7 Best Compression Socks for Hiking: Hike More, Hurt Less

By: Ashley Vitiello | Last Updated on December 22, 2023

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The Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks by Fox River are simply the best hiking compression socks you could buy. Not only are they a great price, but they are built to withstand the pressures of long military marches and drills. This means you can be sure they will be the remarkably comfortable, extremely durable, and exceptionally effective when it comes to compression socks for hiking.

We understand that this pair of socks may not be everyone’s top pick, so we’ve assembled our other favorite options below – that way you can pick the perfect option that best fits your needs.

As avid hikers know, a great trail adventure is about more than just stunning views and challenging terrains—it’s also about the gear that gets you there and back again. Among those, a pair of reliable compression socks can make all the difference. Not only can they improve your comfort, but they can also enhance circulation, reduce muscle fatigue, and speed up recovery. Let’s explore the best compression socks available for hiking, designed to provide you with the support you need, so you can focus on conquering those trails and enjoying your journey.

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7 Best Compression Socks for Hiking

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks for Compression Socks for Hiking
IMAGE PRODUCT
Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks by Fox River
  • Built for durability and long activity
  • Light graduated compression for circulation
  • Sustainable brand, made in the USA
VIEW CURRENT PRICE →
Sport Modern by Physix Gear
  • Top-rated with 80,000+ reviews
  • 20-30 mmHg firm compression
  • Ultra-light; ideal for hot weather
VIEW CURRENT PRICE →
Aspire Twelve by Swiftwick
  • Firm, even 20-30 mmHg compression
  • Ultra-light, high-wicking materials
  • Built for long outdoor adventures
VIEW CURRENT PRICE →
Ansonville by Farm to Feet
  • Heavy cushion for cold hikes
  • Gradual compression, knee-high
  • 75% Merino wool for comfort and odor control
VIEW CURRENT PRICE →
Compression Crew Socks by Sockwell
  • 15-20 mmHg light compression
  • Medium cushion for durability
  • Crew height, perfect with hiking boots
VIEW MEN'S CURRENT PRICE →VIEW WOMEN'S CURRENT PRICE →
Ultra Compression OTC by Injinji
  • Unique toe sock design
  • Graduated compression
  • Light cushion for warm weather
VIEW CURRENT PRICE →
Circulator Compression Socks by Sockwell
  • Merino wool for comfort and odor control
  • Seamless toes and banded arches
  • Moderate compression for daily wear
VIEW MEN'S CURRENT PRICE →VIEW WOMEN'S CURRENT PRICE →

Editor’s Choice – Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks by Fox River

best hiking compression socks

These Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks by Fox River are made for long marches and military drills, so they will withstand whatever you can throw at them while hiking. They provide light compression that’s ideal for prolonged activity, plus they’re super comfortable, durable, and help you stay blister-free.

When we first saw these socks, they reminded us a lot of a regular pair of hiking socks. They’re truly built for activity, so they have features that make them stand out from the other socks on this list. These are some of the design aspects seen in this pair of socks that we normally see in a great pair of hiking socks: a reinforced toe and heel to add durability and comfort, vented panels to help remove moisture, and an arch support band to keep the sock in place.

Now all those great features are combined with light, graduated compression that helps improve circulation and fight fatigue so you can keep hiking even when the trail gets tough. As a bonus, they’re super comfortable and extremely highly rated, so you should give them a try!

About the Brand

Fox River has been making socks since 1900, which gives them over 120 years of experience in making lifestyle performance, sport, and outdoor socks. They use both US and imported yarns to make all their socks in the USA (in Iowa) and are committed to remaining American-made. We also love that Fox River is such a sustainable company – their mill is 100% powered by renewable energy and they use only sustainable fibers.

Specifications

  • Compression: graduated 8-15 mmHg for light compression
  • Cushion: Light to keep your feet cool and dry
  • Height: Knee (17-19″) for ultimate circulation
  • Materials: 60% polyester, 35% nylon, 5% spandex for optimized comfort and functionality

Pros

  • Built to withstand heavy use
  • Vented panels help keep your feet dry
  • Light compression that’s great for prolonged activity
  • Very affordable price

Cons

  • None

Circulator Compression Socks by Sockwell

These Circulator Compression Socks by Sockwell are a close second and are a great pair of compression socks that you could wear hiking. They are made by one of the biggest name brands in the world of compression socks so you know you’re getting a high quality, comfortable, and durable sock that’s great at providing any compression you need. Shop men’s and women’s or continue reading to learn more about these socks.

