How to choose your hiking socks

Good socks are an essential accessory for any serious hiker. It's important to know how to choose the right pair for you, so here is all our advice for finding the model you need!

Having a good pair of hiking boots is great, but this goes hand in hand with having a pair of socks that is also designed for hiking.

A good hiking sock should protect the foot from friction and have good moisture-wicking properties. Otherwise, beware of blisters!

In this article, you'll discover 5 criteria for picking the right socks for you: choice of material, technical aspects of where you hike, walking time, seasonality and height of the socks.

Follow our guide!

1. Choice of material

Hiking socks can be designed with different materials, each with their own specific properties.

Depending on your level of ability, but more importantly, your needs, you will opt for one material rather than another.

Cotton, for example, has the benefit of being comfortable.
On the other hand, it does not wick away moisture and dries slowly, which may cause blisters more easily on a long outing.
That's why it is recommended for short hikes or walks.

Synthetic materials are quite strong and durable.
They have the big advantage of wicking away perspiration well.
A good compromise for slightly longer hikes.

Elastane provides good support and conforms to the shape of the foot, which prevents creases from forming.

Cordura, which is included in the composition of some socks, is known for its resistance to tearing and abrasion.
Ideal for a long outing or trek.

Merino wool is comfortable, limits odours and provides good insulation from the cold.
In addition, given its thermoregulatory properties, it also insulates from heat. It is also anti-bacterial, but does not wick away perspiration very well.
This is why it is often mixed with synthetic materials in our socks.


In order to improve our carbon footprint, 80% of our range of socks is eco-designed.

  • how-to-choose-comfort-socks-lowlands-path-flat-forest

    Cotton from organic agriculture

    To give you products that are soft and comfortable in use, we use organic cotton.
    It is grown without chemical fertilisers, pesticides or GMO, reducing the risk of ground or water pollution.

  • how-to-choose-mountain-socks-elevation-gain-friction-double-skin

    Dope-dyeing process

    With regard to synthetic materials, we use a dyeing technique that uses less water.
    To reduce water consumption when dyeing our fabrics, we choose the "Dope Dyeing" process.
    This involves incorporating the colour pigments as soon as the yarn is made.

2. Technical aspects of where you'll be hiking

A second criterion that should not be overlooked when choosing your pair of hiking socks: the technical aspects of where you hike. 

If you hike on trails with relatively little elevation gain or on steep mountain paths, your needs will not be the same.

On relatively flat paths in lowlands or in a forest, for example, you will need socks that are above all comfortable with as few seams as possible.
You can then choose the material and knit stitch that is most comfortable for your feet.

Conversely, if you are hiking in the mountains on technical trails with elevation gains, you can choose socks that are reinforced at the heel and toe.

When climbing or descending, significant forces are exerted on these two parts of the foot and the continuous pressure on the toes or heel can be painful after a while if you do not have the right socks. 

Go for socks with more high-tech properties that wick away moisture well and reduce the risk of chafing.

In any case, wherever you hike, it is important to choose socks in the right size. A sock that is too small or too big can quickly cause blisters.

In the case of a sock that is too big, there is too much material around the foot. This is likely to form creases.

In the case of a sock that is too small, there is a risk that the sock will get pulled down inside the boot.

How to choose hiking socks?

3. Walking time

The longer your outings, the more you will tend to sweat and the more you will need good moisture management.

This is an important factor because if your foot gets too wet while you are hiking, you are likely to get blisters.

A hike is considered to be "long" when it exceeds 3 hours of walking. If you are preparing to walk for a whole day or if you are hiking on a hot summer day, it is important to choose breathable socks. 

Some socks have a mesh knit structure that helps to wick away perspiration without compromising on comfort.

Others use quick-drying polyamide or Coolmax fibres which have superior moisture wicking properties. 

For this type of hike, socks made with Cordura or merino wool will be invaluable, with their anti-bacterial effect.

When it comes to this issue, it is also essential to consider the type of boot you are hiking with.
If your boot is breathable, it will wick away the moisture of your perspiration. 

Therefore, you'll need to choose socks that are both lightweight and breathable.

If your boots have relatively good waterproofing and they protect you from the rain, you won't make the same choice. You should choose socks that will absorb your perspiration and then wick it away from your foot.


4. Seasonality

As temperatures vary according to seasons, you can choose socks suitable for cold weather.

If you hike in winter for example, we recommend the "SH ultra-warm" snow hiking socks. These socks are suitable for hiking in the snow or snowshoeing.

They will keep your feet warm and dry, even in powder snow! Some models are designed with merino wool which provides good insulation and reduces perspiration odours.

To get the right kit for the winter, here are some tips:

- Choose socks with wool for warmth

- Choose high socks to protect yourself more effectively from the snow, for example

- Don't forget to take breathable socks to reduce moisture which can be very unpleasant in cold weather

And some tips on getting the right gear for the summer:

- Choose very light socks to reduce perspiration. Some of our socks have a very light mesh structure at the instep (one of the places where you sweat the most).
Alternatively, you can consider socks designed with a mesh knit!

- Even in summer, wool socks – especially merino wool – can be a good compromise. Considering that the weather in the mountains is quite unpredictable!


5. Height of socks

A final criterion to help you make your choice is the height of the socks. This must always be as high as your boots or higher in order to prevent friction at the ankle.

Three different heights are available:
- Low
- Medium / Mid
- High 

  • How to choose hiking socks?

    Low socks

    They protrude slightly from the boot, but remain below your ankle bone. They’re worn with low boots

  • How to choose hiking socks?

    Medium / mid socks

    They protect your ankles, and stop just above them. They’re worn with low boots.

  • How to choose hiking socks?

    High socks

    They are ideal for mid-length hiking boots, as they stop just below the calf and protect your ankle from the boot.

One final tip for the road? Some socks are tailored to the shape of your feet with different left and right foot to provide a better fit at the toe section. And if you are ever prone to allergies, take the time to check the components!

How to Choose the Right Hiking Socks?

Written by: odelia chan

Hiking digital sports leader, decathlon singapore

Stay curious, keep hiking!

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