When it comes to hiking gears, socks are often perceived as being less significant. On the contrary, they play a major role in the overall comfort of your feet in that hiking boot. While it's easier to choose hiking socks during winter, it's a different picture entirely when it's summer. The best hiking socks for hot weather needs to be light, comfortable, well-ventilated, and cool at all times. This is necessary to avoid moist feet which can lead to blisters via an increase in friction between the socks and the skin of your feet.
That being said, read on to find out more about why hiking socks are important especially in summer.
Importance of Hiking Socks for Hot Weather
Optimal comfort down your feet is a non-negotiable deal when trekking. Socks can make that happen and here are the ways it can:
Moisture-wicking and Ventilation
If the weather is relatively warm, the last thing you need is more heat on your feet. When hiking, your feet are in constant motion and the warm weather ensures they sweat profusely. This creates discomfort and makes your feet slippery which is bad for traction. But you would have covered up for that if you got the right hiking socks on.
The right socks will wick moisture away while allowing for proper ventilation. This way, your feet can enjoy massive air in-flow to stay cool and dry at all times. This certainly compensates for the heat.
They Keep You Safe from Blisters
An increase in moisture down your feet can lead to an increase in friction between the skin of your feet and the socks. The aftermath is blistering and you don't need to be told how painful that can be. But a comfortable hiking sock designed for warm weather can help you avoid this uncomfortable and painful scenario.
They Get Rid of Odors
Some of these socks come with anti-microbial treatments that make them odorless. Your hiking socks are duty-bound to smell badly after a long hike. Although some don't retain heat and are breathable, that won't suffice to keep the odors at bay. However, their anti-microbial properties can make them go odorless for a few days. This is helpful when you are on long hikes that give you little time to change your socks.
Bottom line of the importance of socks for warm weather; they keep your feet cool, dry, blister-free, and odorless.
How do You Choose Hiking Socks for Warm Weather?
When it comes to choosing hiking socks for warm weather, two things comes first; the size of your feet and the height of the hiking boot.
Choosing according to your Feet Size
It's important you choose according to your feet size. The right size for you won't be too tight or too free for your feet. If it's too tight, be rest assured you'll be uncomfortable and sweat even more. On the flip side, if it's too loose, it won't feel like you are wearing any sock at all and it will be annoying down your feet. Ultimately, you need to find the right size (something in between tight and loose) that suits your feet perfectly to enjoy the comfort it offers.
Choosing according to Boot Height
The height of the hiking boot you will be wearing also needs to be considered. You need to choose a pair of socks that's in line with their height. For low cut boots, go for micro-crew socks. For mid-cut boots, micro-crew socks will also match them rightly and for high-cut boots, crew socks are the perfect fit.
Types of Hiking Socks for Backpacking
Hiking socks for backpacking are divided into three main categories based on their raw materials.
Let's look at them Individually.
These are hiking socks that are made from wool or cotton. Cotton is not a favorable choice for hiking in warm weather but can be useful during winter. Conversely, Merino wool is a top choice for walkers in warm weather. This is due to the moisture-wicking properties that allow it to stay cool and dry at all times. It is also odorless, breathable, and provides the right comfort for your feet in a summer hike.
Here you have hiking socks made of artificial materials like nylon, spandex, and polyester. These socks are more durable and elastic than their natural counterparts. They also wick moisture faster and help dry off sweats quickly. However, they come with their drawbacks: they are less breathable and are prone to oozing foul odors.
Hiking socks for backpacking made from blended fibers are the best out there. They are made from a combination of natural and synthetic fibers to create durable and highly responsive hiking socks. A blend of Merino wool and polyester or nylon will give you all the benefits that any hiking socks can offer.
Things to Consider when Choosing them
When it's time to buy the best hiking socks for warm weather, there are a couple of factors you need to consider. This is needful because these factors will determine if you'll get the right socks.
