A supremely comfortable pair of socks, which make a very real difference to walker with bunions, restoring the pleasure of long, practically pain-free hikes.
Tailor made for trekkers with bunions
Comfortable (regardless of whether you have bunions)
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Hanwag Bunion socks: first impressions
For a particular subsect of hikers, Hanwag Bunion socks will be a revelation. Anyone – like me – who suffers from bunions (bony lumps that develop on the inner-facing side of your feet, at the base of the big toe) knows only too well how uncomfortable and painful they can become when you’re wearing hiking boots or shoes for a long period of time. So the fact that Hanwag have bothered to develop a sock specifically to try and address that problem is instantly good news.
Unlike other hiking socks, these ones, from the well-respected German walking boot brand, are designed specifically for bunion sufferers, and they are intended to be paired with Hanwag’s range of bunion boots and shoes.
They are left/right specific (for obvious reasons) and feature extra padding on the side of the big toe where bunions cause problems. There is also extra padding on the heel and sole, and the mid-shin length provides decent levels of protection. The high level of merino used means they feel great, breath really well, wick moisture excellently and don’t hold on to odors.
The materials used get a big tick for being eco-conscious and sustainable too, with the merino wool content (see also: what is merino wool?) having received an eco-friendly EX-Pollution anti-felting treatment, a chlorine-free wool finishing process that uniquely meets the bluesign standard.
Not the right ones for you? Take a look at our roundup of the best hiking socks for some more options.
• RRP: $26 (US) / £20 (UK) / €23 (EU)
• Unisex: Yes
• Sizes available: 36–38 / 39–41 / 42–44 / 45–47
• Materials: Schoeller EXP merino wool (40%), polyamide (29%), polypropylene (28%), elastane (3%)
• Length: Shin height
• Weight (men’s large, per pair): 67g / 2.4oz
• Colors: Black / Anthracite
Hanwag Bunion socks: on the trails
As mentioned, I am unlucky enough to have bunions, and since I spend a lot of time walking trails – for both work and leisure, and in all sorts of footwear – they can become extremely sore at times, seriously impacting the enjoyment I get from the hiking experience.
So, suffice to say, I was super stoked to learn that Hanwag had begun to produce shoes, boots and (crucially) socks to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by the bumps on my feet.
As suggested by the manufacturers, I paired these socks with a pair of Hanwag Banks Low from the brand’s bunion-friendly hiking shoe range before setting out on a full circumnavigation of Lundy Island, off the coast of Devon. It turned out to be a 23km (14-mile) day, crossing rocky and hilly terrain for around six hours. After that sort of distance and time on the trail, I would typically be in quite a lot of discomfort with my bunions, but these shoes and socks made a significant difference.
The additional padding around the ball of the foot and bunion area genuinely eased the rubbing, and the shoes had extra space built in around that problem area, to alleviate the pressure that usually turns into pain.
Elsewhere, the material mix (which includes a large amount of merino, married to some poly fabric to improve robustness and longevity) was very comfortable next to the skin, and allowed my feet to breathe freely.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.