Best Camp Socks Reviewed for Warmth & Protection
Having cold feet can be pretty miserable. We’re not talking about the kind of cold feet you get before you walk down the aisle or before stepping on stage, we’re talking about actual chilly feet. Whether you are camping, hiking, shoveling snow, or just warming up your tootsies on a cold night, you want to have some socks that will make you feel snuggly and warm without being scratchy or making your feet little sweat factories.
- Darn Tough Merino Wool
- Seamless Construction
- Thorlo’s Light Hiking
- Precision Padding
- CloudLine Merino Wool
- Long-lasting softness
Regular old cotton socks can make your feet damp by holding in the moisture naturally permeating from your feet. Not to mention, they can be a little too airy. There are a few other factors to consider when choosing camp socks as well: what will you be using them for? Do you need them to be supportive? How warm do you want them to be? Do you have to wash them a special way? The camp sock options out there to choose from come in socks with bells and whistles or without and we’ve done our homework to decipher which ones might be the right choice for you.
10 Best Camp Socks
1. Darn Tough Merino Wool
These super comfy socks are made using undetectable seam fusion that delivers soft, moisture-wicking comfort without seam interruption. Darn Tough socks are made to feel like an invisible cloud on your feet without bunching or slipping.
Guaranteed For Life
One of the biggest praises these socks get is that they are ultra-durable and last a long time. They are composed mainly of shrink-treated Merino wool. Darn Tough guarantees these for life.
Cost and Value
For a pair of socks, they are a little pricey. In fact, they are the most expensive on our list, but only by a tad. However, many agree that the price is definitely worth it. These are amazingly comfortable camp socks despite the price per pair.
2. Thorlo’s Light Hiking
This model of Thorlo hiking socks delivers padding that has been clinically tested to help reduce blistering and keeps your foot cushioned. The padding is placed on the ball of the foot and the heel: two places blisters and sore feet can happen if not protected correctly.
These socks are comprised mainly of a “Thorlon” blend of fabrics boasting “Thor-Wick Cool” wicking fibers to make them soft, durable, and moisture-wicking. To add to that, they also have an extra ventilation panel for even more moisture control and breathability.
Cost and Value
These socks aren’t as expensive as some others but are still up there for a single pair of socks. However, you get a great supportive pair of hiking socks for a decent price with these.
- Precision-placed cushioning
- “Thor-Wick Cool” moisture wicking technology
- A soft Thorlon blend of fibers
- Ventilation panel
- Keep feet warm
- Can be hot to wear in warmer climates
- Some say too tight
3. CloudLine Merino Wool Crew
The CloudLine Medium cushion hiking socks are manufactured with all-over cushioning making them super squishy and majorly comfortable. This might deter someone thinking your feet will become soggy messes, but because they are made of moisture-wicking soft Merino wool, that won’t happen.
Let’s face it: camp socks are NOT exciting to look at. They’re socks usually bland in color - it’s the effectiveness of them that matters most. However, these socks are different. Unlike most others, there are lots of different color trims to choose from so you can have comfy feet AND look good! And you thought it couldn’t be done.
Cost and Value
These are the most expensive socks on our list by just a tad. They are the prize possession of many-a-hiker though, so they are worth the cost.
- All-over cushioning
- Soft Merino Wool
- Lots of color options
- Not good for extreme temperatures
- May not be thick enough for some hikers
The manufacturer of these socks prides itself on saving its customers money. Their business is structured so that they cut out the middleman and then they can charge less. You get 4 pairs of these socks for a fraction of the price per pair. As stated above, they are pretty standard when it comes to camp socks, but are still a great product.
Reinforced Toe and Heel
The cushioning on the toe and heel of these socks is reinforced, making them long-wearing. When hiking, these are the parts of the feet that take the brunt of the action, so this is a very useful feature.
Cost and Value
Considering you get 4 pairs of socks when you buy these, they are the most economical choice per pair on our list. If you are looking to get multiple pairs of socks at a good price, you might consider these.
- Soft Merino Wool
- Shaped cushioning on footbed
- Cushioned throughout
- Need to take washing precautions - tend to shrink
- Some say they don’t last long
5. Darn Tough Hiker Micro
Sometimes you don’t need a boot sock that comes up almost mid-calf. Perhaps you just need a good camp sock that won’t bunch or turn your feet into sweat factories. These come right above your standard hiking boot, so they are an excellent option for a day hike in decently warm weather.
Like the height, sometimes you don’t need a tremendous amount of cushion, but with hiking, you want some. With mid-level cushioning, these socks offer the support and softness you need to keep your feet comfy and protected on a nice hike.
Cost and Value
Again, camp socks tend to be a little more expensive than traditional socks. These are a little less than our #1, but still up there in cost. However, these are an excellent choice for comfort and durability.
6. Heat Holders Winter Thermal
These socks have been given a TOG rating of 2.34. TOG stands for Thermal Overall Grade and it measures how well socks retain heat. This makes them way warmer than most socks that you will find on the market today!
Heat Holding Loops
Not only are the insides of these socks brushed to be super soft, but they are also constructed differently than many other socks. Heat Holders’ interior is made up of little loops that produce a unique pile of cushioning and that makes them hold in even more heat, keeping your feet nice and toasty.
Cost and Value
These are a little less expensive than other socks on our list. They are made for a specific purpose: to keep feet warm. So if that’s what you’re looking for, these socks are a great value.
- Designed to keep feet warm
- Unique pile cushioning for comfort
- Good for diabetics
- Brushed interior for superior softness
- Available in many different colors
- Looser fit
- May be too warm for some hiking conditions
7. SeoulStory7 Mid Cushion
These socks offer a compressed top, which means they will stay in place inside your sneaker or hiking boot. Let’s face it: it’s really annoying to have to pull your socks up every thirty seconds. With these socks’ compressed top you won’t have to worry about that, they are designed to stay in place.
Elastic Arch Support
The unique arch support elasticity in these socks offers support where many people need it most. Wearing these socks reduces friction thus minimizing the chance of blisters.
Cost and Value
These socks come in packs of 5, so for the cost of one pair of some of the socks on our list, you get 5 pairs. Of course, this is economical, but some may consider the quality versus the quantity. In any event, if you are looking to get more pairs for your money, you may consider these.
- Compression top
- Arch support
- Cushioned in heel and ball of the foot
- Seam across toes
- Run small
8. Smartwool Mountaineering
The “Smartwool Fit System” in these socks ensures a supportive fit. They offer ankle and arch support to make sure you get a secure fit. They won’t slide around inside your shoes and you won’t have to keep pulling them up.
Lots of Cushioning
Extra heavy cushioning makes for a soft, comfortable fit and gives you the protection you need against blisters. With a large amount of cushioning, you will also be gaining a great amount of shock absorption which is something that can come in handy on more difficult terrains.
Cost and Value
Smartwool is a well-known name brand among camp socks so you will be paying for a reliable product when you purchase these. They are some of the most expensive socks on our list, but not so much.
- Extra Heavy cushioned support
- Very warm
- Smartwool Fit System offers support
- Flat knit toe seam
- Keep feet dry
- Need to be washed carefully to avoid shrinkage
9. LIFT 23 Atacama
The Atacama moisture-wicking performance socks aren’t made of wool but they are made to keep your feet comfortable and warm for a multitude of activities. They are designed to be worn doing anything from hiking to golf because they are not too bulky, yet they are supportive.
Like many of the socks on our list, these are moisture wicking and are designed to keep your feet dry. These socks, in particular, are specifically engineered using the company’s thermal capillary moisture management system and FreshGuard Dri-Release to pull moisture away from the body and keep feet dry and odor free.
Cost and Value
These are pricey in terms of a single pair of socks, but they are performance socks, designed for more than just cushioning your feet. They are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a multipurpose performance sock.
- Moisture wicking
- Treated with FreshGuard to keep feet from getting smelly
- Compression keeps them in place
- Available in many colors
- Can be worn for a variety of activities
- Not a lot of cushion
- May be too hot for warmer climates
10. RTZAT Merino Wool
Many of the socks on our list come in single pairs but the RTZAT Merino wool hiking socks are offered in single pairs or packs of 2 or 4. This is nice because sometimes you want more than one pair for the price you are paying and with these, you have that option.
No Bells and Whistles
There aren’t any fancy colors and specially developed features in these socks but they are comfy and warm. Sometimes you aren’t looking for bells and whistles and you just want a reliably warm sock.
Cost and Value
These socks are pretty affordable when it comes to Merino wool socks, especially if you buy them in a pack of 4. Per pair, the price is doable for almost any budget.
- Merino wool is super warm and soft
- Available in multipacks
- Arch support
- Hand wash only
- Not anything exciting to look at
Shopping for socks isn’t the most exhilarating adventure, but you do want to make sure you are getting socks that are best-suited for your activities. The options on this list are pretty diverse: from socks designed to help you trek treacherously cold temperatures to socks that can be worn on a walk around the neighborhood. When considering which pair is right for you, think about your weather conditions and what you want to get from your socks. Camp socks are an important part of your wardrobe when it comes to keeping your feet warm, dry, and protected. This list gives you lots to choose from, we’re sure you’ll find some that are best suited for your lifestyle.
Criteria Used in Evaluation
Usually, one of the first things people associate with camping is “chilly”. Even if you are hanging out in a warmer climate, when the sun goes down, so does the temperature. Many times, after waking up in a tent or even in a camper, you feel that morning chill and dampness in the air. Our extremities are the first part of our bodies to react to the cold and toes can get pretty cold, even in a sleeping bag. That’s why it’s important to consider how warm your camp socks will keep you, so you can enjoy that morning sunrise with toasty toes. Some of the socks on our list are manufactured to focus primarily on keeping the feet warm, while others focus more on support or durability. With that being said, there are several camp socks listed that offer all of these features!
Even if you aren’t planning on packing up your car with camping equipment, camp socks can be used to keep your feet warm through other activities as well. Depending on the socks you choose and the climate you’ll be in, you can use camp socks for hiking, walking, gardening, or to just keep your feet warm while lounging around the house. Many camp socks are made of Merino wool, which is naturally soft and thermal while others are made of a blend of materials. All in all, socks, in general, are made to keep feet soft and warm, and the level of warmth you need will depend on where you will be wearing them and what activities you’ll be participating in.
Warmth and moisture sort of go together naturally. Our feet have a staggering 250,000 sweat glands in them and when we are active, those sweat glands do their job to cool off our bodies. Combined with the fact that feet are natural sweat-producers, wearing camp socks inside hiking boots or sneakers, and their thermal qualities, it is very important your camp socks are moisture-wicking. Without moisture-wicking capabilities, feet can become damp and cold which isn’t something you want when you are camping, hiking, or even watching television. Damp feet can also lead to friction inside of your shoes which, in turn, could lead to blisters.
Merino wool is naturally moisture-wicking so having camp socks made up primarily of this material is a great idea. However, you don’t necessarily need Merino to keep your feet dry. Several of the socks on our list are made of other fabric combinations that are designed to pull sweat away from the skin. Merino wool is a natural antimicrobial to keep your moisture-wicked feet free from stinky bacterial grown, while other non-Merino socks are treated with antimicrobial technology to do the same thing.
Of course, we all want our socks to be soft; stiff and scratchy socks are uncomfortable and unsupportive. Camp socks do not only need to be soft for comfort, but they need to offer cushioning to protect against blisters and help with shock absorption. Some of the socks on our list offer precision-placed cushioning in the heel and the ball of the foot, while others offer cushioning throughout. Precision-placed cushioning provides shock absorption to the areas of the foot that take the brunt of the action when you walk or hike. This is good for hikes in a warmer climate because the cushioning is only in the areas where you need it most while the rest of the sock is a little more breathable. All over cushioning provides softness and protection all over the foot and lower leg. This is a nice feature for when you are wearing hiking boots that come up over the ankles because the cushioning will keep your feet and lower legs comfortable and protect them from friction.
Hiking, camping, and other activities can be brutal on socks. Between mud, sticks, rocks, and friction within your shoes, camp socks can take a beating. When choosing which sock is right for you, think about how often you’ll be wearing and washing them. Many backpackers wear their camp socks more than once before washing them since they often go days out in the wilderness yet don’t want to weigh down their packs with dozens of pairs of socks. Some people trek through dirty paths that result in muddy socks, so they have to wash them more often. Or, maybe you just like to wash your socks after each wear. No matter which of these you associate with more, you want to make sure your camp socks will be up to the challenge.
Due to the fact that many camp socks are cushioned on the footbed, most are fairly durable in terms of ripping. However, some are made of certain materials that don’t allow for machine washing and drying. Be sure to pay attention to washing instructions when choosing and washing your camp socks. Because some are made with non-pre-shrunk wool, washing them in warm water and throwing them in the dryer could have dire consequences. Wool also has a tendency to pill up after multiple wears and washes. This is pretty normal, but if you care for your socks as instructed, you will be able to cut down on the amount of pilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I wear camp socks as slippers?
A: Of course! Because many camp socks are manufactured to keep feet warm and have cushioning so they are great options to be worn as slippers.
Q: Isn’t wool itchy?
A: Most camp socks made of wool are comprised mainly of Merino wool which is naturally soft and not itchy. Of course, any sock may feel itchy to some, but for the most part, Merino wool is a smart choice for a soft non-course feel.
Q: Are camp socks too warm to be worn in the summer?
A: That depends on which socks you choose. Some are designed specifically to aid in retaining heat, while others focus more on cushioning and support. You have to consider how warm of a climate you are in and which activities you will be doing when wearing whatever socks you choose. Many camp socks are designed to keep your feet warm but also allow your feet to breathe.
Q: Will they shrink?
A: Some camp socks may shrink if they aren’t pre-shrunk or if they aren’t washed and cared for properly. As long as you follow the care instructions on the package, you should be fine. Some socks can be machine washed and dried while others require hand washing and line drying.
Q: Is the price for one pair of socks?
A: Many camp socks are sold as a single pair and can often cause sticker shock. However, camp socks are designed to be functional and are specifically tailored to keep feet warm, dry, and to prevent blisters. Sometimes you have to pay a little more to get a specially designed product. With that said, there are some camp sock models that come in multiple pairs.
Q: Do thermal camp socks require a battery?
A: No, traditional camp socks are just manufactured to keep feet warm through the materials and manufacturing. There are battery-powered socks out there, but camp socks are typically not battery operated.