Best Travel Socks
- Best heavy and mid-weight merino wool socks for travel
- Best lightweight and ultra-lightweight merino wool travel socks
- Athletic travel socks
- Best travel compression socks
- Lifestyle and walking socks for travel
- How did we pick these best travel socks?
- About this list of the best travel socks
Did you ever consider that socks are a crucial part of packing to go away for a trip?
After all, you want to make sure you took appropriate socks for the weather on your vacation. And, you’ll need your socks to match up with the activities you’ll be doing (hiking vs. walking, skiing vs. lounging around).
I always used to travel with the same old black ankle socks. They were cheap, they added no value, and because they were bad quality, they’d sprout holes. It’s true that having good travel socks can give you one fewer thing to worry about when you’re so far from home!
In this list, check out the best travel socks we’ve found, from some of the best travel apparel brands and the most trusted outfitters. I hope you find your next great pair of travel socks that’ll come with you on all your adventures!
Quick Top Picks: Men’s
- Best Merino Wool Hiking Travel Sock: Darn Tough Men’s Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock
- Best Ultralight Merino Wool Sock: Icebreaker Men’s Merino Hike Liner Crew Socks
- Best Lightweight Supportive Socks: REI Co-op COOLMAX Lightweight Flash Quarter Socks
- Best All-Season Merino Wool Sock: Ibex Light Cushion Performance 1/4 Sock
Quick Top Picks: Women’s
- Best Merino Wool Hiking Travel Sock: Darn Tough Women’s Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock
- Best Lightweight Merino Sport Socks: Icebreaker Women’s Merino Multisport Light Mini Socks
- Best Everyday Sweat-Wicking Socks: Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned Footie Socks
- Best Compression: COMRAD Knee-High Compression Socks
- Best Firm Support Athletic Sock: Swiftwick Aspire Seven
- Best Warm Weather Merino Wool Sock: KUHL Ultralight Quarter Sock
- Best Targeted Cushion Trekking Sock: Ibex Rambler Crew Sock
Best heavy and mid-weight merino wool socks for travel
The more you look into travel socks, the more you’ll find that merino wool is the real winner for great sock material. Below, I list some trustworthy brands, like Darn Tough and Bombas, as well as some newcomers like Western Rise and Icebreaker.
My friend Daniela of JD Travel Couple says that her Darn Tough merino socks have lasted four years and counting, and are still going strong, if that says anything about the type of quality we’re digging into here!
Shop my picks
This bestseller is the ultimate rugged hiking sock that’s optimal for performance, minimizing the risk for blisters, thermoregulating heat and cushioned with a reinforced footbed.
The women’s hiking sock from Darn Tough is optimized for performance, with an all-season weight, incredible comfort, impressive durability and targeted protection at the ankle.
As the thickest offering from Smartwool, these super-cushioned socks for backpackers have elasticized arch braces and feel like walking on clouds. We are both obsessed with them.
This particular sock is the most heavy-duty one from trusted brand Bombas, and with honeycomb arch support, strategic zone cushioning and a Y-stitched heel, they’re a favorite for winter sports travelers.
Best lightweight and ultra-lightweight merino wool travel socks
Lighter weight merino wool blend socks are designed for being versatile, folding up smaller in your pack and eliminating the bulk of heavier merino wool socks. See which picks of ours are right for your trip.
Shop my picks
The women’s light mini socks from Icebreaker combine versatile properties of durability, odor-resistance and stability support for a premium fit.
I appreciate the soft comfort and Indestructawool™ technology of these zero-cushion merino socks that also come in Men’s. They have Smartwool’s “Shred Shield™ technology” that reduces wear from the toes, and I can feel the durability!
Athletic travel socks
Athletic travel socks are for when you plan to be doing something like running or going to the hotel gym, really any of the ways to work out when you travel. These socks have different properties from hiking or trekking socks, yet they also might not be the ones you’d wear out to dinner. Let’s see how they size up.
Shop my picks
lululemon is one of our favorite brands, and these running socks have a breathable mesh construction with a shaping fit.
When I put these socks on, I said, “OMG, the cushion!” The performance footbed in these athletic socks has springwave arch support and really feels like all-day comfort for traveling.
These easy-to-wear men’s socks from Nike are ideal for some gym time while on a trip. Their features include a supportive arch band and breathability.
Best travel compression socks
We’ve found one clear winner in the compression sock stack-up: Comrad is a brand that specializes in compression socks and is well-known for engineering them.
Shop my pick
Lifestyle and walking socks for travel
Walking socks are the type of socks that Becca mostly travels with. She’ll pack 3-5 pairs, all that are no-show ankle socks with arch compression. Everyone’s got their favorites! What’s yours?
Shop my picks
Wicking away moisture with a sustainable material blend, REI’s COOLMAX socks have seamless toe construction, targeted cushion and blister prevention.
How did we pick these best travel socks?
A few factors went into choosing this varied list of the best socks for travelers this year.
We picked quite a few socks made of merino wool, because it’s a forgiving and stretchy material that is durable. You’ll see lots of merino wool products in our lists of the best travel shirts for women, our merino wool Aviator travel sweatshirts, apparel in our travel gift guide and the best travel pants for women.
We chose socks that are quick-drying because you may want to wash them while you travel. And, if you don’t have access to a dryer, you don’t want to be without dry socks. If your socks get wet in the rain, you’d want them to dry quickly while you’re on vacation.
Some socks have compression, which helps blood flow and decreases swelling. We include them as one of the best accessories for long flights. For fitness, they can keep your legs feeling fresh during exercise, with support for muscles and joints, as well as the improved blood flow ability.
A few socks in this list have cushion, which can aid in avoiding blisters. This is helpful if your shoes for your trip are a bit newer and haven’t gotten much action yet. Cushioning can help you prevent runner’s toe, or even walking blisters, and can help keep your feet comfortable in stiff shoes, too.
Travel socks can be for any of the following activities that you may do while you’re on a trip: hiking, running, walking (durable for both hiking and walking), flying or for multiple purposes, to hit a combination of a few categories.
Walking and running
Most of my cheap socks at home (the kind where it’s $10 for 6 pairs at any big box store) have started forming holes from all of the walking and running that I do. These socks are typically not great quality, and won’t last for years at all. The pair of high-quality running socks that I use have held up really well and I haven’t needed to replace them in more than six years.
For hiking, socks tend to be good at wicking moisture and keeping your feet dry when they are in hiking boots for a long period of time. Hiking socks may be thicker, for cold weather hikes, but beware: make sure you don’t buy heavyweight hiking socks for hot summer trekking!
For packing socks, it’s important to know about the climate that you’re traveling in. For warm weather, think thin and breathable socks that won’t overheat your feet. For cold climates, you want to keep your feet warm, so think thicker wool socks that are optimized for warmth can do the trick.
For wet climates, you will want to balance warmth with quick-drying abilities. This is so you don’t have to wear wet socks the next day. Some thick socks might take forever to dry, but will keep you feet warm. You may want to consider waterproof shoes (check out our Vessi waterproof shoe review) to help keep your socks dry.
Type of travel
For minimalist travel, or carry-on-only travel (like we did with Remote Year), you likely only want a few pairs of socks, to help save space. Wear your most versatile pair, and pack the rest. We’ve sometimes taken only three pairs of socks for a week-long or two-week trip.
Having one type of sock for each type of activity makes sense. For me, I only pack one pair of hiking socks and another pair of a general high-quality durable sock for a trip where there’s regular walking and hiking involved.
With one-bag capsule travel, you probably don’t want to pack more than three pairs of socks, because the space matters! You want to nit-pick everything that goes into your travel bag and packing cube. Here are some tips for minimalist packing.
When backpacking, you may be without a washing machine for a few weeks if you’re trekking or staying in hostels! So, expect some sink washing. You’ll want your socks to be quick-drying so that you don’t need to carry around wet socks in your pack of other backpacker accessories.
“Checked bag” travel
As we have gotten older, we’ll consider checking luggage when we fly. When packing a suitcase and having more space, you can bring any pair of high-quality socks that optimize comfort. You’ll have the space to space and added weight of a pair for each day, or every other day. If you’re traveling for 10 days, you can pack 8-10 pairs, ranging from dress socks to basic lifestyle socks.
About this list of the best travel socks
The socks in this list have a few brilliant properties for travel: quick-drying, high quality, durability and warmth (for cold weather socks).
Every trip is different. I’ve taken trips that have weather from tropical to near-freezing, and trips that had lots of physical activities to barely any. My typical travel includes walking in cities, hiking in nature and some nights of going to restaurants or events (like traveling across the country for a wedding). There’s no one-size-fits-all travel sock (although some get close).
In this list, I’ll be discussing what the travel socks are made of (fabric composition), intended weather type for wearing them, socks that save space when you’re packing and socks that can be worn multiple times.
On the flip side, there are also going to be socks that don’t save space at all, which are OK if you’re checking a bag for your flight. Read on to see all the things to learn about great travel socks.
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