The best hiking socks to prevent blisters are the Trailtown Lightweight Crew by Fox River. They are simply the best of the best when it comes to a sock that’s exceptionally comfortable, extremely affordable, and remarkably effective at preventing blisters.
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.
A hikers worst nightmare on a day out is having a hotspot turn into a full blown blister. They’re debilitating, annoying, and in the worst case scenario, they can become infected and cause a whole mess of other problems.
Luckily, even though we’ve hiked hundreds of miles, we’ve been fortunate enough to deal with very few blisters in the last few years. We attribute that to knowing how to take care of our feet in the outdoors, and our mission with this post is to help you learn a thing or two about the importance of finding the right socks.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best best hiking socks to prevent blisters. We hope that you’ll find value in our testing and research, and our intention is that it will help you pick out the best hiking socks possible.
Best Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters
- Fox River Hike Trail Town Lightweight Crew – Editor’s Choice
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion
- REI Co-Op Lightweight Hiking Crew Socks
- Flite XT Trail Five by Swiftwick
- SmartWool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks
- Farm to Feet Damascus Crew Socks
- Injinji Spectrum Trail Socks
- WRIGHTSOCK Double Layer Crew Socks
Editor’s Choice – Fox River Hike Trail Town Lightweight Crew
These Trail Town crew socks by Fox River may soon be your favorite hiking socks and they’re our Editor’s Choice for several reasons! Not only are they super comfortable, but they’re a great price and are awesome at preventing blisters.
They are made from a blend of materials that optimize cushioning and moisture wicking, which means they’re adventure-ready with long-lasting support and drying properties. Your socks will last longer and with each wear they will continue to help prevent blisters.
Fox River uses a URfit® System to provide arch support and memory-knit construction for a perfect fit, while the reinforced heel and toe box increase the socks’ longevity and comfort. They also include the must-have flat comfort toe seam that we need in a good hiking sock, as well as a cushioned sole for shock absorption.
These socks are a great all-around option for any hiker looking for a high quality sock that’s made of great materials for a good price.
About the Brand
Fox River has been making socks since 1900, so they have some experience under their belt. Plus, we love their commitment to sustainability, which includes having a manufacturing plant that runs off 100% renewable energy.
- 28% Merino Wool, 37% Nylon, 28% Acrylic, 5% Polyester, 2% Spandex for optimal blister protection
- URfit® System for arch support and memory-knit construction for a perfect fit
- Reinforced toe and heel for added durability
- Cushioned sole and toe for comfort
- Flat toe seam so there’s no rubbing
- Wick Dry™ technology keeps your feet dry
Darn Tough Micro Crew Hiker Socks
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks are some of the best wool socks in the industry and for good reason. Not only are they made of high quality materials so they are especially comfortable, but Darn Tough has the best warranty on the market. Shop men’s and women’s or continue reading to learn more.
Darn Tough socks are unconditionally guaranteed for life – if they aren’t the longest lasing socks you’ve ever owned, you can just return them for another pair. They’re even guaranteed against holes and regular ol’ wear and tear, which is something most other companies don’t cover. Plus, they’re made in the USA.
Their Micro Crew Cushion sock is one of the best hiking socks to prevent blisters and is one of the classic styles from Darn Tough. It’s a performance fit that means no bunching, slipping, or blisters, plus reinforcement at the heels and toes.
This particular sock is a mid-weight, which can be used year-round and in a variety of conditions – they will keep you warm when it’s cold and will keep your feet cool when it’s hot and sweaty.
These Darn Tough socks are perfect for anyone who wants a great sock with an incredible guarantee.
- 61% Merino wool, 36% nylon, 3% Lycra for a soft and comfortable sock
- Lifetime guarantee so you’re protected
- Medium Cushioning balances durability and warmth
- Ring Toe Construction virtually eliminates annoying seams
- Made in USA
REI Co-op Lightweight Hiking Crew Socks
These Lightweight Hiking Crew socks by REI brand are some of the best wool hiking socks money could buy, and we love how they are super comfortable and durable for an awesome price.
