Abseiling will help build your calves

Advice: hiking socks / trekking socks

Hiking socks or trekking socks can prevent unpleasant blisters and make long tours pleasant. Long gone are the days when hiking socks were knee-length, made of pure new wool, knitted by grandma herself and necessarily red.

Modern hiking socks and trekking socks, on the other hand, are downright high-tech stockings. Sounds strange, but that's how it is! Nowadays, everything is possible when it comes to materials: from pure nature to high-tech synthetic fibers - for hiking socks every yarn is spun. In our guide we explain what is important when you are looking for new trekking socks.

What are the advantages of wool in hiking socks or trekking socks?

Good old wool - actually really old, it has been used by humans for around 6,000 years - is a renewable raw material and is more modern today than ever before. Especially the one mostly from New Zealand or Australia Merino wool is currently experiencing an enormous boom. Compared to other types of wool, merino wool is smoother and softer on the skin. This means that it does not scratch the skin and is comfortable to wear.

But wool is particularly interesting because of its natural bactericidal properties. The typical "old sock smell" is caused by the excretion of bacteria that form in the warm and humid foot climate. Wool can naturally chemically bind this excrement. This means that wool hiking socks only smell after several days of intensive use.

Due to its natural structure, wool can be knitted particularly loosely. Wool products therefore consist of up to around 70 percent air. And since air is an ideal insulator, keep wool socks warm depending on their thickness or allow the air to circulate comfortably around the foot. At the same time, wool is hydrophobic, i.e. it does not absorb water, and it dissipates water vapor to the outside.

What are the advantages of synthetic fibers in socks for hiking?

Hiking socks or trekking socks Synthetic fibers mostly contain a very high proportion of polyamide, elastane and often polyester. The synthetic fibers have, depending on the processing and percentage composition, a very light weight and a extremely fast drying time.

At the same time, none of the synthetic fibers absorb water and transport moisture to the outside in large quantities. However, you can odor-causing bacteria stick very easily to the fibers. Such unpleasant smells arise after just one wear. In conjunction with other synthetic fibers or silk (natural material), a cooling effect is created that is perfect for summer tours. Synthetic fiber inserts are also often used as reinforcements or padding on sensitive points such as ankles, balls or heels.

Shouldn't it be a hybrid for hiking socks?

The most common type of modern hiking socks to produce is currently based on the use of Mixed fabrics: (Merino) wool and synthetic fibers. The synthetic fiber increases the strength and durability of the thin merino fibers. At the same time, most polyamide fibers support the positive properties of both types of fiber. Elastane makes the hiking socks flexible and stretchable.

Thick or thin? Long or short hiking socks?

Thick hiking socks keep your feet nice and warm in cold temperatures. Thin socks, on the other hand, are particularly suitable for summer temperatures. So far so good! However, modern hiking and mountain boots are now so well padded that thick socks often work against the comfort of the shoe.

Contrary padding on shoes and socks can rub uncomfortably, create pressure points and blisters or even chafe the affected skin area. In order to find the right hiking socks, you should always have the mountain boot with you for testing.

Short hiking socks - whether thick or thin - are naturally more airy on the calf. If they are too short, i.e. they do not reach over the edge of the shaft, this can cause chafing on the calf. This is particularly uncomfortable with full leather shoes. Therefore, high trekking socks should preferably be worn with high mountain boots. Under the aspect of "compression" (see below), there are again new possibilities.

How does compression help with hiking socks?

Support function, compression, anti-odor treatment, patches and much more - modern socks come up with pure high-tech. They are particularly noticeable and are widespread in sports circles Compression stockings. They are particularly close-fitting and support the natural muscle pump by compressing the calf muscles. In this way, fresh blood is increasingly pumped into the heavily stressed calf and foot muscles and premature fatigue is counteracted.

However, depending on the nature of the material Odor formation differently pronounced. Socks treated with e.g. silver ions provide a remedy here. These have a bactericidal effect, i.e. they kill odor-causing bacteria and thus ensure a longer-lasting “freshness”. However, silver ions only have a limited shelf life. They escape from the material mainly through mechanical influences. But numerous washes also decimate the number of silver ions.

How do hiking socks help against blisters?

Bubbles are caused by friction. There are many theories to help prevent blistering. The most important thing is the right choice of hiking socks. Friction in the shoe can only arise when shoe and foot do not form a unit. Can the Hiking sock If you do not adequately fill this margin, the formation of bubbles is practically inevitable.

Thicker or thinner socks can help. A second pair of socks can also help you here. The best way to do this is to use thin socks made of fine tights. These wear almost imperceptibly on the skin, are thin and breathable and are available in many different variations - from socks to tights.

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Where can you buy hiking socks?

Sports shops usually have a large selection of models, both in-store and online. On theprice comparisonIn the reviews of the hiking socks tested on OUTSIDEstories, you can find out which online retailer has your preferred model in stock.

What do new hiking socks cost?

Depending on which hiking socks you choose, the price ranges fromabout 10 euros to 50 euros.

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Hiking socks put to the test | Editor's recommendations