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Best Socks for Camino de Santiago – Facts & Myths 2024

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Our feet. We do not give them the attention and the care they deserve. They carry us day after day, all over the world. And while you can sometimes walk without a backpack (having it transferred), you certainly cannot walk without your feet hitting the ground, twenty or thirty or forty thousand times a day.

If you do a long Camino (for example from Saint Jean to Santiago, or from Irun to Santiago), you will likely make more than 1 million steps on your way. And unless you care for your feet, you will pay the price. But what does such a care mean? First of all, it means having good shoes, and the right socks. Let’s have a look at the latter now.

 

Characteristics of a great sock for Camino de Santiago

Each sock has certain characteristics–the fabric (material it is made from), the height, the type, the shape, the thickness, and of course also the color :). Each of them is important to consider once you are looking for a perfect pair of socks for Camino de Santiago, or for any similar adventure. Let’s have a look at each of these characteristics, one by one. I will speak mostly from personal experience (I’ve done nine different caminos in the past ten years and tried all types of socks), but I will also add a bit of science to the mix, and experience of fellow pilgrims. You know how it goes: when the conversation is stuck, you can always start talking about socks or other part of equipment to get it going again :).

* May also interest you: Camino de Santiago Ultralight packing list.

 

The best and worst fabric for great socks for the Camino

Unless you walk the Camino in December, or some other crazy time of the year, it will be HOT in Spain. And once it is hot, your feet sweat. And once they sweat, it is important that they can breath well, which means that the excessive moisture leaves your shoes, and that your feet stay relatively dry. If they do not stay relatively dry, sooner or later you will develop big blisters (in a better case scenario) or fungi infection (in a worse case scenario). Obviously your shoe selection plays a role here (check our article on best shoes for Camino de Santiago), but the socks you wear have the same importance, if not a greater one. The key here is choosing the right fabric.

Socks from synthetic materials, such as nylon an polyester, you should avoid at all costs. Funny enough, socks from these materials are often promoted as “sports socks”, because they are less prone to tearing and will endure more than most socks from natural materials. Keep on your mind though that this is meant for sports like soccer, a tennis match, or a short 30 minute run. The sports socks are not meant for walking 6-7 hours a day in a hot weather. So these are the fabrics to avoid when buying socks for your pilgrimage. But what fabrics to go for?

The plant-based fabrics, such as cotton, linen, or bamboo (the last one very popular for socks nowadays) are the most breathable, and you should aim for getting socks from one of these materials. Merino wool is also a great choice, but make sure to opt for thinner merino socks, if you go with one. Sometimes a fabric mix is a good idea too, since a bit of synthetic fabric (such as 10% of nylon or 12% of polyester) can add a bit of longevity to your camino socks :). But make sure that at least 80% of the socks you buy is from natural materials, and not the synthetic ones.

 

Right height of the socks for the Camino

The manufactures have made the sock-height almost a scientific issue. There are now so many names and classifications: micro crew, crew, over the calf, knee high, no show, and so on, and so forth. And that’s just one classification–other brands have other names… However, I want to simplify the issue here: the right sock height for the Camino is the one that make sure that the shoes you wear do not have any direct contact with the skin.

If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino ๐Ÿ™‚

Said in simpler terms, the sock should be as high as your shoe (or boot) is. To give you an example, if you plan to walk your Camino in some nice trail running shoes, shorter socks will do. If you want to wear high hiking boots, however, you need longer socks. And if you walk bear foot, well, you won’t wear any socks in that case :). Okay, that’s to height, let’s move to other attribute, the thickness.

 

Thick or thin socks for Camino de Santiago?

From all the attributes we will discuss here when it comes to a perfect sock for Camino de Santiago, I’d say thickness is the most individual one. Some people just like wearing thick socks. And some enjoy wearing thin ones. Now, a few things to consider here: It will be quite hot on the Camino. Which means that if your socks are too thick, your feet may overheat, and you will once again develop blisters.

On the other hand, if you wear super thin socks (God I love wearing such, especially if they are from bamboo or merino), you will need to change them, perhaps even a couple of times, simply because they will wear out and tear. And this is true even if you buy some super expensive socks (thin ones)…. Making so many steps each day, it is just natural that the material deteriorates over time. Considering everything, your best bet is to opt for socks that are neither super thin nor too thick, and the rest is up to your daily life preferences (whether you generally enjoy walking in thinner or thicker socks).

 

Sock shape – Normal versus five fingers

Five finger socks (check these beauties on Amazon if you do not now what five-fingers are) are ever more popular among hikers and even athletes. The manufactures and promoters claim that wearing such socks reduces the chances of developing blisters. But is that really true?ย  Well, in my opinion, the right fabric and thickness choice matters more than whether you have five fingers or “normal” socks. However, in certain cases five fingers can help to prevent blisters, and make sure you enjoy your Camino de Santiago.

The most common case is when your toes are close together, almost “glued”, that there is virtually no space in between them when your feet is relaxed. One can be born with such a condition, but it can also develop in time, for example as a by-product of wearing shoes that are too narrow for you, and to do it for many years. In such a case, there is too much friction in-between the toes, and blisters have a tendency to develop. Hence having the bit of extra fabric in between the toes can help greatly and five-fingers socks are your best bet.

But if you have just normal feet, and wear shoes in which your fingers have enough space to spread nicely while you walk (Altra Lone Peak is the winner here, check the model for men and for women), you do not really need to spend extra money for five fingers. The think is also that due to their shape and the way you wear them, five fingers are more prone to wear and tear, and almost for sure they won’t last you for the entire camino… So the final verdict is: if you have good shoes and do not have problem with your toes clogged together, normal socks are just fine, and you do not need to buy five-fingers.

 

The color – looking stylish on the Camino

Of course, especially for women, colors do matter. Always, in any case, with any piece of clothing. Good news is that you do not really have to limit yourself in terms of color selection when choosing your socks. There are two things to keep on your mind though.

First one is that once it is dry in Spain and you walk on dirt roads (very typical for almost all Caminos in Spain), the dirt and the dust will get on your shoes and socks, every day. The white socks aren’t so white anymore… That’s why I’d suggest going for other, darker colors. And the second thing to keep on your mind is the washing issue. Whether you wash your clothes on your own on the Camino, or use the services offered in the pilgrim hostels (such as a communal wash of clothes, very common in donativo albergues), you likely won’t have a chance to wash clothes of each color separately. Hence if you’re into washing by color, it is better if the socks have similar colors than the rest of your clothes.

 

Summary and a few hand-picked products for you

I hope that now you have a good idea of what makes a great pair of socks for your Camino de Santiago :). To sum things up, you should:

  • Pick socks from plant-based (cotton, bamboo, silk) or other natural materials (merino wool), to make sure your feet can breath and you won’t develop blisters.
  • Make sure the socks you buy are at least as high as the shoes you will wear, to avoid direct contact of shoes with your skin (which can lead to blisters and other injuries again).
  • Avoid ultra-thin or ultra-thick socks, since the first will tear pretty quickly considering the distances you’ll wear every day, and you’ll be just too hot in the later, considering the Spanish climate.
  • Opt for five-fingers if your toes are “clogged” together, or if you are prone to developing blisters in-between your toes, and for normal socks in any other instances.
  • Avoid white and light colors, due to the dirt you’ll catch on your feet on a typical dry Spanish summer. And get any other color you like or feel comfortable wearing :).

 

Some great products I hand-picked for you

Maybe you already have good socks at home, and do not need to buy a new pair. If not, however, I picked for you a few great options from Amazon–for both men and women, options that meet the characteristics of perfect Camino socks :). Here we go:

 

