When it comes to guaranteeing a positive walking experience it is no question that you need to make sure you have the right pair of shoes. But that is not the only thing you should invest in to make sure your feet stay comfortable when taking a walk.
Most people have regular cotton socks, which will provide your foot with the bare minimum protection it needs to stay safe, but a high quality sock will provide your feet with much needed protection, comfort, and breathability. Although socks may seem like a common sense purchase, there are more features to them than just making sure that the sock fits your foot.
- Padding: Average socks have the same amount of padding throughout the whole sock. But high quality socks are made with additional padding in high impact areas such as your heel and the ball of your foot. With this additional padding your foot will be less achy after a long walk.
- Arch Reinforcement: While this feature of a sock is made specifically for people with high arches, it is also a great addition to anyone with regular or flat feet. Arch reinforcements on socks are stitched a little tighter to provide your foot’s arch with the structure and support they need.
- Height: Socks come in many different heights and styles. Choosing the height of your sock can depend on two things; your personal preference or style, or the type of shoe you are wearing the socks with. Typically, when wearing boots you want to go with a sock that has a higher shaft to protect your calf from abrasions cause by the boot.
- Fit: Socks are sized differently than shoes. While shoes typically have one size, socks come in sizes based off of a range. Trying socks on is the best way to guarantee that you have found a size that actually fits you. If the sock is too long then the sock will bunch up at the toes and if it is too small it will continue to slide off at the heel, or can cut into the heel causing blisters, and other discomfort.
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The features of socks are one of the most important aspects to consider when buying the best socks for walking, but it is also important to consider what type of material the socks are made out of. The material of a sock can provide many different aspects to your foot, so you need to find a sock material that is best for you and your foot’s preference.
- Wool: Typically, wool is seen as an itchy material that can provide discomfort, but nowadays wool is blended with other materials, or merino wool is used to provide a soft natural material. Wool also ensures your foot with warmth, even when wet, and comfort. It is also a quick drying material that is great for inclement walking conditions.
- Synthetic insulating materials: Synthetic insulating materials are made from a blend of many different fibers. These types of socks provide the warmth that a wool sock can provide, but also is moisture wicking and dries quicker than a wool sock. Although it is not a naturally made material, it is guaranteed to keep your feet happy.
- Silk: While silk is not a typical material to make socks out of, it is still common for sock liners or for wearing shoes in hot weather conditions. Silk is breathable and lightweight, meaning it can keep your feet cool on a hot summer day. But typically you will find silk being used as a liner to wear in-between your shoes and your socks.
- Synthetic wicking materials: Also typically used in sock liners is synthetic wicking materials. This material is used to keep your feet dry and cool as well. It is made up of breathable fibers and is sometimes woven into thicker socks to ensure a dry foot.
- Cotton: Cotton is the most common material that socks are made from, but they are the least practical. Cotton absorbs water and does not dry quickly, once your feet and socks get wet in cotton socks, your feet can develop blisters. Although cotton makes for a comfortable sock, it is not a go to material for the best walking socks.
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Types of Walking
Another factor that can determine what types of socks to buy is what you will be using it for. If you plan on taking leisurely walks around the block, or if you are buying socks because you want to start doing long distance or trail walking. Depending on the type of walking you plan on doing can determine the features you need to look for in a sock.
- Leisurely Walking: If you plan on just taking leisurely walks sporadically of even daily, you want a pair of lightweight and comfortable socks. You will not be putting a lot of impact on your feet so you will not need to wear very thick socks, with this type of activity thin socks are the best.
- Trail Walking: When you step up your walking, you also need to step up the type of socks you will need. If you plan on doing mid-weight trail walking you will need some socks with a little extra padding in high impact areas such as the heel and ball of the foot.
- Hiking: Finally, hiking is a whole new level of walking. Hiking can be on tough, cold, or wet terrain. In these conditions you are going to want thick socks with insulation that are moisture wicking, and provide your feet with comfort with additional padding in high impact areas.
1. Thorlos Experia
Made for both men and women, Thorlos Experia socks are the top ranking walking socks on the market. They are durable and made from moisture wicking materials that are guaranteed to last between 1 ½ – 2 years without needing replaced. The upper portion of these socks are made from thin and mesh like materials that create a vented effect to keep your feet cool and dry. These socks are made to keep your feet comfortable, with a snug (yet not too tight) fit and an arch resistance band, your feet will feel cozy from the moment you slide them over your toes.
