The Best Survival Socks for Preppers and Survivalists

Blisters, seam irritation, bumps, fungus and even trench foot are all things that happen when you have a bad pair of socks. Even if you don’t have to deal with any of these problems, poorly made socks that wear out and have holes are annoying. I’m not really hard on my feet, but I’ve been punching holes in poor quality socks for weeks. Nobody wants to buy socks all the time. It’s not something you want to have to deal with in a survival situation.

We spent some time researching this topic and tested a large number of socks to find the best survival conditions. Hiking socks, military socks and even supermarket socks were part of the initial selection. Durability, strength and comfort are all important factors that set the best socks apart from the rest of the field. We look forward to sharing our findings with you and making everyone feel good, no matter what disaster or emergency occurs. If you need comfortable, breathable and durable socks for any situation, then one of our survival socks recommendations is a good choice.

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Best survival socks

Bad socks for the light hiking team

Comfortable, breathable and robust (natural)

These highly rated socks offer consistent quality and exceptional durability.

*Price at time of publication; check for price changes or clearance sales.

You’ve probably heard of Damn Socks. Darn Tough of Vermont is known for these socks, their durability and lifetime warranty. The socks we chose are among the lightest options, and perform better than thicker options in a wide range of climates and activities.

The socks are a synthetic blend: Merino wool, nylon and spandex. The result is a sock that looks like a performance sports sock, but has the useful properties of heavy wool hiking socks. The knit may seem tight at first glance, but the sock is seamless and holds its shape fantastically, making it very comfortable. If you want the best survival socks, the Darn Tough Light Hiker Socks will get the job done better than the others.

Budget Survival Socks

Carhartt Rough Terrain Socks

Soft comfort that doesn’t break the budget.

Stay on your feet longer with heel and toe cushioning that reduces pressure, blisters and moisture.

*Price at time of publication; check for price changes or clearance sales.

Carhartt is a recognizable brand that is available everywhere at affordable prices. Their composite socks have come a long way and now contain acrylic, wool, nylon and spandex for a durable sock that can handle all weather conditions. Their wool content is lower than some other high-end kits, which drastically lowers the price. Bulk purchases are also useful. Even with lower wool content, they remain surprisingly comfortable over a wide temperature range and even in humid environments.

It’s hard to beat the wholesale price of these Carhartt composite wool socks if you’re looking to stock up on groceries or update your usual wardrobe. If you need socks to make a roll that you can keep in your carry-on bag, the Carhartt All Terrain Starter Socks are the way to go.

Cold weather survival socks

The icebreaker Merino in heavy leg socks

Convenient, comfortable and slim for cold weather.

These durable and odor-resistant socks are perfect for hikes in snowy forests or walks through cold city streets.

*Price at time of publication; check for price changes or clearance sales.

Cold weather is what an icebreaker does best, and Merino Heavy Hike+ Crew Socks are the most versatile pair you can get for extreme cold conditions. They are made from 63% merino wool, 35% nylon and 2% elastane for a composition that offers excellent thermal properties with an exceptional fit. Many heavy socks with heavy padding can cause the sock to slide. To avoid this, these socks fit perfectly, thanks to the elastane.

The top of the sock is breathable, which is often overlooked in socks for extreme temperatures. We have found that socks that place too much emphasis on heat retention with excessive insulation are uncomfortable to wear under practical conditions. Socks that do this, like the Heat Holders, are designed for diabetics to improve heat flow in the feet. Convenient cold weather survival socks combine heat regulation with a comfortable, dry fit. Icebreaker Merino Heavy Crew socks do it – and they’re guaranteed for life, no questions asked.

All we recommend

Socks we compared

Our study limited the field to the few candidates we tested: Torlos, Darn Tut, SmartWool, Wrightsock, Under Armor, WigWam, Heat Holders, Icebreaker, J.B. Icelandic, Carhartt, Dickies, Hanes and many others. From then on, it was enough to wear the socks for long periods of time at different events and see how they felt and held up. This allowed us to get rid of socks that were too hot, felt too slippery, or had other comfort issues.

What to look for

The best survival socks have a few key features:

  1. Composition
  2. Knitting shape and properties
  3. Pudding

Below is a breakdown of what each of these points means for a good pair of survival socks. When the mix is right, you get a versatile, high-performance sock. You can also see variations of these three features to improve performance in different environments – for example, in wet or extremely cold B. environments.

Composition of the survival sock

Socks have definitely become more complex over the years, especially since many types of yarn are now knitted into composite socks. Wool socks used for cooking – there were no comparable socks to measure the performance of wool. Cotton stays wet and polyester insulates only slightly.

Polyester-wool blends are a major marketing tactic of some sock manufacturers. Synthetic blended socks with low wool content are always wool socks and have been known to be abused by traders. The difference between a 60% wool sock and a 20% wool sock is very sensitive, but the cost of a 60% wool sock is twice as high. In addition, yarns such as acrylic and elastane can improve the durability and fit of wool blend socks.

When a sock of sturdy yarn is combined with advanced knitting properties, the sock just works better.

Shapes and characteristics of knitwear

The knitting machines that make socks are complex, huge and have become increasingly sophisticated over the years. This allows them to adjust the knitting to create unique sock shapes, not only for different sizes, but also to concentrate different yarns in different places, making them some of the best survival socks around.

These functions may include :

Advances in knitting technology have greatly improved the performance of socks.

All the knitting elements in the above chart make the sock more durable, comfortable and effective in any survival situation.

Package socks

In addition to the yarn composition and properties of the knit, the amount of padding (or lack thereof) through the pile of the knit can also affect the durability, comfort and thermal insulation of the sock. Many hiking socks have more padding on the ball and toe and less padding on the top of the foot. Ski socks are lined at shin height, snowboard socks are not. Steel toe socks have an extra lining. Depending on the intended use of the sock, the lining may be in different places.

Padding can be more comfortable, but can also cause the sock to overheat if there is too much padding. Too much padding (especially in a cotton sock) can cause the sock to retain water and sweat longer. Very strong padding can also cause a slippery feeling when putting on the shoe or boot, because the padding can cause the inside of the sock to shift relative to the outside of the sock.

The trick to stuffing your socks is to stuff them in the right place – and not too much.

Why socks are important for survival

Blisters, skin lesions, frostbite and even foot cracks can be avoided with the right foot care equipment. Taking care of your feet also means keeping them in good condition:

Socks and shoes are the best equipment for reliable performance. Foot warmers and other technologies are fine, but they are temporary and/or expensive if used permanently. Here are some of the best practices you can use to protect your feet:

  • buy two pairs of nice socks
  • Wear good shoes/boots that fit.
  • Use skin care products like Goldbond Powder to keep your feet dry at the end of the day.
  • Listen to your feet: Itching, pain and numbness can be signs of trench foot.

In a survival or emergency situation, the last thing you want to deal with is having your everyday items and clothing let you down. Bad socks that cause blisters (or worse) can prevent you from engaging in much more important things.

Who needs survival socks?

Everyone wears socks, and everyone benefits from performance socks that won’t let you down.

Basic equipment for which survival socks must be provided:

Survival socks also make sense in these kits as part of the Skivviking role :

The roll is a way to twist your shirt, underwear and socks together to quickly find them in your bag. You can find out more here: How to pack like a pro: Skivvy Roll.

How we inspect the goods: We do extensive research before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field to better understand what constitutes good transmission. The devices are tested for hours in the field under stressful conditions. We set performance criteria and evaluate each tested product impartially. You can support us through our self-selected links, allowing us to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. After our investigation, some of the points we investigated can be found in our documents.

Sources and references

An objective look at the best survival socks is useless without sources and references. For the books, we draw on this knowledge, combining it with our practical military experience and our training in discernment.

Baird, C. and David, H. (1971). Performance socks in wool and nylon blend. Journal of Textile Research. 41, 7. (Source).

Ozdil, N. (2008). Research on the thermo-physical properties of socks. Textil ve Confectio. 18, 2, S. 154-158. (Source).

Ritchie, D. (2017). Sport socks. В : Verd M., Knight E., Langer P. (eds.) Sports Footwear and Orthotics in Sports Medicine. Springer, Chum. (Source)


It is not easy to be well equipped for every situation. Socks may seem insignificant at first glance compared to skills, hobbies and other equipment and tools, but we hope we have convinced you of the importance of a good pair of socks. When I give advice to potential predators, I always explain that the cost of what you use every day pays for itself in the long run. Wearing a pair of sturdy socks requires no skill – just think of the little things that can affect your ability to survive.

We’ve given some information, but as always: If you have any questions, please let us know and we will be happy to help. Our research and testing focused on Darn Tough Light Hiker Crew Socks as the best option in terms of functionality, durability, versatility and value.

I’m glad we chose survival socks to try and test them on, because it gave me a chance to try a lot of great socks myself and help determine which ones are the best. I now wear better socks for everyday use and for my BoB and GHB skivvy rolls.

Usually, at this point, I tell you to work out with your gear…. but with your socks, just wear them! And with the best socks, you don’t have to worry about them getting worn out!

Keep exploring, prepare and be safe.

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frequently asked questions

Which brand of socks lasts the longest?

A guarantee of durability If you’re looking for socks for life, look no further than Darn Trog Vermont merino wool socks. Not only are Darn Tough socks durable and specially designed to withstand wear and tear in any job or environment, but they are also our only socks with a lifetime warranty.

What are the most durable socks?

4 Durable socks with a lifetime guarantee – good durability

Which type of socks keeps your feet best warm?

Here are a few tips for finding the kind of socks that will keep your feet warm: Forget the cotton, try the wool: Cotton may be perfect for your bedding, but when it comes to warm socks, avoid 100% cotton. Cotton retains moisture and can cause your feet to feel wet in your winter boots.

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