Apparel Choices for Summer: Socks

Socks, Socks, Socks!!!

I have chosen to break my apparel choices into separate posts. There are many considerations for each piece in the arsenal that I want to be sure that I cover to the best of my ability.

What Works?

First, let me begin my saying that you need to find what apparel works for you.  We all have different comfort levels and needs when out on the trail. My apparel choices are based on functionality and cost.  I have cheap apparel (Target) and expensive gear (Outdoor Research).  I have found that the high price tag does not always equal high equal quality or durability.   Each piece of apparel has served me well through a variety of situations and weather conditions. I’m confident that any one of the items or styles I list can also serve you well too, but you should follow your own path.  Take the time to test different types of apparel until you find what items work the best for you.

My apparel is comfortable and I am confident in its ability to handle the beating it will take on the trail. I have a large collection of apparel choices that I can add to or subtract from depending on the type of trip or weather conditions that I can expect.

Happy Feet!

Ask any seasoned hiker about the key to hiking long distances and they probably will tell you: happy feet. Happy feet can make or break your hiking experience. Having the Socksappropriate hiking sock is just as important as having a proper fitting shoe.  The importance of choosing the right sock is an area that is often overlooked.   Wearing the wrong socks can cause a variety of foot problems ranging from general discomfort to nasty blisters. Keeping the following tips in mind while choosing your hiking socks will help keep your feet comfortable, and help ensure continued hiking success.

  • Size & Fit
    • It is important that you hike in a properly fitting sock. Socks that are too big can lead to friction issues that ultimately can lead to painful hot spots or blisters. On the flip side, wearing socks that are too small can be equally as damaging by constricting  the blood flow and toe movement.
  •  Fabric
    • Perhaps the most common mistake often made by inexperienced hikers is wearing  cotton socks.  Cotton socks will absorb and hold moisture. When cotton socks become wet you increase your chance of developing painful blisters. Enjoyable Hiking OVER!  When choosing socks, synthetic materials such as acrylic, polyester, or other quick drying, sweat absorbing fabrics are the way to go. These materials wick sweat and moisture away from your feet resulting in more comfort and help to prevent blisters. For cooler weather hiking you may want to look at a wool blend sock that will wick away moisture and keep your feet warmer.
  • Thickness
    • The thickness of your socks is often a personal preference. Do you want a lot of cushion or a little cushion?  Whichever thickness you choose make sure that it does not compromise the proper fit of your footwear.  Using thick socks in a colder climate may help keep your feet warm, but may cause excess amounts of sweat in summer. If hiking in warmer weather it is important to know that a thicker sock won’t dry as fast as a thinner sock, especially if the sock is a wool blend.

Final Thought

Socks may seem like a small part of the hiking equation to most people, but from my experience, pain from uncomfortable feet can ruin an otherwise enjoyable outing. Proper socks while hiking will help keep your feet dry and cool and prevent blisters.

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