The main ingredient in these socks is Merino wool, which means these socks really prioritize some of those great benefits that come from this natural material. This includes temperature regulation for year-round comfort, anti-bacterial properties to keep your feet from being super stinky, and reduced friction and moisture for the ultimate duo in preventing blisters.
REI Co-op hiking socks have the classic features of the other quality hiking socks on this list like a seamless toe, stretch arch band for extra support, and reinforcement at the heels, toes, foot beds, and Achilles. These features make this pair socks durable, comfortable, and soft to the touch, so you can love wearing them hike after hike.
Plus, they’re extremely highly rated by users, and come with REI’s exceptional one year return policy. We also appreciate that they’re made in the USA!
They’re perfect for summer hiking when you need an ultralight hiking sock with minimal cushioning because they’re naturally breathable, quick-drying, sweat wicking, and odor resistant. They’re sized for unisex and come in three fun colors.
- 79% RWS-certified merino wool, 20% nylon, 1% Lycra for all the great benefits of wool
- Moisture wicking & quick drying for warm weather hikes
- Crew sock height which is perfect for a boot or trail runer
- Reinforced heel, toe, footbeds, and Achilles for durability and comfort
- Medium Cushioning so you can wear them year-round
- Made in USA
Flite XT Trail Five by Swiftwick
The Flite XT Trail Five by Swiftwick may be one of the most technologically advanced socks on our list. They are perfectly engineered to be experts at blister prevention and comfort for every trail adventure you embark on.
When you slide these socks on your feet, you will immediately be impressed by the comfortable fit and the feeling of the soft fabric on your skin. You can tell that these socks are built to work hard, and we loved taking them out on trail and putting them to the test.
The Flite XT Trail Five has Ankle Lock Technology that supports your ankles on uneven and varying terrain. Plus, with the Grip Dry fiber in the heel and forefoot, you can feel that your feet are locked into place. Since friction is a huge cause of blisters, we’re sure you won’t have to worry about hot spots with these features.
Beyond the design features, the blend of materials is perfect for hiking. With nylon, Merino wool, and Olefin (and more), each material offers its best foot forward (pun intended) so you have a soft sock that’s ready to keep your feet dry and blister free.
It’s not just us who thinks these socks are awesome – they’ve won awards from big outdoor brands like Runner’s World, Outside Magazine, and Men’s Health. So try them out for yourself!
- 38% Nylon / 24% Merino wool / 22% Olefin / 13% Polyester / 3% Spandex
- Cushion Level: Medium
- Compression Level: Moderate
- Made in USA
Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks
These Performance Hike Socks by Smartwool are some of our favorite socks of all time. They’re are an essential piece of gear for any hiker, offering unparalleled comfort and support on the trail.
These socks are virtually seamless in the toe area, preventing irritation and blisters. They also feature a 4 Degree Elite Fit System for a dialed, performance-oriented fit with flex zone at ankle joint.
Additionally, Smartwool’s Indestructawool technology features a patent-pending construction method for exceptional durability and comfort, while mesh ventilation zones provide optimum moisture management and maximum breathability.
These would be a great option for a hiker looking for high quality wool socks from a well-known brand.
About the Brand
Smartwool literally has the world ‘wool’ in their name, so you know these wool hiking socks have to be awesome. As a bonus, SmartWool is working towards having products that are made from wool that is 100% climate-positive by 2030.
- 56% ZQ-certified Merino Wool, 11% Nylon, 31% Recycled Nylon, 2% Elastane for comfort and blister prevention
- Light cushioning for warmer weather hikes
- Indestructawool™ technology for durability
- Virtually Seamless™ toe for enhanced comfort
- Perfect comfort with ‘stay put’ fit
Farm To Feet Damascus Crew Sock
When it comes to socks that are perfectly designed for comfort, the Damascus crew socks by Farm to Feet take the cake. Not only are they super comfortable to wear, but they have so many cool features that help keep your feet cool, dry, and blister free no matter how long and hard your hike ends up being.
Farm to Feet uses US Merino wool for a large percentage of the sock fabric, which is perfect for odor control and moisture wicking properties. Combine that with the durability of nylon and the stretch of spandex, and you have a great sock that’s built to work had and last a long time.
