There’s a place for $2 cotton tube socks, but the trail isn’t it. For long days on tough terrain, wrap your dogs in technical fabrics engineered to prevent blisters, hot spots, and foot fatigue—all while keeping you dry. Here’s what to look for in a trail-worthy pair of performance socks.
Find Some Flow
Calves should have some form of venting, like you see above with the pair of Farm to Feet socks (center). Designers skip the wool and instead use strips of nylon and elastane that let air in and sweat out.
Heal the Heel
All socks are prone to wear in the heel, but technical ones use stronger
materials, like nylon mixed with comfy wool, to last longer without added bulk.
Skip the Seam
By fusing edges, less expensive socks create a toe seam that, when rubbed, cause blisters. Go seamless: It costs more, but it’s worth it when you’re on mile 10.
Pay for Padding
Cotton socks won’t protect you after cinching down the laces. The wool pads on the Farm to Feet Damascus ¾ (pictured above, center) act as a buffer that also creates air channels to keep you dry. [$24; farmtofeet.com]
Technical socks are purpose-built. So if you’re into a particular sport—there’s likely a sock for that.
Best for Biking
Darn Tough Graphic ¼ Ultra Light
A seamless build keeps toes comfy, and moisture-wicking wool, knitted with nylon for durability, pulls sweat off during long rides. [$17; darntough.com]
Best for Running
Balega UltraGlide Sock
To fight off blisters during a run, Balega uses a Teflon-like coating around the toe box to reduce friction. [$16; balega-socks.implus.com]
Best for Gym Training
Feetures Merino 10 Ultra Light
Made with wool and Tencel, a strong, quick-drying wood-pulp fiber, this sock’s compression arches stay put during gym workouts. [$18; feetures.com]