The best socks brand for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Mount Meru, Ol Doinyo Lengai, Rwenzori
sock brands for mountain hikes

The brand of socks you will buy for your Kilimanjaro hike might be determined by not only the price but also the quality and ultimately, your chances of preventing blisters and reaching your goal of going to the summit. When it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, choosing the right socks is crucial for keeping your feet comfortable and blister-free during the journey. While personal preference and foot shape play a significant role in selecting the perfect socks, there are some popular options that many climbers find reliable.

Read also: how to prevent blisters on the mountain

Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion

Made from a seamless merino wool blend, these socks offer a performance fit and all-weather performance. With high-density cushioning for added comfort, they are suitable for mid-calf length and are priced around $30.

Crafted from a seamless blend of merino wool, nylon, and lycra, the Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock offers exceptional comfort and performance. The merino wool provides natural moisture-wicking properties, keeping your feet dry and comfortable throughout your trek. Additionally, the fine gauge knitting and all-weather performance make these socks suitable for various hiking conditions. The mid-calf length provides ample coverage and support, while the high-density cushioning ensures maximum comfort, even on rugged terrain. Priced around $30, these socks are a durable and reliable choice for Kilimanjaro climbers.

Icebreaker Hike Lite Crew Sock

Icebreaker’s lightweight hiking sock is crafted from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and lycra. With medium cushioning and crew length, these socks provide a balance of comfort and durability, available at approximately $20.

The Icebreaker Hike Lite Crew Sock is designed for lightweight performance and durability on the trail. Made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and lycra, these socks offer a perfect balance of warmth, breathability, and moisture management. The crew length provides added coverage and protection, while the medium cushioning offers comfort and support during long hikes. Whether you’re traversing rocky terrain or trekking through forests, these socks will keep your feet comfortable and blister-free. Priced around $20, they are an affordable option for Kilimanjaro climbers seeking quality performance socks.

Smart Wool Classic Full Cushion Crew Socks

Specifically designed for rugged hikes like Kilimanjaro, these Smart Wool socks are made from a merino wool blend. Featuring a crew length, flat knit toe seam, medium cushioning, and elasticized arch for added support, they offer both comfort and performance, priced around $20.

Engineered for rugged hikes like Kilimanjaro, the Smart Wool Classic Full Cushion Crew Socks are designed to provide superior comfort and durability. Made from a merino wool blend, these socks offer natural moisture-wicking properties and temperature regulation, keeping your feet dry and comfortable in all conditions. The crew length provides ample coverage and protection against abrasions, while the flat knit toe seam minimizes irritation and friction. With medium cushioning and an elasticized arch for added support, these socks ensure a snug and comfortable fit throughout your trek. Priced around $20, they offer excellent value for climbers seeking reliable performance socks.

While these socks are great starting points, it’s essential to try on a few pairs to find what works best for your feet and preferences.


Wigwam socks are trusted by outdoor enthusiasts for their durability, support, and comfort in demanding environments. Made from a variety of materials, including merino wool, synthetic fibers, and moisture-wicking fabrics, these socks offer excellent moisture management, temperature regulation, and cushioning. Their seamless designs and reinforced construction provide optimal protection against friction and abrasion, making them ideal for mountain climbing adventures. Whether you’re conquering Mount Kilimanjaro or exploring the rugged landscapes of Mount Kenya, Wigwam socks are engineered to keep your feet comfortable and blister-free throughout your journey.


Thorlos socks are engineered for maximum comfort and performance in challenging conditions. With innovative cushioning technologies and ergonomic designs, these socks offer superior support, protection, and durability on the trail. Constructed from high-quality materials like merino wool and synthetic fibers, Thorlos socks provide excellent moisture management, temperature regulation, and breathability. Whether you’re summiting Mount Kilimanjaro or trekking through the Rwenzori Mountains, Thorlos socks deliver the performance and reliability you need to tackle any terrain with confidence.

Do You Recommend Sock Liners for Kilimanjaro?

Yes, we do recommend sock liners for climbing Kilimanjaro. Sock liners, also known as ‘liner socks,’ are thin socks designed to be worn underneath your main hiking socks. They serve two primary purposes: reducing friction and moisture management.

