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If you hike a lot, you probably have lots of gear to help you stay comfortable and go longer distances on the trail. That could mean shoes, backpacks, water bottles and more -- but if you know the feeling of a blister forming 20 minutes into a hike or a run, you need to invest in the right pair of women's hiking socks as well.
Top-quality women's hiking socks aren't your average pair of socks -- so if you're just grabbing whatever you have at the bottom of your drawer, you're already making a mistake. Hiking socks are made for walking long distances on unsteady terrain -- and they're designed with breathability, cushion, and durability in mind. The type of fabric your hiking socks are made of makes all the difference, and the material isn't normally what you'd associate with warm or hot weather. Sorry, but those 100% cotton socks probably aren't helping your feet on those long treks: you'll need something sturdier like Merino wool. When you find the right hiking sock, you'll immediately notice the difference. These socks will keep you dry, prevent common ailments from long walks like heel or toe pain, and will stay secure around the ankles and base of your foot. Having socks that move around in your shoes creates an uneven surface that leads to painful heels and blistering. We rounded up our recommendations based on these specs and trust us, these are ones we love and stand by (our top pick is a a favorite of mine!). These women's hiking socks are top-quality socks that deserve a spot on your summer hiking gear list for many reasons, as they'll come in handy for all the terrain you'll come across this summer.
1. Our Tried and True Top Pick
I'm a huge fan of these hiking socks -- and it's our absolute top pick for people who hike often, as it's definitely worth the investment. The Merino wool blend (our pick for hiking sock material!) wicks moisture away from your feet, leaving them feeling dry while also preventing blisters no matter how long your trek is. They're designed specifically for hiking all sorts of terrain: the material and construction provide ankle support for quick movements, and the fibers keep your feet from slipping in your shoes. They have moderate compression and medium cushion, and will precent your socks from bunching while still remaining comfortable. We also love the thoughtful touches that make this the perfect hiking sock: ventilation in the top of the sock for airflow, a toe box to eliminate friction, and elevated arch support. The sock is ideal for hiking and trail running -- and we also love that this company manufactures in the USA, uses sustainable practices in their business, and gives a portion of money back to their communities.
2. Our Pick for Compression Socks
Lily Trotters are for the hiker that prefers leg compression, which will help reduce and prevent muscle aches and swelling. These socks end right underneath your knee and are tight-fitting -- but if you suffer from cramps early on in your trek you'll also enjoy wearing these -- and while there are tons of reasons to wear compression clothing during workouts, another is that they help promote blood flow to the heart. These are my go-to socks for both trail running or recovery, and I highly recommend them! Note: pick your size by measuring your calf size, not your foot size.
3. Our Pick for Summer Hikes
Here's another pick from Smartwool that deserves all the accolades. The Hike Light Cushion Low Ankle Sock offers comfort, durability, and mesh sections that provide breathability even in the hottest weather. The sock comes in two colorways: fossil and medium gray. The low ankle socks are made of 57% merino wool, along with recycled nylon and elastane for a stretchy fit. With a seamless toe and a low ankle, these are a great pick for summer hikes. One reviewer writes: "My feet don't get wet with sweat, even in summer."
4. Our Pick for Colder Weather
These hiking crew socks -- also from Smartwool -- are a great pair of merino wool hiking socks for year-round use, but are especially great for winter hiking and colder climates. They're made of 56% merino wool and have thick, full cushioning in the heel -- so you'll feel an extra layer of warmth that comes in handy for thick boots and cooler temps. The socks have an elasticized arch brace to prevent bunching, so you'll stay comfy no matter how long your trek is or if your clothes get wet. Pair these socks with waterproof hiking boots, and you'll never use another combo for snowy weather again.
5. The Best Budget Option
Looking for a pair of socks under $10? Consider these socks from trusted outdoor brand Merrell -- and while they are under $10, they're still a quality pick. The socks are a mix of acrylic, wool, and spandex. The mesh sides will keep your feet from getting sweaty, the lightweight hiking socks have an arch support band to protect your feet, and they have a reinforced heel and toe. Basically, they do what our top picks do but for a more affordable price. If you're an amateur hiker or don't really go more than a few times a year, this could be a great pick for you.
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