Travel gear is typically a mixed bag. Some pieces of travel clothing are amazing. Others – not so much. While I love merino wool socks, I’ve hated on t-shirts made of the same fabric in the past. And there’s a reason for that.
If you’re trying to travel in style, stay in shape, and maximize your experiences on the road – then you want to pack light while looking great.
This is typically easier said than done. Luckily, with a little trial and error, I’ve figured out how to pack light while still looking stylish. And one way I did just that was by investing in merino wool socks.
What are Travel Socks?
Before we dive too deep into why investing in merino wool travel socks is a great idea, let’s talk about travel and socks. Feet smell like ass. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Y’all with foot fetishes are nasty. Feet stink, often have fungus growing on them, host a myriad of bacteria, and typically aren’t that attractive.
Socks cover your feet. No shit, Sherlock. A bit basic, but hear me out. With all the nastiness coming from your feet, the socks you wear are prone to absorbing bacteria. When this happens, your socks start to stink – just like feet.
When you’re at home and have access to a washing machine 24/7, that’s no big deal. You probably own 15-25 pairs of socks at home and throw dirty socks into the hamper after one wear. You rarely have this luxury on the road. Enter travel socks.
The best merino wool socks allow you to travel odor-free for days on end while you wear the same socks day in and day out. Washing merino wool socks aren’t required but once every week or two. Thus, travel socks eliminate two huge limitations for travelers. First, you don’t need to wash a pair of socks after each use. Second, you don’t need to pack 10-12 pairs of socks for a trip.
Typically, you’ll only need 2-5 pairs of these socks while traveling around.
The Benefits of Merino Wool Socks
We touched on a few benefits of travel socks already, but there are many more. If you’re on the road, you need to buy the best travel socks before hitting the road. Here’s why merino wool rocks on your feet:
My absolute favorite part of traveling with merino wool socks is the space-saving benefits. I used to travel with five pairs of gym socks, five pairs of dress socks, and three pairs of low-cut walking-around socks.
Now, I own two pairs of gym socks (I go six days a week), two pairs of dress socks, and one pair of walking around socks (not merino – yet). This means that I can travel around with eight fewer pairs of socks. By cutting down how many pairs of socks I own, I’ve significantly improved my ability to travel light. And for me, that’s the biggest benefit of travel socks.
I’m not one to sacrifice style for functionality. You don’t want to look like a bonafide scrub while you’re in foreign countries. You’re representing your home country – you need to show up and look good. I don’t want Dominicans or Colombians to think all gringos are dirty schmucks who rarely bathe or understand the basics of hygiene.
No! I want to represent my country well. While worrying about what people think can be faulty, a lot of it comes down to self-respect. Coming back to travel socks – another huge benefit of these is the look. Merino wool travel socks look great. Most people would never, ever know you’re rocking travel socks while wearing them. They look like regular socks – especially the dress socks. Travel dress socks even look great with slacks, a blazer, and dress shoes.
No Need to Wash
You still have to wash socks made for travelers – just not that often. While I prefer to wash my merino socks once a week, I’ve already stretched that to two weeks and had no issue. The socks still smelled good. I didn’t have a single issue.
You can easily skip laundry day for a week or two while wearing merino socks and not have any issues. These socks are perfect for travelers moving around at a break-neck pace, or for the digital nomad looking to minimize distractions from chores like laundry.
Perfect in Hot & Cold
Merino wool is naturally insulating. Many consider the fabric to be the best insulator. With this in mind, travel socks made of merino keep you warm in the winter and cool in the hot months. This means merino wool socks are ideal for nomads visiting different climates every month.
If merino socks were not anti-bacterial, you’d have to wonder about the hygiene of someone wearing one pair for two straight weeks. Luckily, merino is incredibly anti-bacterial. This means your need socks made of merino that will help keep your toes fungus-free for eternity.
Going hand-in-hand with the anti-bacterial nature of merino, these socks are also odor-resistant. See, bacteria is what makes your socks stink after a long workout. If the bacteria cannot form under certain conditions, then it’s hard for your socks to start stinking.
