Hiking boots alone do not complete your footwear gear. Accompanying hiking socks are necessary to complete the recipe.
And, just as you choose hiking boots through certain parameters, you must take care when you select your hiking socks.
The reasons why hiking socks are necessary, apply equally to both men and women. The features to look for when selecting hiking socks are the same when choosing men’s hiking socks or women’s.
Why hiking socks are necessary?
- They ensure a better fit of your hiking boots.
- They provide a sort of a cushion between your feet and the boots making your hiking more comfortable.
- Socks made of moisture wicking material wick the moisture formed by sweat from your feet. This prevents blister formation.
- They provide warmth to the feet during the cold weather.
Hiking socks have evolved over the last few years and have been modified to suit the needs of the hiking requirements. The same features also make good for trekking socks.
The reason for this need is that a wrongly chosen pair of hiking socks can ruin your hiking program. They are as important as your hiking boots in forming your hiking equipment.
Features to look for when choosing hiking socks
Select the right size. However, this sounds preliminary and people often tend to take this for granted. When you wear the socks, your feet should feel comfortable. The socks should fit like a second skin and should not feel tight or loose.
This is easy. Choose your favorite color. It will have the right effect on your mind. However, dark-colored socks will hide the dirt while the light-colored ones will spoil easily.
Use crew-length socks. They will prevent the high hiking boots from rubbing against your ankles.
They will also prevent the vegetation and other obstacles of the terrain from brushing against your ankles.
Higher hiking boots will require you to wear higher hiking socks that will extend just above the cuff of the boots.
Choose hiking socks material according to weather conditions
Woolen hiking socks
Use woolen hiking socks to keep your feet warm in cold and wet conditions. For mild cold conditions, you should choose lightweight wool while in extremely cold conditions, use mid-weight to heavy weight or thick woolen socks.
It may sound surprising but on a hot summer day, you should also go for woolen socks – the very lightweight ones. The lightweight woolen socks are thin and will keep your feet cool on a sweaty summer day by the process of evaporation of sweat.
The fibers of the wool act as perfect wicks and move the sweat from your feet to the outer surface of the socks for quick evaporation.
Though you are wearing hiking boots, they are not airtight. Air does circulate inside the boots, which helps the sweat to evaporate.
Smartwool is an American company, which makes woolen fibers that are luxuriously soft. They are made from the wool of New Zealand’s specially bred Merino sheep, whose fibers are super fine. Maybe, Smartwool socks would be a good choice.
100 percent cotton socks are not recommended for hiking. They absorb the sweat but dry slowly, which causes them to retain moisture. They are not as smooth and provide no insulation when wet, and can cause blisters on the feet.
Silk is lightweight, high-wicking and comfortable but not as durable as other materials. However, they are used in the liners of the hiking socks.
Synthetic insulating materials
These are of artificial man-made material designed to wick moisture and provide insulation.
Examples include Hollofil, Thermax, and Thermastat. They keep your feet warm but dry quickly.
Another feature you could add to your socks is the toe socks. They will prevent your toes from rubbing against each other. This is an added protection from the formation of blisters on your toes.
Just as you choose hiking boots, you should look for the above features when you go to select and buy your hiking socks. This will make your hike just as you wished for – a pleasurable one.