Should Hiking Socks Be Thick or Thin?


Getting a good pair of hiking socks is a bit of a game-changer and its one of those areas where afterward you will be saying to yourself “Why didn’t I do this sooner” as well as knowing that now, you can’t ever go back to cheap big-box or outlet store socks. When shopping for a good pair of performance socks, whether it be trail running socks, mountain biking socks, or just socks in general, you may be wondering if the sock should be thick or thin. To be honest, it’s a good question, let’s sort this out once and for all.

Planning a Hike? Check out our guide to Essential Hiking Gear

Why Quality Socks Matter

Without knowing you, there’s a high probability you still rock the same type of socks that you did 10-15 years ago, I’m not judging, so did I until I leveled up.

One of the great things about marrying an outdoorsy woman is learning all sorts of things about good active clothing, specifically socks. In the past, I have seen my wife buy Feetures Socks Opens in a new tab.and I didn’t really understand why other than chalking it up to her liking to have fancy things, that is until she bought me some Feetures.

My wife grabbed me a pair and told me I should try them during the half-marathon. Being that I’m a terrible runner, I decided ANYTHING that could give me any sort of competitive advantage would be a good idea, so, I put on the socks for the first time and ran 13.1 miles….well, ran/walked who am I kidding. I learned two things that day: 1. I’m a terrible runner (did I mention that yet?) and 2. GOOD SOCKS MATTER.

It’s a bit hard to explain, but there’s a lot going on in a good pair of running socks. They offer more comfort, they breathe better, they manage moisture better with higher-quality fabrics and due to little details like seamless toe stitching, they do a great job of protecting your feet in scenarios where regular socks would aid in a new blister.

Cotton Sock vs Merino Wool Socks

Cotton is by far the most used fabric for clothing in America. From t-shirts to socks, you can find cotton on almost everyone you encounter on a given day. With that said, it doesn’t mean it’s the best material for your needs. Cotton is easy to source, affordable, and easy to work with, so naturally, many companies find value in them.

But…..companies are after your dollar, not meeting the demands of your life. In fact, many times rather than improving the quality of their materials to meet your needs, they spend that extra money on just marketing the same product to make you think they are meeting your needs…..ahh yes, good old advertising.

Socks come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, it’s important to know that each fabric used offers different pros and cons. Let’s look at those now:

  1. Cotton Socks: Cotton socks are soft (to a point) but lack breathability and are really not good with breathability or thermoregulation.
  2. Wool Socks: Polyester socks are much better at insulation, breathability, and moisture-wicking, and above all, they are much more comfortable as well as being naturally anti-microbial, so less smelly socks and shoes!

As you can see, cotton socks are easy to make, but not good for activity. A premium pari fo socks will do wonders over cotton when you get active and do real-life things like sweat or get exposed to the outdoor elements like rain or high heat.

Get your hands on Feetures here.Opens in a new tab.

Should Hiking Socks Be Thick Or Thin?

When doing an activity like hiking (or trail running, running, etc) you are putting a lot of pressure on your feet with each stride as well as the constant friction that occurs as your foot moves within your hiking shoe, both the sock against your foot and the sock against your hiking boot. To combat this, you do want to find a sock with thicker material, but again, you want the RIGHT material, a thicker sock just might make matters worse as it’s not defeating other areas like rubbing against your foot, leading to more blisters.

How Thick Your Hiking Socks Goes Depends On A Few Factors, Like:

  • How prone your feet to blisters in general?
  • How cushioned are your shoes?
  • How far do you go at a time?
  • Personal preference overall

Like all things, there is no magic answer, but there are a few things to consider that trump most of those. Consider the fact that you will be often hiking in the warmer months and you can expect the higher temps to increase foot sweating in a poor fabric like cotton. Sweaty feet and cotton socks lead to stinky, wet feet and hiking shoes that may smell forever after a few good hikes.

Feetures Socks Are Winning The Performance Sock Game

Feetures is a family-owned business started back in 2000, where the owner found a need for premium socks that could hang with the active persons lifestyle. Without getting too “punny” let’s take a look at the “Feetures” of Feetures Socks:

  • Unconditional Lifetime Warranty: Try that with your big-box store socks! Read up on the warranty here.Opens in a new tab.
  • Seamless Toe: Avoid blisters as No Seam is rubbing with each step.
  • Heel and Ankle Tabs: Incredibly simple but incredibly useful. From pulling them on/off to protect against the “hotspots” rubbed from the shoe tongue or aggressive heel, common blister spots.
  • Secure Fit: Poorly fit socks like to bunch up in random areas
  • High-Quality Polyester/Spandex: Fabrics that wick moisture away and fit like they should.
  • Targeted Cushioning: Extra cushion along the heel and toe offer great comfort for active lifestyles.

Get your hands on Feetures here.Opens in a new tab.

Where Are Feetures Socks Made?

Since 2002, Feetures Opens in a new tab.socks have been made right here in the USA at a production facility in North Carolina.

Check out this helpful video to learn more about Feetures:

As you can see, not all socks are made the same, and Feetures offers a premium sock that is really leveled up the performance sock game. Get your hands on Feetures here.Opens in a new tab.

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