Walk, hike or run, no matter what your terrain the journey will be far more enjoyable with comfortable feet, and whilst your shoes are providing you with support and protection your socks should be keeping your feet dry and blister-free.
A good sock will perform this role if matched with the activity, climate and type of shoe you are wearing. Fabric type plays an important role, cotton socks are great for everyday wear, however, synthetic, wool, bamboo or more commonly, a blend of these fabrics, are far superior when it comes to moisture management and comfort for long days on the trail.
Running socks - made to be lightweight and breathable with padding under the heel and forefoot and thinner panels in between to let the heat out. Running socks are generally low to short around the ankle and suit low cut hiking or running shoes.
Hiking socks - these cover a wide range of fabrics and construction types. A lightweight hiking shoe in warm climates would be best teamed up with a lightweight sock similar to a running sock only longer in the ankle, whereas mid to heavyweight hiking boots are probably best teamed with a thicker sock that offers padding all around the foot and up the ankle.
Liner socks - can be used as a lightweight summer sock but are generally best used underneath another sock to reduce rubbing inside your shoe, or as an extra layer of warmth for cold weather in the same manner that you would add thermal layers to your body.
It would be hypocritical of us to say that a good sock for hiking or running is cheap, but we are confident in saying that the cost of the sock is long forgotten as you comfortably make your way along tracks and trails for year after year in the same socks.