Gear Review: Three Essential Socks

Find the best socks for any occasion and preference.

midweight CREW

Balega Moh-rino Performance Crew

Everyone loves that fresh, new-sock feel, but after a couple days, most socks start to take on the look and scent of tired gym wear. Not these. Whether we were climbing in the Sierra or tramping on muddy Tasmanian trails, the merino-mohair blend of the Moh-rino Performance Crew retained the same shape, smell, and feel throughout the trip as the first day we put them on. $18;

midweight SHORTIE

Goodhew Taos/Sedona Quarter Sock

“Even after I wore these socks for five straight days of peakbagging, they didn’t lose a smidge of cushion,” raves one tester. Generous padding through the bottom absorbed impact on a cross-country hike to Mt. Morgan in the Sierras. Testers also lauded Goodhew’s fiber blend, which combines the durability of lambswool with the luxurious softness of alpaca (and adds stretch nylon and spandex for shape retention). $15;


Sockwell Elevation Graduated Compression Socks

In recent years, testers have become fans of compression socks because they improve blood flow to reduce soreness and swelling. These wool-blend socks have a higher compression rating—33 percent higher than most—that’s specifically designed for recovery. Says our tester, “I would limp into camp after 20-mile days on the John Muir Trail, but after a quick ‘icing’ in a stream and sleeping in these socks, I was miraculously pain-free in the morning.” $25;