Wearing the proper hiking socks will help you enjoy your Alpenwild tour. The average Alpenwild hiker treks anywhere from seven to ten miles per day on our Alpenwild Swiss Hiking Self-Guided and Guided Tours.
If your feet are happy, you will be happy
The proper pair of hiking socks can eliminate unnecessary chafing, hot spots, blisters et cetera. When choosing a pair of socks, consider your feet, footwear and the material of the socks you would like to buy.
Let’s start with your feet. Be honest with yourself, how much do your feet sweat? If they sweat a little bit, a moisture-wicking sock and breathable shoe should keep you comfortable. If you sweat quite a bit, moisture wicking socks with support are a must. Regardless, we recommend you pack at least one or two extra pairs of socks on our Alpenwild hikes. You may not need them but you’ll be grateful you have them when you do.
Next, consider your footwear. It is wise to buy your hiking shoes before or at the same time you purchase your socks. That way, your shoes and socks can complement each other. We recommend ankle or past the ankle hiking boots on our Alpenwild hiking tours. You always want your socks to be higher than your boots to prevent your shoes from rubbing on your skin. Having relatively higher socks will make the hike much more enjoyable.
Lastly, the material of the socks you choose based on your body and shoes is most important. Up above, we mentioned moisture wicking socks, they usually have polyester or nylon in them as those materials wick away moisture.
Sock materials and their traits
- Polyester: A synthetic, extremely durable (abrasion-resistant), hydrophobic (moisture wicking) quick-drying material. Polyester socks can easily be washed and dried without becoming misshapen and/or shrinking.
- Nylon: Another synthetic material, like polyester (but softer,) that pushes moisture away from the body.
- Wool: All natural material that regulates feet temperatures and keeps them warm. Wool also has anti-microbial properties so wool socks are less likely to smell as much as other socks. However, wool doesn’t wick moisture away from the body like polyester does. Instead, wool socks will soak up excess moisture and at times will dry your feet out. Wool also shrinks when washed. Therefore, if you have sweaty feet, and or like to wash your socks, consider investing in a wool sock blend or socks made up of polyester, nylon and/or spandex to improve your hiking comfort.
- Spandex: A stretchy material that allows socks to fit snugly to your feet. Spandex also helps socks retain their shape, it is usually a material complement in socks.
As you can see, all of the materials have their redeeming qualities. You might find that you like polyester or wool socks, or a sock with a blend of materials. There are also different levels of sock cushion. We encourage you to try on different pairs of hiking socks, wear them on your conditioning hikes and get ready to enjoy the supreme beauty of Switzerland on your Alpenwild Swiss hiking tour!
See you on the trail!
Source: REI blog