Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Liner Socks?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Brandon Richards
(ZenDragon) - MLife

Locale: Southern Arizona
Liner Socks? on 05/06/2014 19:52:31 MDT Print View

I've been backpacking since I was kid, and was always taught that that your socks are the one of the most important things in your pack. I'm a firm believer silk/nylon liner sock under a padded "hiking" sock combo, and this combination has served me well. I have never gotten a blister in hundreds of miles. Obviously a good fitting shoe is as much responsible for that as the socks, but I've read quite a few blogs and articles recently talking about some people doing thousand milers with a single sock of merino wool or similar fabric.

I haven't bother to give that a shot but recently picked up a few pairs of socks that came recommended from several of those articles and blogs. The Wooleator, the Darn Touch Light Hiker, and a couple others. I'm going to try them out on a some short 25 milers without liner socks. But, I am curious how many of you only wear a single pair on your longest hikes. What other socks have you tried and had success with?

Edited by ZenDragon on 05/22/2014 08:49:45 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Liner Socks? on 05/06/2014 20:17:41 MDT Print View

always gone with single socks. Smartwool PhD and this year i have a pair of Darn Toughs too. 2 pair alternating days to let them air out. Long day hikes i'll change mid day.

if liners work for you then go with it. maybe single socks won't bother you either, your experiment will let you know.

for me keeping my socks clean is the most important.. once i went to Dirty girl gaiters the amount of dirt and duff in my shoes has about disappeared.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Liner Socks? on 05/06/2014 20:20:55 MDT Print View

I wear Wright coomax socks which have no padding to speak of. I don't hike thousands of miles but I do put in some 15-20 mile days (albeit not a great distance by BPL standards) wearing trail runners and I've never had a blister or any other foot problems to speak of. One thing I like is that my feet don't overheat and sweat with these socks on.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Liner Socks? on 05/06/2014 21:42:14 MDT Print View

When I started hiking/backpacking 30+ years ago the liner sock/wool sock thing was considered the way to go for footwear. I haven't worn that kind of combo in almost 30 years and think of it as outdated. I usually wear a fairly lightweight merino wool sock like Smartwool or Icebreaker or similar, and they certainly serve me as well (actually, better) than the old sock combo. Sometimes a wear a minimal type shoe with no sock at all and come away from that blister-free, too.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Liner Socks? on 05/06/2014 22:53:54 MDT Print View

The last time I wore liner socks under thicker socks was with big ole old-school leather hiking boots. They are a partial solution to to handling excess internally generated moisture that only really arises in such boots, and maybe a bit in lighter waterproof shoes that don't breath well - including a lot of Gortex-lined shoes. If you wear such boots then I suppose a lot can be said about using them, for and against.

On the other hand if you use trail runners the moister evaporates quickly right through the shoe. The received double sock wisdom really in no way applies to this case. The strategy there is to remove the moisture not just from the skin, but from the shoe as well as quickly as possible. In that case the thinner the socks the better. Probably your feet would be best in that type of shoe with the liners alone, but definitely with single (and thinner) socks. Wool is a good choice.

Edited by millonas on 05/06/2014 23:00:06 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Liner Socks? on 05/07/2014 01:57:59 MDT Print View

Gobi Wigwam liners under Darn Tough Boot Socks


Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Liners on 05/07/2014 03:27:00 MDT Print View

I used to wear them back in my heavy leather boot days. These days I wear poly socks with no liners.

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
Just plain old ragg socks... on 05/07/2014 08:27:44 MDT Print View

From REI for about $10/pair. I realize that prolly violates all,the scientific approaches to wicking moisture away from the skin and allowing it t evaporate, but it works for me with either GTX hiking boots, mesh runners (which I usually wear, three-seasons), and anything in between.

Brandon Richards
(ZenDragon) - MLife

Locale: Southern Arizona
... on 05/07/2014 08:36:59 MDT Print View

Thanks for all your input! Very much appreciated! And yea I figured the liner sock thing was a little outdated as better made shoes have come out. I wear a pair of Lowa Renegade GTX Mids (about 2.5 lbs for the pair). Although not as light as some of the trail runners, are quite light for a mid. They are gore-tex with a leather outer, but an astonishingly comfortable and smooth interior. They have served me spectacularly well given some of the other foot issues I have, and they are NOT made in China! o_O These are the shoes I will be experimenting with, and if that goes well I might pick up a pair of trail runners to experiment with as well.

Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Liner Socks? on 05/07/2014 08:56:07 MDT Print View

I've always used just wool socks, usually merino of some sort, but occasionally ragg if it's a long downhill day (merino can sometimes be too slippery). But I recently had an experience that caused me to go buy some thin synthetic liners. A very rainy trip had me walking in drenched shoes/socks for several days, and I discovered I have an allergy, or at least a sensitivity, to wet wool over the long term. My feet and ankles looked like they'd been fire roasted after about two days. So I'll probably stick with plain socks unless there's a lot of rain in the forecast, in which case I'll take the liners.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Liner Socks on 05/07/2014 10:46:38 MDT Print View

"And yea I figured the liner sock thing was a little outdated as better made shoes have come out. "

Older does not necessarily mean outdated or worse (now that I just turned 60 I'm absolutely certain of this!).

I too wore wool+liner socks for decades and the combination worked great. When I switched to lightweight shoes I continued with the combination. But for one 13-day hike eight years ago I switched to just SmartWool socks, no liners. Within two days I had a blister on the bottom of my foot.

Since then I always use the combination, no blisters since.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Liner Socks?" on 05/07/2014 17:38:00 MDT Print View

For longer hikes I use Injini toe socks under Darn Tough wool socks. I have never had a blister wearing my Injini's as a liner.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: ... on 05/07/2014 18:24:19 MDT Print View

My boots were Lowas too! I think they are around here somewhere. Isn't it funny that a few decades ago owning such a pair would give you "cred" as a serious hiker - and now, at least among the BPL crowd, trail runners are the marker of "serious" long-distance hiking. I heard recently that in the early part of the 19th century in Europe pink was considered THE manly color to wear. It is useful to occasionally remind ourselves that a good part of every trend is pure convention, and especially to remember to apply that understanding the current wisdom as well.

Edited by millonas on 05/07/2014 18:27:49 MDT.

Kris Sherwood
(Tuskadero) - F

Locale: Washington State
Re: Liner Socks? on 05/08/2014 15:42:33 MDT Print View

I use a single pair of Injinji Run 2.0 no show socks. I always struggled with my toes rubbing on long mileage days and this took care of it.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
no liners on 05/09/2014 07:48:34 MDT Print View

for twenty + years I wore liners and wool socks (and heavy leather boots!), since I went to trail runners about four years ago I've never looked back

Darn Tough Micro UL merinos are my choice- many 25+ mile days w/ them (running and hiking)

sock on 05/11/2014 07:36:19 MDT Print View

single pair of thin unpadded synthetic or wool with trail runners. Never found the actual sock to matter. .


Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: sock on 05/11/2014 14:17:41 MDT Print View

Single pair of polyester socks with trail runners have always done the trick for me also. Check out Feeture socks. Awesome stuff.


Jake S
match your footware on 05/11/2014 22:02:49 MDT Print View

when you were a kid you probably hiked in stiff sole boots that didn't naturally provide much cushion.

If you're now wearing trail runners, that's probably hardly the case anymore.

Now, I did wear midweight socks with my trail runners before I got my gaiters. Now I feel like I can get by with lightweight socks better because I no longer have crap constantly getting in my shoes. Since I always bring more than one pair of socks, this ends up lightening my pack. ;)

Luis Acebal
(lmacebal) - F

Locale: Northern California
Depends on Footwear on 05/18/2014 12:56:07 MDT Print View

I now mostly use lighter footwear for most of my multi-day hikes. With my Teva shoes, there is no need for me to use a liner. However, on occasion, I still use my Vasque Sundowners and use liners with them. Another thing, I've noticed that since I've begun using Superfeet soles my feet just feel more comfortable and less prone having any added protection from blisters.

Virginia Craft
( - F

Locale: Feet dangling from the perimeter
Woolie Boolie on 05/18/2014 15:41:33 MDT Print View

I agree, Injinji toe socks as a liner work wonders.

A random side note: For winter hiking (or cold night camping), I highly recommend DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks. A nice, tight-knit wool sock with compression in just the right places. Ooooo billy!
My feet have their own Antarctic micro-climate going on, and these socks are the perfect solution for me without being too heavy and cumbersome.