The Best Summer Hiking Socks

August 07, 2023 3 min read

The Best Summer Hiking Socks

What socks should you wear while hiking in the summer heat?

If you’re anything like us here at Duckworth in Montana, once that snow burns off the mountainsides we’re ready to hang up the skis and snowboards and pull out the hiking boots for a summer of hiking. But just like any outdoor activity, hiking requires some thoughtful planning when it comes to gears and layers - even if hiking is a deceptively simple and accessible recreational pursuit. Don’t let poor preparation ruin your summer hiking adventures. 

First and foremost, you’re going to want (need, in our opinion) some Merino Wool layers to rock as a baselayer or solo layer (with additional wool layers tucked away in your backpack, in case rain or unexpected katabatics send cold air rushing across the mountainside). Starting with some lightweight, cooling and versatile Duckworth Vapor layers is a smart choice - rendering a much cooler experience in summer heat than even a cotton t-shirt. 

But we’re here to talk about the best summer hiking socks. Here are some common questions we see coming into our customer service inbox:

What are the best socks to wear hiking in the summer?

[Digging in further on the above…] Why are Merino Wool socks the best for hiking in the summer? 

Is there a difference between the best men’s summer hiking socks and the best women’s summer hiking socks? (Somewhat of a silly question, but we see it from time to time!)

In all honesty, the formula for planning really shouldn’t be much different - you’re going to want some Merino Wool on them tootsies, just as much as wearing a Merino Wool layer on your torso or Merino Wool beanie on your noggin. Why? Well, Merino Wool is naturally antimicrobial (antibacterial) for one, so say goodbye to stinky feet coming out of your boots at the end of a rigorous and hot hiking day. Merino Wool is durable, so you don’t need to worry about destroying your hiking socks in a few arduous treks (and it’s also flame resistant, just in case you want to safely warm your feet by an end-of-day campfire or dry out some socks that accidentally took a plunge in a river or lake). Not to mention, Merino Wool is soft and lofty, creating an ultra comfy, well-supported hiking sock experience: you’ll want that a few miles in.

However, the real benefit of Merino Wool hiking socks in the summer is that they are cooling when compared to cotton and synthetics, and they are moisture wicking. Why does this combo matter so much? Well, let’s just say you’re on a hike on a blistering summer day. You’re working up a sweat in the heat all over your body, including on your feet. The hotter your feet become, the more sweat they emit. The more sweat, the more likely you are to have movement in the sock itself across your foot, resulting in blisters that can not only cause pain but inhibit your ability to move efficiently across the terrain (a necessity should you see storm clouds rolling in or when the daylight hours are waning and you need to get quickly to the car or to camp). 

With cooling, sweat-wicking and quick-drying hiking socks, you’ll be equipped as best as possible to dodge such issues. You find the same benefits with synthetics or cotton socks, and with any backcountry adventure, you’ll want to be prepared for the elements with the best possible arsenal at your disposal. 

For these reasons and countless others you’ll discover out on the trail, we fully recommend Merino Wool socks as the best hiking socks for summer (or for any time you put a foot in a shoe, for that matter!)