10 Best Merino Wool Socks For Hiking in 2024

Last Updated on 21/05/2024

top 10 best merino wool socks for hiking

What are the Best Merino Wool Socks for Hiking?

The best merino wool socks for hiking are the Darn Tough Merino Full Cushion Boot Socks. They are super comfy, breathable, cushioned, reinforced, and just generally very well-designed. Find out which we would recommend for hiking in winter.

When it comes to looking after your feet while hiking, your socks are your first line of defense. Anyone who has walked several miles in the wrong type of socks will know just how big of a difference the thickness and materials can make to your comfort.

The problem is that most cheap hiking socks are made from synthetic materials and do not have seamless joints. Any kind of raised seams will rub and cause a blister which is why you should always choose a high-quality seamless walking sock, like one made from merino wool.

Top 10 Best Merino Wool Socks for Hiking

Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion

Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion


  • Materials66% Merino Wool, 32% Nylon, 2% Lycra Spandex
  • Weight: Medium-Heavy

The Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion are by far the comfiest socks for walking long distances. They are still made in Vermont, USA, to the same high standards as they have for the past four years, and they still include a lifetime guarantee for every pair!

Using fine-gauge Merino wool, these socks have a luxuriously soft feel to them while being incredibly durable even after 2,000 miles! They have a true seamless construction to prevent any blisters, and the all-around cushioning is what makes them so comfortable with hiking boots and shoes. Elastic ribbing above the ankle ensures the socks don’t slip or feel baggy, and the reinforced heel and toes are shrink-treated to keep their shape and provide the perfect fit.

VERDICT: The high merino content keeps your feet cool in summer by wicking moisture, and in winter, they provide excellent insulation. Having used these to walk the full length of the PCT, I can say that they are well worth the money and keep your feet as comfy as can be.

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Bridgedale Hike Midweight Merino Endurance Socks

Bridgedale Hike Midweight Merino Endurance Socks


  • Materials: 26% New Wool, 18% Merino Wool, 38% Nylon/Polyamide, 17% Endurofil/Polypropylene, 1% LYCRA
  • Weight: Medium

The Bridgedale Hike Midweight Merino Endurance Socks have a lower merino wool content than most other hiking socks in this guide but they are very high quality and a pleasure to walk in. I got my first pair of Bridgedale socks in England and have been wearing them for years. The Endurance range is perfect for long-distance hiking all year round, thanks to its moisture-wicking properties.

They feature some advanced attributes which make them excellent merino socks for hiking. For instance, they have something called ‘forward flex’, which prevents the socks from bunching or slipping down your angle, which can be annoying when it happens constantly. They also have ‘shockzone’ full cushioning underneath, which provides padding and comfort in your boots all day long.

They promote Endurofil, which is the blend of polypropylene fiber, Enduro-wool, and Merino wool that has some of the best moisture-wicking properties we have ever tested. This addition of synthetic blends also increases abrasion and water resistance which ensures your socks last a very long time and always stay comfortable no matter the conditions.

The invisible toe seam and reinforced heel and toe box reduce the chances of blisters to a minimum and give you a snug fit, so there is no bagginess to bunch up.

VERDICT: If you do a lot of summer hiking or like to double up your socks in winter, then these are an excellent choice for both. I highly recommend Bridgedale as a brand, and you are guaranteed quality with these top merino wool socks for walking trails.

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SmartWool Medium Crew Merino Wool Socks

Smartwool Medium Crew Merino Wool Socks


  • Materials: 66% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, 1% Elastane
  • Weight: Light – Medium

The SmartWool Medium Crew Merino Wool Socks are great for hiking and everyday use and have grown to be one of the most popular merino wool hiking socks around.

With their roots in rugged Colorado, they have been tested in the coldest temperatures and some massive mountains to produce some very high-performance outdoor gear. Like most other socks on this list, they elasticated arches, reinforced cushioning, and a flat knit toe seam for added comfort. They have medium cushioning underfoot, which makes them perfect for summer hiking or layering with a liner in colder months as well as long-distance thru-hikes.

VERDICT: If you are still unsure about which merino wool sock to buy for hiking, then take a look at the several hundred positive reviews on Amazon. These socks are definitely worth trying if you are not investing in a couple of pairs. They will last a very long time and are one of my go-to socks for day hiking as well as for wearing to work (plant nursery worker).

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Minus33 Merino Wool Day Hiker Socks

Minus33 Merino Wool Day Hiker Socks


  • Materials: 75% Merino Wool, 23% Stretch Nylon, 2% Spandex
  • Weight: Medium

The Minus33 Merino Wool Day Hiker Socks are one of the most popular hiking socks on this list and for a good reason. They have a high merino content of 75% which is expertly sourced and processed to be extra soft and comfortable all day long.

