Hiking Gear Guide
Smartwool Socks

Smartwool Socks

Smartwool Hiking Sock - The best sock for hiking and cold weather use

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 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.

Because Smartwool socks are made from such high-quality shearling, they are incredibly soft and cozy to wear. As an added benefit, the fibers of the sock 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 - they help regulate the temperature of your feet, keeping them cooler than they otherwise would be in a more traditional hiking sock.

And, one very big final benefit of Smartwool socks - they breathe! This allows your foots moisture to escape, even during periods of high exertion. The result - No Stinky Feet!

Styles of Smartwool Socks for Hiking & Cold Weather

There are many styles of Smartwool socks available. However, many of these styles are for normal, everyday wear. For the person looking for a sock that will be used in cold weather or for hiking/backpacking, one of the three styles below are recommended. All of these socks are available through Zappos.

Light-Weight Crew Hiker Medium-Weight Crew Hiker Heavy-Weight Crew Hiker

Note, due to the premium shearling used, Smartwool socks are rather expensive in comparison to many other types of socks, ranging from $15-20 per pair, depending on which style you choose. However, it is money well spent. Once you start wearing Smartwool socks, you'll never want to give them up!

What Style to Get?

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

  • Cold Weather Protection - It 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 heavily 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 your foot inside your hiking boot.

Light-Weight Crew Sock - This sock is good for day to day uses, from going to the store to wearing them at the office. The socks provide some nice warmth, yet don't roast your feet in the summer. They also are not that thick, making it easy to get in and out of your shoes.

Heavy-Weight Crew Sock - 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.

  • Ultra-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 that the medium-weight crew sock is, making it perfect for long backpacking trips.
  • Home Use - If you like to wear socks (only) around the house, these are awesome socks, especially in the winter. Very warm, soft and cozy!

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. As Smartwool socks don't absorb water, I've found my socks are almost dry right out of the washer.

Pavement/Rocks - No! - 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 very quickly.

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