Smartwool Hiking Socks Review: Sustainably Sourced Performance

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smartwool hiking socks review

I’m obsessed with good socks for hiking – and happy feet in general. As a physical therapist for 2 decades, I’ve seen the ramifications of poor footwear and blister problems while hiking.

Crafted from a blend of merino wool and synthetic fibers, they offer full cushioning that translates into comfort you can feel with every step. While they’re soft to the touch, they’re also designed to withstand rigorous use — a necessity for any serious hiker.

Sustainable High Performance
Smartwool Performance Hike Full Cushion

Smartwool Performance Hike Full Cushion


What we liked:  Focusing on comfort and durability so you can go farther on every hike these responsibly sourced Merino wool socks with recycled nylon keep things soft and sustainable. I like they are helping to alleviate the potential for blisters.

The socks are soft and eco-conscious, wool is a sustainable wonder fiber that wicks moisture away and helps regulate body temperature from cold-weather camping to summer hiking.

Note: These are not cheap. 

  • Moisture wicking
  • Blister protective
  • High Performance
  • Quite warm
  • Thick
  • Pricey

The socks’ snug fit and warmth stood out, but without compromising breathability, reducing the chance of unwanted odors after a long trek.

| TL;DR From Author

For hikers and backpackers looking for a lightweight, sustainably produced sock that will last many miles on the trail, you’ll want to try the Smartwool Performance Hiking Sock. Move safely among wonders, with gear as thoughtful as your care of the Outdoors.

Bottom Line: Wicking, Cushioned, Sustainable, Blister Protective

smartwool hiking socks foot

For an upgrade to your hiking experience, consider giving your feet the treatment they deserve with the Smartwool Performance Hike Full Cushion socks.

Their blend of comfort, durability, and superior fabric quality set them apart — and might just become a staple in your outdoor gear.

Take a closer look at the Smartwool Performance Hike Crew socks on Amazon and consider adding them to your hiking essentials. You can also find them at REI.

Quick Verdict: Smartwool Hiking Socks Review

If you’re in the market for a reliable pair of socks for your hiking adventures, the Smartwool hiking socks are a solid choice.

With a high user rating, hikers have found these socks to be an essential companion on trails, providing excellent comfort and durability. Unlike cotton socks, they do not promote skin breakdown.

They seem to have a snug fit which works wonders for individuals trekking from hut to hut, offering a cushiony feel much appreciated after long hours on foot.

However, some users have experienced issues with the socks sliding down, which could be something to consider if you prefer a tighter hold around the calf. While the price may be a bit steeper compared to other brands, many find the investment worth it for the quality provided.

Backpackers and hikers looking for all-around performance and comfort in various conditions may find these socks meet their needs.

🧭 Read until the end for my insider travel tips from a physical therapist hiking & travel addict.

You will also like:
Read my roundup of the best hiking cameras.
👉 Buy the best blister kits for hiking.
➡️ Read my review of the Silverlight Hiking Socks – Odor Eliminating.

Are Smartwool Performance Hiking Socks worth it?

smartwool hiking socks review
They are hella cute and comfy.

Recently, after taking these socks out for a spin on the trails, the first thing you’ll appreciate is the snug fit and plush cushioning they offer. Constructed with a substantial proportion of Merino Wool blended with Nylon and Elastane, they provide a satisfying balance of warmth and stretchability. You’ll find the solid pattern simplistic yet ideal for any outdoor attire.

The socks are American-made and come with uncomplicated care instructions, which is a welcome convenience: toss them in the machine wash and they’re ready for your next adventure. The durability becomes evident after multiple washes— they hold up impressively well, retaining both shape and cushioning.

Feedback from fellow hikers suggests a mixed reception regarding the fit around the calf; while some find them a perfect match, others may experience them sagging occasionally. Despite the higher price point, many vouch for their longevity and the comfort they deliver, emphasizing that they’re well worth the investment.

You might hear about other socks available in bulk for less, but what sets these apart is their ability to resist odor and provide consistent comfort. If you’re all about the details, the full cushioning has been a highlight for many, likened to “walking on clouds,” especially appreciated during prolonged hikes.

Understandably, nobody enjoys scratched or tight sensations, and while a few comments touch on such issues, these instances seem specific to personal preference and fit. For a reliable pair that supports you mile after mile, Smartwool’s offering emerges as a front-runner for both seasoned hikers and casual walkers alike.

Material Blend and Comfort

Technical Specs
- Best Use: Hiking
- Fabric: 56% merino wool/31% recycled nylon/11% nylon/2% elastane
- Sock Height: Crew
- Sock Cushioning: Medium Cushioning
- Moisture Wicking: Yes
- Gender: Men's and Women's
- Sustainability: Contains ZQ merino wool, Contains recycled materials

When it comes to long hikes or daily treks, the Smartwool Performance Hike socks could become your go-to pair. The fabric consists of a blend of 56% Merino Wool, making it soft against your skin while also offering the moisture-wicking properties you need on the move. The inclusion of 31% recycled recycled nylon and 11% nylon elastane adds durability, meaning these socks are built to last through many adventures.

