When it comes to hiking, there’s nothing worse than having to do so with wet feet because neither your socks or shoes could handle the terrain. While the first defense against water on your hike would be through your sneakers, many forget about the backup plan—your socks.
What are waterproof socks? They’re exactly what they sound like—they’re socks that are designed to be completely waterproof and therefor serve as a protectant against wet feet. Most waterproof socks consist of a waterproof membrane that allows water vapor to escape without letting water or moisture in.
So, what are the best waterproof socks for 2020? Here are the things you should look for when finding the best fit for you:
Waterproof socks are not made for the sole purpose of tackling hiking trails. They can be used for many different activities including:
No matter what spots you visit as a nature lover, waterproof socks can be an aid to your adventure that your feet will thank you for.
There are two blends of materials that most waterproof socks are made from:
- Nylon and Coolmax: This is a material blend that uses lightweight and moisture-wicking nylon to protect feet from water. Since nylon doesn’t absorb water as other fibers do, it makes a great material for waterproof socks.
- Merino Wool: This blend is focused on warmth over comfort. Because merino wool is recognized for its thermal properties, it’s even used by the military to protect duty members feet from water and cold—so, not only does merino keep your feet dry, but it keeps them warm as well.
Depending on preference, you may want to choose one material blend over the other.
Both Waterproof and Weatherproof
Whether you’re hiking or cycling, golfing or snowboarding, wet feet can ruin any adventure if you don’t properly prepare. That being said, waterproof socks have you covered no matter what obstacles are thrown your way. Not only do they protect your feet from water, but they can also withstand high water pressure. The amount of water pressure socks can handle is measured by using a hydrostatic head pressure rating (HHPR), which is basically a measure of how water resistant a material is.
Washing waterproof socks is as easy as these four simple steps:
- Take a bowl and fill it with lukewarm water and add soap. You’ll want to be sure not to use boiling water as that can damage the material.
- Turn the socks inside out and use the lukewarm water to thoroughly wash them. If you prefer, you can even use body wash in place of regular soap as this won’t damage the waterproof lining.
- Turn them inside out again and repeat the washing process.
- Once both the inside and outside have been thoroughly washed, let them air or hang dry—preferably in the fresh air. Similar to boiling water, you’ll want to avoid drying your socks on a radiator or heater as that can also damage the material.
Considerations Before Buying
Now that you’ve decided to buy yourself a pair of waterproof socks, you’ll want to consider two things: size, and whether you want knee length or mid-calf height. Depending on the materials, some brands are more forgiving and flexible than others. Always be sure to consult a brand’s size chart before purchasing.
Beyond that, you’ll have to decide how much water protection you need. Since their socks come in mid-calf and knee length versions, you can choose which is best for you and your plans. Knee length socks are better for fishing and wading, or other boating activities. Midcalf socks, on the other hand, are ideal for cyclers, hikers, and runners.
Overall, here are some of the best benefits that waterproof socks have to offer:
- Waterproof and warm
Waterproof socks will keep feet both dry and warm no matter how far your journey is going to take you.
- Debris resistant
Not only do these socks protect you from water, but they protect you from different debris you may encounter on the trail.
- Practical and comfortable
Since these socks consist of three different layers, they’re geared toward comfort and won’t be too tight or itchy for even the pickiest of hikers.
A huge benefit of waterproof socks is their ability to improve the hygiene of your feet. Of course, if your feet get wet during a long hike and then have to be in your shoes like that for a long period of time, they can cause infections, irritation, or other funks. These socks can help to ward off these potential issues.
Unlike some hiking socks, waterproof socks aren’t only made for hiking trails. They can be used for many other actives, as previously mentioned, including, golfing, fishing, and cycling.
When searching for waterproof socks, be sure to purchase ones that are built to withstand any adventure thrown their way, keeping your feet dry, warm, and protected along the way.