Your most important piece of equipment could be … your socks

I hate having cold feet. I’m not a big fan of blisters, either. A good pair of hiking boots can go a long way to preventing either of these discomforts, but your socks play a major role, too.

Over the years, I’ve tried just about every brand and style of socks out there. The department store socks don’t cut the mustard, and they fall apart after only a few uses. They’re cheap, so they’re easy to replace, but they’re not worth even the little amount of money they cost.

I’ve worn many of the synthetic fibers on my feet, too. Some of them provide good warmth or moisture-wicking properties, but they’re usually extremely expensive. And when I wear them out hiking in the backcountry, they tend to come apart sooner than I’d like them to. They last longer than the discount models, but they still don’t seem to last as long as they should for the money I pay for them.

Lately, I’ve been wearing nothing but Merino wool on my feet. It sounds strange to wear wool, even in the summer, but Merino isn’t like other wool. It wicks moisture away like all wool does, but it isn’t scratchy and itchy. And it’s super durable. I have Merino wool socks I’ve owned for six years.

The trick is finding Merino wool socks made in the USA from wool that’s grown here, too. That’s why I was happy to find out about Swiftwick socks. They’re made with American-grown wool, and they’re put together in the United States. They’re also comfortable, provide great cushion, and they last. Best of all, they’re one of the least expensive manufacturers of high-end socks.

They’ll last 10 times longer than socks that cost half as much. By my math, that’s a heck of a bargain. And I won’t get cold feet or blisters while I’m wearing them.