Any experience knitting hiking socks?

Hi all. My son has asked me to try knitting him some hiking socks. He’s quite an experienced hiker, so I know I’ve got to get it right. Other than ‘knots are anathema’, I’m finding precious little info about what makes for a good hiking sock.

If you knit socks that stand up to long hikes, would you please share info such as what yarn you use, what needle size you use, what pattern you use, and any other hints you’ve learned? If it helps, I believe he usually wears liner socks under his hiking socks.

Thanks so much!

My mum says red and thick, fairly absorbant yarn like cotton. She’s hiked since '68 and remembers her socks being soft wool of some sort.

No offense to your mum, but NO cotton! It absorbs sweat and makes it rub around on your foot and NO! Cotton Kills, as they say, but anyhow.

SmartWool is a company that makes great hiking socks, and they use Merino wool mixed with other stuff (don’t ask me what). Wool in general is good because it doesn’t absorb moisture, and merino is great because it’s not itchy. Silk would also do well, if you can find some that you really want to use on hiking socks, but if he uses liners they’re probably already silk. I don’t have any other advice, really.

Thank you for the SmartWool recommendation. It has been very helpful to study their performance socks, especially the ones that have won awards from Backpacker Magazine. The 75% wool, 24% nylon, 1% spandex seems very popular.

Just off-hand, it seems easy to find 75% wool, 25% nylon sock yarn. I wonder if any of the yarn companies have added a little spandex. I’ll keep looking.

All info from experienced hikers is welcome. I have heard that a little cotton in the mix is helpful for warmer climates, so I am interested in hearing any experience with cotton as well. Thanks!

There’s a tickle in my head saying there’s a sock yarn brand named Trexx or something like that with elastic something… I’ll have a look.

What climate does your son usually hike in? That does make a difference.

He usually hikes in the Southeastern US Appalachian area. Thanks!

Remember that cotton is not going to have the “spring back” that wool does, so it is more likel to stretch out of shape and sag.

To avoid blisters it is important to wick away any moisture in the shoe - especially while hiking. Wool is excellent to wick the moisture and if the sock does get wet (rains in Appalachian area!) wool will still keep the feet warm. Cotton dries very slowly - think about line drying a pair of jeans/bath towel. Yes, the hiking word is “cotton kills” since it stays wet and cold pulling heat from your body. ok, back to knitting. :slight_smile:

Well, it’s been a quiet weekend and I’ve had plenty of time to research this hiking sock thing. Using all of your suggestions about fibers and plenty of google searches, I think I’m going to go with a fingering weight, wool blend, machine-wash yarn that has some stretch to it.

Here are some yarns that seem suitable for hiking socks like SmartWool retail brand socks:
–Soxx Appeal from Knit One Crochet Too [96% superwash merino/3% nylon/1% elastic]
–Regia Stretch [70% new wool/23% polyamide(nylon?)/7% Elite(stretch polyester)]
–Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots [70% virgin wool/23% polyamide(nylon)/7% Elite]

The cost is similar for all three yarns because the ones that seem less expensive will require 2 balls for a pair of socks, instead of 1 ball per pair for the more expensive yarn.

One person on the web who knits hiking socks for her husband says that she uses 2 strands of yarn for the areas that need extra cushioning.

Any thoughts on these yarns or the direction I’m going?

Thank you!

I’ve never made hiking socks, but I’ve often used two strands for the areas that will receive the most wear. Makes them last much longer. Right now I have 2 pair to darn because I did NOT use the double strands.

Interesting… so there’s more to this extra cushioning than I thought. It actually helps ensure that the sock will still be there when the trail ends!:figureditout:

Thank you!

  1. Yes! I have knitted many pairs of socks over the years. I started out learning how to knit at age 11 and have been doing it ever since. My first pair was a simple ribbed sock using worsted weight yarn. I learned about different types of stitches and patterns while making my first pair. I then moved onto lace knitting and have continued to learn new techniques and stitch patterns. I love knitting socks because they are fun and relaxing. I enjoy working on them whenever I am not busy with school work or homework. I find that knitting helps me relax and unwind after a long day of studying or working hard.
  2. I have never knitted any hiking socks before. However, I do know what it takes to make a good pair of hiking socks. First, you need to choose the right type of yarn. You want something that is durable and won’t get tangled easily. Next, you want to use a yarn that is thick enough to keep your feet warm. And finally, you want to use yarn that is strong enough to withstand the rigors of walking around in the mountains.
  3. I have knitted several pairs of socks for myself and friends. I have even knitted some for family members who live in cold climates. I have always enjoyed knitting socks for others. I think it’s great to give people gifts that they can wear and enjoy.
  4. I have knitted socks for both men and women. I have knitted many different styles of socks including toe-up, heel-up, gusseted, and cuff down. I have even knittted socks for babies. I have knitted various sizes ranging from small to extra large.
  5. I have knitted a lot of socks for myself. I have knitted almost every style of sock except toe-down socks. I have knitted plain stockinette socks, ribbed socks, cabled socks, and socks with heels. I have knitted lace socks, patterned socks, and socks with tassels. I have knitted sock sets for myself and for friends. I have knitted two pairs of socks for each member of my family. I have knitted for my mother, father, sister, brother, nieces, nephews, and cousins. I have knitted gifts for my husband, children, parents, grandparents, and friends. I have knited for people who live in cold climates, people who live in hot climates, people who live near waterfalls, people who live in deserts, people who live in snowy regions, people who live in tropical regions, people who live on farms, people who live in cities, and people who live in suburbs.
  6. I have knitted hiking socks for myself. I wanted to try something new and decided to knit hiking socks for myself. These socks were designed to be worn while hiking in the mountains. I chose to knit these socks using a combination of fingering and sport weight yarn. I used a size 9 needle and cast on 80 stitches. I knitted the leg portion of the sock first

I also like to knit my own socks because I can choose the yarn mix that works for me. I would choose wool because it regulates temperature well to keep your feet from sweating and it provides cushioning. Besides, there are cotton blends for those of you who prefer a bit cooler feet. I like to knit my socks on 2.25mm needles for stretch and nice between 34 stitches to 10cm. Heels are natural points of wear and tear, so you should make them as sturdy as possible. The swivel heel (also known as the flip or patch heel) is the strongest, featuring rows of sliding stitches that create an extra-thick fabric compared to other heels. And for a comfortable fit, when knitting I needed a heel and toe that was longer than specified in the patterns.

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deeply thinking

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Help! My search for swivel heel was not helpful. What is a swivel heel? Could you share a link to how it’s done? I knit socks so I’m eager to know more about this heel, maybe I know it by a different name. I prefer a gusseted heel and work toe up, knit to fit to simplify things. I tried a true heel flap with picking up stitches once and said never again. I’ve started walking a lot more and am enjoying my wool socks. I will keep checking for wear and repair them when I see it’s needed before there’s a real hole.

Welcome to the forum. I do my best thinking while knitting because whatever it is on my mind just kind of does its thing without me paying much attention and often I get it figured out. I love knitting! and love the socks I’ve made.