These socks have a seamless toe closure so there’s limited rubbing in that area, and the light cushioning is in critical areas like the heel and the ball of the foot. That keeps it comfortable even during long hikes with sweaty feet.
Damascus by Farm to Feet are perfect for any kind of hiker casual or serious, since you can trust this brand to take you on all your future adventures.
About the Brand
This sock is named after one of the most hiker-friendly towns in the United States, Damascus in the great state of Virginia. The Appalachian Trail passes through here, as well as several other national scenic trails. Plus, we love the brand Farm to Feet because they’re 100% American with its entire supply chain located within the U.S.
- 44% US Merino wool, 52% nylon, 4% US Lycra Spandex for a perfectly designed sock
- U.S. only materials and construction so you’re supporting local workers and farmers
- Light cushioning to hot weather hikes
- 3/4 Crew height is perfect for hiking boots and shoes
Injinji Spectrum Trail Socks
Injinji is one of the best socks brands around, and their Spectrum Trail socks let you prevent blisters and stay comfortable in great style with all their color and style options.
Injinji is one of our favorite sock brands and we love their toe socks that stand out from the rest (pun intended). Their Spectrum Trail Midweight Crew comes in fun colors and designs and is one of the best socks we’ve ever owned.
While it does take some getting used to, we love wearing Injinji toe socks. They help prevent blisters between your toes, which completely eliminates any skin on skin friction. Plus, the design lets you splay your toes out so your entire foot can be engaged in your wide toe box hiking shoes and boots.
Their materials are different from the ones above since they don’t use wool in this specific sock. Instead, COOLMAX is a type of polyester that would be perfect for hiking in warmer weather and summer conditions. Something else that stands out is the mesh top, which provides maximum breathability and ventilation on the top of yourf foot.
These socks are perfect for anyone who struggles with blisters between or near their toes, as well as any hikers who regularly venture out in warm temperatures.
- 66% COOLMAX EcoMade, 28% nylon, 6% Lycra Spandex
- Midweight Cushioning for year-round comfort
- Five toe design helps optimize performance and limits blisters between your toes
- Crew Height is the perfect height
WRIGHTSOCK Double Layer Silver Escape Crew Socks
WRIGHTSOCK offers the best double-layer anti-blister socks you’ll ever wear and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you have nothing no lose by giving them a try! Their Double Layer Silver Escape Crew socks are seriously awesome!
The feature that stands out the most about these socks is the double layer design. Where most other socks require the addition of a liner sock for optimal blister prevention, WRIGHTSOCK has gone above and beyond and included it in the design.
When the socks are in your hand or on your feet, you can feel the double layer design. This absorbs any extra friction and prevents blisters effectively and easily.
The polyester wicks moisture, which helps your feet stay dry and comfortable, and the double layer absorbs friction that is normally transferred to your skin. These features make for a sock that’s ready to prevent blisters for years to come.
As a bonus, the silver in the yarn is for microbial protection, which helps prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Not only does this help with smelly feet, but several users reported getting rid of athletes foot and fungal problems wearing these socks.
- Inner Layer: 65% Dri-WRIGHT II polyester, 26% nylon, 5% silver, 4% Lycra spandex to prevent blisters
- Outer Layer: 68% Dri-WRIGHT II polyester, 24% nylon, 8% Lycra spandex works hard to keep your feet cool and dry
- Light Cushioning for year-round comfort
- Silver in the yarn helps with stinky feet and fungi
- Crew Height
- Made in the USA
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Balega Enduro Crew Socks
Balega Enduro Crew socks are perfect for any hiker who prioritizes comfort and durability, as these socks are built for adventureres who put their socks through the ringer on long hikes.
Balega’s proprietary Drynamix polyester is made from recycled materials and it helps keep your feet cool and dry. There’s also reinforced microfiber mesh ventilation panels to help with air flow.
If you’re someone who struggles with finding the right fit in your hiking socks, the extra attention to detail in this sock may stand out to you. The design of the fit of this sock stands out above some others since it has a special V-Tech Arch Support System that matches the contours of your foot. It also has compression sock bands for non-slip security and an ultra deep heel pocket so the sock doesn’t slide down.
