When hiking, it is completely acceptable to be a little bit extra when it comes to attire and clothing because you are literally on your feet the entire day, and you want to be at least mildly comfortable. I am in no way claiming that all hiking is comfortable because if you believe that, you are in for some bad news. As hikers, we like to do what we can to be more comfortable, and we need to protect the most important hiking tool we have, our feet!
We could talk about boots, but we will save that for later. Today, we are only going to focus on socks. Yes! Socks! Who knew what kind of socks you wore could have such an impact? I had to learn this on my own through many blisters and aches. Here is what I have learned about the importance of good socks on a great hike.
When picking out the perfect pair of hiking socks, you must first pick a height that is higher than your boot. The top of your boot will rub against your ankle after a while in some way. This is incredibly uncomfortable and can even become a first aid problem. It also is good to do this because it will keep ticks from biting under your boot where you cannot see them. The length that usually works for hiking boots is crew, but if yours are shorter, you can go shorter! It all depends on the boots.
Next, make sure the sock actually fits. Like it should be tight to your foot. If it is too big, you are likely to get more blisters. At that point, you might as well not even have socks on. If the socks are too small, they tend to slip off or down. You can talk to experts at sports stores to more closely find a match in size if you are not sure what a fitting sock should feel like.
The material of the sock is important too. Cotton is the worst. Just because it is cheaper, does not mean you should get it. After a long couple of hikes, the socks are done. The material absorbsand hold on to moisture, plus it gets really hot. Though there are other types of socks that you can get, I will always say to go with wool.
As far as cushioning goes, it really depends on your trip. If your socks have more cushion, they are more comfortable for higher impact activities, but they are mush warmer too. I personally hate having hot feet. I like to do a light cushion. My husband likes a lot of it because unlike me, he enjoys warm feet- especially when comfort is the reason.
The same rules that apply to you and I for socks and hiking apply to the little ones too. Be sure they have comfortable socks on their feet. A little trick that I learned in summer camp as a child was to always wear long socks and tuck my pants into them. I know I bring up ticks a lot, but this is one of the easiest ways to keep them from biting you.
That’s all about socks! Next week, we can talk about footwear that goes over the socks! I’ll see you and your beautiful socks on the trails! As always, remember to use the hashtag #TWLHikingClub on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to have your photos and stories featured on TWL!