Best Compression Socks For Hiking (Buying Guide)
Every hiker should own a proper pair of hiking socks. Quality footwear will not only add to your comfort but may also aid in keeping you going longer. Though there are many types of hiking socks on the market, today we want to zoom-in on compression socks for hiking.
You might associate compression socks with fighting deep vein thrombosis on long flights, or as an aid to certain medical conditions. But did you know that a moderate pressure sock can also help fight fatigue on trails and after strenuous hikes? Plus, they can drastically improve your comfort, prevent blistering, and reduce swelling of the feet. Which is why every hiker should consider these types of socks when shopping for new hiking footwear.
To help you better understand the options, and navigate you towards the top-rated products on the market, we’ve created a handy Best Compression Socks For Hiking Overview. In this list, we’ll review some of the best-value, high-quality options available; from knee-length designs to lower, crew-style socks. We’re confident there is something for every budget and every preference.
Explore the Best Compression Socks For Hiking now and find a perfect fit for your feet!
PS: If you need more info on the benefits of compression hiking socks, check out our FAQ-section at the bottom of this post.
Best Compression Socks For Hiking – Overview
Sockwell Men’s Bart Graduated Compression Socks
- Moderate (15-20 mmHg) Graduated Compression is Recommended for: All day wear and is helpful for those who are Flying and Traveling, Prolonged sitting or standing, Exercise and recovery. Minimizes or...
This sock is a blend between various materials, combined to provide a snug yet breathable fit. The material is 32% Merino Wool, 32% Nylon, 31% Bamboo Rayon, and 5% Spandex. The use of spandex throughout the sock enables an ‘Accu-fit Technology’. Or, to put it simpler: it provides the needed stretch for a tight fit, without the risk of your sock slipping down or air pockets forming. Sockwell’s signature fiber blend of merino wool and rayon also balances natural moisture management and temperature regulation.
The Sockwell Men’s Bart Graduated Compression Socks have a non-abrasive seamless toe closure for extra comfort. Though do note, this design does not come with a cushioned sole: so don’t expect any padded on the bottom. The silhouette also features 4 zones of graduated compression. These start at the ankle and moves up the leg. Meaning there is no pressure applied to your toe or foot itself. If you are looking for a design that provides this, plus extra arch support, this may not be the sock for you.
As an established brand in hosiery, Sockwell’s compression product also adheres to high-quality standards and offer great durability and longevity. Meaning even with repeated wear, the socks will maintain their stretch and softness. The brand’s Men’s Bart Graduated Compression Socks are also easy to care for. They are machine-wash safe, so simply chuck them in with your other laundry after a hiking trip. We do recommend air-drying them, as tumble-dryer and merino wool are not a match made in heaven, and may cause shrinkage.
Customer reviews on the Men’s Bart Graduated Compression Socks by Sockwell are very positive. Hikers praise the design’s heavy-duty quality, style, comfort, value, and ability to prevent swelling and aches. Minor cons are that they can be tricky to put on. And some reviewers report that even though they are listed as ‘moderate’ compression socks (15-20mmHG), they can feel like a pair of ‘firm or medical’ compression socks (20-30mmHg). Meaning that if you prefer a ‘lighter’ feeling of support, these may be a bit too intense for you.
Tip: For a similar female version of this style, check out the Sockwell Women’s Labyrinth Graduated Compression Socks
- Heavy-duty construction
- Made by expert brand
- Merino Wool
- The moderate fit might feel ‘too tight’
- Tricky to put on
- Heal can wear out fast
Injinji Ultra Compression OTC Sock
- Injinji's five-toe patented designed to prevent blisters and hotspots
Besides excellent toe support, the Injinji Ultra Compression OTC Socks also offer high-performance compression. Do note, as the same suggests, these socks are ‘ultra’ supportive, designed for high-mileage training, long hikes, and intense trekking. If you only plan on doing a moderate day-hike: these socks might be too heavy-duty. However, if you’re going on a multi-day trip or plan to test your limits, this may be your perfect match. The Injinji Ultra Compression OTC Socks combining effective graduated compression to reduce fatigue. The silhouette provides graduated compression strongest at the ankle, continuing in lower mmHg along the leg.
Breathable and supportive
Made of a fiber blend of 80% Nylon and 20% Lycra, the socks offer a snug fit. The soft, lightweight fabric is further enhanced by strategically placed mesh inserts at the top of the foot. Providing extra breathability and ventilation to keep your feet cool and dry. The Injinji Ultra Compression OTC Socks also come with other perks. A supportive band woven into the sock’s silhouette provides excellent arch support and adds stability. The design also features reflective strips on the exterior to improve your low-light visibility.
Other hikers rate the Injinji Ultra Compression OTC Socks highly for their innovative five-toe design, support, and the ability to keep your legs from feeling overly fatigued after a full day of trails. Reviews confirm that the ‘toe sock’ style indeed prevents blistering, which is a big pro. Are there any cons? Well, some reviewers mention that the socks are not the most durable. Some had issues with the fabric ripping when putting them on, whilst others reported they may wear out quite quickly compared to other brands.
That said, negative reviews are limited compared to the positive feedback on these compression socks. We think that as long as you put them on, and take them off, with a bit of extra care, you shouldn’t have to worry about tearing them. Yes, they are a bit on the pricey side. But if by spending a bit more, you can avoid horrible toe-blisters and leg fatigue, it’s worth it.
Tip: For a similar female version of this style, check out the Injinji Women’s Ultra Compression OTC Sock
- High-performance style
- Five-toe style sock
- Banded arch support
- Reflective accents
- Mesh panels for breathability
- Pressure may be too firm for some
- Prone to ripping at seams when putting on
- May wear out quickly
Wanderlust ThrillTrek Merino Compression Socks
- 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: We promise these are the highest quality and most effective compression support socks you will ever own! If you don't fall in love after your first use, we'll gladly...
The socks are made of 9% Merino Wool, 8% Polyester, 10% Lycra, 33% Nylon and 40% Acrylic. Each type of fiber has its characteristics, aiding the overall function and performance of the sock. For example, merino wool offers great insulation against cold, whilst also being breathable enough to prevent ‘sweaty’ feet. Lycra makes the socks stretchy, yet snug. Other moisture-wicking properties and special mesh-fabric details also ensure your feet are well-ventilated and dry, no matter the intensity of your hike.
The Wanderlust ThrillTrek Merino Compression Socks offer excellent arch support, reinforcing the plantar fascia to alleviate plantar fasciitis. The design also has a seamless toe box and comes with additional foot padding to help absorb shock and give you an extra-soft, cushioned fit.
Gradient, gentle compression
These socks feature a special ‘Gradient Medical Grade Compression’ design. What this means is that they apply different compression, as recommended by medical experts, on each part of your foot/leg to ensure maximum blood circulation and pain relief. The Wanderlust design goes from the highest range to the lowest range in mmHg. Or, to be more specific: 25-30 mmHg at the ankle, 15-20 mmHg in the middle of the calf, and 10-15 mmHg below the knee.
Reviews on the Wanderlust ThrillTrek Merino Compression Socks are very positive, with high-ratings on quality, value, comfort, and style. Hikers mention they appreciate that this design looks like any other hiking sock, and they mean that in a good way. Unlike some styles that can look and feel orthopedic, this is more of a mainstream option. Also, reviewers confirm that the compression of the Wanderlust ThrillTrek is quite moderate and gentle, yet more than sufficient for all-day wear. Making it a slightly less intense choice to still reap the benefits of compression, without the feeling of being overly constricted.
Minor cons mentioned are that though these are listed as Merino Wool socks, they only contain approx. 9% wool, which is a bit cheeky by the manufacturer. Also, some reviewers mention both the heel and toe are quite prone to wear and tear, meaning that after intensive wear they might rip or develop holes.
That said, for the price listed, it still seems like a fair trade-off. These socks might not last us for years, but for their affordability, we don’t mind replacing them when the new hiking season starts.
- Merino Wool
- More gentle, moderate fit
- Cushioned sole
- Gradient Medical Grade Compression technique
- Modern, simple aesthetics
- Not the most durable
- Wool content slightly low
- Heel prone to wear and tear
Which compression hiking sock is the best fit for your feet, also depends on your personal preferences. If you want maximum compression, and maximum performance, the Injinji Ultra Compression OTC Socks are a solid choice. The five-toe sock keeps your toes separated and dry for enhanced foot control, whilst the compression shaft will fight fatigue and swelling.
The Sockwell Men’s Bart Graduated Compression Socks are reported to have an equally supportive, intense compression effect, ideal for hikers that want firm but comfortable support on their trails.
