HIking with wet socks and wet feet is nearly synonymous with developing blisters. If your blisters become gnarly enough, they are easily reason enough to cut a day of hiking short. Factor in icy water, cold temperatures, and rigorous conditions, and you are in for a miserable day of painful trekking.
Fortunately, waterproof hiking socks will prevent all of that. They’ll aid in warmth, comfort, and dry feet. In this guide, I’ll discuss the nine best waterproof hiking socks to keep you hitting the trails in seasons filled with wet weather, high-flowing streams, and chilly temperatures.
My Review Process
As a longtime hiker, backpacker, and outdoors person, I would quite literally rather go sockless or even barefoot than wear a wet sock. I have had debilitating blisters after hiking in wet socks, so much so that I have to change my walking pattern to accommodate my bleeding feet.
Waterproof hiking socks will keep your feet dry while hiking, preventing blisters and improving comfort. The best pairs will also be breathable, moisture-wicking, comfortable, and relatively lightweight. With any of the nine best waterproof hiking socks below, you’ll keep your feet happy on any adventure you undertake.
Sealskinz has been making premium waterproof accessories for over 25 years, and they seem to have perfected their trade with the Waterproof All Weather Sock. With a Hydrostatic Head (HH) of over 20,000mm, you might as well leave the waterproof boots at home – these waterproof, windproof socks have you covered.
The three-layer construction includes a sweat-wicking Merino wool interior, a hydrophilic membrane, and a light nylon blend exterior.
Because they are an all-weather sock, they won’t perform particularly well in extreme heat or extreme cold. Instead, they are wonderfully designed for average temperatures of the four seasons.
With a lifetime guarantee and ultimate breathability, these socks will keep you going through downpours, puddle splashing, and stream wading.
These DexShell waterproof socks will keep your feet warm and dry slogging through snow or wading through a boot-topping creek. Rest assured, these socks don’t only fend off moisture — they’re also sand, mud, dust, and windproof.
DexShell’s toastiest pair of socks has a full terry loop Merino wool internal lining for maximum warmth, sweat-wicking ability, and odor control. The mid-layer is made of their trademarked Porelle membrane, aiding in waterproofness and breathability.
You might want to wear hiking boots that are larger than usual with these, as they are thicker than most. They also require extra hang time for drying if the outsides get completely soaked.
DexShell only uses Merino wool that is mulesing-free, and they use recycled materials in the construction of their products. If you’re diving into some cold conditions this winter, these won’t let you down.
Sealskinz delivers yet again. The Warm Weather Sock will keep your feet dry and cool on adventures marked by hot temperatures, stream crossings, and warm rains. This is undoubtedly the best waterproof hiking sock to protect your foot from both high temps and high waters.
They utilize bamboo rayon rather than Merino wool to produce a soft, lightweight, and breathable inner layer. The middle layer is a 100% hydrophilic membrane to help move sweat away from your foot, while preventing water from reaching it. The outer layer employs polycolon, a lightweight, quick-drying fabric to help keep your feet cool and comfortable as you hike.
If your summer plans include splashing through creeks and slipping in mud, these Sealskinz socks are a must-have.
This lightweight hiking sock will keep your foot breathing freely with its unique bamboo and modal (beech tree) fibers. Despite its thinness, it still incorporates the three-layer construction of a standard waterproof sock, but boasts the comfort of a regular sock.
While you may want to invest in a cozier pair for winter hiking, these are excellent for outdoor activities in warmer conditions. The impressive performance of these breathable socks makes them well-worth the price. You’ll rejoice in lengthy summer hikes knowing your feet are rockin’ these all season long.
For those of you who value some extra leg exposure, Randy Sun offers ankle-cut weatherproof socks. Although I can’t say I share the same sentiment, I can confirm that these minimalist, high-quality waterproof socks offer at least the same level of foot protection as the mid-lengths with an HH of 22,000mm.
Randy Sun’s unique three-layer system uses a patented COOLMAX technology on the inner membrane to help wick sweat from the foot. The outer layer is made of a durable nylon blend, and the seamless construction aids in comfort and blister prevention.
As the cuffs of the socks are not waterproof, these are made to withstand any wet environment — as long as it’s only ankle deep. That makes them ideal if you’re rock hopping up a shallow stream or gallivanting through light mud.
Sealskinz is making yet another appearance with their Cold Weather Sock. According to a 1998 study, women’s extremities may be several degrees colder than men’s at any given temperature. For this reason, these socks — with their extra layer of Merino warmth — make the cut as the best waterproof hiking socks for women.
The inner layer contains more acrylic than most options. This aids in providing significant warmth, but may result in lower breathability. Even so, these high-quality waterproof socks are designed to prevent blisters, maximize comfort, and keep those feet warm.
