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Topic: What type/brand of socks do use hiking? Materials?, Socks< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 4:39 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pretty much all my backpacking clothing is non-cotton, and made of either polyester or fleece or whatever it is they use in Underarmor, outer shells and hi tech hiking thermal underwear. But when it comes to socks, I havent stuck to the no-cotton mantra as much as I have with all other backpacking clothing.

I have a few pairs of wool socks, but they are winter-only, and the problem is, they have gotten mixed up with my other thick winter socks, so now I dont know which ones are non-cotton and which ones are mostly cotton. I have generally done a good job of keeping all my backpacking gear separate from my other clothes, however I wasnt so organized when it came to socks.

So I need to get some new backpacking oriented socks, so which types, brands or materials do you recommend and why? I am asking this for fall/ winter and spring/summer.

Thanks
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 4:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Smartwool socks...year round. Thinner for summer, thicker for winter. Moisture wicking, temp balancing, great cushion, no stink.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 4:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Merino wool all-year around.  I'm not picky about brand but I like Smartwool and also Eddie Bauer FA socks.

Same reasons as Tigger.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 5:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yup. Merino wool socks. I use them year round everyday, not just for hiking...that's how much I love them. Mostly Smartwool, Wig Wam, or REI...but they are all merino wool or some kind of merino wool blend.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Only wool. I've worn Smartwool, REI, Wigwam, Fox River, Dahlgren, and some others, in that rough order of frequency.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 5:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's an earlier thread on the subject.  Smartwool and Darn Tough seemed to garner the most votes in general, but then there's the subject of material, weather conditions, etc.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 6:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Smartwool for me, too.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 6:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Whatever isn't cotton, and is on sale at steepandcheap.com.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 6:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I live near the smartwool factory and buy smart wool from the factory outlet store.

A few months back they had some carhartt wool socks at the factory outlet store and frankly I like them much better than the smartwool mountaineering socks.

They're thicker, and seem to wear better.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 7:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I had always used a wool or wool blend.  EMS, REI, Smartwool PHd's, even a Kmart brand worked well a few years ago.  whatever was on sale in an XL.

A few weeks ago I bought 4 pairs of the crew length liner injini toe socks ($5/pr during the Backcounty.com sale) and 2 pairs of the injini compression toe socks ($18/pr on sale).  They are polyester/nylon/lycra blend.

I wore the injini liners under a pair of ems wool blends.  Worked great.  The next week I wore the injini compression socks by themselves.  The compression feature seemed to help keep my legs feeling fresh, but the sole of the sock seemed to rub a bit.  

Last weekend I wore the injini liners under the injini compression socks and worked really well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 7:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use Smart Wool for hiking year round.  For work socks I use Under Armor synthetic socks.  I’m not OCD but I do put serial numbers my socks with a sharpie.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 8:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Merino wool, exclusively, year round. Cotton chafes when moist.

My favourites are Darn-Tough socks, seriously built to last. My regular smartwools are ok but really not impressive and wear out faster. I've never owned smartwool PhD socks but they are supposed to be better. Wig-wam socks wear out quick.

Synthetics are great too but stink fast, so I don't bother.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 8:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ok, thatks for the replies, they are very helpful, but I have a few questions:

1. What do sock liners accomplish?

2. What are "compression socks"?

3. So wool socks arent too hot?

I really dont own much wool, and thats mainly because when I was younger I did own some wool sweaters and they were all uncomfortable and they were rough and the material would kinda prick your skin a little. I always thought wool was sooo uncomfortable, so I just stopped buying it. That and I remember it being warm, so I figured it would make your feet sweat, especially in warmer months from April through November.

^^Are those concerns no longer valid?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 8:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can get wool socks in a variety of thicknesses - from wool liner socks to fully padded socks.  Wool "breaths" like cotton and "wicks" like polyester, so your feet stay dryer and more comfortable than they would with all polyester or all cotton socks.

Liner socks work like layering your topside.  Plus they reduce skin against sock friction.  

Compression socks help with circulation in your lower legs and ankles.  I've started to get some swelling in my left ankle and foot on longer hikes this year.  My annual blood work and clinical exam didn't point to anything other than simply getting old.  The doc suggested I try a compression sock and it seemed to help a lot.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 9:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Florida in the summer I use Wigwam merino wool light hikers.  Cooler weather and in the West, Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 10:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(CharlesTheHammer @ Oct. 04 2012, 5:46 pm)
QUOTE
Ok, thatks for the replies, they are very helpful, but I have a few questions:

1. What do sock liners accomplish?

2. What are "compression socks"?

3. So wool socks arent too hot?

I really dont own much wool, and thats mainly because when I was younger I did own some wool sweaters and they were all uncomfortable and they were rough and the material would kinda prick your skin a little. I always thought wool was sooo uncomfortable, so I just stopped buying it. That and I remember it being warm, so I figured it would make your feet sweat, especially in warmer months from April through November.