For those who prefer a slightly more gentle, but still stimulating effect, the Wanderlust ThrillTrek Merino Compression Socks are an excellent deal. The design is made of soft, breathable material and offers plenty of hiking comfort thanks to its arch support and extra foot cushioning on the sole.
All 3 styles are a great choice for those hikers that can use a bit of a boost on their adventures. A pair of compression socks is not strictly a necessity, but we would invest every hiker to invest in a pair. For longer hikes, multi-day trips, or simply challenging trails they can be the solution to your leg fatigue, swelling, and discomfort. Making it a handy aid that could keep you going, longer, when you need an extra push in the right direction.
If we had to pick a favorite, the Unisex Wanderlust ThrillTrek Merino Compression Socks would be top of our list. Firstly, because of its attractive pricing, secondly because of its quality, and thirdly because it offers gentle yet effective compression. It will keep your lower legs warm in cold conditions thanks to its merino compounds, whilst also keeping your feet dry due to its moisture-wicking properties. Extra arch support and cushioning add to the socks’ comfort. While the modern, simple aesthetics of the socks match every style of hiking boots.
Plus, when we compare the products pros and cons with the price listed, it seems like this offers the most bang for your buck. And we’re suckers for a great deal!
Best Compression Socks For Hiking FAQ
What are hiking compression socks?
Compression socks are tight, extra-stretchy socks that gently apply pressure to your legs and feet. Unlike regular socks, they are designed to sort of ‘squeeze’ your body, stimulating blood flow and circulation.
What types of compression socks are there?
Compression socks come in all shapes and sizes, though the most common are over-the-knee, under-the-knee, crew-style, and ankle-socks. The longer type (over-the-knee and under-the-knee) compression socks generally feature graduated compression technology. This means they are tightest around the ankle and get ‘looser’ as they move up your leg. Don’t be fooled: knee-high compression socks should never slouch. With looser we mean the material applies slightly less pressure, but the fit is still snug from toe to knee.
Variations on compression socks are compression sleeves and tights. A compression sleeve is simply the tube part (from the ankle to the knee), without a sock-foot attached. A compression tight covers your entire lower-torso from hip to toe, but this style is mostly only used for medical reasons.
What are the benefits of wearing compression socks?
Wearing compression socks can prevent your legs and feet from getting tired, achy, and swollen. They can also provide extra arch support and stability of the feet, plus reduce the risk of blood clots, spider veins, varicose veins. And also lower your chances of getting Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). For most hikers, the benefit of experiencing less swelling, aches, and leg fatigue will be most noticeable after a long day of walking. And make the biggest difference to their hiking and/or backpacking experience.
How do hiking compression socks work?
Okay, we’ll try to explain this as simply as we can, without all the difficult medical terminology. It’s all got to do with blood flow and circulation. When you’re on your feet all day, the veins and blood vessels in your legs have to work extra hard, fighting natural gravity, to pump your blood back to your heart. When you ‘overwork’ these veins and vessels, or suffer from poor circulation, it can cause your blood to pool. This, in turn, may lead to swelling, fatigue, discomfort, and pain.
This is where compression socks come in. By applying pressure on your feet and legs, compressions socks can stimulate the blood flow and circulation back to your heart. This also enables more oxygen-rich blood to flow through your body, relieving fatigue and soreness, and allowing your veins to ‘relax’. So, in short, compressions socks help ‘push’ the blood back up, which leads to better circulation, which reduces the risk of swelling, pain, blood clots, spider veins, and more.
What is an mmHg compression rating?
The mmHg (millimeters of mercury) rating of a sock refers to the level of pressure it applies to your leg. The lower the mmHg rating, the more gentle the pressure. The higher the mmHg rating, the more intense the effect.
Generally, the mmHG rating of compression socks can be divided into 3 ranges:
Low: less than 15 mmHg
Moderate: between 15 – 25 mmHg (the most common range for hiking socks)
High: over 25 mmHg (medical-grade/medical aid)
For the regular hikers without specific health problems, compression socks with a rating between 15 – 25 mmHg is ideal. These socks are tight enough to reap the benefits of compression, but not too tight that they become uncomfortable.
We’d recommend avoiding compression socks in the low range (less than 15 mm Hg) as you might as well just buy a pair of regular hiking socks as the effects are minimal. We’d also advise against socks with a rating over 25 mmHg unless prescribed to you by a doctor, as these are mostly aimed for post-surgery recovery and medical reasons.