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The worst part about going on a hike? Wet, blistered feet. Once your socks and shoes are soaked through, you may as well cut the day short. Even waterproof boots will sometimes let water in, which is why you need an additional layer of protection for your feet. That is where waterproof socks for hiking can make all the difference.
Why should you consider waterproof socks for hiking and trekking? If you are just starting out with hiking, you may not yet realize how wet the trail can get at times. When traversing natural terrain, you are going to find streams, rain, mud, and other places where ordinary socks and shoes just won’t cut it. Colder climates are even more of a hazard, because excess moisture may freeze your toes.
A common rookie mistake is wearing tight shoes and cotton socks. This is a recipe for disaster. The cotton will hold onto the moisture, and your feet will not be able to breathe. Then, your skin will pucker, increasing friction, and you find yourself with horrendous blisters.
A pair of waterproof socks can make all the difference in the world. Rather than dealing with sweaty, smelly feet after a long hike that are covered in blisters, you can enjoy longer hikes without any pain. Waterproof socks are a step above regular socks and much more durable, so you should consider them for your outdoor adventures.
The Best Waterproof Socks for Hiking and Trekking
Whether you are hiking for hours under a blazing sun and sweating or fording a river in a National Park or got stuck in a pop up thunderstorm, waterproof socks are all about saving you and your feet from discomfort. There are plenty of waterproof socks for hiking available, but not all of them are created equally. That is why we at Trekkerr have created a list of the best waterproof hiking socks out there.
We looked at the quality, features, and things like wicking and breathability then rated the socks between 1-10, with 10 being the best. Which socks made the cut? Find out below.
Best Waterproof Hiking Socks: SEALSKINZ Outdoor Socks
Want a waterproof winter sock? Sealskinz is a UK brand that has been around since 1996 and has gotten a lot of attention for their products that help people combat extreme terrain and weather throughout the world. The mid-length and mid-weight waterproof outdoor sock they came up with is no exception. These socks are equally warm and breathable, enabling you to tackle all kinds of outdoor adventures in various cooler climates. Part of the reason these socks are so versatile is the proprietary material blend that features breathable, windproof, and waterproof technologies.
The lining is soft Merino wool, which is naturally odor resistant and moisture-wicking. In fact, Merino wool can soak up and release 10 times more liquid than synthetic materials. That’s why these hiking socks are ideal for wintertime.
Construction offers maximum support for your foot. The ankle is elasticized, and the socks have instep and heel support. The footbed, heel, and toes are padded to guard against shock, friction, and pressure, so you can worry less about blisters. The y-gore heel ensures a perfect fit over the heel, plus added comfort for longer walks or hikes. On the outside, you have a layer of elastane and nylon.
Windproof & Breathable - suitable for walking, camping, hiking in Cold conditions
- Completely waterproof and warm. These socks are ideal for frozen night's walking through snow and will keep your feet totally dry when you pair them with waterproof boots, as well.
- Three layers
- 41% Merino wool lining enhances breathability and warmth retention
- Can be worn for miles without needing to be changed
- All Sealskinz garments (socks included) use the same hydrophilic membrane with a hydrostatic head of 10,000 mm.
- Available in different colors
- May be too expensive for some people
- Runs slightly smaller than other hiking socks
- Can be too thick and hot for summer trekking
Best Knee High Waterproof Sock: SuMade Waterproof Knee High Socks
Want a sock that is ideal for cycling, hiking, snowboarding, golfing, skiing, climbing, kayaking, or any other activity you can think of? Check out the SuMade Waterproof Knee High Socks. One thing that sets these socks apart from other brands is that they are truly waterproof breathable socks. That is because of the mixture of Coolmax for moisture conductivity and high-quality nylon for enhanced durability. These socks are 100% waterproof, yet sweat does not get locked in either. Moisture is rapidly wicked away, so you remain comfortable throughout the day.
Another reason to love the waterproof knee high socks by SuMade? The exceptional design and attention to detail. You get padding all around the heel, toes, and footbed to protect against friction, pressure, and shock. The Y-heel adds security. A seamless toe reduces abrasion and lowers the risk of getting blisters.
SuMade socks have been tested to prove their breathability, fit, windproof and waterproof design. You can wear them for every occasion, even just walking around town on a rainy day, and feel on top of the world because your feet are completely dry.
100% Waterproof Socks, Summer Breathable Knee High Cushioned, Wicking for Cycling, Hiking, Camping, Fishing Socks
- Designed for high performance
- Y-heel for additional support and shock absorption
- Reduced friction and pressure
- Fast drying
- Uses Coolmax material for enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking
- Designed with comfort in mind, such as a cushioned heel, seamless toe, and elastic cuff
- Thick and heavy. More for fall and winter than summer.
