Put simply, finding the best walking socks equals more comfortable walking. But what makes a good pair of socks?
Brands offer a large and sometimes bewildering range of options. All the socks on test here are designed for hiking, walking and mountaineering, but it’s still important to pick the right sock for you. For year-round walking in the UK for example, we’d go for a mid-weight hiking sock. If you’re mountaineering at higher altitudes, you may want thicker, heavier weight socks, though your toes still need room to move.
Top 10 best walking socks in UK 2021
So, what makes a good winter sock?
They should be thick and comfortable enough to keep the circulation going in the boot.
They should also be long – preferably knee length – to maintain warmth in the lower leg.
Here are 10 of the best walking socks that should serve you well – even through deep snow and ice.
Bridgedale WoolFusion Summit Knee Socks
Another strong candidate for winter hiking is the Bridgedale Men’s WoolFusion Summit Knee socks will also keep your lower legs comfortable in tougher, colder and wetter conditions.
These walking socks have a combination of wool and manmade yarns to take the best of all worlds.
The wool and Eurofit mix WoolFusion yarns are designed to maximise durability while wicking sweat from the foot.
In addition there are Lycra yarns to keep the sock to the contours of the foot and leg.
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2. SUB ZERO Wool Blend Insulated Winter Walking Socks
Wool blend winter socks aren’t expensive but will serve you well on a trek in colder weather.
The wool/polyamide combination of yarns are designed to fit comfortably while allowing the wool to wick away the sweat from your foot.
The cuff is non-elasticated to remain up while you are walking but without impacting circulation.
Another important design feature is the Rucodry Eco waterproofing treatment that is added to the walking socks to maintain dryness, perhaps should fluids get into the boot.
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3. SMARTWOOL: HIKING LIGHT CREW SOCK
Is there any sensation more hideous than feeling your sock slip down inside your boot? Well, perhaps, but when you’re enjoying an otherwise pleasant hike there’s nothing worse, which is why these walking socks feature an arch brace to hold your socks fast and keep your stride firm. Add in comfort from strategically placed light cushioning to keep blisters at bay, a flat-knit toe seam that promises no rubbing, and a Smartwool construction that marries wicking synthetics with warm and strong wool, and you have our best walking sock.
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4. Sealskinz Extreme Cold Trekking Socks
Sealskinz socks sit at the more expensive end of the market, but we reckon they are totally worth it – they are completely waterproof and windproof, so you can stride out in the elements without getting sodden or freezing feet. Merino wool keeps them soft, cosy and odour-free for longer, and well-designed deep padding around toes and heels stop any blisters in their tracks. Invest in a pair if you’re planning a big winter adventure or spend a lot of time working or playing outdoors in any weather. As the name suggests, they’re on the thick side, so check they fit well inside your hiking boots before you head for the hills.
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5. DANISH ENDURANCE Outdoor Walking Socks
These Danish-made walking socks are one of Amazon’s top sellers for a reason. Their medium weight means you can wear them all year-round, and their mix of merino wool and targeted ventilation mesh performs impressively well in both hot and cold weather. Unlike many drab hiking socks, these come in five colors ranging from bright yellow to deep forest green to vibrant red (and a more muted gray and brown for the traditional among us). The socks actually come recommended by the Danish mountaineer Rasmus Kragh, who was the first Dane to summit Mount Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen (while wearing Danish Endurance socks). If they got him up Everest, it’s safe to say that these socks can handle whatever adventure you take them on.
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6. Bombas Women’s Socks
They’re super cushy and soft thanks to the “performance footbed” and supersoft “long staple yarns” made from premium cotton with moisture-wicking properties. The honeycomb structure at the center provides midfoot support with a slight bit of compression. Bombas makes tons of styles for men and women, but we’re a big fan of the original ankle silhouette.
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7. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks
The Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock is made from a combination of fabrics that are designed to keep your feet comfortable and warm.
It is made from 61% Merino wool that protects your feet in any weather. It is naturally antimicrobial, meaning that it repels bacteria and odor. It provides extra comfort by wicking moisture, helping you stay dry outdoors.
The sock has ribbed support that prevents it from slipping and bunching. It is perfect for rugged conditions as it is designed for the toughest trail. Its high-density knitting process makes it comfortable and durable without bulking.
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8. Dickies Women’s Dri-tech Advanced Moisture Wicking Crew Socks
Available in either a six or twelve pack, these socks start at just $2.00 a pair! These lightweight hiking socks are made from mostly polyester with spandex for stretch. There’s added cushioning throughout the entire footbed and compression on the arches for support. Reviewers love that these helped keep their feet dry, but some noted that are tight on the ankles.
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9. Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Light Crew Socks
The Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew socks are, like the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks, very popular among those who spend a lot of time in the outdoors. They are also made of similar materials (61% Merino wool, 37% Nylon, 2% Lycra) and thus they offer similar qualities – they are odor-resistant, moisture-wicking and breathable. The Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew socks provide moderate cushioning and are anatomically shaped for good fit. They are best for hiking in warm weather but can also be used for all-year-round hiking, depending on how insulated your boots are. The Icebreaker socks are available in two different colors.
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10. Breathable Cushion Anti Blister Crew Socks
These socks are incredibly good value when you consider that you get three pairs at this price. The fabric is breathable and will wick any extra moisture away. Elastic bands are used at the top of the sock and around the arch to keep these socks in place, no matter how fast you’re moving.
Merino wool is not a component of these socks, which will make them less durable and less warm. You’ll probably notice the lack of any sort of wool during hikes in the winter months when your feet are a bit on the cold side.
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How To Choose A Pair Of Walking Socks?
Our best walking socks are ones with more breathability than the average pair, warmth where it’s needed, and durability to see off pressure from close-fitting walking boots, and that all comes down to material.
How To Choose Walking Socks That Prevent Blisters?
A good pair of walking socks can make all the difference between an enjoyable hike and an uncomfortable one. It’s important to take your time when choosing walking socks and consider which will best suit the type of walk and conditions you may encounter.
Some key features to look out for include temperature regulation, shock absorption, blister prevention and promotion of good circulation.
How long should walking socks be?
An important rule to remember about sock length, is that the sock should always come up to just over the top of your chosen footwear. If the sock is too short, the boot will rub your ankle, if the sock is too long then your feet will get too warm, and the sock is more likely to slip down.
These are the ten best walking socks we’d advise you to buy for walking through the year.
They should serve you well for multiple seasons of use, and provide the necessary comfort for the climate you have bought them without blistering or causing excessive sweating as you explore the countryside.