hiking socks
(Colin Faulkner)

The Soft Parade

Give your barking dogs some luxe love with the new generation of super socks

hiking socks
Colin Faulkner

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(a) SMARTWOOL ADRENALINE MICROS This biker-hiker-runner uses a padded footbed, moisture-wicking wool, and a tightly knit weave to hold the sock close to your foot. An ankle lip ensures it won’t slip under your heel. ($14; 800-550-9665, www.smartwool.com)

(b) WIGWAM MILLS INGENIUS REBELS Before you tackle a soggy spring trail run, don a pair of these superlights. A thin Olefin liner wicks the wet from sweat, rain, mud bogs, or stream crossings into a merino-wool outer layer that keeps your dogs toasty even when your socks are soaked. ($11; 800-558-7760, www.ingeniussocks.com)

(c) EX OFFICIO BUZZ OFF HIKERS A synthetic insect repellent bonded to these wool-and-Lycra babies makes them a must-have for anyone looking to tromp through skeeter, fly, or tick country. ($18; 800-644-7303, www.exofficio.com)

(d) DEFEET BLAZES Built tough as a bank vault, with double-thick footpads and elastic midfoot supports, the polyester Blazes are a trail runner’s dream. Appreciate variety? Choose from among DeFeet’s ten designs and colors. ($11; 800-688-3067, www.defeet.com)

(e) PATAGONIA CAPILENE MIDWEIGHT HIKERS Felted footbeds—thicker, warmer, and more durable than traditional knit footbeds—make socks perfect for long days. Vertical side channels pipe heat out from underfoot, and Patagonia’s patented hydrophobic Capilene treatment sucks sweat away ($17; 800-638-6464, www.patagonia.com)

(f) DAHLGREN OUTDOOR XTs Alpaca fur is softer yet three times more durable than wool, which makes this foot mitten perfect for daylong Central Park treks or multi-day transects in Tibet. ($14; 800-635-8539, www.dahlgrenfootwear.com)

(g) FOX RIVER AXT PATHFINDERS Seeking the ultimate pair of socks for a round-the-equator trip? The Pathfinder weds wool and polypropylene for quick-drying (as fast as 30 minutes in direct sunlight) and odor-shedding (polypro doesn’t absorb sweat) performance. ($13.50; 641-732-3798, www.foxsox.com)

From Outside Magazine, Jul 2004
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Lead Photo: Colin Faulkner