If you want to hike in cold, wet conditions and find yourself with dry feet at the end of the day, look no further.
The Crosspoint Classics will keep your feet dry and sweat-free, and you’ll think you’re wearing normal socks all the while. Showers Pass incorporates their patented waterproof, breathable Artex membrane in the middle layer and COOLMAX technology in the inner layer. The outer layer acts as a water and wear-resistant barrier, maximizing durability.
Although they provide slightly less cushion than thicker choices, their seamless design increases comfort and blister resistance. These durable socks make an excellent choice whether you’re making an arduous ascent or rambling along a leisurely path.
This Drymile sock is the ultimate lightweight, minimalistic sock for thru-hiking. It provides the comfort of an everyday sock and the protection of a neoprene sock. It has a classic three-layer construction. Nylon and acrylic offer maximum water resistance, and wool delivers warmth and odor management.
Although you may find your feet a bit toasty in hot weather, these provide excellent breathability in most temperatures. The Mountain Socks are prepared for your high-intensity, minimalist thru-hike. They will keep you cozy and comfortable on the trail — even when you’re forced to don your rain jacket.
These socks combine waterproofness, comfort, and breathability to take the cake as the best value ultralight waterproof hiking socks. Like the Randy Sun ankle-cut socks, they incorporate three layers for weather protection, including a waterproof membrane in the middle layer.
Not only will these keep your feet dry, but they’ll also protect your trotters from mud and dirt. The COOLMAX technology wicks sweat to assist in moisture and odor control. So if you’re ready to hit some muddy trails but keep those feet feeling fresh and dry, these waterproof socks are the way to go at a wallet-friendly price.
Waterproof Socks Buying Guide
Before choosing perhaps the most expensive pair of socks you’ll ever purchase, take a look at some of the most important things to consider below.
Waterproof socks are almost always composed of three layers. You want the internal layer to be made of a sweat-wicking material, such as Merino wool or bamboo rayon. The middle layer should be a hydrophilic, breathable layer. Many brands have their own patented version of this fabric. The outer layer should be completely waterproof. It often contains high levels of nylon.
Waterproofness is measured as a Hydrostatic Head (HH) rating. This measurement refers to how high a column of water would need to be before penetrating the fabric. Although this is not a direct indicator, a high HH correlates to effective waterproofing. 10,000mm or more is a good rule of thumb for waterproof socks.
It’s important to note that most waterproof socks will not remain waterproof if you top them; if water seeps in at or above the collar, the inside of the socks will get wet. If you prefer the security of extra coverage, it may be a good idea to wear gaiters in addition.
Although they will inevitably be less breathable than ordinary hiking socks, your waterproof socks need to be as breathable as possible, even in cold conditions. If you are engaging in strenuous activities, your feet are going to produce moisture, especially if you’re wearing waterproof boots.
The middle and inner layers should be composed of highly breathable materials, such as Merino wool or bamboo rayon. The outer layer should be composed of a water resistant, breathable fabric like nylon.
If your feet aren’t comfortable, you are not going to enjoy your time on the trail. Your sock should fit snugly, and the seams should be minimal or nonexistent. These two factors, combined with breathability, will aid in maximum comfort and blister protection.
Waterproof socks range from roughly $20 to $45. The higher priced pairs are going to be more dependable, durable, and effective. Still, the more affordable options can provide adequate protection and comfort.
If you intend to hike in cold and wet weather, you’ll need waterproof socks that will keep your feet warm. A thick Merino wool internal lining adds an extra layer of warmth. Alternatively, acrylic provides additional insulation, but it comes at the cost of decreased breathability.
My top pick for the best waterproof hiking socks in 2023 is the Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Mid Length Sock. It is a high quality sock with a Merino wool lining that will keep your feet dry. If you are on the hunt for a more budget-friendly option, the Randy Sun Waterproof Breathable Mid Calf Sock will also do a phenomenal job of preventing wet feet.
You should absolutely wear socks with waterproof hiking shoes. Even if you are wearing waterproof boots, waterproof socks will prevent your feet from getting wet. This is helpful if you top your boots in a stream or they experience leaks.
They do! The three-layer construction of waterproof socks ensures that you maintain dry feet in wet conditions. Some waterproof socks are more effective than others.
Merino wool socks are not inherently waterproof, but many waterproof socks incorporate a Merino wool layer. Merino wool aids in wicking sweat and breathability.
As a highly breathable fabric, Merino wool dries faster than other materials when it gets wet. It also retains most of its insulating abilities, so wet Merino wool can still help protect against cold feet.
Wet socks can lead to blisters and extreme discomfort. Wet socks worn for an extended period of time can lead to trench foot.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.