Last Updated on April 17, 2023
Socks are one of the most underrated hiking accessories, especially in extreme hot weather. If you are planning to go on a hiking or backpacking trip in the desert, a nice pair of socks will both protect your feet from the hot sand and absorb sweat allowing for better perspiration.
And with the extreme dry climate of most desert environments, you will sweat a lot!
Because of this, it’s best to opt for a soft, breathable material that can let your feet breathe while reducing friction between your sole and the sandy terrain, and they can be especially helpful if you are planning to go on a desert run.
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Merino wool is your friend
The best fabric for desert hiking is definitely Merino wool. Unlike other types of textiles, Merino is a reactive material that responds to your body’s temperature, it controls your temperature so that you are never too hot or cold, regardless of the weather – which suits perfectly the extreme climate of most deserts.
Merino wool’s ability to retain moisture makes the skin drier, limiting the amount of moisture accessible to microbes. It has a different texture and subatomic charge than synthetics, so it doesn’t attract odours.
When choosing a sock to bring with you on those sand dune climbs, the rule of thumb is: the more Merino, the better.
Best Desert Hiking Socks
MERIWOOL 75% Merino Wool Socks
75% Merino Wool 25% Synthetic Fibre
Meriwool merino wool hiking socks for men and women are ideal for your desert hiking adventures. The socks offer compression and reinforce your heel and toe, providing added support for long hikes in the hot, arid climate.
Through the process of wicking, these Merino wool socks can pull moisture away from your body and keep you comfortable, even in the scorching heat of the desert. In any environmental and weather conditions, these socks will keep your feet cool and dry, so you can focus on enjoying the stunning desert scenery.
Darn Tough 66% Merino Wool Socks
66% Merino Wool 32% Nylon 2% Lycra Spandex
Made with a blend of Merino Wool, Nylon, and Lycra Spandex, these socks provide ultimate comfort and breathability in all weather conditions. The mid-level cushion density makes them comfortable and ideal for long hikes in the desert terrain. These socks are designed to work as hard as you do and are a durable choice that will last for many trips to come.
The Merino wool material wicks moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry and reducing the risk of blisters. The Darn Tough Vermont socks are the perfect choice for any hiker looking for a comfortable and reliable sock for their desert adventures.
Danish Endurance 40% Merino Wool Socks
40% Merino Wool 31% Nylon 28% Acrylic 1% Elastane
Danish Endurance’s unisex socks are a must-have for any desert hiker, trekker, or outdoor enthusiast with a 40% merino wool blend.
With reinforced designs, they hold up wash after wash, and reduce slipping and bunching during wear. Their breathable material wicks away moisture, keeping your feet cool and dry during the hottest desert hikes.
Best Desert Hiking Shoes & Boots
Investing in a pair of high-quality, desert hiking boots or shoes for sand dunes is another piece of footwear essentials.
You will need to look for a sturdy shoe with some cushioning properties which is also not too heavy and will let your feet breathe.
If you are a fan of barefoot shoes, make sure that they are meant for trail running and hiking and have a thick bottom layer with no openings. Learn more: Shoes for Desert & Beach Sand Dunes
Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7
Xero Barefoot Shoes Terraflex
Kenetrek Desert Guide Non-Insulated Hiking Boot
BLACKHAWK Desert Ops Boot, Coyote
DANNER MANUFACTURING Bull Run Moc Toe Work Boot
VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi III Eco
Desert Camping Essentials Checklist
- Camping Tent
- Sleeping Bag
- Desert Backpack
- Desert Hiking Boots
- Plenty of water
- Food for desert
- First aid kit
- Travel insurance covering desert activities
Desert Hiking Socks FAQ
What are the best socks for hiking in the desert?
When it comes to hiking in the desert, the right socks can make all the difference. The best socks for desert hiking are made from materials that offer breathability, moisture-wicking properties, and durability. Merino wool is an excellent choice for desert hiking socks because it can wick moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry and comfortable. Additionally, synthetic fibers like nylon and acrylic are often blended with merino wool to increase durability and reduce bunching or slipping during use.
When backpacking in the desert, it’s important to choose socks that offer enough cushioning to protect your feet from impact and abrasions while also being lightweight enough to prevent overheating. Look for socks that have reinforced heels and toes, as these areas tend to wear out faster than the rest of the sock. With the right socks, you can hike for miles in the desert without worrying about blisters, chafing, or discomfort.
What are the best socks for running in the desert?
If you are planning to go on a desert run or participate in an ultramarathon in hot and dry weather conditions, selecting the right socks can make all the difference in your performance and overall comfort. The challenging terrain, scorching temperatures, and prolonged physical exertion can quickly take a toll on your feet, so investing in high-quality socks is essential.
For desert running, merino wool socks are a top choice due to their natural moisture-wicking properties. These fibers can effectively draw sweat away from your feet, keeping them dry and comfortable throughout your race. Moreover, merino wool socks can prevent blisters and hot spots from developing, which can be incredibly painful and disruptive to your running pace.
When it comes to the Marathon des Sables, one of the most grueling desert races in the world, you need to opt for socks that can withstand even the toughest conditions. Look for socks that offer ample cushioning and support, which can absorb the impact of running on rocky, uneven terrain.
What is the best fabric for desert hiking socks?
When it comes to fabric for desert hiking socks, merino wool is the way to go. Merino wool is naturally moisture-wicking, which means it can pull sweat away from your feet and help regulate your body temperature in hot and dry conditions. This makes it an excellent choice for desert hiking, where you’ll likely be exposed to high temperatures and dry air.
In addition to its moisture-wicking properties, merino wool is also naturally antimicrobial, meaning it can resist the growth of bacteria and odor-causing microbes. This is particularly useful when you’re backpacking in the desert and don’t have access to frequent washing or laundry facilities.
Finally, merino wool is incredibly soft and comfortable, so you can wear it for long hikes without worrying about blisters or chafing.
What are desert gaiters?
Desert gaiters are a type of protective gear worn over your socks and shoes to provide extra protection from debris, snake bites, and other hazards you might encounter while hiking in the desert. They’re typically made from lightweight, breathable fabrics like nylon or spandex and are designed to fit snugly around your lower leg and ankle.
Gaiters are especially useful when hiking in sandy or rocky terrain, as they can prevent small rocks or sand from getting inside your shoes or socks. They can also provide extra protection from cactus spines or thorns that might puncture your shoes or skin.
When choosing gaiters for desert hiking, look for models that are lightweight, breathable, and easy to put on and take off. Some models feature zippered closures or hook-and-loop fasteners, while others simply slip over your foot and ankle like a sock.
Can I walk barefoot in the desert?
Walking barefoot in the desert is generally not recommended. The desert terrain is often rocky and uneven, which can be tough on your feet. Additionally, the hot sand and rocks can burn your feet and make it difficult to walk long distances.
In addition to the physical hazards of walking barefoot in the desert, there are also potential health risks to consider. Snakes, scorpions, and other dangerous creatures are common in many desert regions, and walking barefoot can put you at risk of bites or stings.
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