7 best hiking socks for blister


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Aug 28, 2023

7 best hiking socks for blister

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article. Tried and tested by WH Choosing the best hiking socks is something of a Goldilocks affair. Too thick and you're at the

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

Tried and tested by WH

Choosing the best hiking socks is something of a Goldilocks affair. Too thick and you're at the mercy of tight boots and sweaty soles, too thin and blisters are almost sure to befall you.

But when walking comes with myriad benefits, including reduced blood pressure, boosted stamina and sustainable weight loss (not to mention it's fantastic low-impact cardio), it's worth shopping around to find the right pair of hiking socks.

Or, even better, having us do it for you. We've — literally — put numerous pairs of walking socks through their paces to bring you our edit of the very best hiking socks available to shop now. You're welcome.

Before you step out, there are a few factors to consider that will determine what the best hiking socks are for you.

Whatever you do, don't scrimp when it comes to hiking socks — your feet will pay for it later. 'It's really important to invest in a pair that will have you covered while hiking in all conditions and through all types of terrain,' says Nilson. 'One of the most uncomfortable things that can happen when outdoors is any irritation to your feet, so it's important to invest in hiking socks that keep you comfortable and avoid blisters and rubbing.'

We've hiked numerous hills and treacherous trails (sort of) to bring you our edit of the very best walking and hiking socks, from Darn Tough's cushioned cult favourites to clever anti-blister designs. Step right up.

These hiking socks are so comfortable, we've taken to wearing them round the house on chillier days (God knows we've had enough of them).

The cushioning is second to none, they're virtually seamless, save for one flat (flat = no chafe) seam across the toe box and the ribbed compression around the ankle feels supportive.

They're surprisingly soft for a sock so durable and it's a softness that lasts even after washing (and some pretty brutal hikes). Speaking of, those hikes finished blister-free and with unusually fresh feet, thanks to both the arch support and breathable Merino wool blend. Being thicker however, they're not suited for hikes in hot weather.

We credit Stance socks (plus a great pair of walking boots) for keeping us blister-free during The Three Peaks Challenge. The fit is incredible — no baggy sections to cause chafing — they have great compression, decent cushioning and that all-important seamless toe area.

They're made from a Merino wool blend so keep feet fresh when it's warm, cosy when it's not, and are incredibly durable too — when tired legs mean you start to scrape against rocks they do not tear.

They come up nice and high to keep out debris and the length means you can roll them down for extra cushioning around the ankle — we've done this with all our pairs and it hasn't affected the quality of the material around the calf. Plus there's handy left and right signage on each sock.

Stance socks come in a ton of cool designs, plus the brand's regular performance crew socks are also great for lighter hikes or trail running, and best of all, come in leopard print.

You can't go wrong with a pair of lululemon socks. We wore these for a 25-mile charity walk and got out blister-free, so they've got to be doing something right.

They're super comfy and reduce chafing thanks to the shaped heel and toe areas, leaving no excess fabric to rub on pressure points. Speaking of the heel, the cushioning extends from the base of the foot up the heel, covering the achilles tendon — so no heel blisters and great protection against mid- and high-rise boots.

The ribbed band around the middle of the sock hugs your foot for great arch support and thanks to the Merino wool blend they're breathable too. Also available in ankle length.

With a high Nylon content, these socks are super stretchy, supportive and sweat-wicking, while Merino wool takes care of softness and thermo-regulation.

The banded arch brace keeps them glued to your feet throughout your hike, so there's no opportunity for rubbing, while the cushioned sole keeps things comfortable. They're even odour-resistant!

The ribbed calf section did slip down a little for us — giving a rumpled look we actually liked — but because of the compressive features at the base of the ankle this didn't affect the fit of the sock around the foot at all. But this is not ideal if you're after compression in the lower calves.

On the plus side, they're not as thick as some other socks but still offer great protection, so are ideal for hikes in warmer weather.

SmartWool has been synonymous with comfortable and quality hiking socks for years. These full-cushioned numbers are plush, cosy and their Merino high wool content makes them a great contender for colder hikes or overnight camping stops.

A seamless toe section means no nasty blisters, they have mesh ventilation panels to aid breathability and are incredibly durable too. The generous cushioning extends the full height of the sock, as well as across the sole, but despite this they manage to not be too chunky, so you should be able to wear your usual walking boots.

Because of all that cushioning they can take a while to dry and we wouldn't recommend them for warm weather. Also available in navy.

These socks are so deliciously soft, it's hard to believe they're made for hiking at all. The fit is perfect, making for a smooth silhouette with no pressure points to rub in your boots and they're made from 73% Merino wool for superior temperature control.

The socks are shaped for each foot and marked as such (L and R) and the toe area is seamless to ensure no rubbing. As they're low-rise and have medium cushioning these socks are ideal for warmer weather when you're wearing trail shoes, rather than boots.

Knowing some people like to double up socks for extra protection (please don't do this, it only encourages rubbing), Falke has crafted a clever three-layer construction which offers great blister protection as well efficient sweat-wicking.

Also available in crew length.

Ok, ok, we know toe socks went out of fashion (if they ever really were in fashion) well before we all realised that their style peers frosted tips and slap bracelets should be left firmly in the 90s. But guess what? No one’s going to see these — particularly as you won’t be taking your boots off mid-hike to attend to blisters.

Everything about these socks has been designed with keeping feet cool, comfortable and blister-free. The toe design reduces the possibility of rubbing and pressure hotspots, plus the separation discourages any moisture forming between your toes (because athlete's foot is no fun).

These 'Coolmax' versions use a special polyester and Nylon blend to further wick moisture and discourage overheating, but they're also available made with Merino wool instead.

The arch support is brilliant too, with a supportive band that stops the socks sliding around.

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