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How much do waterproof socks matter?
Even if you have an excellent pair of hiking boots, water often manages to find a way through. This is why you not only need waterproof boots but waterproof socks as well. Your boots will keep most of the water out, and your socks will protect you from what gets through.
You cannot predict what the weather will be like when you go on a lengthy hike. If you would not intentionally go on a hike when the ground is wet, the weather might turn against you unexpectedly. Bring the right gear with you; don't give the weather much opportunity to ruin your trip.
Even if your boots keep water from getting through, water can still get in from the top down. Even if you wear good boots and are careful, water often finds a way in. Walking around with wet feet can give you blisters - some inexpensive waterproof socks can prevent this.
Should you wear waterproof socks in everyday situations?
You should not wear waterproof socks unless you need them. While waterproof socks aim to be as breathable as possible, ordinary socks always let more air through.
Waterproof hiking socks are also more expensive than normal socks, so you want to wear out your normal socks rather than your hiking socks. Waterproof socks are often warm, so you might wear your hiking socks on some winter days when you are not hiking. Mostly, use them only when you need them.
Should you wear normal socks under waterproof socks?
No, there is never any reason to do this, and it will make your socks feel bulkier and less comfortable. Hikers wear waterproof socks against their skin.
How do waterproof socks keep the water out while being breathable?
Modern waterproof hiking socks have more than one layer of material. The inner layer is insulating, plus it cushions the foot and absorbs sweat. On the outside is a more durable layer that protects the soft inner layer from the boot.
The most critical layer is the middle layer between the two. The middle layer is waterproof but designed to allow your sweat to escape from your sock. If the waterproof sock lets the sweat escape, your foot will not get wet and cold over time.
Waterproof socks might use a mix of old fashioned, relatively new, and modern high tech materials. There might be an outer layer of durable nylon, an inner layer of comfortable wool, and a high tech membrane between the two.
Each layer might also be made out of a mix of different materials. Because there is more than one layer, waterproof socks are thicker than ordinary socks are. Waterproof socks must be stretchy to fit properly despite their thickness.
The best waterproof socks for hiking you can buy in 2020
As well as being waterproof and breathable, a good hiking shock should fit comfortably, keep your feet warm in cold weather, and last for a long time without getting holes. Thinner waterproof socks are better for everyday use than thicker ones.
1) Dexshell Coovlent Light
The Dexshell Coovlent Light waterproof socks do not feel thick or bulky at all. They feel just like ordinary socks, so you don't feel them on your feet at all. If you have tried waterproof socks before and found them too bulky, the Dexshell Coovlent Light's might be the right choice.
Even though they are thin, the Dexshells are quite waterproof. Water can get in from the top more easily than it should be able to, but it won't get through the socks easily. You can even stand in water for a while without any water getting through.
If you don't want your feet to get too hot in the summer, these socks might not be the best choice. They do keep sweat from building up inside, but they are still too warm for the hottest months. They are good socks for the winter first and the summer second.
- Thin and not too bulky
- Waterproof even if you stand in water
- Very warm, best for the winter months
2) Sealskinz Waterproof Trekking
Getting your feet wet in cold weather may not only lead to discomfort and blisters but to pain and frostbite as well. Sealskinz socks have a reputation for being able to stand up to the worst weather conditions. Even if it is both cold and wet, Sealskinz trekking socks can protect your feet.
The sock is made out of a mix of high-quality wool and synthetic materials, a comfortable combination. The sock also absorbs moisture and deals with odors well.
Another advantage of the Sealskinz is that you can safely put them in the washing machine. Many waterproof socks are not machine washable like the Sealskinz are.
The sock won't slide around on your foot very much when you walk; this means little friction and no discomfort on long hikes. The Sealskinz are relatively expensive but are high-quality socks made and tested one at a time in the United Kingdom. They are worth the higher than average price.
- Particularly effective against cold and wet weather
- Comfortable to wear
- Machine washable
- Carefully made by hand
3) Randy Sun Hiking Socks
The Randy Sun Socks are a great choice if you are looking for something comparable to the Sealskinz but at a much lower price. While the Randy Sun socks are not quite as good as Sealskinz, they do offer similar features.
The Randy Suns do not feel bulky at all, can protect against very cold weather, and are waterproof. The Randy Suns are also machine washable as long as you do not use very hot water. You can find the Randy Suns in a variety of different sizes, and they are made for both sexes.
The soles of the Randy Suns are cushioned, so they can save you from discomfort if you are on your feet for a long time. The Randy Suns are truly waterproof - you can stand in the bathtub with these socks on, and your feet won't get wet for a long time. They do not dry quickly, and after you wash them, by hand or not, you will have to wait 24 hours before they are completely dry.
- Good quality at a low price
- Thin and comfortable
- Great performance against cold and water
4) Hanz All Season
The Hanz All Season Waterproof crew socks are in the middle of the price range and have no real disadvantages. The mix of different materials (nylon, lycra, and spandex) works well to keep water out while letting sweat escape from the sock. The socks are rigorously tested before being put on the market and can withstand water under pressure.
