Buying Hiking Socks

The wrong socks can help cause blisters and sores that can shut down an outdoor activity after only a short time. But a well-fitting sock system, tailored to your activity can keep your feet dry and comfortable when you’re running over trails, hiking up hills, or approaching rocks.

Good-Fitting Socks Prevent Hot Spots
A good fit for socks is nearly as crucial as it is for shoes. Your socks and shoes are a system that should work well together.

  • Socks should not change or modify the fit of your shoes.
  • If they’re too big they will sag and bunch causing lumps, discomfortand possibly blister-causing spots.
  • If they’re too tight they can restrict circulation and toe movement, which can lead to injury.

Common Materials
Materials such as synthetics or wool wick moisture away from your feet much better than cotton does. Thicker socks with a blend of natural fibres and synthetics provide good moisture wicking and can function like a layered system. Advancements in the sourcing and manufacturing of wool have led to improved performance. Wool has naturally high-tech moisture-wicking and insulating propertiesand soft textured wools (such as merino) are ideal for high-performance socks.

Selecting Socks
Choosing the best pair of socks depends on the type of shoes you will be wearing and the weather conditions you may encounter.

  • Liner socks can be worn alone during high-output activities like trail running. To help prevent blisters, they can also be worn as the inner layer of a layering system. The thin fabric is designed to transport moisture outward to keep your feet cool, dryand comfortable.
  • Lightweight socks are intended for use with trail runners, approach shoesand warm weather day hiking boots. They have medium-density padding in the ball and heel for extra cushioning, a thinner more breathable upperand are perfect for layering with liners.
  • Midweight socks are well-cushioned all-around socks that work well with day hiking boots and backpacking footwear. They are perfect for three-season moderate-output activities and for wearing over liner socks.
  • Heavyweight socks are designed to provide maximum insulation for cold weather hiking and other winter sports. They feature well-insulated footbeds for increased warmth. Heavyweight socks are extra long to cover more of your lower legs. They can also be paired with liner socks.

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