Don’t purchase any socks yet.
First, figure out what factors will make the socks the best footwear for you. Every part of a sock’s design has a benefit of some kind. Figure out what features help you. That way, you can save money and feel comfortable.
The material that you purchase depends on what scenarios call for what sock. For instance, you can choose from the following materials from hiking socks:
- Merino Wool: itch-free and great for moisture wicking
- Other types of wool: most manufacturers combine wool with other synthetic materials that provide a bit of itch
- Nylon: improves sock drying time and enhances your sock’s durability
- Polyester: a synthetic material that insulates your feet and wicks moisture
- Silk: lightweight and less durable than other fabric
- Spandex (Lycra): minimizes wrinkling and helps socks maintain their shape
- Acrylic: holds the sock’s shape for longer and compress less
As for compression socks, they will use spandex/Lycra, polyester, and nylon.
If you’re worried about washing your sock the wrong way or receiving a faulty product, you’ll want to inquire with the company about their warranty or guarantee. Usually, on their product pages, they’ll advertise “X time guarantee.” However, many of these guarantees come with attached strings.
Without a sock that fits, the sock won’t do much good. That’s why you need to pay attention to product reviews to determine whether you should order a size up. Otherwise, you’ll want to order socks based on your foot’s size, not shoe size.
When wearing your new socks, you want them to feel snug—not too loose or tight.
The height that you go for with your socks will make a huge difference. Explore each option, and you’ll see how each height will benefit your potential situation:
- Crew: a few inches above your ankle, which protects them from abrasions caused by wearing high-cuffed boots
- Knee-high: best for mountaineering since they protect your legs when wearing giant boots
- Ankle: best for low- to mid-cut boots
- No-show: doesn’t offer protection, but they’re suitable for low-cut footwear
- Over the calf (OTC): for compression socks—that way, the socks can compress your legs and help push blood back up to your heart
You’ll want to ask yourself a couple of questions before considering this factor. First, how warm do you want your socks? Moreover, how much protection do you want?
Here are the different types of cushioning that you’ll find in socks:
- None: lightweight and ideal for hot weather
- Light: great for warm weather while offering a little cushioning
- Medium: for hiking and backpacking in conditions that aren’t frigid
- Heavy: suitable for cold temperatures, long trips, and backpacking
The level of compression that you want in your socks only applies to compression socks. Moreover, there are four different levels of compression that include:
- Mild (8–15 mmHg): suitable for acclimating yourself to compression socks
- Moderate (15–20 mmHg): for minor swelling
- Firm (20–30 mmHg): best for long haul plane trips and sitting for long periods
- Extra-firm (30–40 mmHg): for moderate to severe ailments
Frequently Asked Questions About Socks
I’ve aggregated a list of commonly asked questions about socks to help you decide whether you need to invest in a pair of socks for traveling to prevent any confusion. Or, if you can, just stick to wearing these socks at home.
Related: How to find the cheapest flights
What’s the Difference Between Flight Socks and Compression Socks?
Compression socks and flight socks are the same since they both provide compression to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
How Many Hours a Day Should You Wear Compression Socks?
While many say that it’s safe to wear compression socks all day, you should wear them for around a few hours a day. Unless, however, you’re on a long flight, then you should wear them the whole time.
Are Compression Socks Necessary for Air Travel?
Yes, compression socks are necessary for air travel if you significantly reduce your risk of DVT and other conditions that come with sitting in one spot for a long time.
Since compression socks squeeze against your legs, these types of socks are excellent for when you’re sitting for extended periods. In addition, the compression counteracts increased pressure from your veins and helps blood flow back to your heart.
Moreover, these socks are great for reducing leg swelling.
Who Should Not Wear Compression Socks?
You should not wear compression socks if you have a peripheral vascular disease that affects your lower extremities. Moreover, don’t wear compression socks if your doctor doesn’t say it’s okay.
You Won’t Regret Buying a Good Pair of Socks
While the socks on this list may cost a little more than typical socks you’ll see when Googling “hiking socks,” their durability and lifetime guarantees are worth the value. Moreover, you can buy with confidence knowing that you won’t have a pair of socks that’ll rip once you wear them for a weekend.