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Preventing soggy socks

Hiking socks buying guide

Q. On winter hikes, my socks always seem to get wet and soggy. How can I prevent that?
— Soggy Sam, Fort Collins, Colo.

A. Try wearing boots, Sam. Just kidding. Actually, I know exactly what you’re talking about. That annoying wetness usually comes from either water and snow or sweaty feet. First, try treating your boots with a spray-on waterproofer like McNett’s ReviveX ($10, www.mcnett.com). A simple solution for sweaty feet comes to us from Eagle Scout and elite mountaineer Jeff Mathy. He recommends wearing a thin neoprene or silk liner (about $3) next to your skin, then slipping your foot inside a plastic grocery bag (free). Yup, a grocery bag.

“Sounds weird, but it creates an inexpensive lightweight vapor barrier,” Mathy says. (Every time you do this, he cautions, allow your feet to dry for at least 12 hours daily — so sleep without socks — to prevent trench foot.) Finally, pull a good quality wool or wool-blend sock atop the plastic bag. Voila, dry feet!


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11 Comments on Preventing soggy socks

  1. i enjoyed your article it was very informative i will use this on my next hike i hate sweaty feet

  2. manwithmanyhats1970 // March 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm // Reply

    Another use for plastic bags with your shoes. Do you ever have a hard time putting rubber boots on over tennis shoes? With your shoes already on, slip each shoe inside a plastic grocery bag or bread bag, then put on the rubber boots. The boots should slide on easy because the bag is slippery and the rubber sole of the shoe is not rubbing against the inside of the boot. Your shoes will come out of the rubber boots easier too.

  3. I tried the techneic (above) and my troop thought I was crazy! On one of our outings, a thunderstorm came about us and my feet stayed as dry as a daisy while everybody elses’ socks were as soggy as a swimsuit! Oh, and by the way; I tried using the hand warmers in my socks and they don’t work well in wet-weather.

  4. use camp dry me and alot of guys in my troop swear by it…

  5. HAND WARMERS IN YOUR SOCKS WORK WELL, UNTIL THEY BUST OPEN.

  6. the 1st class // February 15, 2009 at 9:48 pm // Reply

    Yeah those hand warmers do REALLY help, I use them A LOT!

  7. Hand Warmers work well to just put them in your socks!

  8. what do you do if you already have wet socks???

  9. the 1st class // January 30, 2009 at 10:55 am // Reply

    yeah but wouldn’t that still keep your feet wet with the soggy sock??

  10. Old Scout 1960 era // January 24, 2009 at 10:49 pm // Reply

    I heard the formula: 1.) Sock, 2.) Plastic bag, 3.) Sock, 4.) Plastic bag. The first sock catches foot sweat. The second sock is insulation kept dry fom the inside and outside by the plastic bags.

  11. im a tender foot and that will help alot

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