May 6, 2014 at 6:52 pm #1316540Brandon RichardsBPL Member
@zendragonLocale: Southern Arizona
I've been backpacking since I was kid, and was always taught that that your socks are the one of the most important things in your pack. I'm a firm believer silk/nylon liner sock under a padded "hiking" sock combo, and this combination has served me well. I have never gotten a blister in hundreds of miles. Obviously a good fitting shoe is as much responsible for that as the socks, but I've read quite a few blogs and articles recently talking about some people doing thousand milers with a single sock of merino wool or similar fabric.
I haven't bother to give that a shot but recently picked up a few pairs of socks that came recommended from several of those articles and blogs. The Wooleator, the Darn Touch Light Hiker, and a couple others. I'm going to try them out on a some short 25 milers without liner socks. But, I am curious how many of you only wear a single pair on your longest hikes. What other socks have you tried and had success with?May 6, 2014 at 7:17 pm #2099972Jake DBPL Member
always gone with single socks. Smartwool PhD and this year i have a pair of Darn Toughs too. 2 pair alternating days to let them air out. Long day hikes i'll change mid day.
if liners work for you then go with it. maybe single socks won't bother you either, your experiment will let you know.
for me keeping my socks clean is the most important.. once i went to Dirty girl gaiters the amount of dirt and duff in my shoes has about disappeared.May 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm #2099974IanBPL Member
I wear Wright coomax socks which have no padding to speak of. I don't hike thousands of miles but I do put in some 15-20 mile days (albeit not a great distance by BPL standards) wearing trail runners and I've never had a blister or any other foot problems to speak of. One thing I like is that my feet don't overheat and sweat with these socks on.May 6, 2014 at 8:42 pm #2100004Kimberly WersalBPL Member
@kwersalLocale: Western Colorado
When I started hiking/backpacking 30+ years ago the liner sock/wool sock thing was considered the way to go for footwear. I haven't worn that kind of combo in almost 30 years and think of it as outdated. I usually wear a fairly lightweight merino wool sock like Smartwool or Icebreaker or similar, and they certainly serve me as well (actually, better) than the old sock combo. Sometimes a wear a minimal type shoe with no sock at all and come away from that blister-free, too.May 6, 2014 at 9:53 pm #2100024Marko BotsarisBPL Member
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
The last time I wore liner socks under thicker socks was with big ole old-school leather hiking boots. They are a partial solution to to handling excess internally generated moisture that only really arises in such boots, and maybe a bit in lighter waterproof shoes that don't breath well – including a lot of Gortex-lined shoes. If you wear such boots then I suppose a lot can be said about using them, for and against.
On the other hand if you use trail runners the moister evaporates quickly right through the shoe. The received double sock wisdom really in no way applies to this case. The strategy there is to remove the moisture not just from the skin, but from the shoe as well as quickly as possible. In that case the thinner the socks the better. Probably your feet would be best in that type of shoe with the liners alone, but definitely with single (and thinner) socks. Wool is a good choice.May 7, 2014 at 12:57 am #2100057Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Gobi Wigwam liners under Darn Tough Boot Socks
CheersMay 7, 2014 at 2:27 am #2100061Pete StaehlingBPL Member
I used to wear them back in my heavy leather boot days. These days I wear poly socks with no liners.May 7, 2014 at 7:27 am #2100115Richard RenoBPL Member
@scubahhhLocale: White Mountains, mostly.
From REI for about $10/pair. I realize that prolly violates all,the scientific approaches to wicking moisture away from the skin and allowing it t evaporate, but it works for me with either GTX hiking boots, mesh runners (which I usually wear, three-seasons), and anything in between.May 7, 2014 at 7:36 am #2100123Brandon RichardsBPL Member
@zendragonLocale: Southern Arizona
Thanks for all your input! Very much appreciated! And yea I figured the liner sock thing was a little outdated as better made shoes have come out. I wear a pair of Lowa Renegade GTX Mids (about 2.5 lbs for the pair). Although not as light as some of the trail runners, are quite light for a mid. They are gore-tex with a leather outer, but an astonishingly comfortable and smooth interior. They have served me spectacularly well given some of the other foot issues I have, and they are NOT made in China! o_O These are the shoes I will be experimenting with, and if that goes well I might pick up a pair of trail runners to experiment with as well.May 7, 2014 at 7:56 am #2100129Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
I've always used just wool socks, usually merino of some sort, but occasionally ragg if it's a long downhill day (merino can sometimes be too slippery). But I recently had an experience that caused me to go buy some thin synthetic liners. A very rainy trip had me walking in drenched shoes/socks for several days, and I discovered I have an allergy, or at least a sensitivity, to wet wool over the long term. My feet and ankles looked like they'd been fire roasted after about two days. So I'll probably stick with plain socks unless there's a lot of rain in the forecast, in which case I'll take the liners.May 7, 2014 at 9:46 am #2100177Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
"And yea I figured the liner sock thing was a little outdated as better made shoes have come out. "
Older does not necessarily mean outdated or worse (now that I just turned 60 I'm absolutely certain of this!).
