Finding the right pair of shoes for mountaineering is key to a successful climb, and the right pair of socks is just as necessary to help your performance, too.
For starters, you’ll want socks that reduce friction between the shoe and the foot, as the construction balances pressure around the ankle, instep, shin and heel. Pick materials that help insulate your feet and absorb sweat, which otherwise could lead to blisters and bad odor.
As a bonus, they’re not just good for climbing and active lifestyles — you can wear them to keep your feet warm all day during the winter. Below, see our favorite picks.
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1. Smartwool Unisex Mountaineering Crew Socks
This option from Smartwool has a crew profile with a ribbed cuff for added support. The materials incorporate a blend of merino wool, nylon and elastane. Extra cushioning around the shins and soles provide absorption from impact and protection from friction and irritation.
Pros: The wool padding keeps the foot warm. The socks are versatile for mountaineering, ice climbing or multiday backpacking.
Cons: The arch brace’s effectiveness and tight fit could decrease, depending on how the socks are washed.
2. Danish Endurance Hiking Socks
Ultra-durable, Danish Endurance’s merino wool mountaineering socks are perfect for trekking as well as at-home occasions. Its blend of merino wool, acrylic, polyamide and elastane enjances breathability and helps keep the socks odor-free.
Pros: The socks are constructed with ventilation mesh lanes and panels that enhance airflow. Padding at the heel and toe protect against irritation that can occur from rubbing. The ribbing creates an anatomically snug fit that prevents slipping and bunching. Also, the merino wool is ethically sourced.
Cons: Take extra care with handling the socks as the seams might split.
3. Darn Tough Mountaineering OTC Extra Cushion Sock
There’s a reason these socks are named Darn Tough. They’re designed in a synthetic blend that keeps comfort, durability and function in mind. The over-the-calf silhouette comes with extra cushioning.
Pros: The socks are crafted to feel like you’re not even wearing them. They’re also antimicrobial and help eliminate odor. The construction can handle all sorts of weather: sleet, snow, rain and bone-chilling wind.
Cons: The fit might be snug around the calves, and it’s imperative to follow directions when washing so that they don’t shrink.