I'm planning to wear my Keen Rose sandals most days of my trip but I need some socks to pair with my tennis shoes. I don't have $50 to spend on socks so I'd like to get something I can easily find at target, for example. Is Champion a decent brand? Which style would be best? Is there a different affordable brand I should look at?
You can buy Gold Toe socks at Target. I wear a style of no-show socks that have an "arch support" section, and I really love them for work (where I am on my feet on concrete all day). Gold Toe have held up the best of any socks I have tried for a lot of walking.
Most importantly purchase either merino wool or a cotton/polyester blend because 100% cotton socks are hard to air dry when sink washing while traveling. Actually 100% polyester socks dry very quickly. Check amazon, I have gotten good deals on smartwool socks at times.
I have some No-Nonsense and Hue crew socks that I got from Macys, about $12-14 for 3 pair and I wear them for taking long walks in my sneakers, they're a springy cotton/nylon blend and do not cause rubs or blisters. My preferred brand is still Smartwool, nothing beats wool for long-wearing comfort.
I wear Keens! The best socks are X-Socks purchased in Interlaken over 10 years ago, made in Germany. Multiple wears before hand wash, 1-2 days to dry. Have not been able to find them in recent Germany trip. They are getting a bit old and I do wear them hiking in the Wasatch Range. Pearl Izumi cycling socked can take a trip or more. Sock Guy's socks work. My hubby, who is very hard on socks, is wearing a sock that has AND 1 on the top toes. I can not find it at Ross or TJ Max at this time. Recent purchase Avia socks with a portion of merino wool, they are a bit warm but seem to be holding up.
I buy Champion shorts at Target because they're fairly cheap, but wasn't thrilled with their socks. They wanted to creep down into my shoes which drives me crazy. I'm a big fan of Wright Socks Cool Mesh because they don't creep down into my shoes, come in sizes for better fit, and the tab back protects the back of my ankle. But they're not the cheapest socks out there. You can buy boring black or white at REI or online for more colors and styles at https://wrightsock.myshopify.com/collections/double-layer
I just bought "no show" Adida socks at Costco. Just tried them out with my Eccos I will be bringing to Europe. So far, so good. They come is different color "packs" of 6 - grey/black , white, and "colors". They were about $7.00 for a pack of 6.
I second the Wright sock. as they are double layered, there is decreased chance of blistering. They work well in heat as the inside layer pulls the moisture away from the skin. I also use merino wool socks; some are expensive but I can say Smartwool socks do last forever if you do not put them in the dryer. I just threw away my first pair after having them for at least 5 years; they were so worn down in the heel after wearing so many times I had to punt them.
When you are buying inexpensive athletic style socks at Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, brand is meaningless. The brand is licensed and in no way means that company made those socks. The socks are manufactured in a number of factorys, mostly in Asia or S. America, and you can bet they are not owned by Champion, Addidas or any of the logos that appear on the garments. My experience with them has been hit and miss. You can find a brand you like, then when you buy them again, different product. I use them for the gym, throw them away when they start to wear in a few months. I would not consider them adequate for the long walks and washing and drying requirements in Europe. For that I stick to Tilley socks.
Wright socks double layer cool max have seen me through a marathon, numerous shorter races, and walking in France and Italy. I get them from Amazon.
I have the best luck with Smartwool. The "no show" style stays in place. Great with Keens and my Ecco Soft 7 sneakers. Great preventative for blisters. They tend to keep your feet cool in the heat.
If blisters are an issue I have used "Compeed" blister pads in the past. Can purchase in Europe or you can find them at Walgreens. A good "just in case"
remedy to take along.
Another vote for Wrights Cool Mesh ll. Fit well, hold up well and last a long time. Bought Champion at Target this summer. Wanted to try them before our European trip. They don't fit in the heels well, and disappear into the shoes. Had to go back to buying Wrights socks even though they are more expensive.
Costco wool blend socks -- 4 pair for $12.99. Unlike cotton socks, they dry soft and squishy.