The best military socks to keep you on your feet

An often-ignored secret to success in the field.

Best Overall

Darn Tough Tactical Mid Calf Light Cushion Sock

Darn Tough T3005 Mid-Calf Cushion Boot Sock

Best Value

Fox River Military Wick Dry Maximum Medium Mid-Calf Boot Socks

Fox River Wick Dry Maximum Medium Weight Military Boot Socks

Best For Hiking

Wigwam Merino Silk Hiker

Wigwam Merino Silk Hiker

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Military socks are an often overlooked aspect of the wide world of tactical gear. Blisters, soreness, and peeling skin are huge threats that can take even the most physically capable person down, and these socks help prevent that. Don’t settle for the five-pack of Defense Logistics Agency socks that you were issued in boot camp. As simple as fabric tubes closed at one end sound, the best military socks will actually keep you fighting on your feet for longer, so make sure that your feet are well-protected, no matter the situation.

Best Overall

Darn Tough Lightweight Tactical Socks

Best Value

Fox River Wick Dry Military Boot Socks

Best for Hiking

Wigwam Merino Silk Hiker

Best for Hot Weather

Covert Threads Desert Military Boot Socks

Best Cold Weather

281Z Polartec Fleece Winter Socks

Things to consider before buying military socks

Socks are crucial tools in keeping your feet uninjured and preventing any sort of temperature- or moisture-related injury. Because of this, they’re specially formulated to tackle the tasks, footwear, and hazards associated with military usage.


  • Wool socks: Merino wool adds breathability, warmth, and comfort, but can make the socks itchy or overly hot in temperate climates.
  • Cotton socks: Great for breathability, but extremely susceptible to moisture retention. Good for desert environments.
  • Nylon and other synthetic fabrics: Formulated to address shortfalls with breathability, cushioning, or moisture wicking with natural fibers, but oftentimes introducing issues of their own.

Ventilation panels

Ventilation panels are mesh sections of the socks, specifically placed at points where heat and moisture build up on the human foot. These enhance breathability but can be vulnerable spots for holes to form.


Walking over rough terrain is a part of the military experience, and while shock-absorbing soles from Vibram are on many of the best military boots, having cushioned soles, heels, and toes definitely help.

Berry Amendment compliance

The Berry Amendment (USC, Title 10, Section 2533a) stated that defense procurement must prioritize American producers for many products, including textile goods. Berry-compliant products will almost always be made in the U.S., of American materials, so it’s a good gauge for people who want to buy American. 


Higher socks, particularly over-the-calf socks, are more resistant to sliding down your leg over a period of time, but they can be warmer than short socks due to just having more material. Additionally, some people don’t like having tall socks, not liking the feeling of them on their legs. Conversely, crew socks, which go just above the tops of an eight-inch boot, can have issues sliding down, but have less material and are better for those who find over-the-calf socks to be too much.

FAQs about military socks

Q: What are the best military socks?

A: The best military socks depend on your environment and usage. More cushioning is better for long-term heavy-duty usage, but thinner socks breathe better. Cotton is better for dry, hot environments, but not great if there’s a chance of water. This list will help you choose accordingly.

Q: Why do soldiers need specific socks?

A: Wet and dirty feet can literally kill you in a tactical environment. Wet socks cause peeled, rotting skin, and can facilitate the growth of fungus, germs, and other infections. Military boots are also taller than hiking boots, to keep out dirt, insects, and other debris, meaning that ankle socks are a no-go. Because of this, specialized socks are necessary.

Q: Do Marines wear black socks?

A: Always have, always will.

Final thoughts

Socks were one of the first things that senior Marines told me to upgrade. It’s one of the cheapest ways to enhance comfort in the field, and it’s saved me blisters, injuries, and soggy feet. The only change I’d make would be to award a contract for the standard-issue boot sock to one of these companies.


All of these socks are socks I’ve worn while hiking, skiing, and in my duties as a Marine Reservist in the field and in garrison. They’ve been selected for how well they stand above other options that I’ve tested from other brands, and how much of an improvement they are over the standard DLA socks.


Matt Sampson Avatar

Matt Sampson

Commerce Reporter

Matt Sampson is a commerce reporter for Task and Purpose and The Gear Locker, and a contributing writer for The Drive, and Car Bibles, covering everything gear and tech-related. He lives in Fredericksburg, VA or Richmond, VA, depending on the day.