How do you choose hiking socks? Which socks are the best in the mountains?
In the outdoor market, we can find a huge selection of walking socks of various brands, models and materials. Before buying, we must decide when they will be used, summer walking or winter hiking. In this guide, I will try to give you as much information to help you choose the best socks and to make the purchase easier and for you to be satisfied with your choice.
Which material should they be made from – cotton or synthetics?
During walking over long distances, our feet give off more moisture, which promotes the formation of painful abrasions or blisters. An abrasion is ruptured skin caused by pressure, heat, moisture and friction. When the friction stops the layers of the skin separate and the space fills with a serous liquid. In this way, a blister develops which then can break, causing a wound. That is why outdoor socks are made of various types of materials that drain moisture very well but never made of cotton, which due to its properties of absorbing and keeping moisture causes damage to the skin.
Therefore the production of socks uses synthetic materials or merino wool for every season and weather conditions.
• Coolmax is a modern polyester material that allows moisture to drain away from the skin of the feet and is characterized by high breathability. Most often used for the production of summer socks from the fact that the material has cooling properties.
• Thermolite is a material that provides wonderful thermal properties, is lightweight and keeps moisture away from the body and dries 50% faster than cotton.
• Primaloft is an artificial nonwoven made of polyester microfibres. It has very good insulating properties, breathable, dries quickly and drains moisture away from the skin very well.
• Merino is natural wool with a thin structure; it is a great thermal insulator and wicks away moisture from the skin. It has antibacterial properties which makes the skin not smell.
Selection of correct size.
When buying socks, we must pay attention to the correct fit of the socks. Different producers can differ in size or the material used in their production can be more or less extended. A very reasonable solution is to go to the local outlet store and try on several selected pairs. Maybe for some people, it sounds strange why you need to try on socks, but from my experience, I found the best fitting socks for me were size 38 – yet my foot size is 42.
Why is the selection of the correct size so important?
The feet always move in the shoes while walking and the role of socks is to protect against abrasions, thermal insulation and moisture management. Properly selected socks will perfectly match our feet and will not have any slack, cause pressure or discomfort. It will not have seen or linked that will be felt by us which may cause the formation of cracks.
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