One of the biggest things I look for in outdoor gear is stuff that’s comfortable, high-quality and that's going to last me a while. Whether it’s protective gear or items in my bag, I like to get the most out of my money.
As a hiker, ticks are one of the biggest things I look out for, especially in the summer months. These nasty crawlers carry bacteria and diseases, including Lyme, so I always try to protect my body in a number of ways.
Pretreated clothing, specifically tick repellent socks, is one of the best and longest-lasting ways to stay protected, and luckily there are plenty of options to choose from.
The best tick repellent socks include brands like Insect Shield, Farm to Feet with No Fly Zone, Outdoor Obsession, and Elimitick Socks. Each of these brands incorporates the use of permethrin, a highly effective repellent that is well known to protect against ticks.
Permethrin is the best tick repellent for clothing, and buying pretreated socks instead of using tick repellent sprays for socks can help guarantee protection from ticks (the repellent adheres more), and you won’t have to deal with constantly reapplying a spray.
Why Wear Tick Repellent Socks?
Tick repellent socks are socks with permethrin embedded into the fabric of the socks. The embedded nature of the treatment means it can withstand many many washes (usually up to 70+) without losing it's effectiveness.
Ticks tend to hang out in long grasses and on bushes and will often find their way onto you by latching onto your feet or lower legs.
This means socks are one of the best places to have tick repellent and tick repellent socks not only repel ticks but they actually kill them as well. This reduces tick bites dramatically.
The University of Rhode Island conducted a study in 2017 that found that treating shoes and socks with permethrin reduces the likelihood of a tick bite up to 71 times for several kinds of ticks (it makes a huge difference).
Another 2011 study showed similar results with permethrin treated clothing vs non-treated clothing
Subjects wearing outfits treated with permethrin received 3.36 times fewer tick bites than subjects wearing untreated outfits.Source: PubMed
And interestingly treating the socks/footwear was the most effective at reducing tick bites.
Subjects wearing permethrin-treated sneakers and socks were 73.6 times less likely to have a tick bite than subjects wearing untreated footware. Subjects wearing permethrin-treated shorts and T-shirts were 4.74 and 2.17 times, respectively, less likely to receive a tick bite in areas related to those specific garments than subjects wearing untreated shorts and T-shirts.Source: PubMed
If you're only going to wear one item of tick repellent clothing then socks are the best item to be treated.
You can also then use DEET or other tick repellents the you apply to the rest of your clothing for full body protection.
1. Insect Shield Tick Repellent Hiking Socks
Insect Shield is one of the most well-known brands for pretreated tick repellent clothing, and they have a good variety of products including socks.
Their socks protect from ticks, mosquitos, ants, chiggers, flies, and midges, and I like that they have built-in cushions in the heel and ankle that really help for comfort.
Insect Shield socks are also long-lasting, as the repellency is designed to stay on your socks for up to 70 washes (they’re safe for the washing machine).
What makes these socks different is that they’re actually the first product of their kind to be EPA-registered, which definitely helps to reassure that the protection is guaranteed.
You’ll even find that Insect Shield partners with several other tick repellent clothing lines and provides their technology for use, which I think shows just how good their formula is.
If you’re looking for the perfect blend of comfort and effectiveness against ticks, I’d definitely recommend giving Insect Shield a try.
Tested, Proven, & EPA-Registered. Our socks comfortable and a fashionable way to repel insects during any outdoor activity. The repellency stays in the socks, not on your skin. You can't tell it's there, but the bugs can.
Insect Shield is tightly bonded to fabric fibers resulting in long-lasting repellency, expected to last the lifetime of the garment, up to 70 launderings for apparel and 25 for gear
2. Farm to Feet No Fly Zone Socks
Farm to Feet partners with Burlington’s No Fly Zone technology to produce tick repellent socks that are treated with permethrin insect repellent and tick killer.
I’ve actually found them to be one of the better options on the market and their socks are 100% US-made from merino wool.