Being naturally antimicrobial and moisture-wicking means that they won’t make your backpack smell like a dead animal, and they also keep your feet in good condition too. The seamless toe box provides the perfect fit to prevent blisters, and all impact areas are reinforced with nylon to give these socks a super long lifespan.

VERDICT: You can get them in a variety of sizes and colors to suit any foot type. The full cushioning underneath provides great comfort over many miles as well as making a good sock to change into after a hard day hiking. I would say these are more suitable for cooler weather than for summer use, but you could wear them without getting too hot. I would recommend them for people who get cold feet or want lots of underfoot reinforcement.

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CloudLine Merino Wool Medium Cushion Hiking Socks

CloudLine Merino Wool Socks


  • Materials: 63% Ultra soft merino wool, 33% Nylon, 4% Spandex
  • Weight: Medium

The CloudLine Merino Wool Medium Cushion Hiking Socks come in three different weights but our favorite and possibly the most durable is the medium thickness shown above. There is all-over cushioning for amazing comfort, performance, and warmth, whether you are wearing boots or trainers.

The reasonably high Nylon content provides improved moisture-wicking and fast-drying qualities that make these merino wool socks suitable for year-round use. Manufactured in the USA with a lifetime guarantee, the CloudLine midweight merino socks are a favorite among thru-hikers and section hikers on some of America’s most popular long-distance trails.

VERDICT: The CloudLine Merino Wool Medium Cushion Hiking Socks have a full cushion along the foot that feels great in hiking boots. The toes and heels are also reinforced to provide extra protection and durability. This also helps them keep their shape after hundreds of miles. Seamless construction minimizes any risk of getting blisters from your socks. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them before.

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Icebreaker Hike+ Trek Crew Merino Wool Socks

Icebreaker Hike+ Trek Crew Merino Wool Socks


  • Materials63% merino wool, 35% nylon, 2% elastane
  • Weight: Medium +

The Icebreaker Hike+ Trek Crew Merino Wool Socks are made to the highest standards by New Zealand’s most famous merino wool company Icebreaker. They offer excellent breathability and moisture-wicking, as well as providing superior warmth in winter.

The anatomical toe box is shaped for each foot and has a left and right mark on them, just like a pair of headphones. The sculptured cushioning also helps to improve the fit for each foot and adds tremendous comfort and impact resistance. Designed for hiking, these socks have extra support around the ankles, Achilles, and instep for stability and expert fit. The seamless toe closure prevents rubbing and blisters, while the breathing zone improves ventilation.

VERDICT: They are medium to heavyweight in thickness, which gives you plenty of cushioning and blister protection for long hikes. I would highly recommend these socks for all kinds of climates, but I especially appreciate them in winter because they are warm and comfortable.

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Wigwam Merino Wool Comfort Hiker Socks

Wigwam Merino Wool Comfort Hiker Socks
  • Materials: 67% Merino wool, 21% Stretch Nylon, 7% Elastic (rubber), 5% Acrylic.
  • Weight: Medium

The Wigwam Merino Wool Comfort Hiker Socks have a very good reputation for being the go-to hiking sock for any situation. With full cushioning throughout the entire sock, they are ideal for hiking all year round with superior comfort, warmth, and wicking wherever you are.

The blend of ultra-soft merino wool and synthetic fibers extends the life of the socks and increases their durability. The Merino Comfort Hiker uses stretch nylon for an elasticated fit to stop your socks from slipping or bunching throughout the day. The seamless toe box prevents blisters from any unwanted stitching material.

VERDICT: As a 100+-year-old company, you can be reassured they know how to make some of the best merino hiking socks in the world. They do have a slightly lower merino wool content than some others, but that does help keep them tough and extremely fast at wicking moisture. These are great for Autumn and early spring hikes; however, they might be a little hot at the peak of summer.

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People Socks Crew Hiking Merino Wool Socks

People Socks Crew Hiking Merino Wool Socks
  • Materials: 71% Merino wool , 21% Nylon, 7% Poly, 1% Spandex
  • Weight: Medium

The People Socks Crew Hiking Merino Wool Socks are incredibly popular in the USA because they are made here and are also cheaper than many other merino wool hiking socks. They have an amazing customer service policy where if you develop a hole, they will replace it for free, so technically, you are sorted for socks for life!

