Imagine this: You’re out on a week-long backpacking trip and it’s started to rain. You’ve already completed one river crossing today and changed your socks afterward, but there are a few more along your route today. Your boots are soaked, your socks are soaked, and your feet are uncomfortably sloshing around in water inside that Gore-Tex that was supposed to keep your toes nice and dry. It’s a sad state of affairs, isn’t it?
What if there was a way to keep your feet warm and dry even when the forces of nature are acting against you? What if your feet could stay dry even after countless river crossings?
The answer to this perpetual problem? Waterproof socks.
Coming up, we’ve got the ultimate guide to the best waterproof socks for hiking that you’ll find in today’s market. We’ll review some of the best models around and give you the inside scoop on how to choose the pair that’s right for you. Here we go!
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Best Waterproof Socks Reviews
If you’re looking for a pair of waterproof socks, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options you can find in stores and online. To help you out, we’ve compiled this list of fantastic options so you can find the waterproof socks that are best for your needs.
100% Waterproof Hiking Socks, [SGS Certified] RANDY SUN
Trekkers who venture out into remote, rainy environments, can rejoice with these waterproof hiking socks from Randy Sun. Made with Randy Sun’s proprietary 3 layer knitting construction, these socks are made to keep your feet dry, regardless of the conditions. The outer layer of these socks is a mix of highly waterproof nylon, lycra, and elastane to protect your feet, while the middle layer is a waterproof/breathable membrane to keep your feet dry. The innermost layer is made mostly from Coolmax fabric, which helps wick away sweat as you hike.
These socks feature a mid-calf design, which is great for use with traditional high- and mid-top hiking boots on longer trekking adventures. One thing to note, however, is that the three-layer construction of these socks means that they’re about 2-3 times thicker than a traditional pair of hiking socks. While this layering system is ideal for keeping your feet dry, it does mean that they’re best used with loose-fitting footwear as your feet might feel cramped in tighter-fitting shoes.
Ultimately, these waterproof socks are incredibly versatile and can be used for any wet-weather activity. Whether you hike, bike, or run in the mountains, these socks can help keep your feet dry and comfortable in the worst conditions.
- Mid-calf height is great for use with boots
- The 3-layer fabric is waterproof/breathable and wicks away sweat
- Socks are too thick to use with tightly-fitting footwear
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DexShell Ultralite Bamboo Waterproof Socks
Okay, we get it – the idea of “bamboo” sock might seem a little weird, but hear us out here. DexShell’s Waterproof socks are made not only to keep your feet warm and dry but also to feel super comfortable against your skin with their proprietary soft bamboo lining.
Although it might sound weird to think that there’s bamboo in your sock, bamboo fibers like the ones used in the DexShell Ultralite Waterproof Socks are actually incredibly soft and supple, so they’re not at all like the rigid plant they’re derived from. Bamboo is an incredibly sustainable crop because it grows quickly and requires minimal irrigation. Plus, it biodegrades quickly, which is great for the long-term sustainability of any products made with bamboo fibers.
In these DexShell waterproof socks, a thin inner layer of bamboo fibers wicks moisture from your feet while a Porelle waterproof membrane keeps your feet protected from the elements. The outer layer of these socks is designed to be both lightweight and durable, so you can be confident that your socks will survive your next adventure.
Softand comfortable bamboo liner feels nice against the skin
- Porelle waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry
- Ankle height sock is great for low-top hiking shoes
- Not as warm as other socks
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SEALSKINZ 100% Waterproof Sock – Windproof & Breathable
SealSkinz is one of the biggest names in the waterproof gear business, and this pair of socks are no exception. Designed to be 100% waterproof, windproof, and breathable, SealSkinz’s mid-weight socks are a fantastic option for hiking and other outdoor adventures.
These socks have an outer shell made from nylon and elastane, two highly wear and abrasion resistant materials that can withstand the friction produced in your boots as you walk. This shell also features a flat seam at the toe, which protects your feet from uncomfortable rubbing, while a padded heel, toe, and footbed reduce the risk of blistering.
Underneath all of that, a100% waterproof breathable membrane keeps your feet dry in the wettest of conditions. Finally, a merino wool lining helps wick sweat away from your feet while also providing superior insulation for cold, wet environments. Ultimately, the SealSkinz waterproof socks are a great option for anyone trekking through cold, damp regions that just can’t risk having wet feet.
- Merino wool liner is moisture wicking and insulating
- Padding underfoot, around the heel, and toes, increases hiking comfort
- Highly durable outer shell and lifetime guarantee
- Too warm for hot and wet environments
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Showers Pass Waterproof Breathable Multisport Crosspoint Wool Crew Socks
The Showers Pass Crosspoint Socks combine all of the comfort benefits of merino wool socks with superior protection from the elements. Built with a three-layer weave, the Crosspoint feel just like a regular sock but also keep your feet dry, regardless of the conditions.
The outermost layer of the Crosspoint is a wear-resistant knit fabric, which protects the waterproof and breathable Artex membrane below. Finally, an anti-bacterial merino wool blend liner keeps your feet comfortable as it wicks away sweat.
The best part? These waterproof socks look and feel like a regular pair of socks. Unlike other models, which can sometimes feel like you’re wearing a second pair of rain boots, the Crosspoint socks are meant to stay comfortable, day in and day out.
- Merino wool blend liner is anti-bacterial, wicking, and comfortable
- Artex waterproof breathable membrane keeps feet dry
- Wear-resistant knit exterior resists abrasion
- More expensive than other options
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Waterproof Socks [SGS Certified] Aneforall
Hikers on a budget can get excited about these waterproof socks from Aneforall, which strike a great balance between affordability and functionality. These socks are made using the same three-layer concept as other models but at up to half the cost of more expensive brands.
The outermost layer of these socks is a nylon/elastane blend, which is incredibly durable against abrasions and resists moisture. Below that, these socks have a waterproof Porelle membrane to fend off any water that manages to get past their tough outer layer. Finally, a merino wool blend liner wicks moisture away from your skin to help provide all-day comfort, regardless of the conditions.
These socks come in a classic mid-calf height, which is perfect for use in mid to high top hiking boots. They’re also SGS certified as both waterproof and breathable, so you can feel confident that your feet will stay dry through creeks and streams. Regardless of where you adventure, these waterproof socks can help your feet stay dry and comfortable through any conditions.
- Merino wool liner is moisture wicking and comfortable
- Mid-calf height is great for hiking boots
- Bare-bones waterproof socks with minimal features
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[SGS Certified] RANDY SUN Unisex Waterproof & Breathable
These unisex waterproof and breathable hiking socks from Randy Sun are designed to keep your feet comfortable in your boots while simultaneously protecting them from wet and damp conditions. Made from a special three-layer design, these hiking socks have a built-in waterproof layer that’s SGS certified to keep water out, while also allowing perspiration to escape to keep your feet dry as you charge uphill.
The mid-calf design of these socks makes them the perfect height for use in high-top hiking boots. The elastic cuff on these socks is snug, but not restricting, which helps keep the water out, even during river crossings. A reinforced heel helps gives these socks added durability, even after weeks of constant use. Plus, with a soft cushion around the arch of the foot and a seamless toe, these socks feel comfortable on your feet after hundreds of miles on the trail.
These socks come in packages of one or two pairs, so you can decide what’s best for your needs. Plus, with an abundance of different colors and sizes to choose from, these waterproof hiking socks are a great option for keeping your feet dry on the trail, while also making you look good.
- Seamless toe reduces chafing
- Reinforced heel for added durability
- Extra cushion underfoot for long-term comfort
- SGS certified waterproof fabric
- Sizing appears to run a little large
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Always Outside 100% Waterproof Socks
These outdoor waterproof socks are a mid length calf sock that’s designed to keep your feet warm and dry in wet conditions. They come with a unique 3 layer construction which keeps the water away while letting your feet breathe. The outer layer is abrasion resistant nylon, the middle membrane is a 100% waterproof, highly breathable material, and the inner layer is CoolMax giving the socks moisture wicking properties.
The mid length size makes these socks work great with trail runners or hiking boots, whichever you hike in. The socks have a seamless design with a cushioned sole that reduced friction and helps prevent blistering.
The socks are not submersible, so don’t plan on jumping in the river and staying dry. They are machine washable as long as you keep the temperature cold, under 40 degrees. They come in multiple sizes for both men and women, however, the only color option is black.
- 100% waterproof
- 3 layer construction to increase performance
- Mid length means they work great for all hiking footwear
- Sizes run small, so it’s important to upsize for comfort
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Waterproof Sock Buying Guide
Waterproof socks may seem like simple pieces of gear, but there’s actually a lot that goes into designing something that can keep you warm and dry in the rain, while also making it breathable and comfortable after dozens of miles on the trail. Before you rush out to get a new pair of waterproof socks, there are a few key features you ought to consider. Let’s take a look at them here:
Finding a material that’s waterproof, breathable, warm, durable and comfortable all at once is no easy task. Thus, instead of looking for one magical fabric that can do it all, waterproof sock manufacturers often use a three-layer construction to mix together the benefits of different kinds of materials.
Usually, the outer fabric of a waterproof sock serves as the first line of defense for protecting the sock from the damaging effects of rubbing up against the inside of a boot. All of us have probably had hiking socks with holes in the heel and toe areas, which are often caused by the constant rubbing of your foot against the inside of your shoe as you walk. The outer layer of a waterproof sock tries to prevent these forces from creating a hole in the waterproof membrane that’s supposed to keep your feet dry.
