Special hiking socks are required

Hiking socks guide

Guaranteed dry and blister-free feet

Table of Contents

The perfect hiking sock is comfortable, water-repellent, breathable and ensures surefootedness. In this post you will learn how to quickly find the ideal hiking sock for your requirements.

Hikers with wool socks

Socks are wrongly underestimated because they have to fulfill important functions: they have a direct effect to avoid blisters on the feet. Its task is also to protect feet, ankles and toes from friction and injuries, to optimally dampen movements and to dissipate moisture quickly. It has to sit comfortably and wrinkle-free and cool or warm the skin - depending on how you feel. The ideal Hiking socks also supports the Comfort the hiking boots. The foot area must be ideally padded and the heel, ball of the foot, toes and ankles should also be reinforced - these are the most stressed areas of the foot when hiking.

You should pay attention to this when buying

1. Moisture transport

The most important aspect of buying is that Moisture transport of the socks. This must transport the sweat on the foot to the outside unhindered. The moisture should be picked up directly by the hiking shoe and directed to the outside. A build-up of moisture inside the shoe would noticeably increase the risk of a blister on the foot. Requirement for one dry feet is the direct moisture transport from the skin to the hiking socks and directly to the outside via the hiking shoe.

High-quality footwear is useless from the point of view of moisture transport if your sock does not optimally wick away moisture from the skin (sweat).

2. Wrinkle-free fit

Another important aspect is that Fit of the hiking socks. This should always be wrinkle-free. This is important because wrinkles increase the risk of skin rubbing during activity. The result would be painful abrasions or blisters, which can be avoided with an ideally fitting hiking sock.

3. With or without upholstery

Modern hiking socks are made of natural fibers or high-techMaterial mixtures. These mixtures make them particularly odor-reducing and leave them dry quickly.

Which hiking sock is the right one for your feet depends on several factors. High mountain and hiking boots are usually so well padded that the hiking socks need no padding or only light padding on the heel and ball of the foot. Light footwear often has little padding, so a well-padded hiking sock is recommended. The padding of the sock therefore depends on the hiking shoe.

Hiking socks without /
with light padding
Hiking socks with
(thick) upholstery
Flat hiking shoex
High hiking shoex
Example model

4. Thin or thick hiking socks

Thin hiking socks are recommended at temperatures above 20 ° C because they release moisture on the skin more quickly. Thick and reinforced hiking socks warm the foot more and are therefore ideally suited for low temperatures.

Materials in comparison

In the following I present the most important sock materials and mixtures as well as their advantages and disadvantages. With this information you can decide which material is right for the desired activity.

Hiking socks with a high cotton content

These socks are recommended for short but sweaty activities - such as jogging, a game of squash or fitness. The cotton absorbs sweat quickly, but stores the moisture so that the sock becomes damp quickly. If worn for a long time, this quickly leads to blistering. The sock quickly smells of sweat.

  • quick sweat absorption
  • suitable for short, sweaty activities
  • low moisture transport
  • increased risk of blistering
    • sweat sticks the sock to the skin
    • The sock has a tendency to wrinkle on the skin
  • The smell of sweat is quickly noticeable
  • not suitable for long hikes, multi-day tours

New wool hiking socks

Virgin wool, especially merino wool, absorbs moisture from the skin more slowly than cotton, but does not store it, but instead carries it directly on to the shoe. In a breathable hiking shoe, the moisture can be well regulated and optimally transported away. The feet stay dry. Hiking socks made of new wool are ideal for activities lasting several hours. Another great property of virgin wool: it warms the foot continuously, even at low temperatures, and has a self-cleaning effect, which means that the socks do not / hardly noticeably smell unpleasant.

  • moderate sweat absorption
  • good moisture transport (suitable for long hiking tours)
  • very good warming function (optimal in winter / cold areas)
  • high wearing comfort (soft, comfortable)
  • fast drying time (multi-day tours)
  • odorless and therefore antibacterial, anti-fungal
  • more expensive than cotton socks (pure merino wool)

Synthetic fiber hiking socks

Hiking socks made from synthetic fibers also have a moisture-regulating effect, but they are not as warm as new wool. If you get cold feet quickly, then I recommend hiking socks made of new wool.

Modern synthetic hiking socks often consist of a material mix of Coolmax, polyamide and elastane. Coolmax is a modern fiber from high-tech materials research that is clearly superior to pure natural fibers. Hiking socks made of synthetic fibers with Coolmax are antibacterial, moisture-wicking, odor-inhibiting and climate-regulating.

  • very high breathability (polypropylene)
  • good moisture transport (polypropylene)
  • rapid release of sweat
    (but only with a small amount of elastane)
  • very good fit and high wearing comfort (elastane)
  • Coolmax fibers (mostly polyester fibers) cool the foot
  • very robust and therefore long-lasting (polyamide fibers)
  • often expensive (processing of merino wool)
  • high percentage of elastane leads to the formation of blisters more quickly

All-round hiking socks

The high-tech industry has made a compromise: all-round hiking socks often consist of several layers of material. This is intended to drain the moisture away from the foot as quickly as possible. Of course, the hiking shoe must be breathable so that the moisture can be transported to the outside and no bubbles can form.

Comparison of all materials

Hiking socks off
cottonVirgin woolsyntheticAll-round
Fast absorption of sweatx
Moderate sweat absorptionxx
Good moisture transportxxx
Low moisture transportx
recommendation: No matter how intense and how long you hike, spend a few euros more and buy two or three pairs of high-quality hiking socks made from pure merino wool. I have had very good experiences with it.

More tips for healthy feet

  • Pack a spare pair of socks
    Always pack a spare pair of hiking socks. If your foot sweats quickly, you can change your socks. This will reduce the risk of blisters on your feet.
  • Wear two hiking socks
    If you get blisters on your feet quickly, you can remedy this by wearing two thin socks. This reduces the friction of the hiking sock on the skin. However, it is best to use high-quality hiking socks straight away.


  • Elastane
    Elastane is known under the following names: Elasthan, Spandex, Lycra. The synthetic fiber is characterized by a high degree of elasticity and conformability. It is soft, smooth, dimensionally stable and very light. At the same time, the fabrics are characterized by a long service life and they are easy to care for.
  • polyamide
    Polyamide fibers are dimensionally stable and relatively tear-resistant, which can make the fabric very durable and resistant to abrasion. In addition, these fibers dry very quickly. Disadvantages of polyamide fibers are their poor heat properties and their tendency to build up electrostatic charges.
  • Polypropylene
    Polypropylene is often used as a polycolone fiber in functional clothing and underwear. It promotes a high surface tension of the fabric, making it hard-wearing and abrasion-resistant. In addition, polypropylene promotes the transfer of moisture (sweat).

Hiking socks infographic

You can also find all the information and tips in this article in my clear Hiking socks infographic: