Open main menu

Socks

Types of Socks

photo of a liner sock

Liner Socks

photo of a compression sock

Compression Socks

photo of a hiking/backpacking sock

Hiking/Backpacking Socks

photo of a running sock

Running Socks

photo of a snowsport sock

Snowsport Socks

photo of a waterproof sock

Waterproof Socks

Top Picks

How we choose: The best socks highlighted here were selected based on 454 reviews of 155 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a sock that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Top Hiking/Backpacking Sock

Darn Tough Merino Micro Crew Sock Cushion

user rating: 5 of 5 (4 reviews)

The best day-hiking socks. Durable, good cushion, good wicking.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight, yet good cushion
  • Great for summer hikes in mountains
  • Great for walking around town

Reasons to Avoid

  • May not be best on very hot days

Summary - These are a very durable sock that have lasted through many day hikes, around town and in winter. It's my "go-to" sock for any day hikes or walking around town when the temp is 25 - 75 degrees. Function - Merino wool is great, warm when it's a bit chilly, but not too hot when it is warm out. On long car camping trips, I have rinsed these socks out and used them a second day, no problem. The merino wool blend easily cleans up with a good rinsing and they dry quickly too. The cushion is just right for day hikes, not excessive and not too thin.

Read more: Darn Tough Merino Micro Crew Sock Cushion reviews (4)

Hiking/Backpacking Sock

Smartwool Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Hikers know Smartwool as one of the best-known Merino wool brands on the market. I have owned several Smartwool products over the years, and I have never been disappointed with any of them. The Hike Light Cushion Crew Sock is no exception. As a lighter cushioned sock, it is perfect for day hiking or backpacking with an ultralight setup. With Smartwool’s improved warranty and a commitment to sustainability, these are definitely hiking socks worth considering when making your next purchase.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Hold their shape
  • Breathable
  • Odor resistant
  • Dry quickly/wicks moisture
  • Responsibly sourced wool
  • Recycled materials (used in both socks and packaging)
  • Made in USA
  • Warranty

Reasons to Avoid

  • I really couldn't come up with any.

The packaging on the Smartwool Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks (or “Hike LC” for short) reads, “go far. feel good.” I find that slogan to be the ideal description of these socks. After 100 miles of hiking, they still feel good on my feet.   OUT OF THE PACKAGE (which is both minimal and made from recycled materials), the Hike LC look and feel like what you would expect from quality Merino wool socks. They are soft, comfortable, and regulate temperature well. Going by the packaging, the Hike LC are comprised of 56% Wool, 28% Recycled Nylon, 13% Non-recycled Nylon, and 3% Elastane (Lycra/Spandex).

Read more: Smartwool Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks review (1)

Top Running Sock / Hiking/Backpacking

Swiftwick Pursuit Four Sock

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Swiftwick is as good as it gets for scent-free, blister-free comfort, wicking, and durability. Updated!!

Reasons to Buy

  • They wear like iron
  • Blister-free guarantee
  • Snug fit
  • Do not stretch out
  • Low odor
  • Blister free after four months
  • Merino!

Reasons to Avoid

  • They seem pricey till you see their durability

I have owned Swiftwick socks of one variety or another for five or so years now. I've worn them up and down several Cascades Volcanoes and they are now my go-to light hiking and running socks. Test Conditions: I received two almost identical sets of Swiftwick socks about four months ago and I have included them in all my fitness, trail runs, gym workouts and hikes in the hills. It's been long-pants season so I don't have a ton of action shots in them (socks are tough to review) because you'd just see me in pants and shoes.

Read more: Swiftwick Pursuit Four Sock review (1)

Hiking/Backpacking Sock

Darn Tough Merino Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion

user rating: 5 of 5 (7 reviews)

Socks that are comfortable, durable, and odor resistant. ’Guaranteed For Life’ is quite a statement from a sock manufacturer. No strings. No conditions. For life.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Odor resistant
  • Made in Vt., USA

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slower dry time

I have been wearing brand name socks for years, and this product is the only one in its category that has not become thinner, thread-bare, or developed holes. It should be noted that I never put my socks in the dryer, and either hand wash in the field (without soap), or use the gentle cycle in the washing machine, inside out as directed. Darn Tough recommends tumble-drying on low, I have always air-dried my socks after washing.  Specs: 69% Merino Wool, 27% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex True Seamless’ technology- Ultra light, yet extremely dense socks, with an undetectable toe seam Made in Vermont, USA The nylon and lycra in these socks makes them very easy to get on and off, even when one’s foot has moisture/sweat.

Read more: Darn Tough Merino Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion reviews (7)

Running Sock

Balega Blister Resist Quarter

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Balega's Blister Resist Quarter is a hybrid mohair and synthetic sock from a company that does a great job with running socks. Great wicking properties help keep your feet comfortable. Smooth material doesn't tend to chafe. They tend to show wear by looking "fuzzy" but that's cosmetic—no notable thin spots or wear. Slightly more bulky than a typical running sock.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Wicking
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Thickness of material
  • Price

OVERVIEW By calling this a "blister resist" running sock, Balega is pretty clearly pushing the narrative that this sock is somehow better at protecting your feet from blisters than the average sock. I'll address that but will mostly focus on the more general reasons you might want to get a couple pair of these socks. I was provided two pair to review—a quarter-height and crew height Blister Resist sock. You can see that the crew is a few inches longer on your leg than the quarter. Other than the height and the color, both pair are effectively the same.

Read more: Balega Blister Resist Quarter review (1)

Top Snowsport Sock

Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Lightweight

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Darn Tough intended these lightweight, over the calf socks for snow sports as a thin sock inside tight, form fitting boots. The merino wool blended with synthetic fibers to increase elasticity and wear made them a great liner sock with excellent moisture wicking properties.

Reasons to Buy

  • Darn Tough makes good socks
  • Very close fit
  • Good wicking for a thin sock
  • Elasticity is very durable
  • Comes in pretty patterns
  • Vermont made
  • DT Guarantee

Reasons to Avoid

  • No cushion bottom
  • Material stiffens when soiled

Darn Tough makes a wide variety of socks and most folks seem to like the ones they try. My personal previous experience with their socks was limited to a single pair that I didn't especially care for and I didn't bother to get replaced when they got a hole despite the famous guarantee. They still look too small without my feet in them. When looking for over-the-calf socks to wear with the Amundsen Peak Knickerbockers I came across these and the pretty mountains on them caught my eye. I grabbed a couple of pair last April and used them as my primary liner socks for the rest of the year.

Read more: Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Lightweight reviews (2)

Hiking/Backpacking Sock

Darn Tough Light Hiker No Show Lightweight Hiking Sock

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

A cushioned Merino wool sock that works as well for running as hiking, long on comfort and by all accounts as tough as they come. Superb.

Reasons to Buy

  • That Merino feel
  • Terry loop cushioning where it counts
  • Warm enough for wet trails and cold rain
  • Darn Tough Guarantee

Reasons to Avoid

  • Men's don't come in purple
  • I don't want to take them off!

Sometimes, in my sartorial existence, there are articles of clothing that are just so comfortable, so right, that I kind of don’t want to wear anything else. Blue jeans in general, for sure, but then there are certain pairs of blue jeans that I just reach for day after day. Or my NRS river runner’s lightweight hoodie, which is so light and comfortable I wear it more around the house than for its intended purpose. And over the years I have had and worn out numerous pairs of socks that fill that role.

Read more: Darn Tough Light Hiker No Show Lightweight Hiking Sock review (1)

Hiking/Backpacking Sock

FITS Sock Medium Hiker Crew

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

A really comfortable merino wool hiking sock. Very smooth, soft socks with a good amount of stretch. Relatively low volume for a medium weight sock. They fit well, whether or not their interesting heel design has anything to do with that or not. Bottom line—a really nice (but rather expensive) and supremely comfortable hiking sock.

Reasons to Buy

  • They feel awesome
  • They fit really well
  • Durable
  • Moisture handling
  • Warmth

Reasons to Avoid

  • They are on the expensive side

UPDATE 10/2022: Revisiting this review after nine years. FITS have become the only thicker crew sock I wear for hiking; I actually managed to wear out the first three pair. They didn't get holes, but the wool had thinned and hardened in the heel area. They are the most comfortable and best-fitting merino wool socks I have worn.  The medium hiker crew now retails for $24 per pair. The material is still 70% merino wool, plus 22% nylon, 6% polyester, 2% lycra.  I just purchased a six-pack of FITS Light Hiker Crew socks to replace the old lighter-weight socks I wear, which don't have enough room for medium-weight socks.

Read more: FITS Sock Medium Hiker Crew reviews (2)

Hiking/Backpacking Sock

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Mini Socks

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9 reviews)

Smartwool makes some comfortable, cushioned, and breathable merino wool socks that people rave about, but in my opinion, may not be the best merino socks out there.

Reasons to Buy

  • Brand name
  • Comfort
  • Breathability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Less durable than other brands
  • Initial Piling

Smartwool makes some comfortable, cushioned, and breathable merino wool socks that people rave about, but in my opinion, may not be the best merino socks out there. I'm evaluating these socks against five other pairs of socks that I've worn over the last few years. These socks look great and fit great—no excess, no bulging, no binding, just a great fit. The are comfortable right out of the packaging.   The socks have a decent amount of elastic and weaving to create a supportive feel. There is extra padding in the toe and heal, cushioning along the arch, and adequate elastic around the ankle.  They are not water resistant, but one of the benefits of these socks is that they are wicking and dry quickly.

Read more: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Mini Socks reviews (9)

Top Waterproof Sock

Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Crew Socks

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

What can I say about these just amazing socks that keep all the water out? I'm certain you will love them if you run, bike, or hike in wet conditions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Coolmax lining
  • Waterproof membrane
  • Ventilates somewhat
  • Tough construction
  • Crew length

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit snug feeling
  • A challenge to get on
  • Ventilates somewhat
  • Too thick for some boots

When waterproof socks first appeared on the market I was wondering how good they could be. Well, I broke down three years ago and bought a pair from REI when they were on sale. All the hype was true. Showers Pass Waterproof Socks I've mainly reserved them for winter and wet weather cycling over the years and about six hikes. They are very size specific so I'd recommend caution in sizing the purchase. They also may not fit in all your footwear. I can wear them under my old cycling mountain bike shoes, but they will not fit in my vintage Italian cycling shoes.

Read more: Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Crew Socks review (1)

More Socks

Trailspace reviewers have shared 454 reviews of 155 different socks. Narrow your search and view more specific sock recommendations in these categories:

Liner Socks

Compression Socks

Hiking/Backpacking Socks

Running Socks

Snowsport Socks

Waterproof Socks

All Footwear

Other Types of Footwear

Find more footwear reviewed in these related categories:

Mountaineering Boots

Backpacking Boots

Hiking Boots

+14 more types

Review Your Outdoor Gear

If you've found this site helpful — or if we've missed something important — please consider paying it forward by some of your favorite outdoor gear.

Why? From professional gearheads to outdoor novices, everyone has an important point of view to contribute. will support the outdoor community and help others find the best gear.

Trailspace reviewers are outdoor enthusiasts like you: hikers, climbers, paddlers, backcountry skiers, and trail runners who share our experiences with the gear and clothing we rely on to get outside. Learn more about Trailspace