Back when I was younger, I had great luck with socks. I found them to be comfortable, lightweight, and to dry fairly quickly if they were the synthetic variety.
Unfortunately their main pitfall, at least to me, seemed to be durability. A brand new pair of merino socks would barely last a single backpacking trip before becoming pockmarked with holes. In mossy, forested environs, they fared better, but in anything rocky at all, they would really fall apart, especially on the soles, and the rocks would poke right through the fabric and jab my tender, bare feet underneath.
I honestly just about gave up on backpacking due to all my persistent and seemingly intractable sock-induced foot problems...
Luckily for me though, I had the good fortune to run into a very knowledgeable fellow backpacker one day while hiking in my socks on a particularly rocky stretch of trail. He saw the pained expression on my face as I hiked by him, looked down at my feet, and at that "moment a knowing" look crossed his face.
He proceeded to tell me about these things called shoes. At first, I was skeptical (rubber... on my feet?!!!), and I couldn't even begin to imagine how the tightening mechanism worked with all those interwoven strings and the special knots you had to tie to affix them.
But let me tell you people, while there was certainly a steep learning curve with shoes, they are so they worth it! I can even walk through cactus country without constantly being pricked on the soles of my feet. It's like something out of a dream. Shoes have totally revolutionized my hiking experience.
Of course, YMMV and all that, but I think everyone should at least give them a try.
For those of you who want to learn more about these things, just google "shoes." There is a surprising amount of info about them on the internet...