Socks are one of the most underrated, pivotal pieces of kit you can take on any adventure trek.
Why? Well, there’s no chance you won’t use them, and not only that, but you’re going to be relying on them to get you there and back.
(Has anyone ever succeeded in trekking without socks? I don’t think so…)
They need to fit!
Hopefully I am talking to an educated bunch of people and you already know you need to buy the correct size socks? Size 9 shoes = size 9 socks?
Great, moving on!
As a matter of course, your socks have got to be comfortable – after all, you’re wearing them all day – but they also need to cushion and protect your high impact areas, ensure that moisture doesn’t stay on your skin and keep your foot at the right temperature.
I know, who’d have thought a sock was that important?
Anyway, I thought I’d put together a quick ‘sock-buying’ guide for trekkers who don’t want to get caught out…
What are you using them for?
This question is one of the most important – you wouldn’t slip on a pair of trainer socks and expect to scale Kili without some serious problems, nor would you wear super thick, heavy duty socks to play tennis.
It’s vital that you get trekking/mountaineering socks – they provide the right warmth and cushioning for your feet.
How thick should they be?
There’s no definitive answer here but it’s vital that whatever your answer is, it fits in with the rest of your footwear.
Get yourself a big, thick sock that makes your boots tight and you’re going to be in a world of trouble.
Ultimately, they need to be thick enough for the climate that you’re spending time in but the best thing to do is to try your socks with your boots before you go anywhere on a trek.
Oh, and I can’t reiterate enough: MAKE SURE YOU GET SOCKS THAT FIT. Otherwise you’ll have a miserable time and get blisters, which no one wants, right?
What about the shoe/sock combo?
Ultimately it’ll depend on where you’re going and what you’re doing but by and large: if you’re mountaineering and you’ve got proper mountaineering boots on, you’ll probably wear thicker, warmer socks and your boots will be made with those socks in mind.
In contrast, if you’re doing something lighter like walking on easy trails or fell running, you’ll probably need thinner socks that let your feet breathe whilst still supporting your feet.
What should the socks be made out of?
If you’re doing a proper trek, avoid cotton socks.
They don’t wick away the moisture from your feet, increasing the chances of foot fungi and because they’re not as soft as other socks out there, they can rub your feet up and give you sore spots and blisters. Also, once they get wet, they don’t keep your feet warm.
Instead go for natural merino wool socks or synthetic fabric socks – they do the exact opposite of cotton – wick away the moisture, dry quickly and insulate your feet. Oh and they’re much softer.
Should I wear one pair or two?
It depends. I have only ever needed one pair, unless it is cold, then I might slip on a second pair. But if you get lots of blisters, you might fancy two pairs – a liner and then a thicker sock over the top.
Should I get waterproof socks?
If your footwear isn’t waterproof, then almost certainly yes.
You can get some great waterproof socks from Sealskinz with a Merino wool liner, and you won’t go far wrong if you get those, regardless of your circumstances or the type of trek you’re doing.
Which Brand do you recommend?
I have recently moved over to Horizon Socks and find them very good. They have a sock for every occasion! They are certainly worth checking out and when we launch our online store we will certainly be stocking them!
I hope this summary has been helpful – if you’ve got any other questions, just pop them in the box below and I’ll be sure to answer them for you. Alternatively, contact us on 01769 309007