When you’re planning your next adventure challenge, your head will be full of thoughts. Which vaccinations do I need? How can I prepare thoroughly? You may not consider which socks to wear. But the reality is that your trek may well be ruined by the wrong pair of socks.
Let’s look at why the right pair of socks is so important to a successful adventure.
There is no question you will need supportive, comfortable boots and if these have taken up a large part of your kit budget, you may well be tempted to skimp on the socks you choose. Don’t make that mistake. Socks are just as vital as your boots and other gear when you are spending every minute on your feet. You need a good, comfortable layer of protection between your feet and your boots and choosing the wrong pair of socks can turn your expedition into a nightmare for your feet.
The right sock fabric You would imagine that summiting Mt Kilimanjaro involves wearing super thick and warm socks. Surprisingly, thicker socks don’t always work well in all temperatures – it depends on which fabrics you choose. Merino wool and other synthetic, moisture-wicking fibers will help manage moisture and keep unwanted odors away. Merino wool helps prevent blisters or any sagging and bagging that typically occurs in regular cotton socks. It is truly the magic fabric to keep your feet cool and dry in the summer and warm and cozy in the winter, making it perfect for your next trek.
How high should I go? We’re not just talking about high you should climb – that will be up to you – but how high should you sock go up your leg? To the top of the boot? Knee high? Crew socks are the most common height for hiking socks. They land above mid-calf and can be worn with most hiking boots. Knee high socks are best for cold days and mountaineering keeping your lower legs warm and protected.
How about the cushioning? There is a large variety of cushioning to choose from ranging from ultralight to extra heavy.
Ultralight - provides the absolute minimum feel between you and your boot
Light cushioning - works well for varied terrain and warmer day trips
Medium cushioning - is ideal for short trips in cooler weather
Heavy cushioning - is to keep feet warm during longer excursions in cooler weather
Extra heavy cushioning - is the ultimate in cushioning perfect for cold and rugged conditions
Bear in mind how much extra room you have in your hiking boots. Too much extra room may cause your feet to slide around, leading to discomfort or blisters.
What is my personal choice in trekking socks?
When choosing the perfect gear for my challenges I always go straight to Alpine Style in Tel Aviv. When it comes to hiking socks, check out DARN TOUGH, the best hiking socks in my opinion. For our next trek to Mount Aconcagua in January 2019 I plan to wear the ‘Hike/Trek Over-The-Calf, Extra Cushion’ socks with my new Mammut Magic Guide GTX boots, and even with my Millet Everest Summit GTX boots, as they ride high up the calf. I'll also be wearing them on our 2019 Mont Blanc and Mount Elbrus expeditions.
For our next trip to Everest Base Camp in March I will be wearing the ‘Hike/Trek Boot Sock, Full Cushion’ - ideal to match with my Salomon Alpine X boots. These I will also use on Mt Kilimanjaro as well as Ben Nevis in 2019, as they will ensure my feet stay dry and protected.
The ultimate goal here is to get socks that fit, wick moisture, add protection, and keep your feet comfortable while you're out there. The Merino wool used in all the Darn Tough socks do just that.