Good Socks or Good Hiking Shoes?
What is better to have for Hiking?
When the rubber meets the road something meets your foot right? Shopping for your next outdoor shoe or hiking sock, well consider what one is more important for the journey. You may already know the answer to this question what's more important a good pair of socks that breath and have plenty of cushion or a good pair of hiking shoes with traction, support, and breathability?
Let's go with this scenario you purchased a really nice hiking shoe. They fit right and felt good in the store plus when you broke them in at home. We do recommend breaking in shoes before you go on a 5 or 15-mile hike. You throw on one of your sports socks you know they come in a 3 to 5 pack at the local big box store. Then you put your new hiking shoes on and are ready for the adventure. What a lot of veteran hikers and sports people already know you will soon find out. The average to cheap sock is just that and your feet are going to take the punishment. First, if you are pushing yourself in a warmer climate your feet will start to perspire and get wet. Even with your new breathable shoe, the first layer (sock) is not getting enough air to your foot. With extra moisture comes additional irritation points. It can be your heal rubbing against the back of the shoe or your ankles rubbing against the top of the shoe every step you take. You might also notice the sock construction starts to dig into your toes. The seam that runs along the front or top of the toes will usually be attached inside the sock. The problem here is this can cause tons of irritation on your toes. Blisters can form or your skin just might be sore from another point rubbing against your toe. This is the part where you start to question your purchase. Did you get the right hiking shoe for the job?
Here is what you need to consider when hiking or trail running. The gear that makes direct contact with your skin is just as important as the outer layers that make contact with the elements. Not only is this true in hiking but running marathons, extreme outdoor sports, and many other activities. Let's take another example like skiing or snowboarding. If you are wearing non-moisture wicking materials that don't breath underneath you will start to perspire and the irritation cycle or getting cold from being wet situation will happen. When shopping for outdoor gear don't just think about the outer layers. Make sure anything touching your skin will be able to handle the elements, is breathable, and watch for irritation points.
To sum up which is more important the answer is both are equally important. Be aware of the elements you're going to face. Ask what do I need for a base layer and what do I need for an outer layer. In this example, the base layer was the hiking sock and the outer layer was the hiking shoe.
You can find both breathable hiking socks and outdoor footwear at 88 Gear