Certainly having wet feet is going to make them less comfortable while you partake in your activity than if they were dry. Not to mention, feet left wet and closed in a shoe or boot all day are not exactly very hygenic. Dry feet are not only less likely to smell funky, but they are less likely to have issues such as fungus (athletes foot and such). If you only do short hikes of a couple of hours, you migtht not think this is all that important. However, think for a moment about the person who is on a multiple day hike and can only take a single change of socks with them. If you only have one change of socks, the fact that they won't get nasty-stinky suddenly becomes a pretty significant benefit in your choice of socks.
If you didn't know that natural wool is naturally antimicrobial, you may now have a whole new appreciation of that being one of the many benefits of wool socks. One of the other critical benefits to wool is that, even when wet, it doesn't lose its ability to provide insulation and retain heat. This is something you will not get from cotton (this alone is reason enough to go with wool hiking socks over cotton, but there are plenty more that make the cotton vs wool hiking sock question a non issue)
And if the thought of wool socks makes you think of the old itchy-scratchy kind of sock, fear not. One of the benefits of merino wool socks is the fact that this kind of wool not only has the same antimicrobial properties and insulating qualities of regular wool, but they are incredibly soft and comfortable at the same time. To put it into perspective, merino wool is used to make the finest suits in the world, and merino wool socks are sold along with the finest footwear in the world because it is so comfortable as well as functional. When you consider that it's being sold with the most elegant outfits in the world, plus it has all the wonderful properties of the best thermal hiking socks as described above, is it really any surprise what the best kind of sock for hiking would be, in my recommendation? END AKISMET -->
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