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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 out there so finding the perfect pair can be a challenge.

At Cherry Tree we stock a wide range of socks including four season, two season, working and ankle socks so you are sure to find what you are looking for. This however will probably prompt you to ask "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 breaks down the technical jargon to give you an easily understandable guide of what to look for when buying your next pair of socks. 

Any sock will do – right?

Wrong! To ensure a comfortable walk, simply spending over £100 on a good pair boots is not enough. Picking the right walking sock is also a vital component for a comfortable walk. Considering the enormous variety of socks available -  thick or thin, padded or unpadded, single or double layer, wool, nylon or polyester - choosing the right sock is not as straight forward as it first appears!

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

Technical jargon 

Almost every ‘technical’ sock will have technical logos 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. Double layer technology

Coolmax Socks1. Coolmax

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

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

Ankle Sock - Coolmax Ankle Liner Sock

Colder Temps - Bridgedale Explorer Heavyweight Merino Comfort Socks

Warmer Temps - ProTrek Light Hiking Sock

Merino Socks 2. Merino Wool

Merino wool is soft, comfortable and extremely warm. Unlike other wools, merino wool does not itch and has been “shrink treated” – so socks made from merino wool will hold their size and shape. 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 and they will help to prevent hypothermia after extensive walking or hiking.

Benefits to you? – Soft, comfortable socks that will prevent sweaty feet.

Colder Temps - Horizon Performance Merino Trekker Socks

Warmer Temps - Grisport Women's Merino Socks

Cordura 3. Cordura

Cordura is a tough yarn that makes 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.

Benefits to you? – Long lasting, durable socks

Colder Temps - Horizon Coolmax Hike

All seasons - Horizon Performance Merino Trekker Socks

Thermolite Material 4. Thermolite

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

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

Isolfil Material 5. Isolfil (Polypropylene)

Isofil 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 your feet from changes in temperatures and maintains a constant temperature.

Benefits to you? – heat regulating technology keeps feet a steady temperature. Odour control prevents smelly socks

Colder Temps - Bridgedale Hike Midweight Merino Performance Sock

Warmer Temps - ProTrek Mountain Comfort Top

Lycra Material 6. Lycra

An elastic material that ensures a secure yet comfortable fit; lycra grips the foot to guarantee a perfect hold.

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

Warmer Temps - Horizon Merino Hike Sock

Colder Temps - 1000 Mile Fusion Walk Sock

7. Double layer technology

The 1000mile collection use what is described as ‘double layer technology’. In essence – a sock in a sock! The double-layer construction prevents friction between the boot and the sock and therefore reduces the chance 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.

Benefits to you? – Long lasting, durable sock and reduces chance of blisters

Ankle Sock - 1000Mile Breeze Sock

Colder Temps - 1000Mile Fusion Walking Sock

Warmer Temps - 1000Mile Ultimate Lightweight Walking Sock

View our full Hiking Sock Collection
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