How to Buy Hiking and Backpacking Socks

No matter if you are going on a short day hike or a week long trek, having good socks can make or break your experience.


  1. 1
    Find a store. In the US, REI is a popular choice, for the excellent return policy and quality. For people in other countries, look around. Where ever you bought your boots will most likely sell socks.
  2. 2
    Make sure that you are not buying skiing socks. They are also made of wool but are very,very different and can cause you have a horrible experience.
  3. 3
    Determine if you want to use liners. They're a good choice for anything longer than a day hike but some people don't use them at all. They can help reduce blisters if you have more fragile skin. All liners are the same size and thickness.
  4. 4
    Start looking at socks. The first thing to consider is how tall you want them to be. There are typically two heights. One is a little bit above your ankles and ones that go mid-way up your calf. What you purchase depends on two things. Personal Preference and (more importantly) where you will be hiking.
    • If you plan on hiking in places with tall grass you might want to consider mid-calf socks as they will protect you from ticks without the added heat of wearing long pants. For personal preference the mid-calf socks will have a more noticeable tan line unlike the ankle socks.
  5. 5
    Choose the thickness. This will vary a lot depending on your boots and preference. So if you are a teen and have bought boot that are slightly bigger than you need because you will grow into them you will need thick socks to compensate for that little extra space. If your boot are slightly small than you want to get thin socks because otherwise you risk cutting of circulation to your feet which will make your trip un-enjoyable or impossible. Having thicker socks also reduces the chance of blisters.
  6. 6
    Decide how many pairs you want to purchase. You'll probably want one pair for every five days one the trail. This may seem like not nearly enough but when you are trying to minimize weight it is important not to carry to much of anything.

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Categories: Backpacking and Hiking | Buying Wisely