Mountain Bike Socks: 7 Best Pairs for the Trail

Discover top-rated mountain bike socks in our comprehensive guide. Enhance comfort, boost performance, and protect your feet on trails.

Man riding mountain bike down loose trail next to large rock boulder wearing bright green mountain bike socks

There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.

Pinterest Hidden Image

Mountain bike socks may not be the most important piece of gear you purchase for your rides, but they can be a fun and expressive addition to your mountain bike wardrobe. Personally, I like to go with muted jerseys and shorts and let the ‘pop’ happen with my socks (and gloves).

Good mtb socks can also add a layer of protection. They’re usually the first line of defense against trailside brush and debris and they can provide cushioning and support for a more comfortable ride.

I’ve tried dozens of mountain biking socks over the years and in this post, I round up my favorite pairs.

Let’s dive in!

Best Mountain Biking socks At A Glance

Here are (what I consider) to be the best mountain bike socks on the market:

Why Good Socks Matter for Mountain Biking

As I’m sure you’re well aware, the right gear matters when it comes to mountain biking. Quality stuff can significantly enhance your overall experience, safety, and performance on the bike.

Among mountain bike essential gear, socks may seem trivial but they can play a surprisingly important role when it comes to comfort, performance, and preventing injuries.

  • Comfort: As a mountain biker, you probably spend hours on the trails and a good pair of socks can provide comfort for those long rides. Quality mountain bike socks are designed to be breathable and wick away moisture. Moisture, in addition to making your feet feel gross, can cause blisters so having a good pair of moisture-wicking socks is vital for a comfortable ride.
  • Performance: Believe it or not, the right socks can also help improve your performance on the trails. Good socks provide a bit of cushioning which, when combined with a good mountain bike shoe, can help prevent cramping and reduce fatigue. Furthermore, specialized mountain biking socks often have compressive elements that help with blood flow and muscle recovery. Lastly, in cold weather, insulated or waterproof socks can keep your feet warm, preventing numbness and its negative impact on performance.
  • Preventing injuries: Mountain biking can be hard on your feet (not to mention the rest of your body…). From minor blisters to cuts and scrapes, good-quality socks provide an additional layer of protection as you bomb down the trail.

Criteria for Choosing the Best Mountain Bike Socks

Choosing the right mountain bike socks is not just about picking a pair that matches your outfit (although that’s an important factor, too).

Here’s what to look for when selecting your next pair:

  • Material: Look for socks that are made from materials that are breathable and capable of wicking away moisture like Merino wool and certain synthetics. Avoid cotton, which doesn’t dry quickly and isn’t very durable.
  • Length: Socks come in various lengths, including ankle, crew, and knee-high. Ankle socks provide minimal coverage but maximum cooling, while knee-high socks offer more protection against scrapes and scratches from trail-side vegetation. Crew-length socks strike a balance between the two and are the most common choice among mountain bikers, including me.
  • Cushioning & support: Look for socks that provide a good amount of padding in areas that need it most – typically the heel and ball of the foot. Too much padding can make your shoes feel tight, while too little can result in discomfort or cramping during longer rides. Some socks also offer compression, which can improve blood flow and aid recovery.
  • Fit: Socks that are too big can bunch and cause blisters, while socks that are too tight can restrict circulation. Most cycling socks are sized similarly to regular socks, so choosing the right size should be straightforward based on your shoe/foot size.
  • Weather suitability: Different socks are suited for different weather conditions. Light, breathable socks are great for summer rides while thicker, insulated, or even waterproof mtb socks can keep your feet warm during winter. There are also all-season options that offer a balance between breathability and warmth.
  • Design & style: While function should be your primary concern, there’s nothing wrong with wanting socks that look good! Many brands offer a variety of colors and patterns, so you can express your personal style on the trails.
  • Value: Lastly, consider the value. Higher-priced socks often offer better durability and features, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a decent pair at a lower price. Try to strike a balance between cost and the features that matter most to you.