The Hanz All Season socks are also high (11 inches), which makes it a lot harder for water to get in from the top of the sock. If your feet sweat a lot, the Hanz All Seasons pull sweat away better than most waterproof socks do. The socks are stretchy, so they may still fit you if you accidentally get one size too small.
- 11 inches high, not merely ankle height
- Waterproof and well tested
- Stretchier than most other brands
5) WETSOX Waterproof Outdoor Socks
Wetsox Outdoor Socks are another option if you are looking for cheaper waterproof socks that work. The socks' wool interior can keep your feet from getting sweaty, too hot, or too cold, and the exterior is good at keeping the water out. The socks are also windproof while still being breathable.
The wool interior is antibacterial and odor resistant. Despite the low price, these socks are durable and backed by a warranty. The socks are suitable for all seasons and do not get too hot in the summer.
People disagree on whether or not the Wetsox Outdoor Socks are as good as more expensive brands. Some find the socks to be quite waterproof; others report that the toe cannot be exposed to water for very long without leaking. The Wetsox are also not very stretchy, so you have to get the right size, or the socks will not fit well.
- Protects from the cold without being too hot in hot weather
- Resistant to bacteria and odors
- Low price
6) Highcamp 100% Waterproof Breathable Crew Socks
The Highcamp socks fit well and are comfortable because the waterproof membrane is three dimensional and not flat. You do not feel like your foot has to push the sock open, so they are comfortable the first time you wear them. The socks are also seamless, which improves the socks' comfort further.
The Highcamp socks might be the low-priced brand you can get. They are both breathable and waterproof, and they are noticeably more comfortable than most other waterproof socks. While they are machine washable, make sure you do not wash them in hot water, and always hang them up rather than put them in the dryer.
- Well shaped and comfortable
- Waterproof and breathable
- Low price
7) Waterfly Waterproof Socks
If you find it difficult to find waterproof socks that fit you, you should try stretchier socks that do not have to be precisely the right size. The Waterfly socks are some of the stretchiest you can get, with nylon used for both the outer and inner layers.
The Waterfly socks will fit your feet well and do not bunch up at the toe as some socks do. The Waterfly socks are also thin, so if your boots are a bit tight, they may still fit. Waterfly waterproof socks are not only cheap but also backed by a one year warranty, so they are great value.
The Waterfly socks are not always capable of resisting the coldest and wettest conditions. They will start to leak if you take them out in the cold and wet for too long, although they will work in most circumstances. They are also only ankle-length; many hikers prefer longer socks.
- Robust warranty
- Made out of thin and stretchy nylon
8) Sumade Waterproof Breathable Socks
If hiking gives you blisters on your toes, the padded Sumade waterproof socks might help you. The toes and heels of the Sumade socks are very well designed to prevent friction. Since these are such a comfortable pair of socks, you might find them suitable for everyday use and not only use when hiking.
Unfortunately, the Sumade socks seem to vary in quality. While most pairs are quite waterproof, some do not work as well. On another level, these are some of the most comfortable waterproof socks you can get, so they are great if you don't end up with a poorly made pair.
- Very well padded, especially around the toes and heel
- Suitable for everyday use
9) Meikan Waterproof Socks
The Meikan socks stand out because of their appearance. The socks offer many different colorful designs. Hiking wear can be a bit drab, and you can brighten up your appearance with interesting hiking socks.
The Meikan socks use bamboo fiber in addition to other materials, which makes them very good at getting sweat away from your skin. The Meikan socks are also good at preventing your sock from sliding around in your boot or shoe. The sock needs to stay in place because it leads to irritation and blisters if the sock slides around.
The Meikan socks are also light (for people who want to minimize how much weight they are carrying around) and can protect your skin from the wind as well as they can protect your feet from the water.
- Interesting stand out appearance
- Very good at keeping your feet from sliding around in your boots
- Resistant to the wind as well as water
10) Tanzant Breathable Waterproof Socks
The Tanzant socks feel odd at first but are still comfortable. The unusual mix of materials that the Tanzant socks are made out of is effective. The socks are both water-resistant and breathable, plus minimize odors as well.
While the Tanzant socks are likely to protect your feet when hiking, they are not quite as waterproof as they could be. If you fill them up with water in the sink, they do leak after a while. Some socks are more waterproof than these.
The Tanzant socks are durable when you wear them, but have to be washed carefully. If you do not wash them by hand, make sure you wash them only in cool water. Always hang them up to dry and do not either dry clean them or put them in the dryer.
- High breathability
- Odor resistant
About THE AUTHOR
From a young age I was introduced to fishing, hiking, camping, snowboarding and more through family, friends, and scouting. After 20 years of learning and participating in these outdoor activities, I share what i've learned (and continue learning) with you.Read more about Scott Kimball