Lightweight summer hiking socks are a special breed: You need the same comfort and support as you do from cold-weather hiking socks, but you want to ditch the insulation and opt for extra moisture wicking or breathability, instead. It comes down to material, fit, knit pattern, and other factors to key in on the best warm-weather pair. We did the research on what you need to know, and have some recommendations so you can spend less time shopping and more time hiking.
- Material Matters: Merino wool is a prime material for hiking socks. Not only is it super soft as well as super durable, but it’s naturally highly breathable and moisture wicking, so it actively pulls moisture (and odor-causing bacteria with it) away from your feet. There are synthetic materials that are breathable, too, but breathability and moisture wicking are not one and the same. So if you’ll be out and active for extended periods of time, go merino.
- Socks Are Actually Unisex: Unless you’re looking at dress socks, the gender placed on a pair is there for marketing reasons, not because of anything with the construction of the sock. Just check how the socks are listed and do this simple match: To convert a men’s size to women’s, add two, to convert a women’s size to men’s, subtract two. A women’s 8 is a men’s 6 and vice versa.
- Support and Fit: You want your socks to fit snugly but not tightly. If they’re too loose, they’ll rub and cause blisters. Too tight, and they’ll restrict circulation and be uncomfortable. (Ditto for how the shoes fit on top.) Look for support at the arch in particular, and flat seams and reinforcements at the toe and heel, for comfort and durability.
Our Picks for the Best Lightweight Hiking Socks on Amazon
Top Pick Overall: DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking Socks 3-Pack for Men, Women & Kids, Trekking, Work, Outdoor
Moisture-Wicking and Thermoregulating
Great price, great materials, great anti-blister design: You can’t go wrong here. The family-owned brand designed the socks in collaboration with a mountaineer who summited Mt. Everest in a pair. DANISH ENDURANCE
Runner Up: Women’s Hiking Walking Socks, FEIDEER Multi-pack Outdoor Recreation Socks Wicking Cushion Crew Socks
Thick but Breathable
Looking for that feet-in-the-clouds feeling? These are your pair. A towel-like interior provides comfort and breathability, and a colorful exterior means you’ll always be happy to pull them on. FEIDEER
These work-gear staples do their thing outdoors, too. Compression support at the arches, ventilation channels, breathable materials, and reinforced toes and heels will keep your feet happy on the trails and in the workshop. Dickies
Top Marks All Around
Merino wool and a mesh ventilation zone on the whole top of the foot mean moisture doesn’t stand a chance, and you’ll be standing comfortably no matter how long or tough your trek. An elasticized arch brace, flat-knit toe seam, and cushioning mean A+ all around. Smartwool
Field & Stream is here to help you choose among the most popular products on Amazon, and hidden gems our experts think are worth checking out.