Best walking socks: Comfortable, breathable and sweat-wicking socks for all-day walks

Keep feet dry and comfortable with our pick of the best walking socks

a collage of w&h's best walking socks picks on a pink background
(Image credit: Future)

Having the right socks can make all the difference, whether hiking or just walking the dog.

Paired with the best walking shoes, the best walking socks will ensure that you’re kept comfortable, supported and blister-free on any outdoor walk. And while they might not be the most exciting item to tick off your activewear shopping list (because let’s face it, it’s much more fun to browse the best leggings or best sports bras), they are essential in making sure you can get the most out of your exercise.

Bridgedale’s Women's Merino Hiker Sock is a great all-round walking sock that will keep feet dry and blister-free, while also adding an extra touch of comfort with the added layer of cushioning. We also love the brand’s ultra-light sports socks, which feature Coolmax technology for a reliable summer option, while Decathlon’s waterproof socks are perfect for rainy days or swampy hikes.

How to choose the best walking socks for you

When it comes to choosing the best walking socks for you, there are few factors to take into consideration. The first thing to think about is the height, as if you are planning to wear them with lower rise walking or running shoes, then you can get away with shorter trainer socks, whereas if your footwear is higher rise then you’ll need a crew sock design that reaches your calf.

The next thing to think about is what type of walking you are planning to do. For shorter walks or summer exercise, the best walking socks will be thinner or more lightweight and you could even benefit from a product that boasts cooling technology, while longer stints will require socks to feature more cushioning and extra support to keep prevent blisters and keep feet comfortable.

Look out for sweat-wicking and breathable features, as these help to prevent blisters, which is vital. Cooling or odour-control technology can also be an added bonus to keep your feet fresh.

Best walking socks as chosen by our experts

Bridgedale Womens Merino Hiker Sock, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: Bridgedale)

1. Bridgedale Womens Merino Hiker Sock

Best overall walking socks

RRP: $14/£19
Material: 30% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 30% polypropylene, 8% elastane
Height: Mid-calf
Wicking: Yes
Breathable: Yes
Lining/cushioning: Cushioned sole

If you want a pair of walking socks that will keep your feet comfortable, cushioned and chafe-free all day, then these socks should do the trick. With a Merino wool blend these quality wicking socks will manage any moisture and excess sweat to stop chafing and avoid you developing painful blisters while out on a long walk. The thick fabric also means that feet will be kept warm when out in cold conditions and the addition of elastane gives them a nice stretch for a more accommodating fit. We also love the extra feature of the cushioned sole that gives an added level of comfort—perfect for long days Nordic walking with your walking poles in tow. 

The North Face Women's Hike Medium Crew Socks, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: The North Face)

2. The North Face Women's Hike Medium Crew Socks

Best socks for hiking

RRP: $18.95/£19.99
Material: Merino wool
Height: Mid-calf
Wicking: Yes
Breathable: Not specified
Lining/cushioning: Medium cushioning

Grabbing a reliable pair of walking socks is all well and good for a casual saunter or a long stroll, but when it comes to hiking, it’s helpful to use a product that has been specifically designed for the exercise—so outdoors brand The North Face is a great place to go. We already love the brand’s fitness and outerwear, so we knew these socks would tick all the boxes. The medium length is ideal for sitting under hiking shoes and that paired with a medium cushioning makes these a great fit to add a bit of extra comfort to your hike. Even if you're hiking boots aren't the most high-end, a good pair of socks can make all the difference under more affordable footwear. The Merino fabric also helps to wick moisture away and regulate your temperature, while the arch support and flat-knit toe seams add an extra touch of comfort. And we have to say, we love the cassis color.

Runderwear Anti-Blister Running Socks - Mid, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: Runderwear)

3. Runderwear Anti-Blister Running Socks - Mid

Best walking socks to prevent blisters

RRP: $27/£15
Material: 30% Coolplus™, 29% Cotton, 21% Polymide, 14% Tactel™, 3% Polyester, 3% Lycra™
Height: Mid-calf and low-calf
Wicking: Yes
Breathable: Yes
Lining/cushioning: Double-layered

Anti-blister socks are essential if you’re someone who goes on long walks or hikes regularly—and these walking socks definitely live up to the name. These multi-award-winning running socks have been designed specifically to prevent blisters, with a carefully constructed fabric composition that features two layers for extra support. Another really handy feature of these socks is the reinforced heel and toe that provide extra protection against blisters in two of the most blister-prone areas of your foot. And the breathable and moisture-wicking design is an extra bonus to help prevent chafing so that blisters really are kept at bay.

