Socks for the Season

It’s time to update your fall hiking socks.

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Besides your hiking boots, socks are quite possibly the most important piece of gear you should consider before you hit the trail. The right sock can stave off blisters, keep feet dry, warm and protected during a day hike and an overnight. There’s only one problem: there are a bazillion sock choices. How do you know what will work? Here are a few that we love, we like or we feel are worthy of a mention.

Swiftwick – Swiftwick did the job – comfortable, well built wool sock that kept my feet dry and happy even in a single layer. Their Sustain line is made with post-industrial recycled nylon, which is a snazzy way of saying that the company is earth-friendly. We like that. Their Pursuit sock is Merino wool and synthetic, making it wear well and fit inside boots flawlessly. This is the only sock I have worn that doesn’t bunch in a boot after an all day backpack trip.

Icebreaker – These were on top of our Best Hiking Socks side by side test. Icebreaker makes incredibly soft, well-wearing socks that are soft and fashionable. They match the quality of other Icebreaker products.

Dahlgren – Dahlgren makes alpaca-merino blend socks in 4 different weights – backpacking, light backpacking, hiking and ultralight trail. I wear my Dahlgren hiking socks for rollerblading and they keep the blisters away even through a long session. They are USA made in Oregon, and have a really interesting technology that wicks moisture really well. I thought it was just a pretty design. Turns out socks are more high-tech than I thought.

Balega – Balega makes beautiful socks. Their Moh-rino Adventure sock is warm and well cushioned as well as pretty. It’s merino and mohair -a great combo for comfort. They tend on the pricey side, but have an interesting dual-country business model with both US and South Africa made products.

Ibex – I tested a pair of Ibex low rise socks about a year ago. The are soft, nice looking and wear well. They are also made of USA Targhee wool with nylon and Spandex giving them just the right amount of stretch and fit. I love that they are sourced from USA fibers and all USA made.

Fits – These were some of the first socks we tested and loved. Fits are all Merino wool, rugged, long wearing, extremely durable sock. I’ve had mine for 3 years now and there isn’t even a slight bit of wear on them. One down side: The wool is thick and wiry – they aren’t the softest, so you might need a liner.

With warm, well-wrapped feet, you’re on your way to a great day on the trails. Happy hiking!

 
 
 

About the author

A native of Minnesota, Erika moved to Seattle in the late 90s and immediately fell in love with the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. She is a photographer, specializing in landscapes, though she enjoys capturing people as well. Her travels have taken her from Newfoundland to Belize, From Paris to Nepal. She has written a book about her trek through Nepal and is the editor of SBM. Erika currently resides in Kirkland with her husband and two sons.

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