The Best Socks for Every Kind of Vacation

For years, I dismissed socks as an unessential accessory that wasn’t worth paying much for. My default plane socks for well over a decade were a fuzzy $3 pair with paw-shaped grips on the soles that I picked up at a night market in Taiwan. But when my feet accidentally got drenched in water early on in a race, I realized the error of my ways. After I limped across the finish line, I went straight to the first aid tent to have them reveal the shameful damage from my cheap socks.

As it turns out, it doesn’t take a race for our feet to generate so much moisture. “Most people, whether they know it or not, sweat a good pint of water out of their feet every day,” New York University’s Dr. Louis Iannuzzi, who’s on the Pedorthic Footcare Association Board of Directors, says. “Socks protect the foot from blisters primarily.”

Like in a race, the last thing you want to do on vacation is be forced to deal with foot issues. From compression socks for lengthy plane rides to powerful moisture-wicking socks for long, active days exploring a town or hiking up a new peak, here are the best socks worth splurging on for every type of trip, to make sure your feet stay comfortable and blister-free. Take it from me—your feet will thank you for the upgrade.

  • Active socks

  • Plane socks

  • Dress socks

  • Everyday socks

  • Ski socks

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date. Additional reporting by Madison Flager.

Active socks

Pack for: hiking, camping, and biking trips; morning runs

Wrightsock Coolmesh II women’s specific tab socks

$15.00, Wrightsock

Bombas ankle socks

$13.00, Bombas

Brooks Carbonite socks

$18.00, Brooks

Merrell cushioned hiker crew socks (three-pack)

$29.00, Amazon

Swiftwick Pursuit One Ultralight

$18.00, Amazon

Royal Robbins Bug Barrier Venture crew sock

$26.00, Royal Robbins

Plane socks

Pack for: air travel, lounging

Brother Vellies Cloud Socks

$35.00, Brother Vellies

Away The Compression Socks

$35.00, Away

Comrad Compression Socks

$28.00, Amazon

Ugg Leda cozy sock

$18.00, Ugg

Dress socks

Pack for: business trips, romantic getaways, destination weddings

Bombas lightweight calf socks (eight-pack)

$128.00, Bombas (women's sizes)

K. Bell Soft and Dreamy cable knit crew socks

$11.00, Loops and Wales

Conscious Step crew pairs

$15.00, Conscious Step

Everyday socks

Pack for: city vacations, sightseeing trips

Bombas cushioned no-show socks

$13.00, Bombas

Vessi crew socks

$18.00, Vessi

Arc’teryx Merino wool lightweight low cut sock

$22.00, Arc'teryx

Ministry of Supply Atlas ankle sock

$15.00, Ministry of Supply

Injinji Everyday Lightweight Hidden Upcycled Cotton

$13.00, Injinji

Ski socks

Pack for: snowy adventures

Smartwool Classic Mountaineer maximum cushion crew socks

$26.00, REI (women's sizes)

Goldwin winter wool high socks

$39.00, Goldwin

Rossignol men’s wool and silk ski sock

$28.00, Rossignol

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler