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When we think about critical outdoor gear, socks are not typically the first items that come to mind. But the reality is they are your first line of defense against the hazards of the trail, and if you skimp on this essential bit of gear you could pay the price in blisters, cold feet, or some sort of zombie foot funk. Like everything else, fine socks are expensive, and the best are made with Merino wool. Here are a few reasons why you should be hunting in Merino wool socks.

Darn Tough


If a company is going to go through the effort and expense of putting Merino wool in a pair of socks, it’s going to build them right or go out of business. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Darn Tough made in Vermont. Their seamless-construction blend of Merino, Nylon, and Spandex makes for an extremely warm, durable, and form-fitting layer. At upwards of $30 a pair, your only regret in owning one pair of Darn Tough socks is that you might not be able to afford two!

People Socks


Merino wool has a natural anti-microbial and anti-bacterial property that keeps feet warm even when wet, helps eliminate scent, and reduces the chance of any kind of creeping foot crud on the trail. While it’s better to wash Merino products after every hard use, you can wear Merino multiple times before it really starts to beg for a time-out.

Danish Endurance


One of the great attributes of Merino wool is that when combined with modern synthetics, it is usually machine washable. Merino blends don’t get all natty like polypropylene or shrink like 100% wool, making for ultimate sock comfort and in a totally guy-friendly product. Just be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before tossing any wool garment in a washing machine. Air drying is best.