Socks for your boots - layering?

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Sep 7, 2015
Norf London
Hello all,

I read or watched something a while back about the advantages of wearing 2 pairs of socks in your boots. Mainly to help stop blisters if I recall correctly.

So now am trying to find more info but am finding quite a lot of conflicting info. Only 1 pair for warmth, 2 pairs = bigger boots etc etc.

What is the general consensus here? But also the info I was looking for was which type of socks to use if you go for 2 pairs? I have mountains of thick army surplus socks but not sure what smaller inner sock is suitable to purchase?


Ogri the trog

Apr 29, 2005
Mid Wales UK
Two pairs unless you get specific socks...

I teach and assess D of E groups and my advice is to wear two pairs - not your "common or garden", "run-of-the-mill" "five pairs for a fiver off the market" stuff either. There are a few manufacturers who make two layer socks or have "liner socks" as part of their product line. From personal experience, I know that boot comfort can be transformed when wearing good quality socks - my preference is for Bridgedale or 1000 mile brands but others will be comparable.

I will agree that boots have to be sized to allow for both pairs and that summer boots will be different from winter ones, but if you want the comfort and blister-free experience - it is worth the investment.


Ogri the trog


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
Winter = 1 pair of good G.I. cold weather wool socks (need a slightly bigger boot to accomadate them) or 1 good pair of hunting socks.

Summer = 1 pair of cotton gym socks or sometimes no socks at all.
Two pairs of socks for me: a regular pair I'd wear in shoes, favouring merino more these days, plus a pair of thicker hiking socks, wool or wool mix. Has worked well for me for decades from minus-something icky to 35-40+. Whenever I need a new pair of boots I always take my sock setup along with me to ensure the boots are sized accordingly, as mentioned a couple of times above.

And again, as mentioned above, decent socks (and gear) tends to be worth the dollar.

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
I used to wear silk liner socks under ragwool socks - now I just wear Smartwool... but I no longer do up to 30 miles in a day - my wrecked knees do not allow more than 3 miles a day at best:(

ol smokey

Full Member
Oct 16, 2006
The main thing is to make sure that both pairs are not the same. The outer pair should be of a thicker structure than the inner ones. This means that they do not cling together. Any slipping that takes place, does so between the socks and not against your feet. The outer pair will tend to stick with the boot and the inner will stick with your foot.
As mentioned above, it is a good idea to take both pairs with you when trying on new boots, so that you get a good fit.
It is also a good idea to do your shopping for boots later in the day, when you feet have spread a bit, rather than when
You and your feet are fresh in the early part of the day. Wear them about the house for a week or so to make sure that
They are comfortable, and if not you can take them back to the shop and get them replaced by a better fitting pair.

Once you have worn them out of doors, you are stuck with them. Cheers Stuart.


Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
For a long time I was playing mix-an-match with thick woolly and thinner sports ones then the wife had me try some of F&F 'Active' socks from Tesco. Complete and utter PITA to dry when away camping but otherwise perform pretty well, now have a drawer full of them in rotation. Quality wool socks of course would be better yet these are only part of the blister free equation with things like cushion insoles and even how you lace your boots all playing their part.


May 15, 2013
My winter boots are always one size bigger than my summer shoes, to allow two pair of socks. I never have blisters, even when the boots are new. I also use wool inner soles.
Of course, the boot needs to fit the shape of the feet, but with two layers of socks (wool in my case, since I'm a wool junkie) one can make up for minor fit issues.
That's my experience anyway :)


Full Member
Aug 24, 2012
Here's my take. Boots one size bigger. Two pairs of socks one thin one thick in winter. Summer two thin. Only socks with a majority wool mix with the least amount of cotton possible. Alpaca, I find the best. If synthetic is mixed in for wear no more than 10%. Hope this helps.


Full Member
Jun 26, 2013
North Dorset
Ogri really nailed this in post #2. I swear by the Brigdale socks. Usually coolmax thin socks against my skin with their hiking socks outside.
Then you wear whatever you settle on and try on boots to suit.
If you do distance, and realistically if you are doing less than 10 miles a day none of this really matters, then on the second day you will want to loosen your laces or you will have inexplicable foot cramp.
I made a girl in my party cry once as about 15 miles into day two I released her laces allowing her feet to spread and proper circulation to return.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Full Member
May 22, 2012
I use Injini merino liner socks under a decent pair of woollen socks. In summer I swap out the heavier wool sock for a thin pair and change boots from my Altberg Defenders to my Vivobarefoot trackers


Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
I only ever wear double socks in wellies and then usually two similar ones. I can't stand liner socks, as they always end up pulling on my 2nd toe (which is longer) and it becomes painful. Instead I wear one pair of well-fitting and not too short hiking socks (e.g. Bridgedale) or wool socks. In summer I go for light to medium ones and in winter I go for medium ones. If walking my feet get too hot for wearing thich ones and then I get blisters. If it's really cold (below -15 to -20*C) or if I'm going to stand around a lot at below -10*C, I might double up, but only if being out for a long time (also quite useful to get something to stand on at those temps). Since socks don't weight that much, why not just bring a few spares and see what works for you?