Remember, everyone’s feet are different. What works best for one person might not work for another. Take the time to try out different options and find what works best for you.

7 Best MTB Socks

Alright, let’s dive into the best mountain bike socks.

1. HANDUP All Temp Wool Socks

>> TWW Favorite

Key Features
  • Material: 62% wool, 30% nylon, 8% spandex
  • Weight: Midweight
  • Sizes: S/M, L/XL
  • MSRP: $18

Where to shop

  • Great for: Everyday mountain biking
  • What I like: Made in the USA, reinforced heel and toe, sweat-wicking, odor resistant, more affordable than some other Merino wool socks
  • What I don’t like: Not as many fun colors and patterns to choose from compared to other HANDUP gloves and Tech Socks (see below) offerings, only two sizes options

HANDUP is my go-to brand for mountain bike gloves so it’s no surprise that I love their socks as well. I’ve tried both their Tech Socks (see below) and All Temp Merino Wool socks and the wool socks are by far my favorite.

They’re super soft and comfortable and the perfect weight for pretty much any climate or weather conditions aside from dumping rain or freezing temps.

I also like that they have very well-reinforced heels and toes (because mountain biking is not the most delicate sport…) and that they’re made in the great US of A (unlike most mountain bike apparel).

Lastly, since they do contain a large percentage of Merino wool, they have Merino wool odor-resistant properties that will help keep your car from smelling too gnarly.

HANDUP Wool Socks

2. Darn Tough Micro Crew

>> Lifetime Guarantee

Key Features
  • Material: Merino and synthetic
  • Weight: Lightweight, midweight, & heavyweight
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • MSRP: $24+

Where to shop

  • Great for: Everyday mountain biking, sensitive feet
  • What I like: Lifetime guarantee (including wear & tear), three weights to choose from, Merino and synthetic options, made in the USA
  • What I don’t like: Not as tall as other crew-style socks

Darn Tough Micro Crew socks are one of the most popular options among hikers and backpackers because of their comfort, performance, and durability. I’ve been wearing Darn Tough for years (partly because they’re from my home state of Vermont) and I have several pairs I wear for mountain biking.

I find that Darn Tough socks have better cushioning than a lot of other socks out there, so they’re a great choice for riders that need a bit more padding for sensitive feet.

I also LOVE the Darn Tough lifetime guarantee. If your socks get torn, worn out, or half-eaten by your dog simply send them back (clean) and Darn Tough will send you a new pair totally free.

The only thing I would change about these socks is to make them a little taller to add a bit more protection against trail-side brush.

Becky riding mountain bike around tight corner
The Darn Tough socks are great, but they aren’t as high as some other crew socks

3. Pearl iZUMI Merino Trail Sock

>> Lightweight Option

Key Features
  • Material: 55% wool, 41% nylon, 4% spandex
  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • MSRP: $24

Where to shop

  • Great for: Warm weather, versatile for gravel biking and road cycling
  • What I like: Great weight for summer riding, good contoured fit, highly breathable
  • What I don’t like: Not great for more technical, rowdier riding

If you’re looking for a lightweight, highly breathable mountain bike sock that is perfect for warm summer days then check out the Pearl iZUMi Merino Trail Sock. They are designed to be low-bulk high-performance socks for gravel riding, road cycling, or cross-country mountain biking.

Because it’s so lightweight, I wouldn’t recommend it for more ‘hard core’ mountain biking, but it’s a great choice for mellower rides and smooth terrain.

4. HANDUP Tech Socks

>> Most Fun

Key Features
  • Material: 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex
  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Sizes: S/M, L/XL
  • MSRP: $14

Where to shop

  • Great for: Everyday pedaling, a little pop!
  • What I like: Great colors and patterns, made in the USA
  • What I don’t like: Only two size options available

While my top choice for mtb socks are the HANDUP Merino woolies above, I do have a few pairs of their Tech Socks as well and they’re a great option for everyday pedaling. Plus, they come in a lot of fun colors and patterns! (One thing to note about HANDUP, though, is that once a pattern is gone, it might be gone for good so grab your favorite styles while you can).

