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How to Pick the Best Socks for the Trail

Socks are the most underrated — and most often ignored — piece of outdoor gear. A quality pair of socks might seem expensive at first, but it is worth its weight in gold and will make your time on the trail so much more enjoyable.


1. Thou shalt never wear cotton socks for hiking. They absorb sweat quickly and are very slow to dry. Soggy, sweaty feet = BLISTERS.

2. Thou shalt wear only socks made of wool or synthetic fibers … or a blend of both. They will dry quickly, wick sweat away from your feet and keep your feet more comfortable on the trail.

3. Thou shalt wear socks that fit. Make sure your socks fit snugly. If they’re too big, they’ll bunch up inside your boots or shoes and be uncomfortable and might cause blisters.

4. Thou shalt not dry your socks on a stick over the campfire. They might catch fire or melt. Instead, wring them out and lay them on a warm rock in the sun.

5. Thou shalt always pack three pairs of socks. That way, you have a pair to hike in, an extra pair for hiking when the other gets wet, and a clean, dry pair for sleeping.


Here’s a little secret: There’s often sizing overlap between large kids’ socks and small adult socks. They’re essentially the same product and cover the same size feet, but the kids’ versions are usually much cheaper. So check the company’s sock sizing charts online, and when they fit, go with the cheaper kids’ version.

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