I too wore wool+liner socks for decades and the combination worked great. When I switched to lightweight shoes I continued with the combination. But for one 13-day hike eight years ago I switched to just SmartWool socks, no liners. Within two days I had a blister on the bottom of my foot.
Since then I always use the combination, no blisters since.May 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm #2100285Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
For longer hikes I use Injini toe socks under Darn Tough wool socks. I have never had a blister wearing my Injini's as a liner.May 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm #2100293Marko BotsarisBPL Member
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
My boots were Lowas too! I think they are around here somewhere. Isn't it funny that a few decades ago owning such a pair would give you "cred" as a serious hiker – and now, at least among the BPL crowd, trail runners are the marker of "serious" long-distance hiking. I heard recently that in the early part of the 19th century in Europe pink was considered THE manly color to wear. It is useful to occasionally remind ourselves that a good part of every trend is pure convention, and especially to remember to apply that understanding the current wisdom as well.May 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm #2100552Kris SherwoodBPL Member
@tuskaderoLocale: Washington State
I use a single pair of Injinji Run 2.0 no show socks. I always struggled with my toes rubbing on long mileage days and this took care of it.May 9, 2014 at 6:48 am #2100764Mike MBPL Member
for twenty + years I wore liners and wool socks (and heavy leather boots!), since I went to trail runners about four years ago I've never looked back
Darn Tough Micro UL merinos are my choice- many 25+ mile days w/ them (running and hiking)May 11, 2014 at 6:36 am #2101298M BBPL Member
single pair of thin unpadded synthetic or wool with trail runners. Never found the actual sock to matter. .
.May 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm #2101378Ryan SmithBPL Member
@violentgreenLocale: East TN
Single pair of polyester socks with trail runners have always done the trick for me also. Check out Feeture socks. Awesome stuff.
RyanMay 11, 2014 at 9:02 pm #2101519Jake SMember
when you were a kid you probably hiked in stiff sole boots that didn't naturally provide much cushion.
If you're now wearing trail runners, that's probably hardly the case anymore.
Now, I did wear midweight socks with my trail runners before I got my gaiters. Now I feel like I can get by with lightweight socks better because I no longer have crap constantly getting in my shoes. Since I always bring more than one pair of socks, this ends up lightening my pack. ;)May 18, 2014 at 11:56 am #2103670Luis AcebalSpectator
@lmacebal-2Locale: Northern California
I now mostly use lighter footwear for most of my multi-day hikes. With my Teva shoes, there is no need for me to use a liner. However, on occasion, I still use my Vasque Sundowners and use liners with them. Another thing, I've noticed that since I've begun using Superfeet soles my feet just feel more comfortable and less prone having any added protection from blisters.May 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm #2103718Virginia CraftBPL Member
I agree, Injinji toe socks as a liner work wonders.
A random side note: For winter hiking (or cold night camping), I highly recommend DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks. A nice, tight-knit wool sock with compression in just the right places. Ooooo billy!
My feet have their own Antarctic micro-climate going on, and these socks are the perfect solution for me without being too heavy and cumbersome.May 18, 2014 at 3:01 pm #2103721John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I too was old school with liners and thick wool socks. I now wear double liners and have skipped the heavy/med sock.
I tried single smartwool last year and it was the first time in decades that I got blisters on my heels and between my toes. I'll be going back to double liners. I prefer the silver ones from REI but have used poly dress socks with good results. They wear great and dry very quickly, unlike the wool socks I have that are often still damp in the morning.
I love my Smartwool's for cycling but not hiking. Every person and shoe/foot combo is going to be a little different and I would recommend experimenting a bit to find what works best for you.May 20, 2014 at 8:21 am #2104301Nick SmolinskeBPL Member
@smoLocale: Rogue Panda Designs
I used to wear liners + thick wool socks for trail work and it was great – never got a blister. Since switching to lightweight runners for backpacking I've kept the liners but lost the thick wool socks – now I wear two pairs of liners. Wigwam Gobi's as the inner liner and Wigwam Coolmax as the sock. Or Gobi's as the liner and cheap thrift store acrylic socks as the outer. The coolmax's are *way* too thick to be a liner sock.
I don't see any reason for me to go to single socks when I can just do two lightweight layers instead. They dry fast and I can switch out the liners frequently on a long trip – it doesn't cost much weight to take an extra pair of Gobi's. But then again, liner socks have always worked for me, and everyone's feet are different, so YMMV.
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