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You may not realize it, but you ask a lot from a pair of hiking socks. You need a pair to cushion the impact of thousands of steps along rough terrain, support your foot in rugged conditions, and do it all without slipping and chafing that leads to blisters. Thankfully, new high-tech fabrics and designs come together to produce hiking socks that can easily go the distance. Here are three things to think about as you choose your next pair of hiking socks.

These pairs have arch compression support for stability. Dickies

Hiking socks are typically thicker than everyday socks, but they don’t have to be super-thick to be comfortable. A light hiking sock breathes better in warm conditions but should still have enough cushion for day hikes. If you’ll be on tough trails, or for longer hikes, a mid-weight sock is the way to go. Look for thicker panels in high-impact areas like the ball of your foot or ankle. Heavyweight hikers are usually best suited for cold weather or very long hikes.

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The cushioning and padding on this pair reduces blisters. DANISH ENDURANCE

Keeping feet dry on both short and long hikes is critical to long-term comfort. Dry feet stay warmer and have few chafing and blistering problems. There are several ways manufacturers manage moisture, so if you’re looking for socks that will hike dry, look for moisture-managing synthetic fibers or materials such as merino wool that are known to move moisture away from the skin. Many high-tech socks are built with ventilation chambers that channel hot, sweaty air away from the skin, and open-weave mesh panels for maximum breathability.

The materials on this pair are blended for strength and durability. MIRMARU

One big advantage of well-crafted socks is the way they cradle and support various parts of the foot. High-density fiber weaves, paired with stretchy materials like spandex, can provide a lot of support to arches and ankles.