A Left Sock for Your Left Foot?

Keen Boulder Canyon hiking sockShoes and boots are designed to fit our right foot and left foot respectively, but why not socks? The highly regarded outdoor company Keen Footwear has jumped on the latest technology of socks that are designed specifically for each foot.

So does a foot specific sock really make a difference? Check out how the Keen Boulder Canyon socks performed:

Pros:

  • Seamless design is great! I can’t decide if the foot specific design or if it is the seamless fit that makes these socks so comfortable, but either way I’m a fan. Seams on the bottom of socks often prevent chafing and even blisters for those of us who hike for several miles at a time. This seamless fit definitely helps prevent that!
  • Keen Socks
    The left/right specific fit is evident in the arch support


  • Functional. The most important characteristic I look for in hiking socks is their ability to wick moisture. This is far more important than design and even comfort. If moisture isn’t wicked away well, your feet will be very prone to blisters. These socks did a good job of wicking moisture.
  • Extremely soft. Some wool socks can be scratchy, but the blend of merino and nylon in these socks make them super soft and comfortable. I forget I’m wearing them when I have them on.
  • Cushioning support is sufficient. For a moderate hiking sock, these provide a good amount of cushioning. Since my foot is on the narrow side I appreciate extra cushion.
  • Fit. Even though the size categories are quite broad (for example, the women’s Medium is suitable for shoe sizes 6-10), the fit was excellent. Likely due to the nylon and spandex that provide stretch.
  • Durable. After several launderings and abuse on the trail, they are still holding up really well.

Cons:

  • Price. I haven’t found anything wrong with these socks, so I’ll have to throw in price! SmartWool socks are priced similarly, but Goodhew socks and others can be purchased for a few dollars less per pair. I am still surprised how expensive technical hiking socks are, but if you’re going to spend $15-20 per pair of hiking socks, this one is a great option.

Specs:

  • Material: 60% Merino wool, 35% Nylon, 3% Spandex, 2% Polyester.
  • Care: Machine wash warm, inside out. Tumble dry low or air dry.
  • Price: $16.95. REI.com

These are yet another pair of top quality socks available to hikers. The left and right specific design is a neat feature, but what really differentiates them in the softness of the material vs. other technical hiking socks!

Happy trails!



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Liner socks – the best invention for hikers!
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11 comments

  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for the feedback, AlpsLvr. They are cozy indeed! They do a good job of wicking away sweat, which is very important :)

  2. Ron Wagner says:

    I have heard one opinion that you should wear larger shoes for long distance hiking. Also that you should wear a pair of nylon socks under the hiking socks, to wick moisture. One thing for sure, IMO is change socks if they get damp.

  3. Ron Wagner says:

    Any advice on shoes for bunions. I have one on my left foot. All I can think of is wearing wider shoes. I wear EEEs anyway. Or maybe use some foam in the area.
    How about foam in the toes? I once lost several toenails climbing a fourteener. Trim your nails before your hike!

  4. Ron Wagner says:

    When should a hiker put on gaiter’s? I use mid height lightweight hiking shoes. Waterproof in cold or rainy weather. I would be carrying a lightweight rainsuit, and or poncho. I have never owned gaiters.

  5. Ron Wagner says:

    Would a trash bag be sufficient for a pack cover? I have never carried one of these either. Trash bags are great for carrying out your refuse.

  6. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Ron!
    lots of great questions!

    Wearing larger shoes? You have to make sure that your toes won’t hit the front of the boots on downhill hikes. I almost always buy 1/2 size larger, but it depends on the brand and cut of the boot. You should try them on if you can.
    Wearing 2 pair of socks? Yes! Definitely wear a liner sock and then an outer hiking sock. Make sure they are both made of wool or a synthetic material, not cotton, because cotton will retain moisture. I like Injinji liner socks with individual spots for each toe :)
    Bunions? this is tricky… you’ll have to wear wider shoes to accommodate the bunions. You don’t want them rubbing and causing pain. And yes, definitely trim those toenails!
    When to wear gaiters? Long gaiters (mid calf or up to the knee) should be worn if you are walking through wet snow, snowshoeing or in super wet, rainy conditions. Desert gaiters (the little ones) can be worn if you are hiking in sandy areas like Death Valley or Joshua Tree and want to help keep sand and pebbles from entering your trail shoes or boots from above.

    Hope that helps! Happy trails Ron!

  7. I don’t buy cheap socks anymore. It was when I started hiking I discovered how well made they are in general. Padded and fitted and long lasting. I always get the ones with merino wool for the non-itch factor.

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