One of our favorite parts about this sock is that it has a significant percentage of Merino wool in its materials. This is a great fabric for hiking socks because it has several natural properties that help with blister prevention, temperature regulation (in both cool and warm weather), and combatting stinky feet.

We can also appreciate how these socks have seamless toes so there’s no rubbing, banded arches to reduce bunching, and a moderate compression that is great for all day and every day wear (including exercise and travel). All these features make for an extremely comfortable hiking sock that also has effective compression for every-day use.

About the Brand

Sockwell makes all their socks right here in the United States from American-grown Merino wool. They specialize in compression socks, so you know this pair of socks will be great at getting the job (or hike) done.

Specifications

  • Compression: graduated 15-20 mmHg for light compression
  • Cushion: Light so there’s no extra fabric
  • Height: Knee for effectiveness
  • Materials: 32% Merino wool, 32% stretch nylon, 31% rayon from bamboo, 5% spandex for a perfect balance of natural and synthetic materials

Pros

  • Light graduated compression socks are great for all day wear
  • Merino wool helps with blister prevention and comfort
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive

Aspire Twelve by Swiftwick

Swiftwick is quickly becoming one of our favorite socks brands and their Aspire Twelve is a great option if you want firm compression for your outdoor adventures. These socks use managed compression (not graduated like the others) so you have an even pressure throughout that leaves you feeling strong, secure, and energized.

This sock barely feels like it’s there with its ultrathin profile, but you can definitely feel the firm compression throughout. With 20-30 mmHg in the ankle, it’s on the firmer side and is best for people who want that strong support for long outdoor adventures.

Because Swiftwick specializes in hiking and activity socks, these are built to withstand the pressures of the trail and the hard work that comes with it. Their material composition is ideal for keeping your feet cool, dry, blister-free, and comfortable, even on those longer treks or trail runs.

Specifications

  • Compression: 20-30 mmHg for firm compression
  • Cushion: Ultra-light for a minimalist feel
  • Height: Knee high for effective compression
  • Materials: 46% Olefin, 43% nylon, 11% spandex to keep you dry and blister free

Pros

  • Firm, non-graduated compression
  • Seamless toe box to prevent rubbing
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive

Ansonville by Farm to Feet

The Ansonville Compression Sock by Farm to Feet is the best pair of Merino wool hiking socks on this list and is a thicker sock that’s designed to be warm, comfortable, and durable on those cooler weather hiking adventures.

The first thing that stands out about these socks is their high density cushion and thick material, which is quite unlike the other socks on this list. Not only does this make it super comfortable to wear, but it will help keep you warm during cold weather hikes in the great outdoors.

Even when you’re active and warm, the Merino wool will help to keep your feet cool and dry, which helps with preventing blisters. The wool is also naturally anti-bacterial, which helps with stinky, sweaty feet and lets you get more wears between washes.

Even though there’s no specific compression rating on these socks, they do use a gradual compression knit that wraps up the leg, so there is some element of compression that would be useful for someone wanting something light but warm.

About the Brand

Farm to Feet socks have an all-American recipe: US materials, US manufacturing, and US workers. Because its entire supply chain is in the United States, the quality of the materials and products are outstanding and have less impact on the environment.

Specifications

  • Compression: Gradual for directing blood flow
  • Cushion: Heavy for warmth
  • Height: Knee for promoting blood circulation
  • Materials: 75% Merino wool, 24% nylon, 1% spandex to keep you warm and comfortable

Pros

  • Heavy cushioning makes them comfortable and warm
  • Merino wool has great properties for hiking socks
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • No compression rating

Compression Crew Socks by Sockwell

These Compression Crew Socks by Sockwell (shop men’s and women’s) are the only ones on this list that are crew height, which is the preferred style for use with hiking boots and shoes. This makes them more ideal for hikers but they still offer light compression that keeps you comfortable on those longer hiking trips.

The medium cushioning helps these socks last longer than their thinner counterparts while still being thin enough for warmer hiking conditions. The Merino wool helps keep your feet cool and dry, which also helps with blister prevention.

They are very comfortable to wear and we immediately noticed the seamless design so there’s no rubbing around your toes. There’s panels to help with wicking sweat as well, so our feet stayed cool and comfortable the entire hike.

