Women's Hiking Socks: A Buyer's Guide

Lady hiker seated on summit wearing Darn Tough women's hiking socks

We knit a lot of hiking socks. Specifically (at the time this post was written), we knit 48 different styles alone in women’s hiking socks. There’s good reason for that – every hike, every hiker, and every footwear system are different, and we want our Hike line to cover the full range of needs.

But we also understand it can make choosing the right pair of hiking socks a bit overwhelming. To help with that decision, we have a separate blog post and even made a helpful quiz to guide you. But today, we thought we’d lay out our buyer’s guide to the best women’s hiking socks.

Safe to say, like any parent, we’re proud of all our socks. So we let you take the lead this time, diving through the thousands of reviews our sock-wearing family has left on our site (as well as some input from our in-house lady hikers) to bring our “best of's.”

Best Rated Hiking Socks

The sock: Women’s Hiker Micro Crew

A promising review: “These micro crew hiking socks are the best. This is my go-to hiking sock. It fits snug around my arch, never rides down, has lots of cushion for my feet and they look great. I give them as gifts to my friends and family. LOVE these socks.” - Leslie R.

Feet on bridge wearing the Women's Hiker Micro Crew socks in blue

With over 1,700 five-star reviews, our Women’s Hiker Micro Crew Midweight is a trail legend. This is our tried-and-true hiking sock, a classic that has since inspired the creation of many other socks. Year after year, this sock is a best seller.

Not only is this sock highly rated, it’s also arguably the best women’s hiking sock overall due to its insane versatility. We created the micro crew height to be the not-too-short yet not-too-tall height, for a sock that pairs equally well with trail runners as traditional hiking boots.

Midweight Merino Wool with Cushion offers just the right amount of padding and year-round temperature comfort, keeping your feet cool on warm days and warm on cool days. And with our unrivaled durability knit into every stitch, this sock holds up.

Best Women's Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters

The sock: Women’s Light Hiker Micro Crew

A promising review: “As they say - ‘if you get blisters, it isn't the shoe, it's the sock.’ Softest, most ideal thickness of any sock out there. With a lifetime guarantee, you can't go wrong! Great company who stands by the quality of their product.” - Maureen J.

Feet in hiking boots and the women's light hiker micro crew socks in blue

There’s a lot that goes into preventing blisters when you’re hiking, but socks are a key piece of that formula. For best results, you should match your sock choice to your specific hiking footwear – e.g. taller shoes require taller socks to protect your skin. That said, it’s hard to go wrong with the Women’s Light Hiker Micro Crew.

Beyond the magic of Merino Wool, Performance Fit, and Seamless Toe standard to our hike socks, the Light Hiker has some extra tech features that make its blister prevention skills above par. Specifically, this sock features contoured cushioning.

Cushioning is terry loop padding knit into specific parts of a sock. This cushioning provides extra protection against blisters in key high-friction zones, and the cushion layout in the Light Hiker series is next level.

All our Hike socks have cushion underfoot, around the toes, and up the back of your heel, but in the Light Hiker series we sculpted the cushioning for additional targeted protection. The terry loops reach higher up the back, curve over your ankle bone, and drop low around the footbed, so you have that lightweight padding exactly where (but only where) you need it.

Add in strategic mesh vents across the top of the foot for increased flexibility and to cut bulk (and prevent blister-causing pressure points), and you get one hero of an anti-blister sock.

Best Lightweight Hiking Socks for Summer

The sock: Women’s Bear Town

A promising review: “I have been wearing Darn Tough hiking socks for 5 years and they are the best socks I have ever owned. I recently received a pair of the Micro Crew Lightweight socks with the Bear Town design as a warranty replacement. Warranty is very easy. This is the first time I am wearing the lightweight merino wool socks and they are great! Very comfortable and I Iike the weight for summer.” - Bonnie S.

Feet standing on a rock wearing blue and yellow bear socks

While our Midweight Hike socks are the ultimate year-round pick, if you’re looking for a summer hiking sock, our Lightweight styles offer a low profile and dependable performance ideal for hot weather.

Any of our Lightweight Micro Crews would be a solid choice here – they all have moisture-wicking Merino Wool that’s super-fine, meaning it knits up into a thin, highly breathable sock. But Bear Town holds a special place in our hearts. Who doesn’t love bear socks?

Pair these socks with your trail runners and some shorts and prepare to receive many sock compliments.

Best Socks for Desert Hiking

The sock: Women’s Light Hiker Quarter

A promising review: “This is a repeat purchase to add to my collection; Darn Toughs are my favorites — so comfortable for desert hiking.” - Julie S.

