Hi All, Ben here.
Below is a guide on thinking about the Socks you might be looking to chose depending on seasons, Its by Hi-Tec Sports, I’m sure for most of you they need no introduction, but for those who don’t recognise they’re a forerunner in the Hiking Boots industry. So thanks to Mike over at Hi-Tec, we’ve got an instructional and some considerations on what boots and socks you might want to consider looking at.
When it comes to hiking, your choice of footwear is probably one of the more mundane details. However, making the wrong decision can mean the difference between enjoying your excursion into the countryside and counting down the miles Kilometers as you hobble around your planned route. In order to ensure the comfort of your feet you must select the right shoes or boots and also the right hiking socks to complement them. In both instances, your choice should be guided by two considerations: the weather conditions and terrain you’ll encounter.
If you are hiking in especially hot weather it could be that a standard pair of hiking boots will cause overheating. In such cases it can be wise to opt for hiking shoes that finish below the ankle and allow for the air to circulate around your feet. This, of course, means less support to the foot and ankle area, meaning they may not be suitable if your route involves some rough terrain. It’s a trade-off you’ll have to decide upon depending on your individual circumstances.
The lower rim allows for a low-cut sock to be worn without the need to worry about rubbing occurring, whilst further improving ventilation. If you plan on wearing some lightweight low-cut socks, be sure to get specialist hiking ones that offer additional padding and support. (We’ll go into more detail as to why this is important later on in this post.)
Where the weather is moderate, typically during the spring and autumn months, standard hiking boots are the norm. They will help to add some warmth to your feet and offer suitable support for most terrain.
In terms of walking socks, you will require a mid-weight pair, which stretches up to around the mid-calf area to protect against any water or mud splashes. The increased thickness of the material will help to keep your feet warm and also add some extra cushioning.
Cold conditions or extreme terrain
If you are hiking during the colder months and wearing normal walking boots then there are thicker socks out there that will help to provide additional insulation. These will often be marketed as ‘mountaineering socks’, rather than hiking socks.
This type of sock is also suited for when you require mountaineering boots for the most demanding terrain. The extra thickness of the socks provides welcome padding to counter the rigidity of mountaineering boots.
Finding a good pair of socks
Irrespective of whether you require lightweight hiking socks for the hottest conditions, or extra-thick socks for winter excursions, there are four key elements that you should look for.
- With any item of clothing you will always do your best to get the perfect fit. This is especially important when it comes to hiking socks, as a pair that doesn’t quite fit can mean extra friction. Over the course of a long hike this friction can result in discomfort and possibly even blisters.
- It is possible to buy hiking socks that are designed to be unisex, or that are intended for use by men or women only. The key difference between men’s and women’s hiking socks is that the latter are narrower in keeping with the female’s anatomy. Unisex ones will take the middle ground and so are suitable for both men and women. Try to avoid socks that are specifically designed for the opposite sex, as they are likely to cause discomfort.
- The fibres used to make technical hiking socks are very advanced in order to deliver maximum comfort and performance. Many of these materials have been engineered by individual manufacturers and copyrighted as part of their brand. As a result, it can be a little bewildering as to which materials are best suited to your needs. All you really need to look for here are materials that are both wicking, to take moisture away from your skin and that are breathable to prevent overheating.
- Specialist walking socks should provide padding and support in the right areas of your feet, specifically the forefoot, heel, ball of your foot and toes. These are the parts of your feet that will encounter the most contact with the inside of shoes or boots, thus requiring extra protection.
Sponsored by Hi-Tec Sports, specialists in both mens and womens walking socks.