Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Essentials

Gear Hall of Fame: Socks

The BACKPACKER editors pick the pairs that have stood the test of time.


The Sock Guy Full Cushion Snowboard “These are the first ones I grab after a laundry cycle and the ones I'm most likely to reuse and abuse before the…

The Sock Guy Full Cushion Snowboard “These are the first ones I grab after a laundry cycle and the ones I’m most likely to reuse and abuse before the next laundry cycle. They’re my favorite ski socks because they’re padded through the shin with a heavyweight terry cloth, which offers extra-plush shock absorption during the ascent and in walk mode.” —Maren Kasselik $20; sockguy.com

“This is the first pair of ‘technical’ socks I ever owned. They’re the perfect weight for any spring/summer activities. I’ve worn these for four…

“This is the first pair of ‘technical’ socks I ever owned. They’re the perfect weight for any spring/summer activities. I’ve worn these for four years of college cross-country and track, numerous adventure races and mountain bike snafus, and now triathlons. Despite the run in the heel, I can’t bear to give them up.” —Katie Herrell $17; smartwool.com

“These perfectly sculpted socks (there’s a left and a right, marked accordingly) have super-smooth toe seams and great stretch and rebound, so even…

“These perfectly sculpted socks (there’s a left and a right, marked accordingly) have super-smooth toe seams and great stretch and rebound, so even after two days of wear on the trail, they still fit perfectly.” —Kristin Hostetter $19; us.icebreaker.com

“I have five pairs now because I wear them all the time. They stay soft after numerous washes and fit perfectly. The ankles aren’t too tight like…

“I have five pairs now because I wear them all the time. They stay soft after numerous washes and fit perfectly. The ankles aren’t too tight like most socks of this height, and they wick sweat fast even on the hardest, sweatiest days.” —Brennah Rosenthal $18; fitssocks.com

“I love these tall socks for their warmth, especially in the long grasses heavy with morning dew in the Lead Kings Basin area of Colorado. It’s like…

“I love these tall socks for their warmth, especially in the long grasses heavy with morning dew in the Lead Kings Basin area of Colorado. It’s like having convertible pants—I just changed to short socks mid-morning once all the dew was melted and the air warmed up. Plus, they add fun and color to my backcountry wardrobe. And I make lots of friends wearing these, since everyone comments on them!” –Genny Fullerton $21; fitssocks.com Photo: Jay Miller

X-Socks Hiking “The fit is amazing—they perfectly conform to my feet. And they’ve been going strong for four years of regular use and they’re still…

X-Socks Hiking “The fit is amazing—they perfectly conform to my feet. And they’ve been going strong for four years of regular use and they’re still in great shape. Can’t say that about most other pairs I’ve tested this hard and long.” —Dennis Lewon $25; x-socks.com

“The ideal running sock. I’ve worn this pair in freezing temps and on sweltering days, and they’ve held their foot-fitted structure and wicked like I…

“The ideal running sock. I’ve worn this pair in freezing temps and on sweltering days, and they’ve held their foot-fitted structure and wicked like I almost couldn’t believe. I have four pairs and nothing’s come close in terms of comfort or stability.” —Anthony Cerretani $16.50; balega.com

\

“The cushion is super-resilient, so the padding holds up beneath the pressure of a heavy pack and stays springy over multi-day hikes.” —Kelly Bastone $19; dahlgrenfootwear.com

“These are my go-to socks for everyday hiking and kicking around. They have the perfect weight and thickness to keep my feet from sweating, and…

“These are my go-to socks for everyday hiking and kicking around. They have the perfect weight and thickness to keep my feet from sweating, and provide optimal “traction” with minimal slippage inside my boots.” —Anthony Cerretani $20; farmtofeet.com

\

“Like a second skin, these socks never bunch or wrinkle inside my boot, so they’re awesome at avoiding blisters on long tours.” —Kelly Bastone $20; fitssocks.com

“I’ve found this to be my ideal midweight, all-purpose hiking sock. The best part: between my 14-year old son and me (pictured; he always steals my…

“I’ve found this to be my ideal midweight, all-purpose hiking sock. The best part: between my 14-year old son and me (pictured; he always steals my socks), we’ve logged many hundreds of days in this one and it’s still going strong.” —Kristin Hostetter $22; point6.com (Note: This color no longer available.)

“After more than a year of regular use, these have held up well: no shrinking or thinning out under the foot, and only a light bit of pillage.”…

“After more than a year of regular use, these have held up well: no shrinking or thinning out under the foot, and only a light bit of pillage.” —Nancy Bouchard $21; dahlgrenfootwear.com

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.