Read more about Sock liners here

REI COOLMAX EcoMade Liner Crew Socks

Made from an ultra-lightweight blend of Coolmax, stretch nylon, and spandex, these liner socks absorb friction and wick moisture away from the foot. Priced around $12, they are a practical choice for preventing blisters during long hikes.

Constructed from an ultra-lightweight blend of Coolmax, stretch nylon, and spandex, the REI COOLMAX EcoMade Liner Crew Socks are designed to enhance comfort and performance on the trail. These liner socks absorb moisture and wick sweat away from the skin, keeping your feet dry and blister-free during long hikes. The crew length provides additional coverage and protection, while the snug fit ensures a comfortable and secure feel. Priced around $12, these liner socks are a cost-effective solution for preventing blisters and discomfort on Kilimanjaro climbs.

Injinji Liner Crew

The Injinji Liner Crew socks take liner socks to the next level with their innovative toe sock design. Crafted from Coolmax and nylon fibers, these lightweight liners offer exceptional moisture management, breathability, and durability. The five-toe design minimizes skin-on-skin friction and allows for natural foot alignment, reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort. Whether you’re hiking uphill or downhill, these socks provide optimal comfort and performance. Priced around $12, they are a valuable addition to any Kilimanjaro climber’s gear arsenal.

While these recommendations can guide you, it’s essential to choose socks and liners that feel comfortable and suit your individual needs. You can find these products at preferred outdoor gear retailers.

Recommended Socks for Kilimanjaro

Drymax Hiking 1/4 Crew Turn Down Socks: In the last 3-4 years, this is the type and brand of sock I have been wearing, and they are absolutely ideal. They are very thin but guaranteed to keep your feet dry. Made from the infamous Drymax dual-layer design and Anti-Blister system, which quickly wicks moisture and perspiration away to the outer layer, these socks are very durable and have a long-lasting lifespan. This sock is great for the lower walking days for Kilimanjaro, especially the rainforest section. They have a nice light cushion and flat toe seam to keep comfortable. With the quick-drying need available for weather conditions, you can wash the socks at night, and they will be dry by morning.

For the climbing area of Mount Kilimanjaro, the perfect type of socks is really a significant decision and a good investment. You will be facing a variety of weather conditions and extreme walking conditions when it comes to climbing the mountain, so picking the right sock for each day is essential. The key to long-term foot health is to keep your feet dry. If you spend 7-9 hours each day climbing a mountain and you decide to walk lakes or rivers of water with the wrong type of socks, you are risking trench foot, blisters, and all types of serious injury.

High-Performance Merino Wool Socks

Darn Tough and Smartwool socks are a high-performance Merino wool blend designed to provide you with a combination of comfort, support, and durability. They are made from 80% Merino wool, 10% Nylon, 9% Polyester, and 1% Lycra Spandex. Merino wool is a natural fiber that is extremely soft and comfortable to wear against the skin. It is also excellent at moisture control and temperature regulation. These properties make it the ideal fiber for making socks to wear in cold and damp conditions. Nylon is also a very durable fiber; it is lightweight and resists abrasion. These are essential properties for long-lasting tough socks. Polyester has good abrasion resistance and strong wicking capabilities. These attributes make it a good sock material for moisture transfer and evaporation of perspiration. Lycra Spandex is used in a small quantity to ensure the socks have a good fit and do not bunch or slip when they are being worn. These socks are also packed with features to improve comfort, support, and durability. They have a cushioned sole, toe, and heel to increase padding and reduce wear in these areas. This is a very important feature for a Kilimanjaro climb as all the boots are lined with heavy-duty reinforcement in the same areas and can be uncomfortable if there is not enough padding in the sock. They also have a ventilation panel to improve airflow and temperature control. An elasticized arch and ankle support make for a better fit, prevent slippage, and reduce the risk of blisters developing. These socks are available in a range of colors and sizes for both men and women.

Moisture-Wicking Synthetic Blend Socks

The most popular synthetic blend sock is the Coolmax sock. Coolmax is a polyester-based fabric that is specifically designed to wick moisture away from the body and help it evaporate. There are other manufacturers that make a synthetic sock using different materials, but most of them will not be as effective as a Coolmax sock. Price-wise, they are not that expensive, with a good quality pair costing $15-30.

