Hiking during the fall can be a beautiful thing. The leaves turn colors, the trails have fewer people, and the wildlife tends to be a bit more active as it prepares for winter. The biggest downfall, at least for those of us who literally get cold feet, is finding the proper hiking sock. It’s too late for summertime socks but too warm for heavy-duty winter socks. This October I turned to Hi-Tec hiking socks to see how they performed.
I’ve known the Hi-Tec brand for decades, though my previous experience had been with their boots. Hi-Tec hiking socks? That was a new one for me. But I’d been pleased with Hi-Tec in the past, so it seemed fine to give their socks a whirl.
I tested two different varieties of Hi-Tec hiking socks. First was the Be Active Performance Hiking Sock, which is built for hiking through and through. The socks use a merino/cotton blend, have a nice thick padding in the sole, and offer slight compression aspects from just above the ankle to the top of the sock. Their partial cotton composition means they don’t offer the full range of stink resistance, though the wool does help a bit in that regard. The cotton also means they’re not as moisture-wicking or -resistant as wool-based socks, so you need to make sure you’re wearing waterproof hiking shoes or hiking boots on those autumn hikes.
The other pair of Hi-Tec hiking socks I tested wasn’t technically built for hiking, though the Comfort Lifestyle sock performed well on the trail. They don’t have the same level of cushioning on the bottom, nor do they have the compression elements up the sides. However, for people who prefer a comfort top over full-length compression, the latter is a welcome change. Likewise, the Comfort Lifestyles are combed cotton and include zero wool, so the extra cushioning may have led to extra stink if it’d been present.
Both types of Hi-Tec hiking socks feature reinforced heels and toes, and both offer arch compression. And, although they’re not marketed for this, they’re styled in a way that they’re just as appropriate on the trail as they are in the workplace. Save for the gray/orange ones shown above. Those ones are a bit spunky for most office settings. The other three? All fine.
OK, truth be told, one of the Be Active performance socks had a brown/orange camo pattern at the top. I didn’t mind them, to be honest, though my wife said they were the ugliest socks she’s seen. I still wore them into the office a couple of days, because the camo part was hidden beneath my pant legs. Nobody was any the wiser, and my feet stayed comfortable.
In terms of warmth, I was generally pleased with the Hi-Tec hiking socks. Part of that was probably because I took them out in the fall. They’re not designed for super-cold hikes, and they’d be a bit too warm for summertime adventures. (They’d likely cause a bit more sweating in the summer, which wouldn’t be a good thing with their mostly cotton composition.) But, they were totally appropriate for autumn temperatures, and the only caution would be to wear waterproof boots to keep the moisture at bay.
Hi-Tec Hiking Socks
- Nice cushioned sole
- Enough compression to be supportive without being overpowering
- A very nice fit for my size 9.5 feet
- Very well constructed
- Two for $20 is a nice price
- The material pills-up a bit during strenuous hikes
- Focus on cotton vs. wool hampers moisture wicking and scent control