2. Balega Enduro V-Tech
Another top selection among avid sock buyers is the Balega Enduro V-Tech Socks. Created with a deep heel pocket to prevent the sock from sliding down, these socks are guaranteed to stay comfortably on your feet. While most sock companies only sell their socks in three different sizes, Balega sells their socks in five different sizes to ensure proper fit and reduce irritation caused by an ill-fitting sock. These socks are created with moisture wicking materials to keep your feet dry and they are seamless to avoid blisters or irritations. Balega’s Enduro V-Tech socks come in many different colors and have an arch support system to give your foot a customized fit.
3. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
Smartwool socks has created their socks with a technology that most other socks do not have. That is their thousands of air bubbles that are woven into the threads of each of their socks. These air bubbles provide your feet with warmth during the winter months and keep your feet cool and ventilated during the summer months. When your feet are able to stay dry, the amount of bacteria that forms within the sock is reduced and you will have odor free socks. Other than their trademarked technology, Smartwool socks keep your feet comfortable with the additional padding that comes with being a sock made from wool. These socks also come in an array of styles and thicknesses.
4. Gear Drymax Socks
The R-Gear Drymax Socks come in a variety of thickness, from thin to extra padded. They are also available in crew, quarter, low cut, and no-show options. These socks have extra padding in the heel and ball of foot, to provide your feet with added comfort when wearing for long durations. The arch resistance in the socks provide a much needed added support that most socks do not provide, plus these socks are made from moisture wicking materials and will keep your feet dry and cool.
5. Wright Socks Double Layer
Most socks only have a single layer to them, which is why many sock and shoe companies make liners to add extra comfort between your sock and shoe. But the Wright Socks Double Layer socks have two layers to avoid having to buy an extra liner. These two layers reduce the amount of friction that can cause blisters on your feet, making them more comfortable than most other socks. The Wright Socks also have extra padding in the toes designed to help with bunions, and added arch resistance to provide support to the arch of your foot.
6. Wigwam Ironman Endur Pro
These lightweight and seamless wigwam socks are comfortable and great for walking. These socks are made from moisture wicking materials and mesh uppers that are engineered to keep your feet dry and blister free. While these socks only really come in low cut/no-show you would not want to wear these with boots anyways because they are so thin. These socks are best for warmer months because they are thin and keep your feet cool.
7. Swiftwick Aspire Compression Socks
Swiftwick makes a point to label their socks as “Compression Socks.” This is important to note because they are stating that they are merging the idea of compression and socks together. Compression is proved to reduce swelling, improve circulation, and increase endurance, meaning Swiftwick is putting a lot into their socks, and they are not disappointing. Their Aspire compression socks are tighter than your average sport socks but, you will notice a difference in how your feet feel after you take them off. These socks are made from moisture wicking polyester that does not absorb any liquids at all, keeping your feet completely dry and blister free. These socks provide needed support for your feet if you plan on doing a lot of walking.
8. New Balance CoolMax Socks
These New Balance socks have trademarked CoolMax moisture management built into them to keep your feet free from moisture, odors, and blisters. With a deep heel pocket, these socks fit snugly on your feet without sliding down. They also have sewn in arch resistance to provide arch support on your feet. With the extra padding in the toe and heel area, your feet will feel like they have been walking on clouds all day long. New Balance may be known best for making shoes, but their socks are also top of the line.
9. Feetures! Elite Ultra-Light Low Cut
The iWick fabric in the Feetures! Elite Ultra-Light socks is made from polyester and nylon fibers to help keep your feet cool and dry. Plus, these socks hug your feet in all the right places to guarantee they stay on and prevent blisters. Although Feetures makes socks of many different styles, and thicknesses, these socks are exceptionally thin, which pairs great with warmer temperatures and long walks. Their other socks also feature the iWick fabric and support, if you need a pair for colder weather.
10. Nike Dri-Fit Socks
These snug fitting Nike socks have the feel of a compression sock with their supportive fit. Made with sweat and moisture wicking materials, this fabric pulls sweat from the feet and allows it to evaporate into the air with its mesh like uppers. You can buy the Nike Dry fit socks in many different styles and colors. Nike built these socks with extra padding at the ball of the foot and in the heel to provide extra comfort when wearing these for long distances. These socks will give your feet something to be happy about.
Overall, all of these socks could be considered the best sock for walking. While picking a top sock can be a little challenging because there are so many factors to put into perspective, the best socks for walking are the Thorlos Experia. Made with moisture wicking materials, these socks will keep your feet dry, plus they are guaranteed to last 1 ½ to 2 years with constant wear. Not only are these the best walking socks, but they are also the best bang for your buck since they are durable and can last a long time.