Below the outer layer, we have a thin middle layer, which is usually a waterproof breathable membrane. These waterproof layers are also known in the industry as ePTFE membranes, which is really just a fancy way of saying that they have a plethora of teeny tiny pores that prevent water drops from getting in but simultaneously allow small water vapor molecules to escape. Membranes such as these are critical to products that need to be both waterproof and breathable all at the same time to help reduce sweat build up, like your waterproof socks.
The innermost layer of waterproof socks is generally a wicking layer. This layer is designed to be comfortable against the skin while also pulling away sweat and moisture to reduce chafing and overall discomfort. This can be made out of any of a number of fibers but is often made from merino wool, bamboo, or Coolmax fabrics.
Breathability is of the utmost importance when it comes to our feet. No one likes to have damp, sweaty feet, but when you’re hiking in the mountains and working hard, sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Luckily, when we wear waterproof socks, we can look for options that offer us maximum levels of breathability, so any sweat we might produce can escape the confines of our hiking boots.
Often, waterproof socks are made with a waterproof/breathable membrane, which helps keep our feet comfortable and dry. These membranes have pores that are just large enough to allow the water vapor in our sweat to escape, while also preventing water drops from getting in. It’s really the best of both worlds!
Socks that fit just right will not only be comfortable, but they can also help reduce your risk of developing blisters. While people most often blame poorly fitting boots and shoes for their blisters, often, their socks don’t fit them properly, which can easily lead to blister problems.
Plus, when it comes to waterproof socks, you have to really pay attention to how the socks feel when you’re also wearing your shoes. Since waterproof socks are often made with a three-layer fabric, they’re usually two to three times thicker than a normal pair of socks. Therefore, when you buy waterproof socks, make sure you’re wearing them with boots that have a loose fit to accommodate this extra bulk.
Thus, when you buy a pair of waterproof socks, make sure they fit your feet properly before you hit the trail. Test them out on walks around your neighborhood or on short day hikes before you venture out on a longer trip. Your feet will thank you.
Even though your waterproof socks are designed to keep water away from your feet while also allowing sweat to escape, any socks that you wear for days or weeks on end will start to get a little gross after a while. If you’re out on a really long trip, your options for washing your socks will be minimal, so investing in a pair of waterproof socks with antibacterial properties is key.
Antibacterial fabric treatments can help reduce your likelihood of getting an infection, particularly if you have open cuts or blisters on your feet. They are also really helpful in reducing some of that nice “mountain smell” that’s all too common after a few days in the woods.
When you buy gear that claims to be waterproof, you want to be sure that you’re actually getting a product that will keep you dry. While nothing you can buy in a store is completely waterproof (even ships need to have bilge pumps to get rid of water that seeps in), there are a number of different waterproof rating systems to help you understand the varying degrees of protection that different products can offer.
One of the more popular rating systems for fabrics is based on what’s known as the “static-column” test. In this test, a 1-inch diameter tube with millimeter markings is placed over the fabric that’s being tested. The tube is then filled up with water gradually and the height of the water (in millimeters) when the fabric starts to leak then becomes the fabric’s waterproof rating. Thus, a fabric that can withstand 15,000mm of water pressure will have an overall waterproof rating of 15,000mm or 15k.
This number might not make much sense to you yet, but basically, here’s what different static-column test numbers mean:
- 0: Not waterproof
- 1-1K: Water resistant
- 1K-5K: Mostly waterproof, but not during a big storm
- 5L-20L: Pretty much waterproof, but a prolonged downpour could soak through
- 20K-40K: Waterproof and can handle shallow submersion in water (i.e. can’t withstand huge pressure)
- 40K+: Completely waterproof, non-porous fabrics that will structurally break before failing under pressure
When it comes to waterproof socks, you’ll want to look for something with a waterproof rating between 20K-40K. Such a rating assures you that your socks can handle walking through a small stream crossing and that they’ll hold up during a downpour. While waterproof socks with a rating above 40K sound amazing, such fabrics are non-porous, which means they’ll trap in your sweat just as well as they keep water out.
Unfortunately, very few companies actually publish their products’ waterproof ratings. This is probably because very few people actually know what these ratings mean. Additionally, there is no current industry standard for conducting these tests, so different testing conditions can give us a lot of inconsistency in ultimate test scores.
Thus, a waterproof rating is the type of score that you have to take with a grain of salt when buying waterproof garments. If you do manage to find gear with these ratings, you’ll have better luck comparing waterproof ratings between pieces of gear from the same company as the company will likely standardize these tests within their product line.
To Sum It All Up…
Ultimately, a pair of waterproof socks can change your hiking experience. With a pair of waterproof socks, gone are the days of walking around with cold wet feet after a river crossing or heavy downpour. Instead, with waterproof socks, you can have feet that stay warm and dry, regardless of the conditions.
So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a pair of waterproof socks. Your feet will thank you later. But, before you do, be sure to thoroughly research any pair of waterproof socks you’re considering so that you get the pair that’s right for you. Happy trails!