengths and weights. Hiking socks are made to be worn either with hiking boots or hiking shoes. 

With the similarities between the two types of socks, it can be said that you can interchange the socks. The important thing is to make sure that the socks you choose will give you the comfort and protection needed.

And also to make sure that they can weather the storm you are about to put them through. Check on the features, if they are all there, then you are good to go!

What are hiking liner socks?

They are made of thin polyester material and are used to boost wicking ability for thicker socks or to avoid the potential for blisters. On their own, they are not very good at this.

They are a great option to wear with a pair of compatible mountaineering or hiking socks. If you are prone to getting blisters, then these will help you combat them, if worn with thicker socks. 

How many pairs of socks do I need for backpacking?

The whole point of backpacking is to travel light and live on the bare minimum so that you only carry the necessary. Two pairs of socks will do just fine if you are going on long hikes.

One pair can dry, after you have washed it, whilst you wear the other pair. If you are going on a shorter hike, then all you need is one pair. It all depends on how great your socks are at braving the trail with you. 

Is polyester good for hiking?

Polyester is a great material for hiking socks because it is lightweight and it is breathable. It excels at moisture wicking which means it can move sweat from your body to the fabric of absorption.

From there, the liquid is evaporated, unless the humidity is incredibly high. In hot weather, this keeps your skin dry and the evaporation process will keep you cool making polyester an ideal breathable choice perfect for hiking. 

Is Bamboo clothing good for hiking?

Bamboo fibers that make fabric have some advantages when it comes to using the fabric for hiking clothes.

It wicks moisture more than cotton. It is a more cost-effective option. Bamboo fabric is relatively cheaper than merino wool fabric. The downside is that it is not as durable. 

How do I toughen my feet for hiking?

You can only walk and hike as far as your feet can carry you. This means you need to make sure that they are in their best shape before you go on the trail.

Take some time to strengthen your feet, wear a light load and walk or hike until you start to feel a hot spot.

Stop for the day as soon as you feel one forming. If you’re prone to hot spots or blisters on certain parts of your feet, try something like Moleskin, Endura Sports Tape, Micropore Tape, Duct Tape or Leukotape before a blister forms.

You will also need to be able to strengthen your feet’ bones and muscles as well as the connective tissue of your feet to prevent stress fractures or soft tissue injuries later on.

You can do this by walking barefoot or on uneven surfaces. You can exercise your toe muscles and the muscles on the bottom of your feet. This will help your feet get accustomed to harsh terrain such as that on trails. 

Conclusion

Hiking is such great fun. Different variants can influence how you will dress on the trail. Some constants can help you carry over some tips from different trails.

Hiking in colder climates has its own set of rules in as much as it has its similarities with what you need for hiking in other climates or on other trails.

What matters is that you ensure you are safe and protected, and getting all the benefits of hiking. Have fun finding the socks to compliment the rest of your gear. Happy shopping!

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.

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