Toasty Toes: Best Winter Hiking Socks (2023)
There’s so much to love about hiking in the winter – the cold, crisp air, wildlife tracks on freshly-fallen snow, leafless trees that allow for far-reaching views.
Therefore, it’s a must to have a good pair of warm winter socks on the trails. The chill of winter can lead to frozen toes and uncomfortable cold-weather hikes.
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While some prefer warm, sunny days to hike the trails, there’s something special about hiking in the calm and quiet of nature. Especially when you have toasty toes.
You can purchase toe warmers to keep your toes warm on the trails, but proper winter hiking socks are what you need for long-lasting warmth outdoors.
In winter, you’ll also want to toss a pair of microspikes for hiking into your daypack. They will help keep you from slipping on the uphill and the downhill.
Here are three top picks for the best winter socks for hiking in cold weather that you’ll want to be wearing on the trails this season. Stay warm out there, friends.
Quick Picks: Winter Hiking Socks
Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight Socks
Made in Vermont, Darn Tough socks are comfortable, durable and come in different colors. They also keep blisters, moisture and cold feet at bay.
Darn Tough is all about socks. It’s all they do. They make socks for hiking, skiing, running and hunting. They know socks. It’s hard to go wrong with this brand.
For men and women, the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Socks are a great choice for hiking socks. That’s according to 1,500+ five-star reviews.
Made with 59% Merino wool, these breathable, quick drying socks keep feet warm and comfy. A mid-level cushion makes you feel like you’re walking on air.
With regard to height, these micro crew socks work well with hiking boots and hiking shoes. The top of the sock peeks above the top of a standard hiking boot.
Size up for the best fit. These socks have a lifetime warranty. If you get a tear or a hole, Darn Tough will replace them for free, no questions asked.
Smartwool Hiking Crew Socks
The Smartwool brand is another leading brand of hiking socks with a legion of loyal followers who love to be in the great outdoors, even in cold conditions.
Unlike Darn Tough, Smartwool makes more than durable socks. Using Merino wool, they manufacture base layers, underwear and accessories, like neck gaiters.
For winter hiking, opt for the medium crew style which has full cushioning to absorb impact with each step and keep your toes warm on cold-weather days.
Smartwool Hiking Crew Socks are beloved by hikers, including more than 140 reviewers that awarded these warm wool socks a five-star rating.
These performance fit socks will last a very long time. Some hikers say these socks lasted them more than 15 years before they needed a new pair.
Warm and cozy are words often used to describe these socks, which are often donned inside the house too thanks to their, well, warmth and coziness.
Danish Endurance Merino Wool Socks
It gets cold in Denmark, so you can bet that the Danes know how to stay warm. It’s no surprise that Danish Endurance socks are one of the best wool socks.
Their high quality Merino wool hiking socks have been awarded a five-star rating by nearly 7,000 people, including a Mount Everest climber.
Unlike Darn Tough and Smartwool, Danish Endurance socks are unisex, so both men and women can wear the same hiking socks. Size down if in between sizes.
These socks are made with 30% Merino wool, but that doesn’t mean these hiking socks are less warm in winter. They cost less, but still do the job for your feet.
The Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks cushion your feet and wick moisture to keep your feet warm and blister-free when out on the trails.
There is no lifetime guarantee with these socks, but the company is known for its first-rate customer service. Don’t hesitate to give them a ring with any issues.
Final Notes: Winter Hiking Socks
There’s nothing worse than walking mile after mile with cold toes. Long hikes in winter can quickly become not fun, especially for beginner hikers.
Merino wool is the way to go for warmth and comfort. It’s also wise to choose comfortable, thermal socks you won’t need to replace year after year.
To give your winter hiking socks a power boost, opt for liner socks, which offer added moisture-wicking properties. In this case, to the outer layer hiking sock.
One top pick is Injini Liner Crew Toesocks. Wear these sock liners as an inner layer under your hiking socks for added warmth and coziness on the hiking trails.
Winter hiking is fantastic when there are few people on the trails and you can take in the serenity of nature. With the warmest socks, of course.
The best warm socks pair well with all kinds of outdoor activities in winter, including long walks and quiet hikes, as well as snowshoeing and skiing.
For more gear picks for winter hiking or winter car camping (which by the way, are great gift ideas for hikers), check out my Gear Guides.
Erin Gifford is the editor of Go Hike Virginia. She has completed more than 300 hikes in Virginia. She is also the author of three hiking guidebooks from Falcon Guides. Need help finding a hike? Check out the Trail Finder feature or send Erin a message.