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I Wore Merino Wool Socks on a Hike - Here’s What Happened

by Christian Collard

Merino Wool Socks are a top choice for hiking men and women everywhere.

Photo by Paul Gilmore

Pre-Hike - 10:00am

My boyfriend Doug and I prepare for a short Sunday hike by loading up our backpacks with water, a canteen of coffee (very necessary), and a collapsible dog bowl for our pup Riley.

Doug wears his Bear Feet merino wool socks in black & red under his brand new Merrell hiking boots, while I sport a simpler pair under a pair of very worn and trusty North Face boots. We hop in the car and begin journeying through Lancaster farm land to the Shiprock Woods Nature Preserve, about a half hour drive from our house.


Trail Head - 10:30am

The trailhead is unassuming and quaint, positioned between two farmhouses. We’re greeted by an aggressively steep incline, which is always a nice breezy way to start off a hike (eyeroll). It varies in intensity and lasts about a quarter of a mile. The sun is beaming and the temperature rising as the morning sun turns to afternoon. Which means we’re already getting pretty sweaty.

But you can’t tell from our feet, which are cool and well ventilated inside our hiking boots. Merino wool is proving to be a worthy adversary against sweaty, smelly feet. Something we all can certainly appreciate.

merino wool socks on the trail


Mid Trail - 11:00am

One thing Doug & I love about the trails in Lancaster County are their close proximity to farmland. It’s something you hardly expect to see as you come to a highpoint, watching a far off creek twist out of the woods an into an open plain with rolling fields and grazing cows. It’s a unique and welcomed sight, made even more obvious in late winter by the still leafless trees.

The ground is dry, the forest floor blanketed in twigs and pine needles. One thing we notice now is that our socks are tight enough at the top to keep unwanted dirt and debris out of our shoes, even though they aren’t constrictive and don’t leave behind any marks on our ankles. Game changer.


Muddy Bridge - 11:30am

Riley hates swimming, but loves to wade and splash around in more shallow waters. We come across a small bridge over one such creek at the turnaround of the trail.

Upon further inspection, we notice a patch of white snowdrop flowers budding towards the edge of the water and decide to get a closer look so Doug can snap some photos with his camera. As can be expected, Riley darts towards the creek in a frenzied excitement and pulls me into a thick sinking pit of wet, milk chocolate colored mud.

Thanks, buddy. Thanks so much.

muddy paws on the hike


Out & Back - 12:30pm

Riley, Doug and I arrive back to the car and feel pretty toasty, despite it being a brisk 42 degrees outside. At this point, our feet are usually pretty swollen and hot. I always bring a pair of sandals just in case I need to kick off my shoes.

I don’t even realize until we arrive at home that I hadn’t even considered it.

When we start preparing for our post-hike showers, we remove our socks and discover they are almost totally dry and stink free. When I ask Doug what he thinks about wearing merino wool socks for hiking regularly, he says, “I love ‘em.

Only wish they made doggie socks for Riley’s muddy paws.”

Though I can’t help but think he needs a little more help than that.


The Verdict

Merino wool socks are often touted as being temperature regulating, moisture wicking, and stink resistant. For us, they lived up to that hype and beyond. We especially loved that they don’t slip down our ankles or leave any room for twigs to invade our boots (I’m a foot dragger, so it’s an actual problem I have). And it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re super cute! Doug and I will be wearing these every time we hike moving forward, and are especially looking forward to bringing them on our trip to the Rocky Mountains in the Spring.


By Judy Russ


the best merino wool socks