Smartwool Hiking Socks

I have used countless hiking socks over countless number of hikes in the US. I've used Thorlos, Sorels, WigWam's and names I'll probably never remember. Yet, nothing comes close to Smartwool socks for hiking or winter weather wear.

Smartwool Hiking Socks
A Smartwool Mid-Weight Hiking Sock. An ideal sock for hiking in both warmer and cooler weather. View more Smartwool Hiking Socks at Backcountry.Com

Smartwool socks are made from special, premium New Zealand wool (another word for shearling). This is the same wool used in high-end shearling products, including the popular Ugg Boots.

Since Smartwool socks are made from high-quality shearling, they are soft and comfortable and feel almost luxurious against the skin.

The fibers of Smartwool socks also contain thousands of air bubbles. These air bubbles not only keep your feet warm in the winter, but also cool in the summer. And this is why Smartwool socks are superb for hiking. The socks help regulate the temperature of your feet, keeping them cooler than they otherwise would be in a more traditional hiking sock.

There's also one very big benefit of Smartwool socks - they breathe. The breathability allows your foots moisture to escape, even during periods of high exertion. The result is that your feet remain dry and "odor free."

This article covers the following topics:

Why Smartwool Socks?

There are many good brands of hiking socks available. I've personally used socks from Thorlo's, Wigwam, and Smartwool.

Yet my favorite socks for hiking are, by far, socks by Smartwool. While Smartwool socks require a bit more care than other hiking socks, the benefits far outweight this drawback.

Yes, Comfort Matters - In terms of pure comfort, no sock beats Smartwool. The premium shearling insulation keeps Smartwool socks soft to the touch. Against the skin of the foot, Smartwool socks feel almost luxurious.

No More Stinky Feet - Smartwool socks breathe, which allows perspiration to escape and keeps your feet dry. And a dry foot is a foot that isn't smelly.

Smartwool Socks Aren't Just for Hiking - They make superb "around the house" socks too, especially during colder weather.

Styles of Smartwool Socks for Hiking & Colder Weather

There are many styles of Smartwool socks available. However, many styles are for normal, everyday wear. For the hiker wanting a sock for use in cold weather or for hiking/backpacking, one of the three styles below are recommended. All of these socks shown below are through Zappos.

Smartwool Light Weight Hiking Sock Smartwool Light-Weight Crew Hiker - What kind of day pack to use, and not to use, for a hike in Montana. Or whether you should use one at all.
Smartwool Light-Weight Hiker Smartwool Medium-Weight Crew Hiker - What kind of day pack to use, and not to use, for a hike in Montana. Or whether you should use one at all.
Smartwool Heavy Weight Hiking Sock Smartwool Heavy-Weight Crew Hiker - What kind of day pack to use, and not to use, for a hike in Montana. Or whether you should use one at all.

Note, due to the premium shearling used, Smartwool socks are rather expensive in comparison to many other socks, ranging from $15-25 per pair, depending on style chosen. However, it is money well spent. Once you start wearing Smartwool socks, it is difficult to give them up.

Which Style to Choose?

Medium-Weight Crew Hiker

This sock is my favorite and personal choice for most uses that involve outdoor activities, such as hiking and working outdoors. The sock also works well at home for just lounging around the house, too.

  • Cold Weather Protection - Sock provides plenty of warmth in all but the coldest weather.
  • Day Hiking - This is a superb sock for day hiking. The sole of the sock is reinforced, allowing for long wear. Moreover, the sock has just the right thickness that provides some good cushion for the foot without making it terribly difficult to get the foot inside a hiking boot or shoe.

View Available Styles and Colors at Zappos

Light-Weight Crew Hiker

This sock is good for day to day uses, from going to the store to wearing them at the office. The sock provides warmth, yet don't roast the feet during the summer. They also are not that thick, making it easy to get in and out of your shoes.

View Available Styles & Colors at Zappos

Heavy-Weight Crew Hiker

This is a very warm, thick sock. As such, it is not advised to be used with normal shoes, only boots that have some "room" in them, such as Sorel Boots or your typical backpacking Boot. Most definitely not an "office sock", although they work perfectly for wearing around at home.

  • Very Cold Weather - If you will be spending lots of time outdoors in very cold weather (such as construction work in the winter), this is the sock of choice as it provides superb insulation.
  • Backpacking - This sock is more heavily reinforced than the medium-weight crew sock, making it perfect for long backpacking trips.
  • Home Use - If you like to wear socks (only) around the house, these are great socks during the winter since they are warm, soft and cozy.

View Available Styles & Colors at Zappos

Smartwool Sock Care

Smartwool socks, as they are made out of high-grade shearling, require a bit more tender loving care than do your typical cotton or hiking sock.

  • Wash Cold - Always wash these socks in cold water. You can get buy using warm water, but warm water will overtime break down the sock more than cold water will. Never use hot water, ever.
  • Tumble Dry Low - Tumble dry on very low heat or let them dry out themselves. Since Smartwool socks don't absorb water, I've found my socks are almost fully dry right out of the washer.
  • Say "No" to Pavement & Rocks - Like wearing your socks, and only socks, outside? Well, if you do, stay off the pavement or the rocks. Shearling isn't as durable as a typical synthetic sock creation. Rocks and pavement will wear out the soles of a Smartwool Sock.

Where to Buy Smartwool Hiking Socks

Smartwool socks are widely available online and off.

Offline, the best place to purchase quality hiking socks is at specialty outdoor sporting good stores, such as Cabela's and REI.

Online, many specialized outdoor retailers sell Smartwool socks. The first retailer I'd suggest visiting is Backcountry.Com. They carry the full assortment of Smartwool hiking socks. And their website design makes it easy to search through various styles, color and brands.