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5 Best Light Hiking Socks for Hiking and Backpacking

Hiking is a great activity for the mind, body, and soul, but sometimes, it isn’t so great on your feet. Long, vigorous hikes often put stress on your feet, especially if you aren’t wearing the right socks. Choose the wrong ones and your feet will become irritated and filled with blisters before you can even say ouch. Don’t let the miles get the best of you on your next trek and make your feet happy with a good pair of hiking socks.

Socks can make or break your hike, especially when it’s hot outside. If your feet get too hot and sweaty, perhaps you need lighter socks. Here’s everything you need to know about the best light hiking socks for your warm weather adventures.

No one likes wet, sweaty, smelly feet or blisters while they’re on the trails. A good pair of hiking socks made of Merino wool and other moisture-wicking fibers will help manage moisture and keep unwanted odors at bay no matter how far you’re walking in your boots. We’ve rounded up the 5 best light hiking socks for your next hiking or backpacking trip because we know what a pain ill-fitting and socks that are too thick can really be.        

Three things to consider when choosing a hiking sock:


  1. Fabric Weight: When you think of hiking socks you probably think of super thick, warm, boot socks, and those don’t always work best in warmer weather or on long treks. In fact, it all depends on the materials used. A good pair of hiking socks made of Merino wool and other moisture wicking fibers will help manage moisture, regulate body temperature, and keep unwanted odors at bay no matter how far you're trekking the trail. Merino wool's moisture management system also helps prevent blisters or any sagging and bagging that typically occurs in regular cotton socks. This magic fabric will keep your feet cool and dry in the summer and warm in the winter, making it perfect for any weather you’re heading out in.

  2. Length: In addition to fabrics, the hiking boots you'll be wearing, the weather, the duration of your hike, and the trail conditions and terrain are all factors you should be considering when choosing a pair of hiking socks.

    While hiking socks are typically anywhere from crew to boot in length, lengths for hiking socks for warm weather will ultimately depend on the boots or shoes you will be wearing.

  3. Weight: Weight for hiking socks varies from ultra light to extra heavy, and while it should be based on personal preference, light is recommended for varied terrain in warmer weather. Check out what each is recommended for:


    • Ultra Light socks provide the absolute minimum feel between you and your shoe.
    • Light socks are ideal for varied terrain and day trips with warmer weather.
    • Medium socks have a medium thickness and are ideal for shorter trips in cooler weather.
    • Heavy socks are for warmth during cooler extended excursions.
    • Extra Heavy socks are the ultimate socks for warmth in cold and rugged conditions.

    If you're used to wearing heavier socks in your hiking boots and choose to go with the recommended lightweight socks for warmer weather, it's important to consider whether or not you'll have extra room in your hiking boots. This could cause your feet to slide around, which can lead to discomfort or blisters in the long run. If you prefer to stick with the heavier socks, make sure you choose the ones made of Merino wool. Trust us, you can't go wrong.

    We offer brands with the best sock technologies to keep your feet happy on your hike. Other features you want to look for are durable, breathable fabrics and mesh zones that can help control and manage moisture and temperature, flat knit toe seams for comfort, arch braces for support, and a performance fit to prevent slipping, bunching, and blisters while you’re putting in the miles.         

    5 Best Light Hiking Socks

    Darn Tough Men’s Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Sock (and Women) - $19.95

    This Light-Cushion sock is perfect for hikers looking for "a little less" cushioning. You know who you are. With half the wool yarn weight of cushion socks, this lightweight cushion sock delivers lightweight performance with the perfect amount of cushioning along the base of your foot. True Seamless construction provides a smooth performance fit and assures there's no slipping, no bunching, and no blisters, while 17.2 Micron Merino Wool delivers supreme comfort. Breathable and fast drying, this "all-weather" sock stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter plus it's naturally antimicrobial so it repels bacteria and odor—a great feature when you need to get an extra day (or two) out of your socks. Still made in Vermont. Guaranteed for life.


    Smartwool Women’s Hike Ultra Light Mini Socks (and Men) - $13.95  

    The Smartwool Women's Hiking Ultra Light Mini Crew Socks are the ideal warm-weather hiking sock, designed for moderate day hikes or aggressive walking. The arch brace holds the sock in place and adds additional support. The mesh ventilation zone keeps your feet cool and the flat-knit toe seam keeps you comfortable throughout the day.

    Smartwool PhD Light Mini Crew Socks (and Women) - $17.95

    An ankle-high powerhouse, the PhD® Outdoor Light Mini is made for mileage. Great for long summer treks, it combines support, stretch, and recovery. Featuring Indestructawool™ technology for ultimate durability and the 4 Degree® elite fit system for a dialed fit. Light cushioning offers impact protection on the road or trail, while the Virtually Seamless™ toe offers more comfort in a trail shoe.    


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