The following factors are to be considered:
As far as clothing is concerned and in this case: hiking socks, the kind of material used in manufacturing is important to consider.
The material is made of cotton has a higher tendency of retaining moisture in your feet. Cotton hardly wicks moisture away by allowing sweat dissipate into the air. So you will sweat more and this will in turn lead to heightened friction. Consequently, blisters are inevitable.
However, if the material is made of wool, the situation will be different. Wool is a famous choice for hikers and over the years, it has earned a reputation for being the best. Wool is more breathable, stretchy and wicks moisture away faster than cotton. Merino wool which is native to Australia is the best kind of wool for hiking socks. This wool is sheer active in wicking moisture away through a process called "evaporative cooling". This way, your feet stay cool, dry, and blister-free in the warm weather. This wool is more excellent in performance when combined with synthetic fibers.
In warm weather, wearing thick socks amplify sweating around your feet which is why they are fantastic for winter. So you have to go for the lighter hiking socks. Generally, if you want more air in your skin, you use less fabric. That rule applies here. Lightweight socks will enable heat to dissipate faster into the surrounding air, allow more air in and keep your feet cooler. Although their thin nature will not provide enough cushioning, they can cushion the heel and ball of your feet adequately.
You will be needing durable hiking socks to get value for your money. Durability is essential because you will have to wash them often and stretch them frequently in the course of wearing and pulling. If durability is not considered, you will end up buying hiking socks that will wear out and lose their elasticity with time. Synthetic fibers last better than their natural counterparts.
Although this is a negligible factor to be considered, it's still worth considering especially if you love hiking on shorts. If your terrain is mostly rocks and mountains with very few shrubs, you can go for micro-crew or crew socks. On the other hand, if you'll be tearing your way through bushes and massive vegetation on shorts, you will need knee-high socks.
Hiking Socks are chief providers of comfort for your feet. During winter, you can easily put on a pair of thick socks and double them if you like. However, you have to be selective during summer. It calls for greater attention to details which includes considering a couple of factors in this guide before choosing. Hopefully, this guide will help you in making the right decisions and have a comfortable hiking experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)
Are wool socks good for warm weather?
Yes, they are and over the years, hikers have testified of how cool they're compared to cotton.
Can you wear wool socks in summer?
Yes, you can. They are more breathable and don't retain sweats.
What material is best for sweaty feet?
If you sweat a lot down your feet, wool can limit it when you are hiking. However, a combination of merino wool and any synthetic fiber would do an excellent job of keeping sweats at bay.
What are the most breathable socks?
The most breathable socks are the ones made from merino wool. The breathability of this wool from Australia is super.
What are the best socks for summer?
Merino wool socks are the best for summer. They don't retain heat like cotton and are more breathable.
Can you wear merino wool socks for summer?
Yes, you can. They are the perfect choice for warmer climatic conditions. Wearing them gives you the right amount of airflow to keep your feet cool and dry.
Can I wear wool in summer?
If it's lightweight wool, then you can wear it. However, as a general rule, you should avoid heavy clothing in summer.
Do wool socks keep your feet cool?
Yes, wool socks tend to keep the feet cooler and dry. With their moisture-wicking properties, they can keep your feet cool and dry.
Are merino wool socks worth it?
Yes, they are worth the hype. And to get the best out of them, go for the ones blended with polyester.
Are wool socks better for your feet?
Wool is soft and well-ventilated. It's great for your feet. However, it's more of a seasonal sock - best for summer.
Should hiking socks be thick or thin?
It all depends on the weather. Thick socks are good for winter while thinner socks are perfect for summer. So you choose according to the weather.
Do you really need hiking socks?
Yes, you do. Without hiking socks, those long treks will tell you on feet with blisters. Hiking socks provide real comfort.
Should you wear two pairs of socks when hiking?
One is enough. However, if the weather is extremely cold, you can use two. Alternatively, you can go on a pair of thick socks whether cotton or wool.