Using imported merino wool from Australia, you can be sure these socks are super soft and suitable for both hot and cold conditions making them a true all-year-round merino wool sock. They have a reinforced toe and heel with medium cushioning for next-level comfort on the trail and blister-preventing properties.

VERDICT: Each pack contains four pairs and costs less than two pairs of some more premium brands, which is great if you are on a tight budget. But don’t be fooled by the low price tag, these are some expert-level merino hiking socks that are just as high quality as others, they just cost less by design. These particular socks have thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, well worth the money if you didn’t get any socks for Christmas or are getting low.

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Kirkland Signature Outdoor Trail Merino Wool Socks

Kirkland Signature Outdoor Trail Merino Wool Socks


  • Materials: 70% Merino Wool, 29% Nylon, 1% Spandex
  • Weight: Medium

The Kirkland Signature Outdoor Trail Merino Wool Socks are a great value-for-money option that gives you six pairs for the price of two high-end brandable pairs. The great thing about this is you almost have a pair for every day of the week or spares for when you return home after your walk.

The cushioning covers the entire socks but is reinforced on the heel and toe for extra comfort and durability. The moisture-managing fibers are especially prevalent on the base of the foot to help with wicking and maintaining a cushion. The spandex runs along the arch brace to provide as much support as possible from a sock, and the smooth toe seam helps avoid unwanted pressure points and blisters.

VERDICT: If you prefer to buy quantity over quality, then these will surprise you by being both cheap and high caliber. For hiking and backpacking trips where you need a lot of socks, these will save you a bunch of money and keep your feet comfortable while hiking. They are fairly lightweight and do thin down after a year or two of heavy use, which is to be expected, but for the price, you really can’t argue.

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MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks

MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks


  • Materials75% Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, 10% Elastic
  • Weight: Medium

The MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks are a favorite among hunters and outdoorsmen because of their high percentage of merino wool and ergonomic fit. They come as a pack of three and are very reasonably priced without sacrificing quality.

They have a full cushion on the foot and leg with added arch support on the base, which helps them keep their shape after washing and provides some compression when your feet start to swell. The flat seam on the toe box helps to prevent blisters, and as with all merino wool products, they are itch-free and moisture-wicking. They have ventilated groves to improve circulation and breathability, which has a big impact on hot days.

We find these to be just as comfy and well-fitting as the Kirkland socks above, and it was very hard to differentiate between the two. Ultimately, they are both very effective for hiking in. However, these have an ever so slightly higher merino wool content which may sway you towards trying these.

VERDICT: For a long-distance hike, all you need is this three-pack so long as you wash and rotate them every day. The high merino content also means they don’t harbor odor and are naturally antibacterial.

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Some Tips on Merino Hiking Socks

  • Avoid wearing pure cotton socks for hiking; they absorb moisture and take a long time to dry out.
  • Wool socks wick moisture and provide an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, Merino wool is better than regular wool for this.
  • Synthetic materials often wick moisture better than wool but are not as comfortable or insulating.
  • In general, thicker socks are more durable and better for hiking long distances due to the cushioning and protection.
  • Always look for flat seams or seamless joints to avoid unwanted pressure points where the thread bunches up.
  • Elastic is an important component of any sock and should be strongest around the hem to ensure they stay up and don’t sag.
  • The fit should be close but not tight, the heel and toe box should be in the right place on your foot when fully pulled up.

Best Merino Wool Hiking Socks

What to Look for In the Best Merino Socks for Hiking?

Merino wool has some amazing natural properties which make it ideal for all kinds of outdoor clothing, including merino base layers, hats, socks, and gloves. Depending on your personal preference, you may have a specific type of merino wool hiking sock in mind, but if not, then here are some of the most important deciding factors.


The blend refers to the percentage of merino wool fibers used to compose the finished material. It is fairly common for merino wool to be mixed with other materials to achieve a finish that will excel in specific areas. Some of the materials you might see blended with merino wool are Nylon, Lycra Spandex, Polyester, Acrylic, Polyamide, Elastic, and Possum Fur. I personally believe that the higher the merino wool content, the better they are, but as always, that is up for debate.


The weight refers not only to the number on the kitchen scale but also to the thickness of the fabric. The weight of the material often reflects the amount of cushioning as well as the insulation level. A lightweight merino wool sock would be ideal for casual hiking in trainers and hot climates, whereas a heavyweight merino wool hiking sock would work with some rugged hiking boots and help keep your feet warm in winter. Midweight merino socks are possibly the most versatile for backpackers because they can be worn in both hot and cold climates and with trainers or boots.