About the Brand
Balega is a lesser known hiking sock brand but they are made by runner for runners. They boast about their tireless materials and the amount of testing that goes into every sock design they have.
- Inner Layer: 75% Drynamix polyester – 19% nylon – 6% elastane
- Medium Cushioning for a balance of durability and comfort
- Polyester is made from recycled materials
- The brand paid extra attention to helping the sock fit right
- Crew Height
|Fox River Hike Trail Town
|28% Merino wool – 37% nylon – 28% acrylic – 5% polyester – 2% spandex
|Darn Tough Hiker Socks
|61% Merino wool – 36% nylon – 3% Lycra
|REI Co-Op Socks
|79% RWS – certified merino wool – 20% nylon – 1% Lycra
|Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five
|38% Nylon – 24% Merino wool – 22% Olefin – 13% Polyester – 3% Spandex
|56% ZQ-certified Merino Wool – 11% Nylon – 31% Recycled Nylon – 2% Elastane
|Farm to Feet Damascus
|51% US Merino wool – 46% nylon – 3% US Lycra Spandex
|Injinji Spectrum Trail
|66% COOLMAX EcoMade – 28% nylon – 6% Lycra Spandex
|WRIGHTSOCK Double Layer Silver Escape Crew Socks
|65% Dri-WRIGHT II polyester – 26% nylon – 5% silver – 4% Lycra spandex
|Balega Enduro Crew Socks
|75% Drynamix polyester – 19% nylon – 6% elastane
Things to Consider When Choosing a Hiking Sock to Prevent Blisters
Here are the top things to keep in mind when you are looking for hiking socks that will solve your blister problems. If you want to learn even more, consider reading How to Choose Hiking Socks: Picking the Perfect Pair.
Thickness & Cushioning
We think medium cushion is a great middle ground that can be used most of the year, but you may opt for a different thickness if you regularly hike in colder or hotter temperatures. Just make sure to look at that specification before making your purchase. If you are looking to hike in warmer weather, check out the best summer hiking socks – they’re all built to keep your feet cool and dry when it gets hot.
Expect to pay upwards of $15-25 per pair of high quality hiking socks. Unless you’re getting a good deal on last season’s colors, you should be skeptical of anything priced less than that. Luckily, these socks above are well worth the price tag, and we couldn’t recommend them more.
The best hiking socks have a decent percentage of merino wool or polyester, and they will have some other added fibers like Lycra, Spandex, Nylon, or Elastane to increase drying times, stretch, and durability.
Each sock on this list has different compositions regarding the materials used, but they all come down to their effectiveness at wicking moisture, decreasing friction, and providing comfort.
Merino wool is a natural material obtained from a specific group of sheep breeds with delicate and soft wool. It is known for its odor-resistance, warmth, and moisture-wicking properties. Merino wool is commonly used in functional clothing since it provides the benefits of regular wool without the itchiness.
COOLMAX / Polyester
COOLMAX fabric features in many of the products on this list and is typically the most significant component of all the ingredients. COOLMAX is a family of polyester fibers designed for moisture-wicking performance. The down side is that these fibers retain odors easier than natural fibers.
COOLMAX is eco-friendly and is made from recycled sources like PET bottles or 100% textile waste. The performance benefits are “permanent,” meaning they won’t wash out when following proper care instructions.
Nylon is a synthetic material and can appear in these socks anywhere from 50% to only 6% of the materials used. It adds durability and stretch, and can improve drying time. Plus, it doesn’t absorb oils and is soft to the touch. On the downside nylon isn’t very breathable, so it should be paired with a material to balance out that property.
Elastane or spandex should only comprise about 1-2% of the materials, which is the perfect amount for it to offer its stretchiness. This helps improve fit using elasticity, but it can be less durable and lose its stretch over time. Elastane also has several trade names like Lycra.
Cotton – A Big NO-NO
There are materials out there, more specifically cotton, that are absolutely horrible for hiking socks, and while you can wear your cheap, cotton socks on most days, cotton is probably the WORST thing to put on your sweaty feet when you are hiking for miles and miles.
Fit, Comfort & Cushioning
The hiking sock on this list come in various sizes, so use the size chart for each product to determine the right fit. They shouldn’t bunch up or slip around – they should be snug but not overly tight.
