Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside
Gear Guy

What is the best liner sock available?

I want to buy new liner socks to use for backpacking. Since my last purchase of these, many more choices of fabric type and combinations have become available. What have you found to be the best buy? Dennis Bender Hilton, New York

A: I agree. Trying to buy liner socks nowadays is like trying to choose paint for a house. So many choices, but you can use only one.

Still, I have my clear favorites. One completely reliable liner sock is the Wigwam Coolmax Liner ($5). A great liner sock for winter or summer—wicks well, dries fast, and has good anti-blister characteristics. Another good sock is the Patagonia Capilene IV liner ($12), which blends Merino wool with Capilene. Merino is a good material for socks because it absorbs and holds a great deal of moisture, keeping it away from your skin. But, carrying a spare is a good thing as they are a little slow to dry. SmartWool makes a mostly-wool liner for $9.50. I love SmartWool socks, but in this case would suggest the liner might be best for cool-weather trips. Or, carry a spare.

For long trips, I've also had good luck with the Fox River X-Static sock ($8.50). These socks combine a polypropylene base fabric with specially treated nylon that inhibits the growth of fungi, bacteria, and other nasties. So, you're feet smell sweeter longer, and won't offend your tent partner.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside