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Gear Guy

What is the best type of sock to wear on a day hike?

What is the best type of sock to wear on a day hike? I a naturally sweaty person and often my socks get so wet that is causes blisters. Not pretty, I know, but that’s the truth of it. Nick London, England


Just about everyone has to deal with sweaty feet in some fashion, but of course some people have a worse case of wet feet than others.

Smartwool Hiking Socks

Hiking Socks

In many cases, socks made with merino wool will solve much of the problem. That’s because the wool fibers have tiny pockets on them that do an admirable job of sopping up excess moisture. Several brands are available, but the more or less pioneer here is the Smartwool company ( In the U.K., Cotswold carries Smartwool socks such as the standard Hiking Sock (£13) or the heavier Expedition Trekking Sock (£17). Heavier might be better—more fibers for more absorption. Also, buy two pairs. It might be a good idea to change your socks at the mid-point of your hike.

Wool socks can be worn alone, but in some cases a light liner sock can help wick moisture away from your feet. Try some Bridgedale Coolmax Liners (£12 for a pair; Then layer the wool socks over them.

Another perfectly reasonable thing to do is spray your feet with antiperspirant prior to socking up for your hike. That works quite well, really. Plus your feet won’t smell as bad at the end of the day!

The 2008 Winter Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online. From snow sports to trail-running to camping, get reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves.

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Filed To: Socks
Lead Photo: courtesy, Smartwool