Timberland Cushion Socks For Women, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: Timberland)

4. Timberland Cushion Socks For Women

Best warm walking socks

RRP: $20/£20
Material: 27% cotton, 70% polyester and 3% elastane
Height: Mid-calf
Wicking: Not specified
Breathable: Not specified
Lining/cushioning: Half cushion sole

If you’re not one to let the cold keep you inside, then it’s always helpful to have a pair of warmer socks for days when the chill and frost hit. We love these cozy Timberland walking socks that come up to the mid-calf so that your ankles and kept fully toasty while you’re out on your walk or hike. The arch support keeps your feet sturdy, while the half cushion sole gives you a little extra padding for a more comfortable fit. We also love the pretty but muted colors available.

Bridgedale Womens Ultra Light T2 Coolmax Sport Low Sock, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: Bridgedale)

5. Bridgedale Women's Ultra Light T2 Coolmax Sport Low Sock

Best socks for summer hiking

RRP: $15.50/£12.50
Material: 42% Coolmax, 56% Nylon, 2% Lycra
Height: Low-calf
Wicking: Yes
Breathable: Yes
Lining/cushioning: Microcushioning

With a clever lightweight micro cushioning and intelligent Coolmax fabric, these are some of the best socks for summer hiking or walking in hot weather. The micro cushioning provides extra ventilation to keep feet cool and dry and a tight cuff stops debris from seeking in while you’re on long walks and helps keep the sock from rolling down. While the low-rise fit does make these more comfortable to wear with your pair of best running shoes, rather than full-on hiking boots, it does mean that you’re getting a little bit of extra air to your ankles for those days when it’s really hot outside.

Trespass Cool Socks, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: Trespass)

6. Trespass Cool women’s walking socks

Best lightweight walking socks

RRP: $12.08/£10.31
Material: 80% Coolmax 17% Nylon 3% Elastane
Height: Mid-calf
Wicking: Not specified
Breathable: Yes
Lining/cushioning: Lightweight cushioning

If you want something lightweight and cooling but that will still help prevent ankle rubbing then this is the pair of best walking socks for you. They’re thin enough to stop your feet from getting overheated and to fit into any more lightweight shoes you might opt for in the hotter months, but thick enough to provide you a sufficient amount of lining so that your feet don’t become sweaty or uncomfortable or start to experience excess chafing. The mid-length makes sure that your ankles are also protected from rubbing from your shoes and the socks come in two lovely bright colors too so that they can make a quirky little addition to your outfit.

Sealskinz Super Thin Mid Waterproof Socks, one of w&h's best walking socks picks

(Image credit: Decathlon)

7. Sealskinz Super Thin Mid Waterproof Socks

Best waterproof socks

RRP: $34.73/£24.99
Material: Outer - 94% Nylon, 6% Elastane / Membrane - Hydrophilic Membrane / Inner - 75% Bamboo Rayon, 22% Nylon, 2% Elastane, 1% TPU
Height: Mid-calf
Wicking: Yes
Breathable: Yes
Lining/cushioning: Natural eco-friendly bamboo lining

It’s always clever to keep a pair of waterproof walking socks to hand—just in case the rain starts or you find yourself walking in unexpectedly muddy terrain. Sealskinz's waterproof socks feature a Hydrophilic Membrane to ensure no outer moisture reaches your skin and are moisture-wicking so that any sweat is also wicked away to prevent chafing. Teamed with the best waterproof hiking boots—you're golden! They also boast a natural bamboo lining to add a touch of comfort to the inner layer that actually makes contact with your skin, which adds a cooling aspect to prevent excess sweat. The elasticated ankle also makes for a nice bit of additional ankle support to keep you comfortable and reduce injury.

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

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