The video below explains how the fabric is treated:
Similar to Insect Shield, Farm to Feet’s socks are guaranteed to maintain repellency for up to 70 washes, but what I really like about these guys is that they’re super light and are versatile for any season.
Although they’re light, the design has obviously had some thought put into it and the “cushiony” areas are well placed to avoid any annoying blistering or bulk.
Wearing the right clothes plays a huge part in protecting against ticks, and socks are the first line of defense, but you obviously don’t want to be sacrificing comfort.
For this reason, I think Farm to Feet socks are a good choice for people who want a comfy, light pair of socks that will still do the job in protecting from ticks.
They have a wide range of socks available for both men and women, just make sure to get to “No Fly Zone” variants if you want them to be tick repellent. Otherwise you'll just be getting regular socks.
Manufactured using yarns treated with permethrin these socks repel common biting insects like mosquitoes, flies, chiggers, midges, ticks, and ants. 100% US-made from merino wool and ultra comfortable. You'll love these socks.
3. Outdoor Obsession Socks with Insect Shield
Outdoor Obsession’s socks will probably be the best “bang for your buck” option when it comes to tick repellent socks.
They use Insect Shield’s permethrin formula to treat their socks, so you can expect similar results when it comes to fighting off ticks (with repellency up to 70 washes).
This 3-pack of Outdoor Obsession crew socks comes at a great price, but the difference is that you might have to sacrifice a little bit of comfort, as they don’t come with the high-quality cushioning that some other brands incorporate.
Their socks do have a unique treatment to prevent odors and keep the socks fresh (which I think we can all appreciate), so if you’re not too concerned about having the extra cushions on your feet, Outdoor Obsession socks are definitely a good option to go for.
Made in the USA, machine washable and treated with insect shield repellent that is odorless and works to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges while hiking, trekking, trail walking, camping, hunting and many other outdoor activities.
4. Elimitick Tick Repellent Socks
Elimitick Tick Repellent Socks is another brand that utilizes the Insect Shield technology (which ensures effectiveness up to 70 washes), but these socks are made with hunters in mind.
I’m not a hunter myself but what I noticed is that since they’re made to be worn under boots and long pants, they provide really great moisture wicking which can be a big help when hiking in the warmer months.
Another difference is that these socks are cut much longer and will reach up to the top of your calves, which I think could be handy if you want to wear shorts but still have a layer of protection on your skin.
Adding all these features together makes Elimitick’s socks one of the best summer options. They’re long enough to protect your skin even while wearing shorts, and the moisture wicking will help to keep your feet dry.
13 inches from heel to top for maximum protection and comfort. Featuring invisible protection that lasts the lifetime of the sock, ElimiTick socks are designed for comfort and wicking moisture. They dry fast and offer a cushion sole using state-of-the-art yarns.
5. Insect Shield Sport Crew Socks
Insect Shield’s formula is EPA-tested and registered and proven to be effective when it comes to tick repellent clothing and socks, especially for hikers. But they also offer a lightweight sport pair for other activities.
They include the same foot padding as the hiking socks, but the material (25% Wool, 25% Reprieve Polyester, 46% Nylon, 4% Spandex) will make this pair a bit stretchier and more fit for sports and other fun.
These socks will maintain their effectiveness against ticks for up to 70 washes, essentially the lifespan of the sock itself, and since this pair is light they can also be good for hiking in the warmer months when you don’t want to have a heavy wool material.
Insect Shield is the most proven and used formula in the world of pretreated clothing, but what I appreciate most is that their selection of products can fit pretty much any situation or need.
Grab a pair of Insect Shield Sport Crew Socks for the latest price on Amazon.
Tested, Proven, & EPA-Registered - Use our socks to protect your legs from bug bites and ticks during outdoor activities such as hikes, backyard BBQs, camping, international travel, and more. Comfortable socks with built-in cushions on the foot bed and ankles to keep you comfortable throughout the day.