The best walking socks reviewed (2022)

Whoever said an army marches on their stomach hadn’t done much hillwalking. For those of us who trek on our feet, good socks are essential. Here’s what to look for...

Hiking socks in front of a fireplace

by Ben Weeks |

The right walking socks depends on a number of factors, with season being a major one. If you're someone that goes out for treks in cooler and warmer months, you really ought to have the correct socks for each occasion. If you've tried doing a summer hike in thick winter socks, you'll know that's no fun, and the converse is true too.

We've put this guide together to help you not only know what to look for in walking socks, but also to recommend our top-rated pairs.

What to consider in walking socks

Fabric: Walking socks need to offer total comfort to the wearer but also be able to cope with many miles of trekking without disintegrating. In other words they need to be soft, wicking and tough. Most sock brands achieve this by using combinations of natural fibres like wool (but not cotton – it holds onto moisture) and synthetic material such as nylon, varying the mix depending on the specific intended use of the sock.

Fit: If the socks are too big they can ruck and wrinkle and potentially cause blisters. Too small and they can restrict circulation, leading to cold feet. Consider whether or not you intend to wear liner socks when choosing your size. Some socks are sold in shoe size range, while others will be sized as small, medium or large.

Cushioning: The ball of the foot, the heel and the Achilles are key pressure points on the foot. Cushioning in these areas combined with light elastic compression provides extra padding and support for long days on your feet.

Liners: Liner socks are worn under your main walking socks. They tend to be thin, highly wicking, and as seam-free as possible. This 2-layer system reduces friction between the foot and the boot to prevent blisters. Some socks have an integral liner built in, avoiding the need for a separate pair.

Seams: As seams can be points of friction leading to discomfort, the best walking socks are seamless or have flat seams to minimise rubbing and hot spots.

Height: Socks designed for use with walking boots tend to be around calf height in order to prevent rubbing between your shins and the boots’ ankle cuffs. Ankle height socks are suitable for use with shoes or trainers, while knee-high socks provide more warmth and insulation to your lower leg, and some also provide compression to improve circulation around your calf muscles.

Keep a fresh pair for the destination: There's nothing better than peeling off manky socks from an eight-hour hike and pulling on a fresh pair once you've reached the camping ground.

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

The best walking socks

1000 Mile Lightweight Double Layer Walking Sock (RRP £14)

1000 Mile Lightweight Double Layer Walking Sock

This mid-calf length, 3-season, double-layer walking sock features a 100% Tactel (a soft, highly moisture-wicking fabric) inner liner. This liner stays with the foot while the wool-mix outer layer moves with the shoe, reducing friction, preventing blisters, and reducing wear.

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Bridgedale Midweight Merino Comfort Boot (RRP £20)

Bridgedale Midweight Merino Comfort Boot walking sock

The ubiquitous classic year-round walking sock, the boot-length Bridgedale features merino wool fused with polyester, nylon and Lycra for comfort, support, and rapid drying. Zonal padding and flat toe seams make these capable of long days on the hill with minimal fuss.

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Darn Tough Mountaineering Over-the-Calf Heavyweight Hiking Sock (RRP £30)

Darn Tough Mountaineering Over-the-Calf Heavyweight Hiking Sock

The high merino wool content in this longer sock makes it perfect for cooler weather. As well as being warm and quick-drying, the knitting process creates internal terry loops, providing comfort-boosting rebound cushioning throughout the entire sock.

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Sealskinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Mid Length Sock (RRP £45)

Sealskinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Mid Length Hiking Sock

Perfectly suited to UK winters, which can be both bitterly cold and miserably wet, these socks sandwich a 100% waterproof hydrophilic membrane between a merino wool interior and a durable 4-way stretch nylon exterior for warmth, comfort, and weather-proofing.

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Lorpen Trekking and Expedition STD PrimaLoft Sock (RRP £65)

Lorpen Trekking and Expedition STD PrimaLoft Sock

For the harshest conditions you need a sock that can be relied on to keep your feet warm and frostbite free. PrimaLoft insulation and two layers of Polartec Power Stretch fabric make these about as warm as socks get; they’ve been tested on 8000m peaks.

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