The Holy Grail of all Socks: FITS (Plus Some Other Useful Tips for Your Feet)

As hikers we all know how important it is to take care of our feet. I learned rather quickly that I couldn’t just go out and find a decent pair of socks and throw on a pair of sock liners. The health of our feet is imperative to our success on the trail, so it is important that we pamper them.

Prior to my attempted thru hike of the AT last year I set out to find the best socks on the market. Here are the things that I looked for in a good sock:

  • Is the overall fit comfortable?
  • Do they stretch out after wearing them for a couple of hours? Days? Weeks?
  • Do the socks make my feet smell like a pile of dead skunks?
  • Are the socks cotton free?
  • Do they provide some cushion?
  • Is there a low-cut style sock available?
  • Am I going to have to pay an arm and a leg to buy said socks?
  • Do the socks cause blisters?

I searched high and low for a pair of socks that would exceed my expectations and make my feet happy. I went with the usual suspects first: SmartWool, Foxriver, REI, and Darn Tough. But, what I found was that all the socks that I tried were stretched far beyond my liking by the end of the day and because of that the odds of acquiring a blister increased with every passing moment.

After doing more research I finally settled with the idea that this is how all socks are and I just need to invest in a pair of sock liners. I got my first serious blister wearing sock liners and threw them away without a second thought upon returning home from an easy 4-mile hike.

Back to the drawing board I went.

With a couple of months until my trip departure last year I discovered a very small mom and pops outdoor store in the heart of Beaverdale, Iowa called Back Country Outfitters (not to be confused with the website). It was at the wonderful Back Country Outfitters that I was introduced to FITS: The holy grail of all socks. Seriously.

My first pair of FITS were the Light Hiker Crew, but I have since invested in the Light Hiker Quarter, Medium Hiker Crew and Light Runner Low (all of which have exceeded my expectations). Since switching from hiking boots to trail runners I have found that the Light Runner Low style is my favorite by far. You can view all of these styles and many more on the FITS website:

So, you may be wondering what makes these socks so freaking wonderful. Here are three of the reasons why I love FITS socks:

  1. They don’t stretch out, at all. I seriously wore the same pair for two weeks (gross I know, but I wanted to prove their awesomeness) and at the end of each day they were practically the same shape as they were when I put them on the first time.
  2. Even after wearing them for two weeks the socks barely smelled bad.
  3. I have never had a blister. I repeat, I have never had a blister while wearing FITS socks (regardless of the style).

The only hang-up I had/have is the cost of FITS socks. BUT, here’s the deal, they last and they are totally worth every bit of the money. I would seriously pay $100 per pair if I needed to because they are honestly that great. Go get some!

Random Tips for Happy Feet:

Now that you know what socks to purchase, here are some other useful tips for keeping your feet super healthy:

  • Wash your feet every single night. I dried out baby wipes before I left for my hike, cut them in half and then rehydrated them each night when I needed to use one. They worked well for cleaning my feet and for touching up a few other nasty places. If you don’t want to go through the trouble just use water, but use something because dirt can lead to friction and other unpleasant issues.
  • Coat your feet with Vaseline. I know this may sound a bit odd and it may even feel super gross at first, but seriously, every morning that you wake up coat your feet in layer of Vaseline. Not only does this reduce friction, but it also keeps your feet moisturized.
  • Finally, if you aren’t too worried about pack weight, pack a tennis ball to roll your feet out each night. Simply stand with the ball under your foot, press down and roll your foot back and forth. This is the perfect way to massage your feet and release tension at the end of the day!


Hopefully these tips will help you avoid ending up like this guy…





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Comments 3

  • Tom : Jun 13th

    Have to disagree about the Vaseline – it can gum up sock fabric and attract dirt, both of which can lead to blisters. There are some other foot products that can give some skin care/ water repellancy benefits but don’t carry the negatives that Vaseline does.
    I recommend John Vonhof’s wonderful book, _Fixing_Your_Feet_. Much good info to be found there.

    Thanks for the suggestion of FITS socks – I’ll seek them out and try a pair!

    • Ashley Ziebell : Jun 13th

      Thank you Tom! I will definitely look into the book. The Vaseline just works really well for me. I have never had a single blister using it, but everyone is different. I was first introduced to it by a professor and athletic trainer before my first half marathon and then I used it the entire time I hiked last year and on every hike since. I tried some of the other things like body glide, but they never worked for me. Definitely try FITS though, they are wonderful! 🙂

  • gussets : Jun 14th

    I found FITS to be among the comfiest socks out there, but they definitely didn’t hold up on my thru-hike. I went through two pairs in less than two months (I wasn’t even wearing them every day), and then reverted back to Darn Tough because of their superior lasting power.


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