Light, breathable and close fitting. Light mesh permits air circulation whilst cushioning under heel, ball and toes provides protection for walkers, hikers and trekkers.
For any trip I’ve been on that has involved extended walking/hiking, my most essential item has always been multiple pairs of good socks.
This is for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, the most off-putting thing on a trek has to be walking in muddy or damp socks. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, and can cause fungal infections if you walk around for hours without drying your feet off or changing socks at some point.
On any trip, from a weekend camping trip in the Forest of Dean to a jungle trek in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, the one thing I will always over pack is hiking socks.
My preference is a sock that keeps the foot cushioned, but most importantly: dry. One sock that works particularly well for this is the Bridgedale Cool Fusion, which provides plenty of temperature control and ventilation (a bonus in warm weather conditions or long walks).
My best tip is to never layer up socks as this usually causes blisters- just find a particular sock that works for you and stock up. This leaves you free to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you in the comforting knowledge that if you accidentally step into a pile of manure (true story), you can simply wash off and put on a clean pair of trustworthy socks.
Multiple pairs of socks can also be easily packed (by rolling them up into shoes or bits of equipment) and are a very lightweight essential.
Some might say that walking boots are the most essential item on a trek, but shoes are nothing without some good socks underneath.