Low-Cut, Mid-Cut or High-Cut

Choosing the cut on your merino wool socks is a little easier to figure out than the weight of the blend, and really you only have three options to choose from. Low-cut merino wool socks are often referred to as ankle or trainer socks as they sit just below the ankle and are great to wear with shorts.

Mid-cut merino wool socks are great everyday socks to be worn with regular shoes or mid to low-cut hiking boots. You may see some mid-cut socks say something like “1/2 crew” or “3/4 crew” which are only slightly different in length.

High-cut boots are the best for walking boots as they sit higher than the top of your boot and also add some insulation to your lower leg when you are wearing shorts. Wellington Boot socks or ski socks are the longest and often cover your entire lower leg to avoid any friction on the top of your boots.

Best Merino Wool Hiking Socks

Why Are Merino Wool Socks Best for Hiking?

The best merino wool socks for hiking will provide cushioning in all the key areas, including reinforced heels and toes for the most prone to blistering points. One of the many qualities that merino wool has is the ability to wick moisture away from your feet which helps keep your feet dry and reduces the risk of blisters.

Merino wool socks are sure to keep your feet warm in winter thanks to their thermal regulating properties, but they will not overheat your feet for the same reason. Merino wool socks are also known to reduce blister-causing friction, and in fact, you can use untreated natural wool as a make-shift compeed patch.


The cushioning is important for both blister prevention and to protect the soles of your feet from getting bruised on longer hikes. That might sound a little dramatic, but it is the truth, feet get bruised on rough trails, especially on multi-day hikes. Full cushioning is the best as it covers the entirety of your foot; however, semi-cushioned is ok, too, if it is thicker in the right places.


Most, if not all, of the best merino wool socks for hiking should have reinforcements in the toe and heel sections. These are the two areas of your foot that bear the brunt of the impact your feet take tens of thousands of thousands of times on a 15-mile hike. The reinforcement could be as simple as extra cushioning, but the best type of reinforcement is nylon which is blended with wool and increases durability.


You should definitely be looking for low-profile seams, invisible seams, or seamless construction. On most socks that are NOT designed for hiking, you will notice a seam along the top of the toe box, which will no doubt have a bunch of noticeable seams which are big enough to pinch with your finger and thumb. This is okay for day-to-day use, but on a hike with a heavy backpack, that little seam is going to grate into your foot and cause a blister.


As well as a reinforced toe and heel, hiking socks should have a little compression around the arch and ankle for support. This is often just some extra elasticated fibers that pull the sock in around areas that benefit from the support and may suffer from bagginess if they weren’t there. Socks should never feel too tight, but they should be close-fitting to avoid bunch-ups.


Unlike shoes or boots, merino hiking socks are sized from small to extra large instead of having a numerical sizing. Below is a chart of a typical hiking sock sizing chart. If you are on edge between sizes, then I would probably try the smaller size first to check the fit and then try the larger size if the smaller size is too tight.



merino wool socks for hiking boots

Are Merino Wool Socks Good for Hiking?

Merino wool socks are the best for hiking because of their amazing natural properties. These include keeping your feet cool in the heat as well as wicking moisture which helps to prevent blisters. Merino wool socks are also the best for hiking in cold conditions as they trap warm air and allow your feet to breathe so your feet don’t sweat.

Are Merino Wool Socks Worth It?

Wool socks, in general, are worth it, and merino wool socks only cost a few bucks more, so they are definitely worth it. Merino wool is very special and has superior qualities for hiking socks and baselayers. They don’t cost a fortune, and you can get a three or four-pack for under $30, so why not treat your feet right?

Can You Wear Merino Hiking Socks in Summer?

Merino socks are designed for both summer and winter use and have lots of benefits over cotton hiking socks. The good thing about hiking socks is that they come in a variety of thicknesses if you want something lighter for the summer and something warmer and thicker for the winter. Ultra-light hiking socks are great when the sun is beating down on you but they tend to have very thin cushioning in comparison to a mid-weight hiking sock

Do Merino Hiking Socks Dry Fast?

Merino wool is naturally moisture-wicking and incredibly fast drying. In fact, even after a wash, they don’t feel any heavier because they hold so little water. If you hung them on your backpack during the day, they would be dry in 1 – 2 hours of sun or breeze. Compared to cotton, merino wool socks are some of the fastest dryings you can get.

Are Merino Socks Itchy?

Merino wool is one of the least itchy wools around, and especially on your feet, there is nothing softer. As someone who couldn’t even stand the thought of wearing wool next to my skin, merino wool changed all that, and now I have a full set of base layers, including underwear. But none of those are as good as my Darn Tough hiking socks.


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This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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