Made from a blend of nylon and spandex, they’re nice and stretchy while still being supportive. More importantly, they’re lightweight and breathable and dry quickly.

The main reason I like the Merino wool ones better than these Tech Socks is because the material is softer and a bit more plush. If prefer a more ‘techy’ sock, these ones are great.

Photo out over mountain bikers feet onto beautiful mountainous vista in North Carolina
Showing off my HANDUP Tech Socks at the top of Weed Patch Trail in North Carolina!

5. Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Socks

>> Best Waterproof Mountain Bike Socks

Key Features
  • Material: 78% nylon, 15% polyester, 7% spandex
  • Weight: Heavyweight
  • Sizes: S-M, M-L, L-XL, XXL
  • MSRP: $40

Where to shop

  • Great for: Wet weather riding, winter riding
  • What I like: 100% waterproof, breathable
  • What I don’t like: Bulky and heavy

Live in the PNW or like to ride through puddles? Then you’ll want to check out the Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Socks.

Designed with three layers of construction that includes a knit exterior, a waterproof breathable membrane, and a moisture-wicking anti-bacterial lining, the Crosspoint will keep your feet dry no matter the weather.

These socks are a bit bulky and heavy, so if you need something thinner to fit into your bike shoe check out the lightweight waterproof option.

Please ride responsibly: Riding on wet, muddy trails can be very destructive. During wet weather, please only ride on trails that have good drainage and aren’t clay-based.

6. Swiftwick ASPIRE Socks

>> Compression socks

Key Features
  • Material: 79% nylon, 17% olefin, 4% spandex
  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • MSRP: $20

Where to shop

  • Great for: Riders looking for extra arch support, riders with poor circulation, endurance athletes
  • What I like: Lightweight and breathable, moisture-wicking, made in the USA
  • What I don’t like: Not everyone will like the feel of a compression sock

Compression socks are more popular among road cyclists, but some mountain bikers prefer them, too, particularly long-distance cross-country mountain bikers.

The Swiftwick ASPIRE socks are made from olefin yarn, which is highly breathable and moisture-wicking and they’re designed with a firm compression fit to support your foot’s arch, improve circulation, and help reduce fatigue.

I’ve tried these socks and, personally, a compression sock isn’t for me but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

7. The Sock Guy Socks

>> Custom socks

Key Features
  • Material: 79% nylon, 17% olefin, 4% spandex
  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • MSRP: $20

Where to shop

  • Great for: Riders looking for extra arch support, riders with poor circulation, endurance athletes
  • What I like: Lightweight and breathable, moisture-wicking, made in the USA
  • What I don’t like: Not everyone will like the feel of a compression sock

If you’re part of a mountain bike club or you received a custom pair of mountain bike socks for an event, they are probably from the Sock Guy.

The Sock Guy does have a bunch of ready-made trail socks with fun patterns and colors or you can get a batch of custom socks made for your club, event, or ride crew.

I’ve had mixed results with Sock Guy socks. Some have been great, but others have stretched out really quickly.

Final Thoughts

Mountain biking socks may not be the most exciting piece of mountain bike gear you can buy, but they do play a role in comfort, performance, and safety so it is worth spending a bit of time researching and shopping around for a good pair.

I hope my tips and recommendations help you make the right choice for your ride style, preferences, and region.

Happy trails!

Do you have a favorite pair of mountain bike socks? What are they and why do you love them? Leave a comment below!

Was this post helpful?

buy me a coffee!

Similar Posts

I love hearing from you and appreciate your comments! However, if you leave a rude, unconstructive, or spammy comment, it will be deleted. It’s cool to be kind. Have an awesome day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *