Believe it or not: Socks are one of the most important hiking gear purchases you will ever make. From preventing blisters to avoiding soggy feet, a quality pair of performance socks wicks moisture, protects the wear-prone areas of your feet, and holds up to wear and tear during your outdoor adventures. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or running, socks on your feet can make or break your outdoor experience.
Tennessee-based sock company Swiftwick makes a wide variety of socks for all kinds of adventure sports—from mountain biking and trail running to hiking and skiing. I’ve been using the brand’s Pursuit Two socks for two years now and wear them on basically every adventure.
Merino Wool Socks Keep Your Feet Dry And Protected On Year-Round Adventures
Ideal for hikers, cyclists, runners and all types of outdoor enthusiasts, the Swiftwick Pursuit Two Socks feature a durable design and moisture-wicking merino wool to keep feet dry and blister-free. These performance socks provide durability and comfort every season.
Swiftwick’s Pursuit Two comes in black and heather gray and is made from a blend of 65% merino wool, 33% nylon and 2% spandex. Its high-performance and technical design promises to keep your feet warm in winter, cool in summer, and well-cushioned for exploring the great outdoors. During my time testing the socks, they were very flexible, comfortable, and kept my feet ventilated and protected during a variety of outdoor adventures. They’ve become my go-to socks whether I’m hiking, camping, biking, or just taking a casual walk in the park.
extremely stylish and comfortable
Comfort is one of the true tests of a good sock. It’s safe to say that the Swiftwick Pursuit Two are the most comfortable workout socks I’ve ever worn while hiking. Designed with a reinforced and cushioned heel and toe box, a “Flex Zone” at the front of the ankle, and a form-fitting (but not too form-fitting) elastic fit on all sides of the foot, these socks go above and beyond in comfort and performance I expected.
Sometimes I find that hiking socks are so soft that you have to go up a half size to make sure your feet fit in your boots or shoes. That’s not the case with Pursuit Two. They have just the right amount of cushioning to absorb impact without unnecessary bulk. They’re super flexible, lightweight, stylish and have just the right amount of compression. In fact, most of the time I wear them, I forget I’m even wearing them.
Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, these socks are not too tight and not too soft, but exactly.
These socks are also great for keeping debris out of my boat. Hiking dusty, rocky trails in Sedona last spring, my ankles were snug (but not too snug), meaning unwanted sand or pebbles wouldn’t slip under my socks.
breathable moisture wicking
Merino wool reigns supreme when it comes to outdoor sock performance. That’s because it offers all the technical benefits of a traditional wool sock, without the itch. Merino wool socks, including the Pursuit Two, help repel odors and are extremely durable and breathable in hot conditions, yet warm in cold conditions.
I wore these socks on a 30 degree hike in Wisconsin and a 75 degree hike in Arizona and found that they kept my feet warm in the cold no matter what temperature I was hiking in. Stay cool and dry on hot days. The merino wool fabric on these socks is incredibly soft, and despite the dozens of wash cycles since I first opened them, their comfort hasn’t changed at all.
These socks also feature fine grooves on the foot for added breathability, which increases breathability and ensures dryness in all conditions. The channel design of the Pursuit Two is especially convenient for summer excursions. I’ve found that even when my boots get trapped in the extra heat on a hot day, my feet can breathe without getting waterlogged. Unless my entire foot gets wet from a stream crossing or a downpour, my socks stay completely dry throughout the hiking season.
The Pursuit collection of socks is available in six different cuff heights: zero, one, two, four, seven and twelve. I usually wear mid-top hiking boots as I find they provide ample ankle protection without being bulky. The Pursuit Two is a perfect fit for this size boot – not too short and not too high.
If you’re looking for a pair of socks that are slightly higher but still close to the top of the ankle, the double cuff height is ideal. The top of the cuff sits about two inches above the bottom of the ankle, just above the top of the mid-calf boot.
It’s hard to peg the Pursuit Two socks as any major deal-breakers. However, if you’re considering wearing these socks in more extreme conditions or on extended outdoor adventures, there’s one key quality to consider before slipping them on.
As I mentioned before, most of the time when I wear these socks, I forget I’m even wearing them. They are so comfortable and fit perfectly, they seamlessly become part of my foot.
However, I would not recommend these socks for long hikes. Since the Pursuit Two offers only medium cushioning, you run the risk of irritating your toes on long hikes by repeatedly hitting the front of your boot or shoe. Instead, for longer trips into the double digits, I’d go with other hiking-specific versions of Swiftwick’s Pursuit line, such as the Pursuit Hike. The Pursuit Hike socks come in two different weights (Light and Mid) and offer extra thickness and cushioning around the toe box and heel.
Outdoorsmen have many high-performance merino wool socks to choose from on the market, each with its own unique selling proposition. But do they all perform the same?
The Swiftwick Pursuit Two stood out in three main categories: material, price point, and fit.
Merino wool sock brands like Smartwool and Darn Tough also make high-quality hiking and outdoor socks. However, these brands tend to sell similar socks at a higher price and use slightly less merino wool than Swiftwick. Smartwool’s Light Cushion Crew (56% Merino Wool, 11% Nylon, 31% Recycled Nylon, 2% Elastane) and Darn Tough’s Light Hiker Micro Crew (54% Nylon, 43% Merino Wool, 3% Lycra Spandex) both retail for $24, but are made with slightly less merino wool than the Pursuit Two. The Pursuit Two is 65 percent merino wool and retails for $18.99 a pair.
I also found the Swiftwick Pursuit Two to be more comfortable and smoother than the Smartwool and Darn Tough hiking socks. Don’t they tend to have less buffering? Yes. But are they comparable to other socks in terms of comfort and fit on my boat? really.
A big selling point of Darn Tough socks compared to other sock makers like Swiftwick is the brand’s lifetime warranty. Darn Tough will replace any damaged socks with a brand new pair, no questions asked. The only exceptions are if your animals chew them up, if they get burned near a campfire, or if you happen to lose a pair. Swiftwick, on the other hand, has no warranty but claims to work with customers who are unhappy with returned socks.
For hikers, cyclists and adventurers looking for a new reliable pair of outdoor socks, look no further than the Swiftwick. The Pursuit Two are my go-to hiking and outdoor socks for their unmatched durability, stylish comfort and fit, and versatility and performance at an affordable price.
Not only will these socks keep your feet dry on colder days, but they will also keep your feet ventilated and moisture-proof when hiking in warmer weather. You can rest assured that no matter where your outdoor adventures take you, your feet will feel supported and protected.