Thanks to my often clumsy nature, finding quick-drying travel socks has been a necessity for me.
I often end up with socks that are covered in mud and soaked through.
If you have any doubts of my abilities, exhibit one is below…
You’ll note the dejected gaze, muddy calves and awkward stride – all thanks to mis-judging a jump across what looked like a fairly shallow puddle!
Because of this, I’ve become a bit of an expert on quick-dry socks for travel, so below are my list of favourites for you to try.
- Best Everyday Travel Socks
- Best Thick Hiking Socks
- Best Thin Hiking Socks
- Best Liner Socks
- Best Compression Socks
Best Everyday Travel Socks
Swiftwick Dress Socks – Pursuit Business Eight (Men’s)
- A sock for all occasions, from hiking to a posh meal out
- Comfortable, supportive and quick-drying thanks to their merino wool/nylon composition
- A small amount of compression
- Plain colours make them nice and discreet
- Tall enough to be worn with boots with a no-slip cuff to ensure they stay in place
- Socks can run a bit smaller than standard sizes, so be sure to check sizing guides before purchasing.
If you need to get the balance between performance and professionalism as you travel these are the socks for you.
My absolute favourite socks for city breaks where I want to be comfortable but also look smart.
The Swiftwick Dress socks are made of merino wool, meaning they’re going to wick moisture away from your skin as well as being incredibly quick-drying.
These are high enough to be worn with a pair of boots if you’re hiking, but also plain enough to be worn with a suit on a night out (though not the same pair… clearly!).
I have multiple pairs of Swiftwick socks, from their running and hiking ranges through to these fantastic dress socks. They may be more expensive that a 5pk from the local supermarket, but these guys last and will pay you back in both comfort and reliability.
Best Thick Hiking Socks
Darn Tough 1/4 Sock Cushion Merino (M & F Versions)
- Extra cushioning to protect feet on a long hike
- Probably the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn
- Durable and long-lasting
- 1/4 length is perfect for hiking boots or shoes, but shorter and longer versions of this socks are available
- Will be too thick for warmer weather
- Check sizes. If you wear a shoe size in the upper end of their sizing scale, then I suggest going up a size
These are some of the best socks if you’re looking for hard-wearing long-lasting gear. They are super durable and hold their shape forever.
In hiking communities, Darn Tough socks are widely considered to be some of the best you can buy.
The best part is the lifetime guarantee, if and when they wear out you can send them back to Darn Tough and they will send you a brand new pair.
Longer and shorter versions available if you don’t like the 1/4 length fit.
They are available for both men and women in a range of styles.
“I have now worn them on three long hikes and am delighted with them. My feet felt so much more cushioned throughout the hike with no foot soreness or blisters afterwards. The merino wool does a great job of wicking away moisture, even when walking in 26-28 C heat. They are easy to wash afterwards. In short, I can see why they are so highly recommended and can add myself to the list of satisfied customers and have just ordered a second pair.”Amazon Review
Best Thin Hiking Socks
Icebreaker Hike Light Crew Sock (M & F Versions)
- Incredibly comfortable walking socks
- Perfect for warmer or summer days
- Feet don’t slide around in them, a good snug fit
- These are only thin socks, so won’t be great on really cold days
These thin hiking socks by Icebreaker are perfect for summer walks, with their combination of merino and polyamide making them great for regulating the heat of your feet. They wick sweat away from the skin really well, meaning far fewer blisters than a standard cotton sock.
The fairly plain colours mean they are a great all-round sock that can be worn in a number of different situations.
The fabric choice means they are a great quick-dry travel sock and they can also be tumble dried on a low heat if you need them ready for the trail sooner. They wash well and last even after a number of washes without losing their shape as other merino wool socks can.
With both a men’s and women’s range available these are the perfect thinner sock for a warm weather hike.
Best Liner Socks
Bridgedale Coolmax Liner Sock (Unisex)
- Lightweight and thin
- Amazingly quick-drying
- Can be worn as a liner sock on cold days, or by themselves on warm days
- Fantastic wicking properties
- Help prevent blisters
- Cheaply priced
- They can come up a bit big, so read comments and reviews to get a clear idea of sizing
Liner socks are designed to be worn underneath regular socks, keeping them (and your feet) fresh. They are generally very thin socks but remain tough and durable.
Because they are so thin they make the perfect quick-dry sock for travel, they dry so fast that in my experience they are the driest thing I take out of the washing machine. On a warm day, they are ready to go again in a matter of minutes, not hours.
Their light weight also makes them a great summer sock. So two types of sock for the price of one, their first use can be on a really cool day under some thicker boot socks, or on a warmer day wear them by themselves.
I bought my first pairs of Bridgedale Liner Socks ahead of a trek through Peru in 2006 and have never looked back. Some of those pairs lasted me nearly 10 years, they really are terrific.
Whilst they say that they are men’s socks, there is also a women’s version available through the Bridgedale link below. To be honest though, the sizing is the same and they are mostly going to be worn under other socks anyway.
Best Compression Socks
Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks (Unisex)
- Great flight sock
- Well-made and don’t slip down the legs
- Designed with athletes in mind so also perfect for long days on your feet
- Unfortunately, they only come in colourful sport designs
The Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks are on this list as they are the perfect quick-drying flight sock.
Compression socks are designed to keep the blood flowing through your legs, so this makes them perfect for people who have problems with swelling on long flights. This is not an issue I’ve personally ever suffered with, but I have seen other people reporting they have dramatically changed their flight experience and stopped swelling on flights of 13 hours and more.
Unlike some compression socks though, these aren’t just designed with post-surgery or flights in mind.
Compression socks are also used by athletes (Paula Radcliffe made them famous when she smashed the women’s marathon world record in 2003 wearing a pair) and the Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks are designed with support from the arch to the calf to help give a boost in circulation and ease aches and pains after exercise.
These means they double up as a great sock to be worn at any time on your trip, from hikes to long days with conrete underfoot on a city break, these socks will really help you recover fast.
The only downside to this is the garish selection of colours, meaning you’re unlikely to want to wear them unless they are hidden under long trousers.
Their moisture wicking properties mean they rapidly air dry in a few hours making them a great addition to this quick-dry travel socks list.