The toe seam should be flat or non-existent to help reduce friction inside your shoe. Make sure it feels right before hitting the trail for longer periods of time.
You’ll find socks with cushioning from low/lightweight, medium/midweight, high/heavyweight. Light cushioning is best for warmer weather hikes while medium is great for your more average temperatures. Heavy cushioning is best for cold weather hikes so it can help keep your feet warm.
We highly recommend crew sock height or micro crew, which is just slightly taller than your average hiking boot. This makes them a great height for most kinds of shoes, and they also protect your ankles from brush along the side of the trail.
If you do want a shorter or taller sock, several of the options above do come in mid-calf or a no-show height. Mid calf seems like a little much for us personally, but it has its place.
As for no-show, even if you’re wearing running shoes or trail runners, we would still recommend up-sizing to crew height. It will help keep pebbles and dirt out of your socks and protect your ankles.
For these socks, expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $25 USD. Most of the options above are right in the middle of this range, with some outliers for the most affordable and most expensive socks. Price can have something to do with brand, but it’s mostly about the materials used. Natural fabrics like wool will be more expensive while COOLMAX / polyester and nylon will be slightly more affordable.
If these socks aren’t the right fit for you and your needs, consider checking out these other options:
- Best Waterproof Socks For Hiking
- 7 Best Compression Socks for Hiking: Hike More, Hurt Less
- 7 Best Compression Socks for Hiking: Hike More, Hurt Less
How We Tested, Reviewed, And Rated The Top Products
We love outdoor gear, and we love recommending gear that adds value to our 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 hiking 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. We don’t recommend anything we wouldn’t personally use, so whether you’re looking for highest quality, an affordable price, superior weather resistance, a certain brand, or any other desirable feature, there’s sure to be a sock on our list that’s perfect for you.
To give you a better understanding of how different socks perform in various categories, we conducted a series of tests and gathered data on their moisture-wicking efficiency, breathability, and durability. Here’s a summary of our findings:
In our moisture-wicking test, we compared the performance of socks made from COOLMAX and wool. We found that COOLMAX socks were the most effective in wicking moisture away from the skin, followed closely by wool.
To assess breathability, we conducted a series of tests in different temperatures and humidity levels, simulating various hiking conditions. Our results showed that wool socks offered the best breathability, closely followed by COOLMAX.
Durability is another important factor to consider when choosing hiking socks. In our tests, we found that wool and COOLMAX socks were the most durable, showing minimal signs of wear and tear even after extended use. Nylon is great for adding durability as well, so expect to see that material as a major component in hiking socks.
User Ratings & Reviews
Overall, users reported high satisfaction with socks made from COOLMAX and wool, praising their comfort, moisture-wicking properties, and ability to prevent blisters. We purposely only chose socks for this list that were extremely highly rated, so you know they come highly recommended by both us and other users.
What kind of socks do you wear to prevent blisters while hiking?
Wear socks that are made of wool or synthetic materials to help prevent blisters while hiking. The key is absorbing moisture and reducing friction, and a high quality sock will get the job done. Avoid cotton when hiking.
Are Merino wool socks good for hiking?
Merino wool walking socks (or wool/synthetic blends) are the top choice for hiking socks. They offer the best durability, moisture-wicking, warmth, and quality.
What socks are best to avoid blisters?
Socks that have a high amount of moisture-wicking Merino wool or COOLMAX materials are best for blister prevention. The key is to keep the skin as dry as possible while lessening friction, so you can be happily blister free on all your adventures.
There are ways to prevent blisters while hiking by putting duct tape on your hotspots, or using moleskin on your feet before they develop further, but outfitting your feet with the proper gear is an even better place to start. First, make sure you properly break in your hiking boots, then pair your hiking boots with a great pair of hiking socks and hiking liner socks.
When it comes to picking the best hiking socks for blisters, you can’t go wrong with any of our suggestions on this list. Whether you’re hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, thru-hiking, or just generally spending time outdoors, all these budget-friendly anti-blister socks would be a great addition to your sock drawer and will support you on all your future adventures.