Investing in a good pair of outdoor socks will pay dividends as they cushion feet on rough trails and help keep them blister-free.
The primary purpose of outdoor socks is to keep feet dry. As feet sweat – up to a cup of water a day from a pair of feet – socks draw moisture away from the foot and into the lining of the boots. The moisture passes through the lining and is then released into the air.
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 the skin to help keep feet dry and move moisture
into the boot lining.
Chafe-free seams lay flat against the skin to reduce pressure points and rubbing.
Padding is provided in key areas like the heel, arch, toes and shin to soften the impact of trail walking and absorb pressure from your footwear.
Ventilation panels help feet remain cool and dry by speeding up the wicking process.
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.
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 odour-resistant.
- Lycra, spandex, elastane: Provide elasticity to keep socks up.
- Nylon: Adds durability.
- Synthetic materials: Wick moisture to keep feet dry.
A double-layered sock is most often used with waterproof models. They feature a waterproof outer and a normal sock inner. An extra layer is also used in some models to reduce blister-causing friction.
Dexshell Trekking Sock $79.99
Waterproof and breathable, Porelle lining, mid-calf length, close-fitting. Construction Inner: 40% merino wool, 40% anti-pilling acrylic, 20% nylon. Outer: 97% abrasion resistant nylon, 2% elastane, 1% elastics. www.dexshell.co.nz
Bridgedale Storm Sock Midweight $74.99
Waterproof boot length sock with a dense merino terry cushioned footbed, heel and ankle. Composition Inner: 54% merino wool, 36% polyester, 7.5% nylon/polyamide, 2.5% Lycra/elastane. Outer: 95% nylon/polyamide, 5% Lycra/elastane. e.ampro.co.nz
Thorlos Mountaineering $54.90
For sub-zero temperatures, thick cushioning in ball and heel, moderate cushioning at 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
Bridgedale Explorer Heavyweight Merino Performance $49.99
Expedition sock for extended use backpacking, tramping and walking. Dense cushioning throughout provides warmth and impact resistance.
Combination of natural and synthetic yarns for dry, blister-free feet.
Composition 28% merino wool, 19% new wool, 34% nylon, 18% Endurofil, 1% Lycra. e.ampro.co.nz
Wrightsock Adventure $49.99
Double layer, stabiliser zone locks sock in place, mesh panel, thick
padding, no-blister guarantee. Composition Inner: 70% Dri-Wright II polyester, 26% nylon, 4% Lycra. Outer: 74% Dri-Wright II polyester, 20% nylon, 6% Lycra. www.wrightsock.co.nz
Thorlos Trekking $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
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. e.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. e.ampro.co.nz
Thorlos Hiking $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
Earth Sea Sky Trekker Sock $39.90
Streamlined construction for close fit, extra cushioning in high impact zones, made in New Zealand. Composition 70% merino, 24% nylon, 6% elastic. www.earthseasky.co.nz