The most important piece of ‘footwear’ isn’t your boots; it’s socks that keep your feet dry, padded and comfortable.
Socks should fit snugly and stay put when they’re on. Elasticated arches and ankles provide a tight fit and prevent socks 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.
Padding is provided in key areas such as the heel, arch, toes and shin to soften the impact of trail walking and absorb pressure from footwear.
The primary purpose of a tramping sock is to keep feet dry. Feet can sweat up to a cup of water a day, and socks draw this moisture away from the foot and into the lining of the footwear. The moisture is then wicked through the lining and released into the air.
Ventilation panels, often on the bridge of the foot, help feet remain cool and dry by speeding up the wicking process.
Try different pairs to make sure the fit is spot-on as excess material can lead to rubbing which could cause blisters.
Three-layer waterproof socks contain a waterproof and breathable membrane sandwiched between a soft, often woollen, inner sock and a durable outer sock. These socks are designed for cold and wet conditions.
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: provides elasticity to keep socks up.
- Nylon: adds durability.
- Other synthetic materials: wick moisture to keep feet dry.
Chafe-free seams lay flat against the skin to reduce pressure points and rubbing.
Sealskinz All Weather Mid Length Sock with Hydrostop $99.99
Three-layer waterproof/breathable sock featuring a Hydrostop Water Barrier cuff. Merino wool lining, footbed padding, flat toe seams, four-way stretch, ankle and instep support for moisture control, insulation and comfort. Outer 90% nylon, 10% elastane Middle 100% Hydrophilic membrane Inner 36% Merino wool, 36% acrylic, 18% polyester, 5% elastane, 4% nylon, 1% TPU. www.southernapproach.co.nz
Bridgedale Storm Sock Midweight $84.99
Waterproof boot length sock with a dense merino terry cushioned footbed, heel and ankle, flat toe seams, four-way stretch, elasticated arch. Outer 95% nylon, 5% Lycra Middle PU waterproof/breathable membrane Inner 54% Merino wool, 36% polyester, 7.5% nylon/polyamide, 2.5% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz
Dexshell Terrain Walking Socks $76.99
Waterproof mid-calf, mid weight three-layer sock with silver-treated fibres for anti-bacterial properties, heel-to-toe terry loop cushioning pad. Outer 83% polyester, 9% nylon, 5% elastic, 3% elastane. Middle Porelle waterproof/breathable lining Inner 76% Coolmax Fresh FX yarn 24% nylon. www.dexshell.co.nz
Bridgedale Explorer Heavyweight Merino Performance $52.99
Expedition sock for extended use, dense cushioning throughout provides extra warmth, impact resistance and comfort. Combination of natural and synthetic yarns for dry, warm, blister-free feet. Composition 28% merino wool, 19% New Wool, 34% nylon, 18% Endurofil, 1% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz
Point6 Mixed Stripe Medium Crew $49.99
Extra instep and leg cushioning, ankle brace prevents sagging, smooth toe seam, ventilation panels, arch support, deep heel pocket, reinforcement in high wear areas. Composition 71% wool, 23% nylon, 6% elastic. www.gearshop.co.nz
Patagonia Heavy Weight Merino Daily Crew $49.99
Cold-weather socks in double-cylinder design with stretchy rib knit, calf-length, Responsible Wool Standard merino. Construction 83% merino wool, 14% nylon, 3% elastane. www.patagonia.co.nz
Wrightsock Eco Run Reflective $49.99
360-degree reflective stripe, double layer reduces friction, stabiliser zone locks sock in place, no-blister guarantee, made from recycled plastic. Outer 68% Repreve polyester, 24% nylon, 8% Lycra, Inner 70% Repreve polyester, 26% nylon, 4% Lycra. www.wrightsock.co.nz
Bridgedale Hike Midweight Merino Performance $45.99
Award-winning three-season sock with flat toe seam, stra-tegic cushioning, a combination of natural and synthetic yarns for dry, warm, blister-free feet. Composition 26% New Wool, 18% Merino wool, 38% nylon, 17% Endurofil, 1% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz
Point6 Firecracker Extra Light Cushion Crew $44.99
Ankle brace prevents sagging, smooth toe seam, ventilation panels, arch support, deep heel pocket, reinforcement in high wear areas, light underfoot cushioning. Composition 65% wool, 28% nylon, 7% elastic. www.gearshop.co.nz
Point6 Hiking Peak Light Cushion Crew $44.99
Light cushioning underfoot, ankle brace prevents sagging, smooth toe seam, ventilation panels, arch support, deep heel pocket, reinforcement in high wear areas. Composition 64% wool, 29% nylon, 7% elastic. www.gearshop.co.nz
Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew $39.99
Lightly cushioned calf-length crew with engineered pattern for breathability and stretch, mesh arch brace, terry-loop footbed, Responsible Wool Standard merino. Construction 59% merino 39% nylon, 2% spandex. www.patagonia.co.nz
Earth Sea Sky Trekker $39.90
Extra cushioning in high impact zones, durable construction, next-to-skin softness, streamlined construction prevents bunching and movement on the foot, made in New Zealand. Composition 70% Merino wool, 24% nylon, 6% elastic. www.earthseasky.co.nz
The Glamorous Goat Thermal Tramper $34.95
Natural mohair fibre, cushioned leg and foot for cold-weather insulation, elasticated bands provide ankle and arch support, flat toe seams. Composition 42% Mohair, 42% Merino wool, 16% Polyamide. www.glamorousgoat.co.nz
Bridgedale Trail Run UltraLightT2 Low $31.99
Micro cushioned impact zones, supportive compression improves joint position awareness, extended, close-fitting cuff prevents debris entering, wide reinforced toe box. Composition 34% Merino wool, 51% nylon, 14% Lycra Dry, 1% Lycra. www.ampro.co.nz