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Thread: Best Socks for Hiking?

  1. #1
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Default Best Socks for Hiking?

    I know... not the most compelling topic for a new thread. However, I plan to do a lot of hiking this summer, and I'm sick and tired of the blisters caused by my regular old athletic-cut cotton socks. What kind of socks should I be wearing if I plan to log 10 miles per day with a fifty-pound pack? Where is the best place to buy them?

    Thanks.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I really like my SmartWool socks. They go on sale on-line periodically and Outdoorsman Warehouse has great sales at times as well.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    I second the recommendation for Smartwool. I like to use their medium to heavy weight socks for hiking.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Smartwool. I prefer the light hiking version, but the medium hiking ones are good as well. My feet sweat too much with the heavy version and I like my boots to fit tightly enough that heavy socks would take up too much room, but to each their own. Check out a few pairs of Smartwool - your feet will thank you.

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    I have both smartwools of light, med, and heavy i wear depending seasons and what and how active I am. I also sport the Thorlos as well. Both good sock IMO.

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    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    Default Redhead Lifetime Socks

    Anyone try these???? I bought one pair just to check them out due to the fact that they are $10 and "lifetime" warranty. When I got them I immediately bought two more pair (extra for me and my wife). They seem to be very nice so far and at 10 bucks/pair isnt too bad even if they dont replace them.

    Just a thought.

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    Default Injinji

    Check out Injinji socks. They are pretty weird at first but you have to try them to believe. They are the greatest things I have ever put on my feet! They are synthetic and great at moisture wicking, and they significantly cut down on blisters.

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Smartwools are great socks, but I have had a hard time getting them to dry on a long trip due to the wool content. Thorloghs have also worked great and are quick drying.
    Pretty much available all over town at outdoor places a notch up from Wal-mart

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    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Smart wool it shall be. The Injinji socks frighten me.

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    "The Injinji socks frighten me."

    They frightened me at first as well. I tried them out on a recommendation from a friend and loved them. I have had problems in the past with blisters on the sides of my toes and these fixed the problem right away.

  11. #11
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    Default Thorlo

    I like the Thorlo brand socks. For summer and fall, their Thick Cushion Hiking socks are great, which are a wool and thorlon blend. Plus, they are made in the USA.

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    Was in Barney's the other day and the guy there was talking about how great these were:

    http://www.darntough.com/

    Said they didn't bunch up as much as SW ones. I use SW light, med and heavy. I have too much invested in all these socks to go spend more on new socks. at least not until these start falling apart.

  13. #13

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    My feet sweat a lot, so I use Smartwool's sock liners as my hiking socks. If I worried about blisters I'd back them up with really thin nylon dress socks.

    Cutting back on the pack weight might help with blisters. I used to haul a 45 lb pack for a 3-day hike, then I developed bunions. Cutting my pack weight in half helped with my foot problems.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coaldust View Post
    I like the Thorlo brand socks. For summer and fall, their Thick Cushion Hiking socks are great, which are a wool and thorlon blend. Plus, they are made in the USA.
    I second Thorlo socks. They are really nice ones.
    I do have some Smartwool socks, too.
    Maybe moleskin for your blisters?
    Lurker.

  15. #15

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    SmartWool-- the heavier the better. I used to like their lightweight but they started to cause some irritation -- too abrasive. The heavy version runs hotter but as long as I am moving I don't notice it, it's when I stop for a break that's when the heat starts to built up. Solution? Socks and boots off for 2-3 minutes when in camp -- most of the moisture evaporates and your feet cool down. Works great!

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    Default Darn Tough

    It's a brand. Look them up. Best socks besides the ones my wife make that are worth the price. I bought my first pair a year and a half ago. With vigorous hiking, I still use that same pair today. It is crazy and most of them if they wear out you can send them back for a new pair. Great deal. Check them out.


    Rob

  17. #17
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I like the in-genious lite hikers from I think wigwam makes them, the combine the liner and outer sock into one garment. They have worked well for me and don't smell like a dead fish when I pull them out of the boots at the end of the day.
    There is another set of cheap merino ones that I use and really like. Cant remember the name off hand, but they were at S/W. They have some elastic added around the center of your foot which helps them keep their shape.

  18. #18

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    Lots of suggestions already, I will give out the best advise of anyone so far, NO COTTON! Cotton has no place anywhere near your feet if you're hiking. As far as specific socks, any synthetic or synthetic/wool blend will be vastly superior to cotton. I finally learned that cotton does not belong on my feet during hiking, no matter how comfortable they start out to be, after doing a mile of vert over about 3 or so miles of horizontal. I could not get the blood stains out of the cotton socks I wore. After that I said never again.in

    Now, some advise about blisters assuming you have good socks, if need be layer your socks, a nice thiin polypro or silk base layer with a good blend insulating layer on top is always a good choice when needed. Boot selection and lacing is very important as well, assuming your boots are already broken in, if you feel a hotspot you need to adjust your boot laces and see if that helps. Don't wait until you feel a blister, as soon as you feel a hotspot adjust your boots. If your socks are damp, change them. I always carry 2 pairs of socks for good hikes, one pair on my feet, one pair hanging on my pack drying. If my feet get sweaty or wet I change socks back and forth.

    Duct tape is great stuff, if you constantly get blisters on the back of your heel and you insist it's not your boots, try taping your heel before you go. Use good duct tape, don't use cheap bargain as it will quickly fall off and bunch up causing more problems, tape your hotspot with quality duct tape. You will be surprised at how well duct tape works to tame hot spots. Don't peel the duct tape off until you absolutely have to though, and if possible, soak your foot in a shower or lake before removing the duct tape, or you'll take a few layers of skin with it.

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    I'll throw in a plug for Patagucci's light and/or medium weight crew length hikers. I find them more comfortable than Smartwool's and they seem to dry faster. Not sure how long they last yet but they don't appear to wear any quicker than other brands. They also stay put on my feet better than any other sock I've tried.

  20. #20
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    Default

    ASRJB25 made a good point on the duct tape. I never leave home without it. Not only does it make a good cover for a rub spot before a blister forms, it can be used to tape up a sprained ankle or blown knee, and even used with splints to make a cast.

    I use a silk stocking as a base layer then wool socks over that. The sock rubs on the silk stocking instead of my foot. You can also rub your feet down with antiperspirant as a lubricant. It doesn't prevent your feet from sweating but it gives it a smooth surface for the sock to slide on.

    Always change your socks if they are wet or sweaty. Wet socks cause blisters very fast.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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