Best hand-picked Camino socks for women

Product name
Gonii Ankle Socks Womens Running Athletic No Show Socks Cushioned 5-Pairs
Womens Ankle Socks Full Cushioned Cotton Socks 6 Pairs Anti-blister Quarter Athletic Socks 7-10/10-13
kikiya socks Smiley Face Character 4 Pairs Crew Socks For Women For Girls
ZAKASA Womens Funny Toe Sock Cotton Five Finger Running Ankle Novelty Socks (Animal cat, US shoe 6-9)
Gonii Ankle Socks Womens Running Athletic No Show Socks Cushioned 5-Pairs
Womens Ankle Socks Full Cushioned Cotton Socks 6 Pairs Anti-blister Quarter Athletic Socks 7-10/10-13
kikiya socks Smiley Face Character 4 Pairs Crew Socks For Women For Girls
ZAKASA Womens Funny Toe Sock Cotton Five Finger Running Ankle Novelty Socks (Animal cat, US shoe 6-9)
Product price
$21.99
$18.99
$14.90
Price not available
Color options
30 different color options, you always but a set of five. The colors have great harmony and will go well with your hiking gear.
combination of colors, white, black, brown, grey, etc
๐Ÿ™‚
All colors
Recommended for
Fantastic price/quality ratio
Great price, durability, universal use
Style, positivity, comfort
Five-fingers (“toe socks”) option, great price/quality ratio
Matej’s note
80% cottton and 20% synthetic materials make for a great combination of comfort and durability. This one purchase will last you for your entire Camino, considering you get 5 pairs. The thikness is ideal too. Just make sure to buy these socks only if you plan to do the Camino in low shoes (such as trainers or trail running shoes)
A bit thicker and higher than the previous pick, ideal if you want to walk your Camini in boots (instead of trainers or trail running shoes). 92% of cotton with a bit of synthetic materials added to the mix for improved strechability and durability. Great socks overall and colors that match well with any outfit.
More on a funny side, for women who like to stand out on their pilgrimage, in any means. In my opinion these socks are better for after-walk activities (such as your time in the pilgrim hostels or taking a stroll in the town), but they are really nice, and will no doubt help to break the ice in the conversation with some attractive stranger ๐Ÿ™‚
You buy this set and you’re set not only for your Camino :). 78% of cotton is a bit on a low end, but due to durability issues it is hard finding 5-finger socks that have 80% or more cotton. I absolutely love the design of these socks, and no doubt you’ll feel comfortable in them both while walking and while chilling out with other pilgrims.
Product name
Gonii Ankle Socks Womens Running Athletic No Show Socks Cushioned 5-Pairs
Gonii Ankle Socks Womens Running Athletic No Show Socks Cushioned 5-Pairs
Product price
$21.99
Color options
30 different color options, you always but a set of five. The colors have great harmony and will go well with your hiking gear.
Recommended for
Fantastic price/quality ratio
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
80% cottton and 20% synthetic materials make for a great combination of comfort and durability. This one purchase will last you for your entire Camino, considering you get 5 pairs. The thikness is ideal too. Just make sure to buy these socks only if you plan to do the Camino in low shoes (such as trainers or trail running shoes)
Product name
Womens Ankle Socks Full Cushioned Cotton Socks 6 Pairs Anti-blister Quarter Athletic Socks 7-10/10-13
Womens Ankle Socks Full Cushioned Cotton Socks 6 Pairs Anti-blister Quarter Athletic Socks 7-10/10-13
Product price
$18.99
Color options
combination of colors, white, black, brown, grey, etc
Recommended for
Great price, durability, universal use
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
A bit thicker and higher than the previous pick, ideal if you want to walk your Camini in boots (instead of trainers or trail running shoes). 92% of cotton with a bit of synthetic materials added to the mix for improved strechability and durability. Great socks overall and colors that match well with any outfit.
Product name
kikiya socks Smiley Face Character 4 Pairs Crew Socks For Women For Girls
kikiya socks Smiley Face Character 4 Pairs Crew Socks For Women For Girls
Product price
$14.90
Color options
๐Ÿ™‚
Recommended for
Style, positivity, comfort
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
More on a funny side, for women who like to stand out on their pilgrimage, in any means. In my opinion these socks are better for after-walk activities (such as your time in the pilgrim hostels or taking a stroll in the town), but they are really nice, and will no doubt help to break the ice in the conversation with some attractive stranger ๐Ÿ™‚
Product name
ZAKASA Womens Funny Toe Sock Cotton Five Finger Running Ankle Novelty Socks (Animal cat, US shoe 6-9)
ZAKASA Womens Funny Toe Sock Cotton Five Finger Running Ankle Novelty Socks (Animal cat, US shoe 6-9)
Product price
Price not available
Color options
All colors
Recommended for
Five-fingers (“toe socks”) option, great price/quality ratio
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
You buy this set and you’re set not only for your Camino :). 78% of cotton is a bit on a low end, but due to durability issues it is hard finding 5-finger socks that have 80% or more cotton. I absolutely love the design of these socks, and no doubt you’ll feel comfortable in them both while walking and while chilling out with other pilgrims.