Closeup of hiker's feet on summit in bright blue light hiker quarter hiking socks

There’s hiking in Vermont summers, then there’s spending hours under the scorching sun in the infamous dry heat of the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. When it comes to desert hiking, you want ultralight, top-notch breathability, and dependable sweat-resistance (it’s a dry heat, but somehow feet still seem to sweat).

The Light Hiker Quarter sock packs the ultralight Merino, breathable mesh vents, and high performance of our Light Hiker Micro Crew into a shorter package. Sweaty feet don’t stand a chance against the light fit and temperature regulation of these socks, actively working to keep your feet dry.

Best Hiking Socks for Fall

The sock: Women’s Northwoods

A promising review: "Love the quality of the socks. The merino wool feels nice, and the micro midweight socks have been great for hiking in. My feet stay warm and comfortable in the winter and cool enough in the summer, and the socks are well-cushioned. Also, I really like patterned socks so I'm very happy with the selection.” - Amy L.

Closeup of hiker seated in tent wearing the Northwoods women's hiking socks

Not gonna lie, a solid part of our sock choice for this award came down to aesthetics. The meandering trail, silhouetted trees, and color choices for the Northwoods sock have us dreaming of crisp leaves and cool evenings.

That said, the Northwoods is actually the perfect fall hiking sock. Midweight Merino Wool is able to adjust for those warmer days and cooler evenings, so you don’t have to change socks as the temperatures shift. And we love the Micro Crew height for how it works with any shoe height, providing that little extra leg coverage.

Best Winter Hiking Socks

The sock: Women’s Hiker Boot Cushion (or Full Cushion)

A promising review: “My toes get really cold, really fast which can make outdoor adventures a challenge. These well-made, padded but not too bulky socks have made a big difference which makes me very happy! Love all my Darn Tough socks.” - Barbara Y.

Feet crossed wearing women's hiking boot socks in denim blue

We know a thing or two about cold weather here in New England, so you can trust us when we say Barbara is right. The Hiker Boot Sock (available in Cushion or Full Cushion for extra plush warmth) is one of our best sellers, and though many of us wear it year-round, winter is its time to shine.

Midweight Merino Wool keeps your toes warm even as the temperatures drop (think: below zero). The boot height means you get to enjoy that warmth up your shin, keeping your lower leg and entire foot happy. The weather outside may be frightful, but in these socks, our feet feel delightful. Ok, that one made us cringe.

Best Cute Hiking Socks

The sock: Women’s Critter Club

A promising review: “I love my Darn Tough socks! They are extremely comfortable to wear all day long, they don't slouch as the day goes on. The cushion on these is perfect to wear with boots, tennis shoes, or even Chacos. And gosh darn I love all the cute animal patterns!” - Hannah S.

Feet wearing hiking boots and the Critter club sock with its cute fox design

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but gosh darn it, when we knit up these socks for the first time, we knew a new cuteness level had been reached. And turns out, you all agreed.

The Critter Club socks feature designs inspired by our favorite woodland creatures – think foxes, raccoons, and owls – participating in some a-typical activities. Though honestly, the raccoon eating PB&J isn’t that far-fetched...

Our point is, if you’re looking for an adorable sock that makes the hikers you pass go “awwww!!!!” ...this is a solid choice. And it’s packed with our lifetime-guaranteed sock tech to boot.

Best Boot Socks for Hiking

The sock: Women’s Gatewood

A promising review: “Best socks I’ve ever owned. I own three pairs of this variety (among other Darn Tough socks), and these are my all-time favorites. Pulling them on in the morning feels SO good. They are the perfect amount of cushion and snugness, and the height is great for hiking boots or everyday wear.” - Amy

Hiker seated in shelter tying shoelaces and wearing the Gatewood boot hiking sock

We named this sock after Emma Gatewood, aka Grandma Gatewood, a hiking pioneer and the first solo female hiker of the Appalachian Trail. Like her, this sock is built tough, with a reinforced footbed and unrivaled durability to take on miles and miles of trail.

If you’re looking for hiking boot socks, Micro Crew height and taller generally work fine with mid-rise footwear. But we knit our Boot height specifically to pair with classic hiking boots. The Full Cushion wraps your foot and lower leg in terry loop comfort, acting as a lace guard to protect against rubbing and blisters. Pure sock bliss.

Best Ankle Hiking Socks

The sock: Hiker Midweight Quarter

A promising review: “I love all my Darn Tough Socks but these are a new fave! They are very comfortable and I really like the quarter height. Perfect with my hiking boots and sneakers for walking.” - Lisa H.

A female hiker seated on her car trunk wearing the hiker quarter socks in purple

We are constantly amazed by the cult-like love some of you have for quarter crew socks. Don’t get us wrong, we think this height is great. But for some of you, it’s the only choice, which is where these ankle socks come in.

