Leading an active lifestyle can be immensely rewarding, but only by ensuring that you benefit from maximum comfort. It all starts with your footwear, or your socks to be more specific. The type of outdoor socks you choose to wear on a daily basis or during your expeditions makes all the difference. Do you know which pair is right for you?
Outdoor socks can be categorized according to two different features, namely per their:
Let’s have a look at each category and its particularities. By the end of the article, you will definitely know how to pick the best outdoor socks that suit your needs.
OUTDOOR SOCKS PER FUNCTION
Does your work involve constant physical activities that see you up on your feet for most of the day? This is particularly true of industries such as agriculture, landscaping, manufacturing, maintenance, or construction.
If you work in any of these fields or any other that require heavy lifting and lots of footwork, then you already know that your choice of footwear can make or break your success and safety on the job. This includes your socks as well!
Working socks absorb sweat and keep your feet dry all day long, reducing odor and allowing your foot to breathe as well. Regular socks cannot offer you these benefits, as they are designed for casual use only.
Out of all the industries we mentioned above, construction is by far the riskiest and most challenging. Working on building sites means protecting yourself against a variety of hazards, which is why sturdy work boots with reinforced steel toes are your best friend while you’re hard at work.
Your socks need to enhance that level of foot security. Therefore, construction socks not only are moisture wicking and odor absorbent, but also come with reinforced heels and toes for added safety. Normal socks just won’t cut it in this type of demanding work environment, as they lack the aforementioned qualities.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be just work-related. Taking a leisurely stroll around town or in nature is always a welcome activity for both the body and the mind. But did you know that your feet need adequate protection while you’re out there enjoying the view?
Walking socks are made to cushion your feet, as well as provide them with support and comfort. What is more, their design is meant to reduce the risk of blisters on a multitude of terrains and weather conditions.
While regular socks might work just fine when you’re simply going to the store to buy the essentials, anything more than that will require a special pair created with long walks in mind. If you’ve ever experienced a case of the sore feet after a walk, then outdoor socks designed for walking are the right choice for you.
We’ve already established that your feet need additional protection from the elements even when you’re simply taking a longer stroll in the park. So, what happens when you take your walk out on the trails and have to face difficult terrain then? The answer is simple - you need sturdier shoes and socks.
Hiking socks are generally made from moisture wicking fabrics that keep your skin dry and maintain its temperature stable while you’re exploring the great outdoors. Due to the multiple layers of material that go into them, they also maximize your comfort and minimize friction, reducing the chance of your feet developing blisters during long treks.
In addition to this, hiking socks are usually cut higher than regular socks and walking socks alike. This, together with their robust padding, ensures that they won’t slip and slide even when you’re out in the mountains with a heavy backpack on your back. When it comes to best outdoor socks for hiking, our Nordic-inspired pairs such as the Svea set are a safe bet.
Walking is one thing. If you are more athletically inclined and prefer running, you will need the appropriate attire for it. And that includes the socks you choose as well, as the wrong pair can easily impede your movement.
Running socks are designed with mobility in mind. For this reason, they are manufactured from a blend of stretch and cushioning fabrics which move naturally along with the foot. By also letting your feet breathe, they help you maximize performance and achieve complete freedom of movement in the process.
In addition to this, the best outdoor socks for running you will find out there absorb more moisture and odors than regular socks, which is ideal for athletes. They are perfectly suited to complement light running shoes, and you can take them anywhere - on the track, on the trail, or in the park. You name it, they can adapt.
Just like cycling and running are two completely different activities, so is the equipment you need for them. Cycling socks differ from running socks, as well as from regular ones, due to their cut that is specifically designed to fit well inside cycling shoes.
Depending on the type of cycling you plan on doing, you might need to purchase a different type of sock. Standard pairs are thin and lightweight, while mountain biking socks have heavier padding for added comfort on rough terrain.
OUTDOOR SOCKS PER FABRIC
While we might not always associate wool with outdoor socks, it is actually one of the best fabrics to use in this case. This is because it insulates the foot and keeps it warm even in the harshest weather conditions, while being padded enough to reduce friction and thus prevent blistering.
Merino wool is particularly popular when it comes to manufacturing socks, as it is less itchy than other varieties. It retains heat even and wet, which is a plus for any type of outdoor socks you might need due to sweating. In addition to this, it is also virtually odorless, which makes for an overall pleasant wearing experience regardless of your occupation or setting.
Nevertheless, wool is often combined with other fabrics, such as cotton and synthetic fibers, in order to improve its performance. Our outdoor socks are specifically designed like this, using a blend of high quality wool alongside polyester, elastane, and acrylic.
Cotton is by far the most popular material out there due to its robust, yet lightweight texture. For this reason, it is a popular choice of fabric when it comes to designing sports socks, and cycling socks in particular.
However, it does have a very long drying time, which means that it is not the most moisture wicking material out there. This, combined with the fact that it does not absorb friction, lead it to be used in wool blends rather than on its own. By their powers combined, the two fabrics create some of the best outdoor socks.
Synthetic fibers are another popular material that goes into some of the best outdoor socks on the market. Pieces made with synthetic fibers such as polyester, elastane, or acrylic are often very durable and elastic. This allows them to move naturally alongside your foot, making them the optimal choice for running, walking, or hiking.
Due to their flexible build, synthetic socks also fit great and don’t lose their shape, even after dozens of washes. Furthermore, they dry very fast and absorb moisture efficiently. Unfortunately, one of the things that synthetic socks cannot absorb is odor, so keep that in mind.
Mixed Fabric Socks
As we’ve already hinted at, mixed fabric socks are the best outdoor socks. While wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers all have their advantages, they also come with drawbacks. Nonetheless, these are very easy to eliminate by combining multiple fabrics. For example, adding lightweight cotton and moisture wicking synthetic fibers to insulating and odor absorbent wool creates the ideal pair for any activity.
This is exactly what you will find in the NordicSocks online shopas well. All our sets feature comfortable, yet durable socks made with an optimal fabric blend of wool and premium synthetic fibers. Wear them and you’ll be ready for your next great adventure in the blink of an eye.
Final Thoughts on Outdoor Socks
There is a pair of outdoor socks out there to suit any activity, be it construction work, cycling, running, hiking, and so on. What you need to remember before picking yours is to consider your needs, as well as the materials they are made out of. You can’t go wrong with mixed fabric socks, but it’s your call. Choose what works best for you.