Specifications

  • Compression: 15-20 mmHg for light compression
  • Medium cushioning balances durability and staying cool
  • Height: Crew for use with hiking boots and shoes
  • Materials: 41% Merino wool, 39% nylon, 14% alpaca, 6% spandex, which is perfect for a well-rounded hiking sock

Pros

  • Made with Merino wool and alpaca for comfort
  • Medium cushioning is comfortable to wear
  • Crew height is an ideal length for hiking
  • Comes in cool prints

Cons

  • Crew height doesn’t have compression up your whole leg

Sport Modern by Physix Gear

These Sport Modern socks by Physix Gear are the highest rated and most reviewed compression socks on Amazon (over 80,000 reviews with 4.5 stars) and for a good reason – they are a really comfortable and affordable pair of compression socks that have firm compression for all kinds of activities.

The first thing we noticed about these socks is the cool color and design options, which includes 13 different colors and prints. Plus, they are comfortable to wear and are thinner for hot weather, so you get the benefits of compression socks without excess material that keeps you too warm.

The only downside of these socks is that they are hand-wash only, so put them in the machine at your own risk.

Specifications

  • Compression: 20-30 mmHg for firm compression
  • Cushion: Ultra-light for warm and hot weather
  • Height: Knee for circulation
  • Materials: 70% nylon, 30% spandex for a tight fitting sock

Pros

  • Discounts available when you buy more than one pair
  • Lots of color options
  • Satisfaction guaranteed

Cons

  • Thin material
  • Hand wash only

Ultra Compression OTC by Injinji

Injinji is the go-to brand when it comes to toe socks, so their Ultra Compression OTC are the perfect option if you want some fabric between your toes. They’re ideal for comfort and blister prevention, all while providing a graduated compression that aids in performance and recovery.

If you haven’t used Injinji’s toe sock design before, they’re worth a try. It really helps your toes spread, which improves total foot utilization and balance. Plus, they specialize in active-wear socks, so these are designed to wick sweat, prevent blisters, and stay comfortable all day long.

There are a few downsides about this sock: 1) there’s no specific compression rating, and 2) users report that the big brand name on the back of the calf is ugly and prone to ripping, so be careful when putting them on. They’re also the most expensive sock on this list.

About the Brand

Injinji is based in California and was founded in 1999 by some passionate dreamers looking to change the way people thought about running footwear. Injinji means “to perform at your peak, leading to a state of euphoria.”

Specifications

  • Compression: Graduated for optimal circulation
  • Cushion: Light for warmer weather conditions
  • Height: Knee
  • Materials: 80% Nylon 20% Lycra®

Pros

  • Patented five toe design helps with performance and blisters
  • Light compression helps you hike all day long and recover quicker
  • Reflective strips help with visibility during low-light

Cons

  • No specific compression rating
  • Brand name on the calf is prone to ripping
  • Most expensive sock on this list

How We Tested, Reviewed, And Rated Compression Socks

We love outdoor gear, and we love recommending gear that adds value to any outdoor adventure. We know and understand the importance of having gear that’s worth every penny, so we thoroughly research and test every product we recommend. No matter how we procure an item, our goal is to remain as unbiased as possible, and we put it to the test against its competitors to find the best and worst features.

We also understand that each adventurer is different, and our favorite pair of socks may not be yours. That’s why we rate and review a wide variety of products currently available, so you can see a breakdown of all the features and pick what’s best for you and your situation.

Comparison Table

This comparison table takes some of the most important specifications from each compression sock on our list and puts it into an easy to read format so you can directly compare each one to its competitors. You can see that we’ve included the sock name and brand, as well as its price, materials, compression level, cushion level, and overall rating.

Sock NameBrandPriceMaterialsCompression LevelCushion LevelOverall Rating

Military Fatigue Fighter
Fox River$60% polyester, 35% nylon, 5% spandexLightLight5/5
Circulator Compression SocksSockwell$$$32% Merino wool, 32% stretch nylon, 31% rayon from bamboo, 5% spandexLightLight4.8/5
Aspire TwelveSwiftwick$$$46% Olefin, 43% nylon, 11% spandexFirmUltralight4.7/5
Ansonville Over-the-Calf Full CushionFarm to Feet$$$75% Merino wool, 24% nylon, 1% spandexLightHeavy4.7/5
Compression Crew SocksSockwell$$41% Merino wool, 39% nylon, 14% alpaca, 6% spandexLightMedium4.7/5
Sport Modern Compression SocksPhysix Gear$$70% Nylon, 30% SpandexFirmUltralight4.5/5
Ultra Compression OTCInjinji$$$$80% Nylon 20% Lycra®LightLight4.4/5
A table comparing each compression sock’s price, materials, compression level, cushion level, and overall rating.

What Do Compression Socks Do?

Compression socks are specially designed to apply pressure to your lower legs, helping to maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort and swelling. They work by using gradient compression to enhance circulation in the leg veins, thereby preventing blood from pooling in these veins and causing a feeling of fatigue or heaviness (or even medical conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis and blood clots. In the context of hiking, compression socks help enhance performance, reduce fatigue, speed up recovery, and more!

Are Compression Socks Good for Hiking?

Yes, compression socks can be excellent for hiking for several reasons, such as improved circulation, reduced swelling, muscle stabilization, reduced soreness, and more. They can help with fatigue and performance while hiking, but even if you don’t wear them during a hike, you can wear them afterward to help speed up recovery and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

  1. Improved Circulation: Hiking involves strenuous activity, which demands a lot of work from your muscles and blood vessels. Compression socks improve circulation by gently squeezing your leg tissues to help blood work its way against gravity to the heart. This helps keep your legs feeling energized and less fatigued, enhancing your performance and endurance.
  2. Reduced Swelling: Hikes often involve long periods of walking and standing, which can lead to swollen feet and ankles. Compression socks promote the upward flow of blood from the legs to the heart, reducing swelling and discomfort.
  3. Muscle Stabilization and Reduced Soreness: The pressure from compression socks can help stabilize your leg muscles, reducing vibrations and minimizing the muscle damage that can come from the impact of hiking. This support can help prevent injuries and also reduce post-hike soreness and recovery time.
  4. Protection and Comfort: Compression socks also offer protection against minor scrapes, blisters, and abrasive injuries that can occur while hiking. They can provide additional cushioning for your feet, keep your legs warm in cold weather, and wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
  5. Reduction of Varicose or Spider Veins: Extended periods of standing and walking can put pressure on your veins. Compression socks can mitigate this issue by aiding circulation and potentially reducing the risk of developing varicose or spider veins.

While compression socks have numerous benefits, it’s crucial to select the right pair that fits you well and suits your needs, as wearing socks with too much compression can potentially lead to discomfort.

If you don’t think compression socks for hiking are a good fit for you, consider checking out our guides to the best hiking socks, the best summer hiking socks, and the best waterproof hiking socks.

For How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks While Hiking?

The length of time you should wear compression socks while hiking can vary depending on a few factors like your personal comfort, the intensity of the hike, and whether you have specific medical conditions. However, as a general rule, it’s safe to wear compression socks for the duration of your hike. They’re designed to support your circulation and reduce muscle fatigue, which is beneficial during long periods of strenuous activity.

Some hikers even choose to continue wearing compression socks after the hike to aid in recovery, as the socks can help reduce muscle soreness and swelling. Remember, you should never feel extreme discomfort or pain while wearing compression socks. If you do, they could be too tight, or not the right fit for you. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you’re unsure about using compression socks for your hikes.

Thing to Consider When Choosing a Hiking Compression Sock

The right pair of hiking socks can make a world of difference when it comes to long walks or hiking adventures, but before you make a purchase, it’s important to understand key elements such as compression rating, materials, cushion level, and durability. To learn more about what to look for in hiking socks, check out our guide to how to choose hiking socks. Otherwise, here’s an in-depth look at some things to consider:

Compression Rating

The compression rating refers to the pressure applied by the socks and it’s usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). In the world of compression socks, you’ll typically find ratings ranging from 10 to 30 mmHg.

  • Mild compression (10-20 mmHg) is suitable for all-day wear, providing relief from minor swelling or fatigue. These are ideal for hikers who are just starting to explore longer trails. Most of the socks on our list have light or mild compression, including our Editor’s Choice Fox River socks.
  • Firm compression (20-30 mmHg) is usually recommended for more strenuous hiking, particularly if you experience problems such as varicose veins, moderate swelling, or are recovering from a surgery. Only two socks on this list have firm compression, the Swiftwick Aspire Twelve and the Sport Modern Socks by Physix Gear. We would only recommend these socks for those who need firm compression, otherwise socks with mild compression will be good for most people.

Remember, while compression socks can be beneficial, too much pressure can also be uncomfortable or even counterproductive. Consult with a healthcare provider if you have medical conditions that may be affected by increased compression.

