The text herein reflects our assessment of these socks in comparison to the top models of 2015. For a world-class review of the latest and greatest hiking socks, head over to our updated review.
The REI Light Hiker II is a great hybrid of performance and leisure, of old-school materials and updated design. If you are on a tight budget, this is the sock for you. That said, there are better socks out there. The SmartWool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks, our Editors' Choice, dries faster, is tighter-fitting, and handles warm conditions better. The Lorpen PrimaLoft Midweight Hiker Crew Sock, another high-performing sock, has similar advantages.
But the REI Light Hiker, aside from being significantly cheaper, has its own appeal. The REI Light Hiker can fit in a liner without compromising performance, and insulates better than either of the two mentioned above.
Finally, there's the cozy factor. If the Lorpen Primaloft and Smartwool PhD represent the cutting edge of performance, then the REI Light Hikers are the pinnacle of leisure. A sock rarely changes your perspective, but the REI Light Hiker can make any mesa, meadow, mountain or moraine feel like home.
The REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II has been renamed the REI Lightweight Merino Wool Hiking Crew Socks.