A good pair of socks is your first line of defence against blisters and will ensure comfortable tramping day after day.
Padding is provided in key areas to soften the impact of trail walking and absorb pressure from your boots. Areas that are frequently padded are the heel, arch, toes and the shin.
Ventilation panels help feet remain cool and speed the wicking process to ensure they remain dry.
All socks have different blends of synthetic and natural fibres. The exact mix will determine the quality, durability and comfort of the sock. Here’s what the various fibres do:
- Wool: insulates the foot and helps control moisture. Merino is naturally anti-bacterial and odour-resistant.
- Lycra, spandex, elastane: provides elasticity to keep socks up.
- Nylon: adds durability.
- Synthetic materials like Endurofil or CoolMax: wick moisture.
Socks should fit snugly and stay put when they’re on. An elasticated arch and ankle prevent the sock sliding forward and bunching around the toes. The weave – in various thicknesses and knits – creates airspace against your skin to help keep feet dry and move moisture into the boot lining.
Try different pairs to make sure the fit is spot on – excess material can lead to rubbing which could cause blisters. Tip: lay a sock along your forearm – the length of your forearm from inside elbow to wrist should be the same length as your foot.
Dry feet are less likely to blister or overheat, and a good sock will complement a boot’s lining by creating a gap which allows moisture to be drawn away from your foot, through the boot lining, to be released into the air.
Chafe-free seams lay flat against the skin to reduce pressure points and rubbing.
Bridgedale Storm Sock Midweight $74.99
Waterproof boot length sock with a dense merino terry cushioned footbed, heel and ankle. Composition 95% nylon/polyamide, 5% Lycra/elastane (outer) / 54% merino wool, 36% polyester, 7.5% nylon/polyamide, 2.5% Lycra/elastane (inner). www.ampro.co.nz
Bridgedale Hike Midweight Merino Performance $42.99
Award-winning three-season sock with Fusion Technology that combines natural and synthetic fibres. Men’s and women’s sizing. Composition 26% new wool, 18% merino wool, 38% nylon, 17% Endurofil, 1% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz
Bridgedale Explorer Heavyweight Merino Performance $49.99
Expedition sock for extended use backpacking, tramping and walking. Dense cushioning provides warmth, impact resistance and comfort. Natural and synthetic yarns for dry blister-free feet. Composition 28% merino wool, 19% new wool, 34% nylon, 18% Endurofil, 1% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz
Bridgedale Hike Lightweight T2 Merino Performance $44.99
Hybrid construction with mesh side and underfoot venting panels, T2 anti-compression technology, FusionTech helps wick moisture. Men’s and women’s sizing. Composition 31% merino wool, 37% nylon, 31% Endurofil, 1% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz
Macpac Expedition Socks $39.95
Heavy duty hiking sock, merino blend, fully cushioned with high loop pile, elasticated comfort top, an elastic arch and ankle support, ventilation channels for moisture management, smooth toe seam, reinforced heel and toe. Composition 34% merino wool, 34% acrylic, 17% polypropylene, 13% nylon, 2% elastane.
Macpac Tech Ski Socks $34.99
Precise asymmetrical fit, technical nylon stretch blend, knitted air channels for moisture management, elastic arch and ankle support, cushioning in heel, toe and shin, smooth toe seam. Composition 58% nylon, 20% acrylic, 20% polypropylene, 2% elastane. www.macpac.co.nz
Thorlos Light Hiker $39.90
For day hikes in moderate to hot climates, cushioning in ball and heel, light cushioning at instep and arch, stretch yarns in the arch. Men’s and women’s sizing. Composition 62% Thor-Wick Cool, 19% Thor-Lon Acrylic, 14% nylon, 5% spandex. www.thorlos.co.nz
Thorlos Hiker $39.90
For hiking in moderate climates on varied terrain, thick cushioning in ball and heel, cushioning at instep and arch, stretch yarns in the arch. Men’s and women’s sizing. Composition 87% Thor-Lon Acrylic, 11% nylon, 2% spandex. www.thorlos.co.nz
Thorlos Mountaineering $54.90
For sub-zero temperatures, thick cushioning in ball and heel, moderate cushioning at the ankle, shin, instep and arch. Stretch yarns in the arch, 100% wool toe, calf-length. Composition 60% Worsted wool, 26% Thor-Lon Acrylic, 11% nylon, 2% spandex. www.thorlos.co.nz
Thorlos Trekker $49.90
For extended trekking in all climates, thick cushioning in ball and heel, moderate cushioning at instep and arch, stretch yarns in the arch. Composition 44% Thor-Lon Acrylic, 39% wool, 6% hollow-core polyester, 8% nylon, 3% spandex. www.thorlos.co.nz