Merino wool socks smell GREAT almost all the time!
One of the reasons these socks smell so darn good all the time is the fabric’s quick-drying nature. Merino can absorb a lot of moisture, and the fabric holds said moisture on the interior of the wool. So the socks still feel fairly dry – even when wet. You’ll never have to pull soggy socks off your feet after a long workout when rocking merino. My merino socks dry much faster than my synthetic shirts, like Nike Dri-Fit.
Last, but certainly not least – Merino wool socks feel absolutely amazing on your feet. The fabric is exceptionally soft, keeps your warm or cool, wicks away moisture, and much more. I hate to hype, but my merino dress socks are some of the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn in my life.
Types of Travel Socks
Every individual will need different types of travel socks. We all like to do different activities. Some people like to party a lot. Others enjoy the gym. Many love to hike mountains and trails. Thus, the type of merino socks you need will vary. Personally, I use:
- Dress Socks: I’ll own two pairs of merino dress socks for the rest of my life. These are the tall socks that businesspeople wear underpants or jeans. Often, they feature a unique design that stands out a bit.
- Gym Socks: Merino gym socks really shine. No more stinky socks? Count me in. Merino gym socks come in a variety of styles From high socks to mid-cut to no-show merino socks – you can find a pair in any style you prefer in the gym.
- Low-Cut Socks: I like to rock low-cut or no-show socks when walking around in board shorts during the day. You can also use this type of merino sock for the gym.
For other activities, you may need socks for:
- Hiking Socks: Many travelers like to go on week-long hiking trips. Merino wool hiking socks can shine on these trips. Some have even worn the same pair of merino hiking socks for a month straight and had no issues as they hiked around.
- All-Around Socks: You can also buy a few pairs of merino socks that can be used as all-around socks. These socks can be worn to the gym, under a pair of jeans, and for a short hike.
The Best Merino Wool Travel Socks
Now, I’m a bit new to the merino wool socks game. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking my travel socks setup in the future. As of now, I’m thrilled with my setup:
Merino Gym Socks
I also have two pairs of the Smartwool Hiking Ultra Light Mini Sock. The Ultra Light is my go-to gym sock, and I couldn’t be happier with it. While I will update with a more low-cut model in the future, these socks are incredibly comfortable and perfect for long gym sessions.
Merino Dress Socks
I have two pairs of dress socks from Smart Wool. I have one pair of these and one of these. And I couldn’t recommend Smart Wool merino dress socks enough. Both my pairs look stunning, feel amazing, and have held up to many rowdy nights out.
Merino Low Cut Gym Socks
If you’re looking for a low-cut gym or stylish sock, then I’d recommend checking these out. They’ll be my next purchase.
Merino No-Show Socks
If no-show merino wool socks are what you want, then these seem to be the best option available.
Merino Hiking Socks
For merino hiking socks, I’ve heard great things about Darn Tough Socks. This pair seems to get rave reviews online. As always, Smart Wool puts out great socks and their hiking socks are popular. Many love this model.
Cheap Merino Socks
And if you’re looking to get your hands on some super cheap, but still impressive, all-around merino wool socks, then these from Costco should fit the bill perfectly.
Quick Merino Socks Tip
Just stick with companies who do it right, and you’ll be happy with whatever travel socks you buy. Some of the best travel sock makers are:
How to Wash Merino Wool Socks
As merino wool socks cost between $10-25 USD per pair, it’s imperative you keep them in good condition. You want to take care of these socks while you travel around. They’re too expensive not to. This means washing merino wool socks is more of a science than an art. Luckily, it’s pretty easy. When washing travel socks, all you have to do is:
- Turn the socks inside out.
- Machine wash cold or cool on a gentle cycle.
- No fabric softener. No bleach.
- Make sure to wash with a mild soap.
- Hang dry or tumble on the lowest setting your dryer has.
Why Investing in Merino Wool Socks is a Great Idea
If you’re a traveler and looking to lighten your load on the road, then merino wool travel socks are one of the easiest ways to do it. While nothing is perfect, traveling around with my merino socks is a vast improvement over the cotton duds I used to roll with.