A 2% touch of elastane ensures a snug, stay-put fit without being restrictive, providing full cushioning underfoot for added comfort. You’ll appreciate this on longer walks where terrain can vary. What’s more, they are machine washable, simplifying your post-trip laundry routine.

In your quest for comfort and sustainability, these socks check both boxes with their thoughtful mix of natural and recycled materials. The full cushion crew design means you’re protected and comfortable, no matter the path you choose.

Durability and Craftsmanship

smartwool hiking socks review

After extensive use, it’s evident Smartwool hasn’t cut any corners with their Performance Hike socks. Crafted with a high percentage of Merino wool, blended with nylon and elastane, they present an optimal balance of comfort and resilience. You’ll feel the plush full cushion with each step, offering a kind of support and softness that doesn’t compromise on toughness.

A few rounds in the washing machine demonstrate their capacity to maintain form and function. You won’t find them stretching out or losing their snug fit – a testament to their well-thought-out fabric combination. However, it’s worth noting that while they rank high on durability, some users reported issues with keeping them up around the calf, which might affect your experience depending on your preference for fit.

But don’t let that hold you back. Their performance in terms of withstanding wear and tear is impressive. The balanced fabric mix ensures they can keep your feet cozy and protected through many hikes and jogs, making the investment worthwhile. And even if you do encounter the occasional slip, their cozy feel and ability to uphold the warmth and softness make these socks a reliable option for your outdoor pursuits.

Fit and Design

Smartwool’s dedication to comfort and functionality shines through with their Men’s Performance Hike Full Cushion Crew socks. Made predominantly from Merino wool, these socks strike an impressive balance between softness and support. The snug fit particularly caters to active individuals, hugging your feet in all the right places without being overly tight.

Despite the praise for their robust construction, some users have mentioned the socks tend to slide down on the calf. This might be something to keep in mind, especially if you plan on long hikes or extended periods of wear. Nonetheless, the full cushion design is a major win, according to several customers, as it enhances the overall hiking experience by providing luxurious comfort.

The fabric blend, including recycled nylon, adds to the socks’ durability, ensuring they endure the rigors of both machine washing and adventurous terrains. While there are mentions of slight itchiness, possibly due to the synthetic fibers aimed at boosting elasticity, the consensus is that they offer a warm and comfortable fit that aligns well with their true size.

Eco-Conscious Choice: 31% Recycled Nylon

If you’re someone who values sustainable living, these Smartwool socks might pique your interest. Made with a significant component of Merino wool and containing 31% recycled nylon, they’re a step forward in eco-friendly apparel.

The durability aspect shines through in user experiences, as several mention the socks’ ability to withstand numerous washes without losing their functional charm.

Comfort is another high point, with one user describing them as “first aid for your feet,” aligning well with the brand’s promise of high-quality construction.

Though comfort is praised, some users did experience issues with the socks staying up. However, as you weigh your options, consider the sustainable manufacture of these socks made in the USA, which is a characteristic contributing to their overall value. While they may come at a higher price point, their longevity can be seen as an investment in both your comfort and environmental conscientiousness.


After putting these Smartwool socks to the test on several hikes, what stands out is the exceptional comfort they provide. The full cushion feature genuinely does give the sensation of walking on a much softer surface, providing significant relief on rough trails. They hold up impressively well in the wash, maintaining both their shape and durability over time.

Despite the snug fit, they’re surprisingly breathable, making long-term wear comfortable without causing your feet to overheat or feel constricted. Plus, for those concerned with odors, these socks excel at staying fresh even after a strenuous day.

What you’ll also appreciate is the true-to-size fit that complements the feet and ankles just right – a relief for anyone who’s struggled with ill-fitting socks in the past. The quality and warmth make them a top pick for cold weather, ensuring your feet stay protected against the elements.


While you might appreciate the outstanding comfort and durability of the Smartwool Performance Hike socks, a few points may require consideration before making your purchase.

Sometimes they tend to slip down and need adjusting throughout wear, which can be somewhat inconvenient during longer hikes.

They are pretty warm however, so they may not be the best if you have sweaty feet.

The sock’s snug fit is excellent for some, but if you prefer looser socks, you might find them too tight, particularly around the calf area.

And keep in mind that comfort and quality come at a price — these socks are on the higher end of the pricing spectrum for hiking socks, which may be a deciding factor for your budget.

Customer Reviews

Smartwool Performance Hike Crew Socks

After slipping on the Smartwool Performance Hike socks, you’ll immediately notice the full cushioning that cradles your feet comfortably, providing a kind of support that genuinely feels like a treat during long hikes.

Reviewers overwhelmingly praise the durability and the snug fit that compliments a variety of foot sizes. While some users experienced issues with the socks slipping, this doesn’t appear to be a common concern.

More than just a sock, you might find them to be a blend of practicality and luxury. They’ve been commended for their ability to resist odors and maintain cushioning, even after numerous washes. Despite some finding them a bit tight, these pairs often end up being the go-to choice for warmth, softness, and comfort.

A minor note on packaging quality was mentioned, but it seems to be an isolated incident. With a stellar 4.7-star rating from hundreds, these socks come highly recommended by users around the globe for their unmatched quality and comfort.


After extensive use, it’s evident that these Smartwool hiking socks provide a much-needed relief to feet on long hikes. The blend of comfort and durability stands out, with many claiming they’re like ‘first aid for your feet’.

Despite a higher price point compared to some other brands, their longevity and the full cushioning akin to ‘walking on clouds’ justify the investment for serious hikers. They do have a snug fit, which is something to consider if you prefer a looser sock.

However, there’s room for improvement. Some users noted they had to regularly pull the socks up, and the snugness caused tightness for a few. While the majority praised the quality and comfort, a minor critique was the occasional packaging issue upon delivery.


Learn from my almost 3 decades of hiking, running and physical therapy practice.

Smartwool Hiking Socks Review FAQ

When you’re trekking through nature’s varying conditions, gear performance is key. Smartwool hiking socks have built a reputation around comfort and durability, but let’s dive into some common queries outdoor enthusiasts might have.

How do Smartwool hiking socks perform in different seasons?

Smartwool socks are crafted from Merino wool, a material known for its temperature regulating properties. In the summer, these socks wick away moisture, keeping your feet dry and cool. During the colder months, they retain warmth, ensuring your toes remain toasty. They adapt to your needs whether you’re hiking under the sun or through a snowy path.

What are the advantages of Merino wool in Smartwool hiking socks?

Merino wool’s natural fibers offer several advantages:

  • Moisture Management: Wool can absorb a significant amount of moisture while staying dry to the touch.
  • Odor Resistance: Breathable and antibacterial, these socks deter odor, staying fresh even after repeated use.
  • Temperature Regulation: Warm in the winter and cool in the summer, they offer year-round comfort.

How durable are Smartwool hiking socks for long treks?

Longevity is a hallmark of the Smartwool brand. These socks are well-made, withstanding numerous washes and miles of rugged terrain without losing their cushioning or support. Users find them reliable for repeated long treks, experiencing little to no thinning or holes over extended use.

Are Smartwool hiking socks comfortable and blister-preventing?

A snug fit coupled with full cushioning makes for a cozy hike. They minimize friction and are known to help prevent blisters, even on longer walks. The cushioned bottom gives a cloud-like feel, while elasticity retains the sock’s position, minimizing the need for adjustment and reducing the risk of skin irritation.

What are the washing and care instructions for Smartwool hiking socks?

To keep them in top condition, machine wash them with warm water on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on low. Avoid bleaching, ironing, or dry cleaning to preserve their quality. Following these simple care instructions will ensure your socks remain a hiking staple for a good while.

How do Smartwool hiking socks compare to other brands like Bombas?

While both brands offer quality, Smartwool takes the edge with its specialized focus on outdoor activities. They are specifically designed for hiking, providing targeted support, cushioning, and durability that outlasts many competitors. Bombas offers comfort and quality as well, but for rigorous trail use, Smartwool’s performance-driven design is hard to beat.

Final Verdict

On balance, the socks’ ability to prevent odor and maintain cushioning outweigh these small imperfections. They’re warm, comfortable, and with proper care, could easily become the go-to in your drawer for both challenging terrain and everyday wear.

Why Trust?

woman hiking

At Crave the Planet, I’m all about honest and relatable reviews of outdoor products. As a physical therapist, hut to hut hiker, downhill skier and mom, I’m constantly trying new gear to make my outdoor experiences more comfy and fun but with science in mind.

I’ll be real with you, I don’t do every outdoor activity. But, who does? I’m just a regular person who loves exploring the planet. Perfectionism is my enemy and I hope to help you ditch that vibe too.

My review process involves testing each product in real-life outdoor situations, but if it’s a really horrible day I’ll probably find a hotel in the valley. I’ll let you know what worked for me and what didn’t, so you can make informed decisions about your gear choices.

I don’t do sponsored reviews or take payment for my reviews. All comments are based on my personal experience. Sometimes I’ll test something and then send it back for a refund. Usually there’s a hefty fee. Bummer. So, if you’re looking for a relatable and honest take on outdoor gear, you’re in the right place.

More Hiking & Outdoor Gear Resources

Here’s more awesome gear to empower your journey. I have written in-depth comparisons of products that make hiking and exploring the Great Outdoors safer and more fun, especially if you’re a beginner (or like me, a little rusty in the knees).

Physical Therapist Curated Gear Guides for Hikers

If you’re an avid hiker, you know that a taking care of your feet is essential. I hope this Smartwool hiking sock review for helps you feel more empowered to explore.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.