This type of sock will be easy to clean, dry, and it reduces the blister likelihood associated with damp feet. It is also said that this type of sock is better than merino wool at preventing “trench foot,” which can occur on Kilimanjaro. Although it has this benefit, users need to be careful to maintain foot hygiene. Because the sock is good at moisture transportation, if feet are not washed and dried daily, the moisture can lead to skin irritations. It will also increase the effectiveness of the sock if used in conjunction with a moisture-wicking sock liner.

In addition to merino wool, another good choice of material for climbers on Kilimanjaro is a synthetic blend that has moisture-wicking properties. There are a few sock manufacturers that make a sock of this type. The benefit of using the synthetic sock over merino wool is that the synthetic blend sock will dry faster and is more durable.

Compression Socks for Improved Circulation

Smartwool specializes in selling compression sock lines to customers. My specific recommendations are to purchase at least 3-4 pairs of knee-high compression socks. Users may also wear compression sleeves if they prefer to stick to the socks they already have. Compression socks are superior because they provide a constant level of tightness up the leg whereas the level of compression in a sock may be inconsistent. The function of compression gear is to improve blood flow from the feet and legs back up to the heart. Gradient compression (most tightness at the ankle with decreasing tightness up the leg) accelerates venous return which is crucial for recovery from intense exercise and for preventing deep vein thrombosis during long flights. By increasing blood flow to the heart, athletes enhance their cardiovascular system and performance. Improved circulation also reduces muscle fatigue and the risk of overuse injuries. During the trek, Kilimanjaro climbers will benefit by feeling less fatigued and staying warmer with better foot circulation. On summit night when climbers are ascending in the cold night air, warm feet can make a huge difference. Compression gear is also useful for management of foot swelling which is common at altitude.

Durable and Quick-Drying Socks

All Darn Tough Hiking and Boot Socks also feature either mid-level or full-density cushioning underfoot, which means a high-density cushion on the foot bottom. This provides the perfect amount of support while hiking in hiking boots. Step up the style and functionality of your hiking boots by adding a pair of these Darn Tough socks, and your feet will thank you for it.

The Darn Tough Expedition Socks are great for those hiking in extremely cold conditions, with extra cushioning around the entire sock as well as added elastic support. Combined with a fit that is second to none, these socks are guaranteed to keep your feet happy and dry during those colder days on the trail. All Darn Tough socks also come with a no-strings-attached lifetime guarantee. If in any way you’re not satisfied with these socks when it comes to durability, comfort, and fit, you can return them to Darn Tough for another pair.

The most commonly endorsed Darn Tough socks for hiking are the Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion and the Darn Tough Expedition Socks. The Micro Crew Cushion socks are a favorite for those hikers who prefer a lightweight sock that provides good foot support and blister prevention, as the sock contains a high-density half-inch cushion throughout the sole and around the toes of the foot.

In the next hiking socks discussion, we are going to talk about a big favorite for many long distance hikers (and especially Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers), Darn Tough socks. Darn Tough socks are high quality merino wool socks, built to last for many miles with good cushioning and foot support. Due to the high quality merino wool used by these socks, they are extremely comfortable, dry, and warm.

Socks with Reinforced Toe and Heel

Darn Tough socks are made specifically for both hiking and running but recommend the more cushioning hiking socks. They come in a variety of styles and cushioning thickness and are also guaranteed for life. Smartwool socks are better known for cold weather and high-intensity sports. The socks are generally more bulky and come in a number of different padding types. Duration of these socks is generally quite personal and depends on how much you walk in them, so it’s best to get used to the comfort of both types of socks well before the hike to get the most “lifetime” out of the socks. Despite the high prices of both socks, it is recommended to purchase about 3-4 pairs for the entire hike.

It’s recommended to go for socks that have reinforced heels and toes. This feature is best for support and good fit, plus durability. Best options are Darn Tough socks and Smartwool socks. Both are well-known brands and can be found easily in outdoor stores or online. Darn Tough socks are made with a unique custom shrink-treated Merino Wool and reinforced heel and toe, making them extremely durable. Smartwool socks are also made of Merino Wool and have the same feature. Comfort and cushioning are also available in both brands.


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