Materials

The material composition of your compression socks will have a significant impact on their comfort, breathability, and moisture-wicking abilities, which are all important for hiking:

  • Merino Wool: These socks are warm in winter, cool in summer, and have excellent moisture-wicking properties. They also naturally resist odors, which can be a real benefit on multi-day hikes. While this material can be slightly more expensive, it’s usually worth the increased price tag (read more about why Merino wool is worth it).
  • Synthetics: Materials like nylon, Lycra, or polyester are commonly used in compression socks because they’re durable and can offer a good level of elasticity. They also tend to dry quickly and feel comfortable. Even socks that have natural Merino wool will also have synthetic fabrics that help the sock’s performance in multiple different ways.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo fibers have natural antibacterial properties and are extremely soft and breathable, making them a good option for hikers with sensitive skin. Only one sock on this list has bamboo in the materials list, and that’s the Sockwell Circulator Compression Socks.
  • Spandex: Spandex and Lycra spandex are typically added to socks in small amounts (1-5%) but you’ll see higher concentrations in these compression socks to help them stay tight even after hours of wear.

Cushion Level

Cushioning in your socks refers to the thickness of the material, which can provide added support, warmth, and shock absorption for your feet:

Ultralight Cushion: Socks with ultralight or ultrathin cushioning are usually best used as sock liners, so be cautious when using them on their own unless you’re hiking in hot conditions. Usually for long distance hiking, you’ll want something more durable such as light or medium cushioning. If you’re drawn towards an ultralight cushioned sock, look for features like a reinforced toe and heel that will help high wear areas last longer. There are two ultralight socks on this list, the Swiftwick Aspire Twelve and the Sport Modern Compression Socks.

Light Cushion: These are suitable for well-maintained, easy trails where extra padding isn’t as necessary. Light cushion socks can also be beneficial for people who have tighter fitting boots or shoes, or those who normally hike in warmer weather. Several of the compression hiking socks on this list are a light cushioning, including our Editor’s Choice Military Fatigue Fighter by Fox River, as well as Sockwell’s Circulator Compression Socks and Injinji’s Ultra Compression OTC.

Medium Cushion: These socks are ideal for rougher terrain or longer hikes. They provide more support and shock absorption without being too bulky, but they may be too warm for some people who hike in hot conditions. There’s only one medium cushioned sock on this list, the Compression Crew Socks by Sockwell. They are also crew height, which makes them an ideal hiking sock.

Heavy Cushion: These are suitable for more challenging hikes, particularly in colder weather. The only heavy cushioned socks on this list are the Ansonville Socks by Farm to Feet. They are designed to be comfortable and warm, making them ideal for cooler weather.

Durability

When investing in compression socks for hiking, durability is a crucial factor. Check the reinforced areas of the socks – the toe and the heel sections are the ones that usually wear out the first. Look for socks with reinforced stitching in these areas.

The durability of a sock can also be determined by the thickness of the material and the tightness of the weave. However, remember that a balance between durability and breathability must be achieved. Thick socks might be more durable, but they could also make your feet sweat more, leading to discomfort during hikes.

Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to compression socks for hiking – it’s all about finding the balance between comfort, compression, cushioning, and durability that works best for your specific needs. We highly recommend starting with our Editor’s Choice Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks by Fox River because they’re simply the best when it comes to all the features you could need in a compression hiking sock.

Whether you select our Editor’s Choice or any others on this list, we hope that pair of socks will bring you comfort every step of all your future adventures.

Our #1 Recommendation: Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks by Fox River

These Military Fatigue Fighter Compression Socks are the best of the best when it comes to compression socks for hiking. They are super comfortable, very durable, and are a really great price.

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With over 60 years of experience in the outdoors, we don’t just talk about outdoor gear or recommend a good hiking trail.

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While we always focus our attention on gear that stands out to us—sometimes we discover that things aren’t up to our standards. This is exactly why we will always talk about the downfalls and compromises that we find while we are testing anything (If we find any).

About The Author

Ashley is an adventurous soul who loves all things nature, especially warm sunshine, wildflowers, scenic snacking, and mushrooms. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent years enjoying time outside doing things like hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
Her goal with Know Nothing Nomads is to make these hobbies easily accessible through knowledgeable content and how-to's based on all the stuff she's learned on her journey. If she isn't writing an article, she's probably in a forest looking at big mountain views and tiny pieces of moss on the side of the trail.

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