What are they?
Sock liners are super thin lightweight socks you wear underneath your existing socks. The whole idea is that the sock liners will take sweat from your feet leaving you more comfortable when outdoors and prevent any nasty blisters from appearing.
What to look for?
• Firstly, think about the type of walking you are doing? If you are doing lightweight walks, with or without a pack, you probably don’t need a sock liner unless of course you want a little extra cushioning underfoot. If on the other hand you are doing some multi-day walks and/or carrying a heavier pack then some sock liners may well be worth a look. Why? Sock liners will wick excess moisture away from your feet, provide you with a little more cushioning and support and finally feel really nice against the skin!
• Secondly, ask yourself what sort of temperatures you plan on walking in? This is important as some sock liners work better in warmer climates, whilst others work better in cooler or more temperate climates. For example, the Wigwam Gobi Liner is more suited to cooler climates than say a pair of Injinji Liners.
• Thirdly, think about what type of socks you normally wear? If you wear a cheaper woollen hiking sock you are likely to find the wool used is a little scratchy against the skin than say a more expensive pair of Smartwool hiking socks. A sock liner will provide you with a much nicer feel, encouraging you to walk longer and enjoy the experience a whole lot more. After all that’s what it’s all about isn’t it! If you wear cotton socks for your hikes you probably will have found your cotton socks absorb a heap more moisture, so you will need a sock liner to help control this unless you want some time off nursing blisters! Synthetic (man-mad materials) socks are absolutely awesome, but they may not feel as silky soft against the skin as say some Bridgedale or Wigwam Hiking socks and so a sock liner, when worn with a synthetic sock, will give you a nicer feel underfoot.
• Finally, look for a sock liner that contains Coolmax, Polypropylene or a combination of similar materials. The whole point of sock liner is to wick moisture from your skin so don't be fooled into thinking any old thin sock will do the job. They won't!
A few things to remember
Sock liners do help wick moisture away from the skin, but remember sock technology has improved heaps in recent years. This means most good quality socks are really efficient at keeping your feet dry, comfortable and blister free. This doesn't mean you don't need a sock liner, it just means you don't need to wear a sock liner all the time! Think what type of walking you are doing, where you will be going and the type of outer socks you will be wearing first, as this will help you decide whether you need or want to wear a sock liner. Remember too that sock liners will add some girth to your shoe, not much, but a little so if you have a tight fitting shoe now then a liner may tip you over. If you have a correctly fitted shoe then you’ll be laughing and wonder why you didn’t invest in a pair of sock liners many years ago.
Until next time ………