- Waterproof for a limited time (there is a notable saturation point)
Best Cushioned Waterproof Hiking Socks: Showers Pass Waterproof Crosspoint WP Crew Sock
If you are looking for some of the most water-tight socks on the planet, then you should consider the Crosspoint sock by Showers Pass. What sets these socks apart from the rest? It would be the antibacterial inner layer. Many waterproof socks for hiking will begin to smell pretty bad after a long day of hiking, but the Crosspoint crew socks will take twice as long, making them the perfect companion for multi-day hikes.
Another reason to love Showers Pass waterproof hiking socks? They are lightweight. Unlike many other socks on the list, this pair is not concerned much about keeping your feet warm. That makes these the ideal waterproof trekking sock for tropical places with high humidity and a lot of intense heat. You might want to bring them on a trip to Phuket, for example.
One notable feature is that, while these socks look like a traditional sock, they are fabricated using a 3D molding knitting technique. This makes the socks seamless and form fit, even though they are made completely out of synthetics.
Waterproof sock with Coolmax FX moisture wicking anti-bacteria lining.
- Excellent cushioning for long days trekking trails
- Includes an antibacterial lining to prevent odors
- High-quality waterproofing ensures your feet stay dry
- High durability and wicking power
- Made with an outer of 78% nylon, 15% polyester, and 7% spandex. Inner lining is 81% Coolmax, 16% polyester, 2% spandex, and 1% nylon
- Fits snug to prevent blisters
- Uses the proprietary Artex waterproof membrane
- Not very warm—best for spring or summer months
- Not very comfortable, as some people feel they are too rubbery and tight
- Not windproof
- Sizing runs small
Best Waterproof Running Socks: RANDY SUN Waterproof Socks
RANDY SUN has gone and made some of the best waterproof socks for hiking, trekking, and running that men and women can enjoy for a reasonable price. The materials used for the waterproofing running sock include 32% polyester, 61% nylon, and 7% elastane on the outer layer. Inside, you have 66% Coolmax material, 30% polyester, and 4% elastane. The membrane used is high-quality Porelle, which is microporous and repels moisture away from your skin while also enabling for moisture-wicking.
RANDY SUN’s waterproof socks for hiking come in various sizes to fit both men and women. You can trust in the quality of the design, as well as the durability. The socks are seamless, wear resistant, and incredibly lightweight. You can use them for much more than hitting the trails. For example, these socks are prefered for a day on the slopes or while going for a run during a rainstorm. Added technologies, such as Dri-Fit and anti-blister construction, greatly reduces the chance of bruising and chafing. These socks have also been treated with a deodorant.
Unisex Hiking Wading Trail Running, Skiing and Crew Socks
- Can be washed by hand or machine
- Three layer design
- Versatile use – running, hiking, or casual use
- Extremely breathable and comfortable
- Dri-Fit and Anti-Blister technologies
- Made of waterproof nylon and polyester as well as stretchable elastane
- Available in tons of fun colors and designs for both men and women
- Decent price for the quality
- Takes a long time to completely dry. Some people noted that it can take up to 24 hours depending on the climate.
- Some people found the elastic around the ankle to be a little too tight. Check the sizing.
Best Budget-Friendly Waterproof Hiking Socks: Waterfly Waterproof and Breathable Sweat-Absorbing Socks
Don’t want to spend a lot on waterproof socks? You are not alone. The waterproof hiking socks by Waterfly promise dry feet and warmth without breaking the bank. For a three-layer sock, they are very affordable. Though these socks are not as waterproof as other socks on this list, they do their job well. The materials include an outer layer made mostly of nylon and 2% rubber (neoprene); the middle layer is a breathable and waterproof film; and the inner layer consists of nylon.
The construction of the Waterfly waterproof hiking sock is also commendable. The heel has been reinforced, and the valley is seamless, so you get a snugger fit without added pressure, making it similar to the Showers Pass socks. The ankle is elastic to help seal out the elements. These will stay up around your calves, no matter what you are doing on the trail. Plus, these socks are not as bulky as other brands on this list, so you can wear them with running sneakers or hiking boots without any discomfort.
Decently water resistant, light, warm and not bulky.
- Fairly inexpensive for a three-layer waterproof hiking sock
- Moderately warm—could be used for cooler weather
- Decently comfortable
- Lightweight and not too thick
- Features mesh to accelerate drying of sweat
- Highly elastic and snug for added comfort
- Soft enough to feel like a real pair of socks
- You get what you pay for, so don’t expect the same durability with these as more expensive socks
- Not very breathable
- Not as waterproof as other socks on this list
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Waterproof Hiking Socks For You
Nothing is more important than finding the best waterproof sock for you. Since your feet are the part of your body that takes the most abuse, you should also ensure they are receiving the best care and protection. Therefore, you should know that waterproof socks are going to be less flexible and thicker than regular socks. You will need to get used to them before hitting the trail.
Here are some features to consider when buying waterproof trekking and hiking socks:
Waterproof socks are going to be made of layers and are thicker than normal socks. Usually, waterproof hiking socks are knitted outside and inside and are fitted with a waterproof membrane that keeps water from soaking the material. Materials include synthetics, wool, silk, and padding that is used for comfort and moisture absorption. Silk is the least durable material but fastest drying. Wool is ideal for warmth and odor control. Another natural material showing up in waterproof socks is bamboo. Synthetics include things like nylon and Lycra.