 

Best hand-picked socks for men

Product name
Dickies Men’s Dri-Tech Legacy Moisture Control Crew Socks Multipack, Black (12 Pairs), Medium
TANSTC Mens Socks,6 Pairs Low Running Socks,Breathable Anti-Blister Tab Socks
VWELL Cotton Toe Socks Five Finger Socks No Show Crew Athletic Running Socks 4 Pairs,Size 7-11
Dickies Men's Dri-Tech Legacy Moisture Control Crew Socks Multipack, Black (12 Pairs), Medium
TANSTC Mens Socks,6 Pairs Low Running Socks,Breathable Anti-Blister Tab Socks
VWELL Cotton Toe Socks Five Finger Socks No Show Crew Athletic Running Socks 4 Pairs,Size 7-11
Product price
$27.99
$17.99
Price not available
Recommended for
Unbeatable price/quality ratio
Fantastic price & comfort
Best five-finger socks for men
Color options
dark colors
black, brown, grey, white, and combination of the colors.
black, grey, blue, and combination of the three
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
For this price for 6 pairs of relatively durable socks you cannot really go wrong! High enough for both trainers and boots, and with extra durability added on the parts most prone to tear (heal and toe). Combination of cotton and a bit of synthetic materials. A great pick for Camino, but also socks you can use later on, even wearing them to work.
Short ankle socks ideal for pilgrims who want to do the Camino in running shoes. Comination of cotton, polyamide, and elastan. Unbeatable price for 6 pairs, very comfy too!
Only 74% of cotton, because these are five-fingers. The design is great for long hikes, the socks are durable, and you cannot really go wrong with the price like this! Definitelly my no. 1 pick for five-fingers for men
Product name
Dickies Men’s Dri-Tech Legacy Moisture Control Crew Socks Multipack, Black (12 Pairs), Medium
Dickies Men's Dri-Tech Legacy Moisture Control Crew Socks Multipack, Black (12 Pairs), Medium
Product price
$27.99
Recommended for
Unbeatable price/quality ratio
Color options
dark colors
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
For this price for 6 pairs of relatively durable socks you cannot really go wrong! High enough for both trainers and boots, and with extra durability added on the parts most prone to tear (heal and toe). Combination of cotton and a bit of synthetic materials. A great pick for Camino, but also socks you can use later on, even wearing them to work.
Product name
TANSTC Mens Socks,6 Pairs Low Running Socks,Breathable Anti-Blister Tab Socks
TANSTC Mens Socks,6 Pairs Low Running Socks,Breathable Anti-Blister Tab Socks
Product price
$17.99
Recommended for
Fantastic price & comfort
Color options
black, brown, grey, white, and combination of the colors.
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
Short ankle socks ideal for pilgrims who want to do the Camino in running shoes. Comination of cotton, polyamide, and elastan. Unbeatable price for 6 pairs, very comfy too!
Product name
VWELL Cotton Toe Socks Five Finger Socks No Show Crew Athletic Running Socks 4 Pairs,Size 7-11
VWELL Cotton Toe Socks Five Finger Socks No Show Crew Athletic Running Socks 4 Pairs,Size 7-11
Product price
Price not available
Recommended for
Best five-finger socks for men
Color options
black, grey, blue, and combination of the three
Get it now for best price
Matej’s note
Only 74% of cotton, because these are five-fingers. The design is great for long hikes, the socks are durable, and you cannot really go wrong with the price like this! Definitelly my no. 1 pick for five-fingers for men

 

Final word

So that’s it! I hope I helped you pick great socks for your Camino de Santiago or for any similar adventure! If you’re still not done with your packing I recommend you to check also my article on best t-shirts for the Camino, and best backpacks for the Camino. Any questions, you can always contact me for more information. Thank you, and buen Camino!

Matej

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