Hiking Socks

In a recent radio interview, I mentioned the importance of a good pair of hiking socks for a comfortable hike. Stuart Plotkin, DPM, and author of the book The Hiking Engine, agrees: ” There are few things more important  . . . than your socks.” Hiking socks that are too tight or too loose can inch down, or bunch up beneath the foot. Bad or ill-fitting socks can make a trail experience a nightmare. Who wants to keep stopping to fix your socks? Bad socks contribute to blisters, aching feet, and a generally foul mood – – not things you want out on nature’s trail! We are fortunate to have great hiking socks available to us these days. My favorites, and why I love them follow:

SmartWool’s PhD outdoor socks have wonderful vented areas to keep your feet cool and comfortable. The well-designed outdoor socks are constructed to hug the foot. I’ve hiked for many hours on rough terrain in these socks – – and they don’t budge. Get them in a variety of lengths and cushion depths to fit your individual needs. During a recent Achilles’ heel recovery period, these hugged the tendon in a supportive manner that felt secure without being too tight.

For an overall good hiking sock with tons of  cushion, Thorlo’s varieties are best. The wool blend padded sock is one of my favorites. On a recent several-day hiking jaunt in Zion National Park, I saved this sock for the last day when my feet were their most weary. This sock literally saved my feet on that final day!

Eddie Bauer also makes some good all-purpose hiking socks.  Treat your feet well and you’ll put your best foot forward.

Merrell Hiking Boots

Your choice of a hiking boot can be as personal as your brand of underwear. Comfort, durability and style count.

I prefer low tops, because my sensitive (bony) ankles don’t fare well after long trail hours rubbed by traditional high top hiking boots.

For fit and function, Merrell has an ample style catalog that satisfies the eye, plus offers fit technology with a step above some other boots (excuse the pun). Adequate toe room protects your tootsies, while a snug heel and instep prevent foot slippage, which can cause blisters.

Allowing for natural gender differences in feet, Merrell offers specific comfort and performance features for their women’s styles. At first, I didn’t believe this to be important, but trying them on convinced me.

Flexible insoles move along with your feet, and Merrell boots offer technological advances such as Thinsulate, GoreTex, and Polartec for warm, breathable, and/or waterproof boots.

All of these technical qualities aside, I wear Merrell hiking boots because they look good and feel great – – – both of which make them fun to kick around in. And they help me stay on my toes near the end of a long, happy day on the trail. After wearing Merrell boots, I won’t be eager to try any other brand.

To find out more about Merrell boots, visit www.merrellboot.com (opens a new window).