You can trust these socks to support your feet even when you’re putting in serious miles with moisture-wicking, breathable fabric, padding in all the right places and a comfortable, supportive fit
Good sweat-wicking and breathability
Medium weight for multiple seasons
Left and right fit
No recycled content
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Helly Hansen Unisex Technical Hiking Socks: first impressions
What makes a hiking sock technical? It needs to be breathable and wick sweat to keep your feet dry and comfortable, avoiding rubbing and blisters, have padding on the underside to offer protection and insulation when you need it, and contour to your foot. This sock from Helly Hansen checks all those boxes and we’ve been comfortably testing it out for a couple of months now.
• List price: $120 / £20
• Gender specification: Unisex
• Sizes: 36 - 38, 39 - 41, 42 - 44, 45 - 47
• Materials: 43% Polyamide 41% Merino Wool 13% Polypropylene 3% Elastane
• Colors: Black, White
• Best use: Hiking
We’d call this a medium weight hiking sock, which makes it pretty versatile across seasons. It’s not so thick you couldn’t wear it in the summer, which you’d want to if you were going on a long trek, but so far we’ve found it warm enough for freezing temperatures. The blend of merino wool and synthetic fabric means it keeps your feet dry on the trail and it also doesn’t get smelly even with multiple, sweaty uses which we love.
Besides the standard pilling we’d expect to see on the bottom after a month of use, it's a tough sock with a comfortable, performance-ready fit and it comes at a reasonable price too. The only thing we’d like to see added is some recycled materials.
Helly Hansen Unisex Technical Hiking Socks: in the field
I received a couple of pairs of these socks ahead of a field trip with Arrochar Mountain Rescue recently and I’ve actually ended up wearing them for all of my hikes over the past couple of months. Here in Scotland, it’s been really cold and I’ve had them up a couple of Munros as well as some lower-lying hills and on a family walking holiday in the Galloway Forest.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
I have really small feet (3.5 UK / 5.5 US) and sometimes even the smallest socks are too big but luckily the smallest size of these just fits without leaving any bunching or wrinkling. The result is the contoured fit I want from a hiking sock, without my toes feeling pinched.
They come up to about mid calf on me, which means they afford loads of protection against even my tallest boots.
Comfort and temperature regulation
These socks feel great against my skin thanks to the merino/synthetic blend which is nice and soft. They’ve got a nice amount of padding on the heels, balls and toes without being too thick for comfort while hiking.
They’ve got vents at the top of the foot to let sweat escape, though I’ve been wearing them mostly in cold weather, but I haven’t suffered cold toes or hot, sweaty feet even with my waterproof winter hiking boots on.
As a bit of an experiment, I also wore them for a boggy hike while wearing my Vivobarefoot Magna Lite SG hiking boots which offer zero wet weather protection and while my feet got wet, and a little chilly at the summit, I was pleased with how well they kept my feet warm when wet on the descent and how quickly they dried out on the drive home.
Durability and odor control
I’ve only been wearing them a couple of months (and I’ve been rotating through two pairs) and so far there’s just the usual pilling at the soles that I’d expect from any sock I’ve been hiking in. The synthetic material should add durability compared to a pure merino sock.
My main problem – and this is purely anatomical – is that my left big toe curls up a bit, which means that my toenail eventually breaks through even the sturdiest of socks. I can see a little more wear on the left sock suggesting this will happen eventually, but I’m hoping not for a couple of years.
The odor control is great on these, thanks to the merino content, and if I hadn’t worn them through a bog whilst wearing barefoot shoes I don’t think I’d even have had to wash them yet.
Helly Hansen Unisex Technical Hiking Socks: the bottom line
If you’re looking for durable, medium-weight hiking socks that provide warmth in winter but aren’t too thick for long summer days on the trail, these are great quality and a good price.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.