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Hiking Socks - Which brand and type are best for me?

Posted by Bethan Bithell on 11th Sep 2015

There are hundreds of hiking socks currently on the market. For example, there is our ‘four season’ technical hiking socks, which will equip you well for walking in any of the four seasons of the year…but what else is available? Well, choosing the right sock needs some thought and to give you some idea, our ‘four season’ socks, with top performing technology are priced at £20.00 a pair, whilst our ‘2 season’ colourful hiking socks are priced at £9.00 a pair! This may of course prompt you to ask yourself….”Which sock really is best for me?”

There are many brands in the market guaranteeing that their socks are made of quality material that is durable and are comfortable. But the question really is how can they guarantee this?

Our ‘sock guide’ below attempts to break down the technical jargon, point out the benefits for you, whilst highlighting the important materials you should look for in socks you might use for various activities.

Any sock will do – right?

Wrong! To ensure a comfortable walk, just spending over £100.00 on a good pair boots is not enough on its own….picking the right walking sock is a vital component for a successful walk too! There is a myth that any sock will do but this is very wrong. Socks really are just as important as the boots. Consider that the availability of socks that are thick or thin, padded or not padded, single layer or double layer, made of wool, nylon or polyester, means that choosing the right sock is not as straight forward as would first appear!

But which one is right for you? Let’s get a better understanding of the technical jargon.

Technical Jargon found on hiking socks

Almost every ‘technical’ sock will have technical logos -and accompanying information- stamped on their packaging promising us, as consumers, a lot. But just what does all of this mean?

In this guide we look at the following materials and promises:

  1. Coolmax
  2. Merino Wool
  3. Cordura
  4. Thermolite
  5. Lycra
  6. Isofil (or Polypropylene yarn)
  7. Bamboo
  8. Double layer technology

1. Coolmax

Coolmax SocksCoolmax is a polyester fabric that wicks or draws moisture away from the skin. Due to the construction of Coolmax fabric, the socks will be resistant to fading, shrinking or wrinkling – so they will keep their shape!

Benefits to you? – Prevents Athletes Foot, and helps to stop your feet from getting cold.

For example – Hoggs of Fife Adventure Coolmax Sock

2. Merino Wool

Merino SocksMerino wool is soft and comfortable and extremely warm. Unlike other wools, Merino Wool does not itch and has been “shrink treated” – so socks with Merino Wool will hold their size and shape.

Benefits to you? – Merino Wool hiking socks will keep your feet warm whilst also preventing your feet from over heating. These socks will draw sweat away from your feet (wick away) and they will help to prevent hypothermia after extensive walking or hiking.

For example – Horizon Merino Hiker Walking Sock

3. Cordura

CorduraCordura is a tough yarn that will make the socks durable and long lasting. Cordura has been added to socks because of its strength. So if you find the heel and toe of your socks wear out quickly, try a walking sock that has Cordura added to its material mix. Look out for the Cordura symbol!

Benefits to you? – Simply…….long lasting socks!

4. Thermolite

Thermolite MaterialThermolite is a synthetic material designed to reduce perspiration and keep your feet warm – without excessive weight. Thermolite hollow-core fibres traps air to give greather insulation.

Benefits to you? – comfortable, lightweight and warm hiking socks

5. Isolfil (Polypropylene)

Isolfil MaterialIsofil yarn wicks moisture away from the foot and dries quickly. Isofil yarn is tough, easy to wash and odour free. Due to its quality yarn, Isolfil protects changes in temperatures and maintains a constant temperature.

Benefits to you? – never too hot, or too cold and controls odour,so… more smelly socks!

6. Lycra

Lycra MaterialAn elastic material that ensures a comfortable fit. Lycra grips onto the foot and guarantees a perfect hold. This is a man-made elastane fabric!

Benefits to you? – a comfortable fit without material gathering at the heel

7. Bamboo

Bamboo is a natural material that feels soft and silky against the skin. Bamboo cools quickly and is the perfect material for socks worn during the Summer or when out and about in hot conditions.

Benefits to you? – Bamboo socks will keep your feet cool during those hotter months

8. Double layer technology

The manufacturer of the socks known as “1000mile” uses what is described as ‘double layer technology’ within the make up of its socks. In essence – a sock in a sock! The double-layer construction prevents friction between the boot and the sock and therefore reduces the possibility of blisters.

“1000mile” socks use a Tactel inner sock on the majority of their socks. Tactel is a wicking material that will keep your feet cool and dry – all day long!

Benefits to you? – No more blisters……..and long-lasting socks!

Click here to view the 1000mile walking sock collection

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