The Hiker Quarter takes the performance and time-tested durability of our standard Hiker sock and shortens it into a sock that just covers your ankle bone. We see these socks worn with short hiking boots and hiking shoes a lot, but they also make great camp socks to pair with your Crocs.

Best No Show Hiking Socks

The sock: Women’s Light Hiker No Show

A promising review: “Perfect height with sandals to runners to short hikers. Durable and light and always comfortable and long-lasting with no wear at heel/toes. Thank you Darn Tough!!!” - Becky S.

Foot stepping out the car wearing hiking sandals and no show hiking socks

Hiking footwear continues to shave ounces as tech improves; with this sock, we did the same. Our shortest hiking sock, the Light Hiker No Show features contoured cushioning to cradle your foot in ultralight protection at a super low profile.

These are arguably the best socks for hiking sandals, but don’t let these lightweight hiking socks fool you – they'll keep your feet happy for long days on the trail, too.

Best Wool Hiking Socks 

Any of our Merino Wool hiking socks.

Seriously, we know that answer sounds like a cop out, but if you’re looking for a wool hiking sock, we submit that any of our Hike socks will perform. They’re all knit with hike-specific features and backed by our Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee. The important part is that you choose a Merino Wool hike sock, not just any wool sock.

Merino Wool is finer than standard wool, for a smooth next-to-skin feel. And Merino Wool sheep have been hiking and running across the wet mountains of the world for thousands of years, a track record of dependability in all-weather you can’t beat.

All Darn Tough wool hiking socks use Merino Wool specifically. We compare Merino Wool to other wool in more detail elsewhere, but trust us when we say, when it comes to hiking, you want Merino.

Best Non-Wool Hiking Socks

The sock: Women’s Coolmax Hiker Micro Crew

A promising review: “Love these socks! I bought two pairs, and these are my favorite socks for hiking 4k's and xc skiing! Since I'm allergic to wool my sock choices are limited, and I so appreciate that Darn Tough has a non-wool option. To many more years of great socks!” - Erin

Feet wearing non-wool hiking socks in bright blue with pops of pink

It’s no secret, we love Merino Wool and think it’s the best material for hiking socks. That said, if you’re looking for a synthetic option, we have a lifetime guaranteed sock for you, too.

In the Coolmax Hiker, we took the design of our top-rated women’s hiking sock and replaced the Merino Wool with Coolmax. Coolmax is a breathable wool alternative that’s vegan, making this a completely synthetic sock. This sock dries fast, breathes, and keeps up with you mile after mile.

Best Hike Sock for Lounging

The sock: Women’s Mountaineering Micro Crew

A promising review: “These are so soft and comfortable. They feel great in the packaging and even better on your feet. It’s like what I would imagine walking on clouds feels like. I’m on my feet 10-12 hours a day. and I don’t even feel like I’ve walked as far as I have when I’m wearing these!” - Sharyl K.

woman on couch wearing the mountaineer socks with a dog licking her face

We designed this sock to hold up in extreme cold temperatures faced by mountaineers on the high peaks of the world. That said, you all unlocked its alternate purpose years ago, and we think you’re onto something.

The Mountaineer are full cushion socks knit with heavyweight Merino Wool, making these our thickets, cushiest ladies’ socks. If you touch them, you can feel the difference.

All that cushion and Merino warmth are great on a glacier, but they’re equally great at protecting your feet on cold winter nights where all you want to do is sit by the fire with a cup of cocoa. Like a warm blanket for your feet.

Best Looking Hiking Socks

The sock: Women’s Sunset Ledge

A promising review: “I have a sock drawer full of Darn Toughs so it shouldn't phase me to put on a new pair of cushy, gorgeous perfect socks. But it gets me every time! These are simply the best socks ever. I love the design — especially the sunset in the back. It's like a little voice saying ‘Toodles!’ as I walk away.” - Micaela T.

Closeup of feet wearing the Sunset Ledge with it's mountain sunset design

A hiking sock should be functional first... but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful second. The Sunset Ledge’s dramatic mountain scape is inspired by the Green Mountains of Vermont that surround our Mill.

We love our sock designers and are constantly wowed by the beautiful art and colors they create, but this sock, to us, takes the cake.

A Common Question

Before we wrap up this superlative list, let’s address one question we hear a lot. Can women wear men’s hiking socks and vice versa?

Absolutely. We knit our sock sizes based on standard shoe sizes, so to find which size you are, just look at our size chart for the conversion. Something to note, men’s socks typically hit higher on the leg than the ladies’ styles. But if you fit better into a size that is offered in a different gender or you just prefer the designs and colors of a particular hiking socks you’ll find our men and women’s styles have the same durability, performance, and lifetime warranty.

Looking for men’s hiking socks? Check out our buyer's guide to men's hiking socks.