Any experienced hiker will tell you that one of the most important pieces of equipment you should have is a pair of good quality hiking socks. In fact, an experienced hiker might hasten to add that a second pair stashed away in you backpack would also be a sensible idea. If you aren't wearing dry, comfortable hiking socks your trek is going to quickly become a long and miserable experience.
So the question then must follow: what constitutes good quality hiking socks? You should start off with choosing the socks based on the material it has been made with. The better quality socks are made from a wool/polyester blend because the blend gives the socks a slightly more cushioned feel, they dry more quickly and they aren't as prone to shrinking as a sock that is made from 100% wool.
Another material that you might commonly find in socks suitable for hiking is silk. Silk will give you a smooth feel to the feet and the material wicks moisture away from the skin ensuring that your feet remain dry. The material that you want to steer clear of is cotton because not only is it a poor insulator it will also retain moisture when your socks get wet. This creates the absolute worst conditions for your feet and the odds are you will end the day with the worst of blisters.
You will want to look for hiking socks that are either advertised as cushion socks or insulated socks. Naturally, this refers to the sole of the sock and the amount of cushioning it provides the foot. The extra insulation will be provided on the balls of the feet, the toes and just above the ankles where the top of the boots will be most likely to rub. The top of the socks is also important in that the elastic should be strong enough to keep the socks from falling down where it would gather inside the boot.
When looking for hiking socks you will also notice that they come in three different weight types: light, medium and heavy. These weight types are designed for the various terrain difficulties you may be tackling. If you are embarking on an easy trail for a short period of time you would need a light pair of socks while a rugged hike spanning many hours will require a heavy pair of socks.
In short, the sort of socks you require may depend on the amount of walking you plan on doing, but you should start with a quality pair of socks that have been specifically designed for hikers.
If you are looking for more information you can find added details about the various different types of hiking socks.