When you hike the Bright Angel Trail, it is important to give consideration to your choice of hiking socks. Most hikers think about their shoes ahead of time. However, is also essential to choose the right pair of hiking socks to go with the shoes. The goal is to find a comfortable sock suitable for desert hiking and a sock that prevents painful and crippling blisters. Our guests and guides have made many sock recommendations for deciding on the best socks to wear for hiking in the Grand Canyon.
Hiking Socks – Recognizing Material and Fit
- Most hiking socks are made of a blend of materials. Choose a hiking sock that is comprised of a polyester or nylon and wool blend. Merino wool remains a popular material for hiking socks because it helps regulate foot temperature, provides cushioning and is naturally antimicrobial. Cotton socks are not ideal for desert hiking because they do not wick moisture away from your feet and do not dry quickly.
- Consider a hiking sock with light cushioning. A sock with light cushioning provides a little extra cushion to absorb impact in the heel and ball areas of the foot. However, the more cushioning, the warmer the sock. Therefore, we recommend you test your sock first. It may be too hot to wear a heavy cushion sock on the Bright Angel Trail in June!
- Wear the right size of sock. Socks should fit snug but at the same time, not be tight. Your heel should fit nicely into the heel cup of the sock. If the sock is too big, the wrinkles in the extra material may cause blisters.
Everyone always wants to know what to do if they get a blister while on the trail. The best advice we can give you is to try your best to prevent them in the first place. While a quality, broke in shoe is significant, choosing the best sock to go with the shoe is equally as essential. There are many different ideas for preventing blisters. Here are a few suggestions:
- Wear a sock liner. Liner socks, usually made of synthetic materials, remove perspiration off the foot and transfer it to the hiking sock. It is also believed that liners prevents blisters because the friction of the boot is transferred through the hiking sock, onto the liner, and stops there, instead of continuing on to the foot.
- Choose a sock with a built in liner. There are “two way” socks that provide a similar concept to wearing a liner except that it is two socks in one. Wrightsocks is a popular brand among the running crowd but have also been known to be a great hiking sock too.
- Consider a toe sock. We have also heard quite a bit of success about using toe socks for hiking. Toe socks provide material between each toe, therefore the friction is material on material instead of your skin. Injinji is a popular toe sock brand.
- Save a clean pair. If you are hiking UP the Bright Angel Trail, wear clean socks for the big hike. We recommend you store a clean pair of socks in a Ziplock bag for the duration of your trip. Then on the last morning, put the clean socks on right before you begin your hike. Dirty socks are full of sand and grime which rubs against your skin creating hot spots and blisters.
But the best advice we offer is to try out your socks BEFORE the hike. Make sure that the sock option that you decide works for you before you get half way up or down the trail. In addition, it is always good to strengthen your readiness for the Bright Angel Hike from all angles. Read Bright Angel Trail Hiking Tips and Bright Angel Trail Hiking Etiquette to enhance your preparation!