I love a nice pair of comfortable socks. Even better if they are functional for a specific purpose. I was surprised a few years back after buying a pair of bamboo socks, to find how soft and comfortable they were.
My favorite socks are now my bamboo socks for everyday use and exercise. If I go on a longer hike or am cold, I put on my wool socks, and they always help my feet stay warm and blister-free.
The nice thing about bamboo and wool is that they are sustainable fibers and odor resistant. The wool from sheep is good at wicking moisture and so are the fibers of the bamboo plant.
Good socks are well constructed and use a variety of types of fibers to increase wear and sock strength. Some sock brands now have a one-year guarantee.
When hiking, I will use my bamboo socks for a short hike up to two hours (unless it’s a rough rocky trail) and use my wool sock for anything over an hour since more moisture and rubbing will start to occur.
My experience with hiking
Back in around 1988 when I was a boy scout I went on a hike in the Sequoia National Park. We were hiking at a place called Mineral King and headed toward Sawtooth Peak.
It was a fun trip, but we did a lot of hiking, and thankfully my feet feel just fine. That’s because I had two layers of socks. A silk sock liner and a wool outer sock.
This prevents my feet from getting blisters because having a sock liner aids in preventing rubbing from occurring. It also helps prevent sores due to moisture build-up, since the wool helped wick away the moisture from the silk socks.
Now I hike a couple of times a month for up to two hours and use the same two sock system for longer hikes, except I use a wool sock liner and a wool outer sock. There are no blisters with this method so far either.
Having a good pair of hiking shoes or boots is also very important. Making sure my shoes were hike-worthy before the trip was important. I took time to do a practice hike or two, so I knew I could last for long periods hiking without much trouble.
Why Choose Wool Sock for Hiking?
Wool socks are very versatile. They make a great hiking socks for the following reasons.
- They can keep your feet warm because they are good at trapping air in their fibers, and this acts as an insulator.
- At the same time, they can help keep your feet cool when they start to get hot because they wick moisture away from your skin and keep it dry.
- They help prevent blisters since your feet remain dry, and if you use a sock liner for longer treks.
- Today’s wool socks are reinforced with synthetic fibers that help them to last longer and dry faster.
- No more smelly feet. They are naturally moisture-wicking since they are mostly natural fibers. They resist smells because they are naturally antibacterial.
- Many wool socks are made of Merino wool, so your feet won’t itch. Some ragg wool socks are still itchy, so check the specifications before purchasing them.
- They are good at providing the right amount of cushioning for your foot. You can vary your sock thickness from no cushioning thin socks you’d wear in the summer to very thick socks you’d wear in the snow.
The wool socks that I have purchased are from REI and Amazon. Here are the links to the socks that I use for hiking.
Day Hikes with Bamboo Socks
If I hike on a relatively flat trail, then I usually choose my bamboo socks to hike in. They are great at wicking away moisture and they are the softest socks I have.
Some of the reasons I think bamboo socks are great for a day hike are the following.
- Bamboo socks feel very comfortable on my feet, and always stay in position, firmly hugging them.
- They wick away moisture and my feet stay dry, so I don’t need to worry about moisture build up on my feet.
- They are very stretchy and flexible. They can move with your foot and shoe, so rubbing is not likely to happen.
- They are thinner than your normal cotton socks and very soft. They have good breathability, so when I’m hiking in lightweight, breathable shoes, I can be sure that my socks will remain fairly moisture-free.
- Bamboo-like wool is great at preventing smelly feet. They claim to be antibacterial, keeping smells from building up.
- I never notice anything while wearing bamboo socks. I’ve never felt or had any problems so far.
- I’ve been using them for a couple of years now and they are very durable. Although one pair did wear thin at the toes, a hole appeared. I don’t recall how many times I had used that sock.
- I like that it is a sustainable fiber.
- I recently regularly used a pair of bamboo socks that did last for a year before wearing thin and the elastic wearing thin. I used them once or twice a week for running or hiking. (see link below)
The bamboo socks that I have purchased are from Amazon. Here are the links to the socks that I use for hiking.
Ankle High Bamboo Socks (AD) (The ones I purchased are no longer available but this link has a sock with a similar bamboo polyester blend.)
Bamboo Socks (AD) (These socks pull up past the ankles and stay up well.)
Find Your Purpose
The best socks are those that fit the purpose you intend to use them for. I like both bamboo and wool socks. They both are versatile and do a good job when hiking.
Decide how you intend to use your socks and then you can get the best ones for the job.
If I had to choose just one sock, it would be a wool sock with a medium amount of cushioning.
It can be used in summer and winter to help you hike and keep your feet dry and comfortable. It may start to get slightly warm in summer, but shouldn’t be too noticeable.
It can be used for hiking and as a general use sock. Getting a wool mix is a good option for warmth, wicking ability, and durability.
Whether you’re hiking, walking, relaxing, or keeping warm with your socks, find the ones that will do the job that you need to accomplished.
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