Best Hiking Socks for Summer


Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Socks are one of the most underrated pieces of hiking clothing – hikers often spend a lot of money on advanced hiking gear but when it comes to socks they somehow forget how uncomfortable it is to have wet/moist feet. Hiking socks should transport the moisture from the feet to the boot’s lining so that they maintain your feet’s natural temperature and prevent blisters (moist feet increase the friction between the skin and sock which often causes blisters). Therefore, hiking socks should be made of moisture-wicking, quick-drying and breathable materials. As hiking socks are exposed to severe abrasion (friction between the sock and the boot), the material used should also be very durable. Some hiking socks have antimicrobial properties (meaning that they are odor-resistant) which is a great benefit for longer hiking trips on which you might not change socks every day or have limited possibility for washing them.

Here we selected the best hiking socks for summer. We were especially looking for fairly thin socks which provide good performance for hiking in warm weather. We steered away from cotton socks and only selected socks which are moisture-wicking, breathable and quick-drying (read more about the materials below). All socks in this selection are long enough to be worn with mid -cut boots and some can also be worn with high-cut boots. Note that your socks have to come slightly higher than your boots in order to provide proper abrasion protection from the top of your boots.

1. Buying Hiking Socks for Summer – What is important?

Material:

Hiking socks are typically made of a mix of natural and synthetic fibers and can be divided in those that are made primarily of Merino wool fibers and those that are essentially made of synthetic fibers (nylon, polyester and advanced fibers such as Coolmax, Drirelease etc.). Socks made of cotton are not suitable for hiking or other aerobic activities as they absorb a lot of moisture and dry very slow thus causing blisters, discomfort and conductive heat loss. For more information about cotton in hiking garments check out our article Why is cotton bad for hiking.

In this review we included three pairs of socks that are made primarily of Merino wool and two pairs which are made solely of synthetic materials. Both types of socks have advantages and disadvantages.

Merino Wool Socks:

Merino wool socks provide great breathability and are very efficient at transporting the moisture away from the skin. They also maintain your feet’s natural temperature even when they get wet as the outer layers of Merino wool fibers are hydrophobic. Furthermore, Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant. However, as Merino wool fibers on their own are not durable or stretchy enough to meet the demands of hiking socks (e.g. withstand the abrasion and provide good comfort) there will always be a certain percentage of synthetic fibers (nylon, polyester etc.) included to provide these properties. Nevertheless, we use the term Merino wool socks here to make the distinction clearer. For more information about the properties of Merino wool, read our article Why you should wear Merino wool clothing.

Synthetic Socks:

Synthetic socks provide better durability than Merino socks and also dry slightly faster as they absorb less moisture. However, synthetic socks are less breathable than Merino socks and become smelly faster.

Cushioning:

The thicker the socks, the better cushioning they provide. However, for hiking in warm weather you should wear relatively thin socks in order to keep your feet at a comfortable temperature. Summer hiking socks offer only modest cushioning (heel and ball of the foot).

Height:

Crew (mid calf length) socks work best with high-cut hiking boots while micro crew socks are best for those who typically hike in trekking shoes or mid-cut boots. Nevertheless, crew socks can be used with basically any footwear (depending on personal preference).  In this review we included three pairs of crew socks and two pairs of micro crew socks.

Durability:

Hiking socks should withstand regular washing without changing its performance or shape. In general, purely synthetic socks provide slightly better durability than Merino socks.

2. The Best Hiking Socks for Summer Review

Best Hiking Socks for Summer

Best Hiking Socks for Summer

  1. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks
  2. Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew Socks
  3. Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion Socks
  4. SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew Socks
  5. Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew Socks

Comparison

Feature/Product Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew
Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew
Material61% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 3% Spandex61% Merino Wool, 37% Nylon, 2% Lycra37% Nylon, 34% Coolmax, 26% Acrylic, 2% Lycra, 1% Other58% Merino Wool, 39% Nylon, 3% Elastane44% Drirelease, 30% X2O Acrylic, 25% Stretch Nylon, 1% Spandex
HeightMicro Crew (just above the top of a mid-cut hiking boot)Crew Micro Crew (just above the top of a mid-cut hiking boot)CrewCrew
Type Merino Socks Merino Socks Synthetic Socks Merino Socks Synthetic Socks
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

1. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

 

The Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks are highly popular among hikers, trekkers and mountaineers because they provide great comfort and fit for summer hiking. They are made of a blend of Merino wool (61%), nylon (36%) and Spandex (3%). Due to the high content of Merino wool, the fabric is moisture-wicking, odor-resistant and very breathable. The socks also use nylon fibers for increased durability and Spandex fibers for good stretch. In order to eliminate chaffing and abrasion the socks utilize the True Seamless technology which makes them super comfortable. They offer mid-level cushioning on the underside and come in micro crew height (just above the top of a mid-cut hiking boot). The Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks are available in seven different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Odor-resistant
  • Undetectable seams

Cons:

  • /

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Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew Socks

Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew Socks

2. Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew Socks

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

 

The Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew socks are, like the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks, very popular among those who spend a lot of time in the outdoors. They are also made of similar materials (61% Merino wool, 37% Nylon, 2% Lycra) and thus they offer similar qualities – they are odor-resistant, moisture-wicking and breathable. The Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew socks provide moderate cushioning and are anatomically shaped for good fit. They are best for hiking in warm weather but can also be used for all-year-round hiking, depending on how insulated your boots are. The Icebreaker socks are available in two different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Odor-resistant

Cons:

  • /

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Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion Socks

3. Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

 

The Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion socks differ from the socks listed above by being made solely of synthetic materials. They use the advanced Invista’s Coolmax fibers (34%) which are known for being extremely moisture-wicking, breathable and quick-drying. Therefore, these socks are great for hiking in warm weather. The durability of the socks is increased with nylon fibers (37%) while the amount of acrylic fibers (26%) increases the softness of the fabric. Like the Darn Tough Hiker socks, the Darn Tough Coolmax socks utilize the True Seamless technology for maximum comfort. They are available in two different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Quick-drying

Cons:

  • /

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SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew Socks

SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew Socks

4. SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew Socks

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

 

The SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew socks are made of a blend of Merino wool (58%), nylon (39%) and elastane (3%) and feature mesh ventilation zones for good breathability and moisture management. They utilize the Indestructawool technology – SmartWool’s patent pending construction method for increased durability of Merino fabrics. The socks are also very stretchy (they have two elastics) and thus provide good comfort and fit. They offer light cushion and come in three different colors. The SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew socks are a great choice for hiking in summer.

 

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Odor-resistant
  • Stretchy

Cons:

  • /

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Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew Socks

Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew Socks

5. Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew Socks

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

 

The Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew socks are like the Darn Tough socks made solely of synthetic fibers. In addition to nylon (25%), X2O Acrylic (30%) and Spandex (1%), the material contains Drirelease fibers (44%) which are moisture-wicking, fast-drying and very durable. Due to the advanced Drirelease fibers, the socks provide great comfort in warm weather. The Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Pro Crew socks also feature cushioned soles and an anatomical shape for good comfort. They come in eight different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Breathable
  • Quick-drying

Cons:

  • /

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