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Liner socks or no for blister prevention?
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Derek Ruhland
(DerekRuhland) - F

Locale: Southern California
Liner socks or no for blister prevention? on 03/08/2011 17:22:19 MST Print View

Two of the guys I hike with swear by wearing super-thin wool liner socks inside their hiking socks, claiming that it prevents blisters because the friction of the boot is transfered through the hiking sock, onto the liner, and stops there, instead of continuing on to your foot, and because the liner socks are so good at wicking moisture. I have always just worn only my hiking socks, as I tend to not get an extra piece of gear as a default, but then again I always end up with blisters on longer trips. Does anyone have any strong opinions about this?

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Liner socks - yes on 03/08/2011 17:34:19 MST Print View

I ALWAYS wear thin polyester liner socks, from either REI or, under wool-blend socks, and I NEVER have had blisters.

But since I've never tried just one pair of socks I don't know if the two are actually preventing blisters or I wouldn't have got them anyway. Other factors to complicate things are I change socks every day washing today's pair and letting them dry during the next day, sometimes I use hydropel, and I have really good-fitting shoes/boots (Inov8 370's and Zamberlan Tundras).

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Yes but... on 03/08/2011 17:50:11 MST Print View

If I were to wear mid weight hikers I would always wear liners. But if you hike somewhere with heat then sweaty feet will not be your friend. I switched out to wrightsocks which are two layer socks that act the same as sock/liner but are much lighter weight. These are popular with runners and I have had great luck with those keeping away blisters and they weigh virtually nothing. Might be worth buying and taking on trip to try them out.

Jeffrey McConnell
another yes on 03/08/2011 17:50:41 MST Print View

They work for me. I prefer injinji liners (toe sock liners) because they helped me get rid of blisters on my toes as well as other areas of my feet. Sometimes I just use injinji socks though. Since moving to trail runners I've had a lot less issues with my feet.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Liner socks or no for blister prevention? on 03/08/2011 17:50:43 MST Print View

I wear one pair of socks only. In summer it's a lightweight wool liner sock. In winter an insulated VBL sock. Sometimes in late fall/early spring it will be a bit heavier wool sock. But always, only one pair.

Of course, I don't wear boots. I wear trail runners. And they fit well.

I don't get blisters. Even on consecutive 25+ mile days with my feet wet most of the time.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Liner socks or no for blister prevention? on 03/08/2011 18:04:49 MST Print View

The thin liner socks seem to do pretty good for anybody who hikes less than 50 or 100 miles per week. Once your feet get toughened up, the liners may not be necessary.

I've seen hikers with fewer blisters from wearing thin polypro socks rather than thin wool socks. It may be due to the smoothness of the fabric, or it may be due to the moisture wicking of the fabric.


Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
It's highly variable on 03/08/2011 18:10:52 MST Print View

I don't think there's a single answer to the OP's question. I've tried almost every type of sock, with and without liners, and I still get some blisters. I think that's mainly due to the shape of my feet.

What works best for me now is to wear only a single pair of polypro liner socks. In warm weather, this keeps my feet dry and seems to minimize the blisters. The liners don't last long (maybe 500 miles), but that's a small price to pay for happy feet.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Liner socks or no for blister prevention? on 03/08/2011 18:19:12 MST Print View

"I've seen hikers with fewer blisters from wearing thin polypro socks rather than thin wool socks. It may be due to the smoothness of the fabric, or it may be due to the moisture wicking of the fabric."

I've seen those hikers too, me, get terrible blisters from doing this on the JMT two summers ago. if you decide to do this on a long trip then bring a plan B. I didn't and paid the price.

Edit: For any change to your socks I would have your regular system as a backup.

Edited by gg-man on 03/08/2011 18:23:27 MST.

Mat Tallman
(wehtaM) - F

Locale: Midwest
socks on 03/08/2011 19:11:00 MST Print View

Injinji synthetic socks, no liners's worked very well for me so far.

Never felt very comfortable with wool socks w/ liners. No terrible blister incidents, but never especially comfortable, feet always felt sort of clammy.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Liner socks or no for blister prevention on 03/08/2011 19:14:20 MST Print View

I almost never get blisters with liner socks unless my feet are wet all day, and rarely in that circumstance. Thus these days I always wear liners. I also wash them and change them often. Being so thin they dry easily, so I can wash them more often than my outer wool socks. I also routinely use Hyrodpel or Sportslick, even if I don't think my feet will get wet. I also try to wash my feet fairly often.

Decades ago getting blisters was fairly common until liner socks were invented. In those days everyone wore fairly coarse rag wool socks, though.

Ryan Slack
(RWSlack) - F

Locale: Minnesota
thin socks source on 03/08/2011 21:33:42 MST Print View

Yes, it's highly personal and dependent upon conditions. Mostly I like shoes rather than boots, with thin socks.

I'd like to add that a cheap source for thin "throwaway" socks is in the sock bin at your local thrift store...usually full of ugly dress socks, poly or sometimes even wool. Just a thought.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Liner socks or no for blister prevention? on 03/08/2011 22:45:10 MST Print View

When I wore leather boots (in the past) liners definitely made a difference. With breathable trail runners, I almost never get a blister no matter what I wear. Single pair of light socks these days. Most merino wool. In hot weather Wright shocks are nice for me.

seth t
(diggity) - F
oo on 03/08/2011 23:57:22 MST Print View


Edited by diggity on 04/06/2012 20:40:11 MDT.

Mark Ryan

Locale: Somewhere. Probably lost.
Re: thin socks source on 03/09/2011 06:46:52 MST Print View

Anyone try the throwaway socks that you find at shoe stores. The ones used to try on shoes if you don't have socks on. Look and feel like panyhose.


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Throw away socks on 03/09/2011 08:47:43 MST Print View

Yes, I use $1 throw-away cheap nylon dress socks from time to time.
Have to be careful because many contain cotton.

They definitely reduce the friction between your feet and shoes, but that is not what causes all blisters.

What I do is wear multiple layers of thin socks. Not just to reduce the friction, but multiple thin socks dry faster than single thick socks. Dry socks also mean less blisters.

In the summer it is one thin merino inner, with thin nylon outer. The merino against the skin reduces stink-foot and I find more comfortable. The nylon outer dries in no time and breaths well.

In colder weather I may wear 3 socks and/or one of the socks might be mid-weight.