As for the waterproofing layer, that is usually a hydrophilic nonporous PU membrane that is not as stiff as ePTFE membranes. The waterproofing layer works by transporting perspiration to the outside layers through solid state diffusion. In other words, any water molecules on your skin will pass through the membrane because of the higher temperature within the sock.
Choose materials that are going to cushion your foot. You don’t want your feet to feel bad during a hike, so think about the materials that you prefer and avoid the ones that are not pleasant.
Also consider arch support. Make sure the hiking socks have enough reinforcement against the arch to prevent pain.
Are your socks going to hold up for long trips without causing blisters? Can you expect them to last for years instead of months? Higher quality waterproof hiking socks are durable enough to remain in good shape for several years, but the cheaper versions are bound to be threadbare within a year. Make sure quality isn’t sacrificed for a lower price.
Different materials provide better wicking abilities. Wool, silk, and certain synthetics, like nylon and Lycra are best at drawing moisture away from the skin. Moisture-wicking basically works on a capillary action, where liquid (sweat or water) is moved through tiny interstices within the fabric. Polyester, nylon, and wool excel at moisture-wicking, whereas cotton is called “anti-moisture-wicking.”
Less breathable socks mean your feet may overheat during your hike. Therefore, always seek out the most breathable socks. Some materials, like Merino wool, are more breathable than others. Meanwhile, polyester may trap moisture and can be clingy.
Sometimes referred to as weight, which can be lightweight or heavyweight, depends solely on the thickness of the hiking sock. Because waterproof hiking socks come with three layers, they are going to be warmer than regular socks. Yet, if you need waterproof socks for the summer, you wouldn’t go with one that is heavy or rated for high warmth.
Your socks should never be too tight, too loose, or too long. Size them appropriately. Also, don’t forget to look at the height of your footwear. The higher the cuffs of your hiking boots or shoes, the taller you want the sock. This will protect your skin from rubbing.
Qualities of a Good Pair of Waterproof Socks
Aside from the features, you should also seek out specific qualities that guarantee an effective waterproof sock, including:
The best waterproof hiking socks will have 40% or more olefin woven into the fibers. Olefin is quick-drying and often used in swimwear. You may also see olefin listed as polypropylene.
Multiple Layers: Warm waterproof socks will have layers of material that combine to keep the innermost part 100% dry.
Some materials lock in odors while others prevent them with antibacterial elements and high breathability. Look for socks with anti-microbial, anti-fungal, or antibacterial included.
Sport socks, including ones for trekking, usually have extra support built into the arches and heels. These padded sections make for shock absorption and decrease fatigue, so you can go farther on your hike or run.
What is neoprene? It’s often used in electrical insulation, mouse pads, fan belts, and gaskets might not seem like something that is found in a sock, but neoprene technology is proven to be a boon. Neoprene is lightweight, waterproof, durable, stretchable, and can be infused into waterproof hiking socks. If you want the best waterproof socks, it should contain neoprene.
Want waterproof winter socks? Wool fibers are fantastic for cold climates because of its ability to regulate temperature while keeping moisture out.
How Long Should Waterproof Socks Last?
When selecting a decent pair of hiking socks, you might overlook durability for some other features, such as warmth and fit. After all, since your socks are usually covered by your footwear, you probably don’t expect your socks to deal with a lot of abuse during your adventures. That said, regular socks tend to soak up moisture and invite odors.
That is why you should invest in a decent pair of waterproof hiking socks. They will cost a bit more money than your average sports sock, but that is because they are designed to last much longer and keep your feet warm and dry. Most hiking socks will last a long while (as in several years) with proper care, unless you are climbing hills and hiking for miles every single day. Then, it may be every few months.
Can Waterproof Hiking Socks be as Breathable and Wicking as a Regular Pair of Socks?
No, waterproof socks are not as breathable as a normal pair of socks. It’s not really possible, since the waterproof materials used block airflow. Still, some materials are better than others with breathability and moisture-wicking. Wool, for example, is great at wicking away moisture, so it makes for a wonderful inner layer. Some synthetics do the job, but they also tend to breed bacteria, leading to stinky feet and socks.
But all waterproof socks are going to be less breathable than casual and active socks, simply because of the three-layer system.
Are waterproof socks worth it? While waterproof socks for hiking might not be as breathable as ordinary socks, they do one thing extremely well: keeping your feet warm and dry in harsh conditions. Because you never know what you will encounter on the trail, it is recommended that you have a pair of waterproof socks with you to use in wet conditions.
Which waterproof socks are the best? That depends on your needs. Keep breathability, wicking ability, materials, and comfort or design in mind. Hopefully, the examples we provided will help you narrow down some options for your next outdoor adventure.