^^Are those concerns no longer valid?

Sock liners work for some people - not for me. Supposed to help with friction and wicking. My feet actually hurt more and I feel like there is a slip-N-slide inside my boots.

Compression socks already answered.

No, Wool socks aren't too hot. In fact, my feet feel cooler in them because they regulate the temperature of my feet better.

Merino wool is super soft and comfy with no itch. Also, wool washing/processing has changed quite a bit so that wool is now actually CLEAN. In the old days, they had trouble actually cleaning the wool so that residual allergen was left and affected those with allergies (like me). Not so anymore.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 12:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another vote for wool. I can't wear wool, even merino, directly against the skin on my upper body, too itchy, but never a problem on the feet.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 12:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Smartwool crew length lightweight PhD is my favorite for hiking. My feet rarely get cold, so I only use midweights with work boots, though I bring a pair to sleep in when pushing the limits of a light bag. Also use the lightweight ankle length, occasionally even micros, with trail runners for clear trails when wearing shorts and no gaiters.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 1:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The thing about Smartwool, at least the Phd hikers, is that they don't get all loose after time.  They still fit well month after month.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2012, 8:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Love those wigwam wool socks! I hike in them year round. Surprisingly they DONT get too hot, even walking around in august at 100 degrees. No hotter than the rest of me, anyway.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2012, 9:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Smartwool socks for me too. I used to use Thor-lo but switched to Smartwool and love them more.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2012, 11:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

How about these merino wool socks I found on sale from $35 to $24 for 4 pairs at The Sock Site? That seems really cheap in comparison with all of my search results, and that could be a good thing, or it just as easily be a bad thing...

http://thesocksite.com/antimic....82.html

These seem to be mid-weight, so while there I was looking into these as well:

Here's a pair of Hollofil/wool socks:

http://thesocksite.com/hollofil-wool-backpacking-sock-p-488.html

Or a pair of Explorer socks which are 60% acyclic and 20% wool:

http://thesocksite.com/explorer-backpacking-socks-p-486.html

Then there's these Fox River Worsted wool socks(90% wool):

http://thesocksite.com/fox-river-backpacker-wool-socks-p-484.html


Most everyone here has said wool is best, but here there are 2 types of wool, and wool blends with Hollofil, polyester, acrylic making it a more difficult choice when choosing heavy winter backpacking socks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2012, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No it doesn't make it a more difficult choice...

I've tried (and still do tests) quite a few different brands/types of blended socks in winter. I still go back to Smartwool as my favorite for winter and summer.

I'm not the type to just buy a brand and stick with it. Those on the forum know that I am definitely a doubting Thomas. Every few years, I'll buy everything I can afford in a specific category and do my best to make an apples to apples comparison.

In regards to comfort, dryness, and longevity...Smartwools are it in my opinion.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2012, 1:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Oct. 06 2012, 11:54 am)
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No it doesn't make it a more difficult choice...

I've tried (and still do tests) quite a few different brands/types of blended socks in winter. I still go back to Smartwool as my favorite for winter and summer.

I'm not the type to just buy a brand and stick with it. Those on the forum know that I am definitely a doubting Thomas. Every few years, I'll buy everything I can afford in a specific category and do my best to make an apples to apples comparison.

In regards to comfort, dryness, and longevity...Smartwools are it in my opinion.

It seems pretty unanimous that socks made primarily of wool are the best choice, so thats what I'll go with for now. Maybe later I'll buy a pair of the acrylic/wool ones, but wool it shall be for now!
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2012, 11:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I looked around a bit and went ahead and made 3 wool sock related purchases:

1. 2 pairs of Smartwool medium weight hiking socks
2. 2 pairs of Browning 80% Merino wool medium weight hiking socks
3. A pair of Point6 Trekking heavyweight merino wool socks on sale for $13.95



That should cover it for now.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2012, 1:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(CharlesTheHammer @ Oct. 06 2012, 11:22 pm)
QUOTE
I looked around a bit and went ahead and made 3 wool sock related purchases:

1. 2 pairs of Smartwool medium weight hiking socks
2. 2 pairs of Browning 80% Merino wool medium weight hiking socks
3. A pair of Point6 Trekking heavyweight merino wool socks on sale for $13.95



That should cover it for now.

Virtually all wool socks are a blend with polyester and some acrylic and lycra. This is a good thing, because it helps the socks retain their form better and improve wicking characteristics. But once the wool content begins to dip to 40% or less, the benefits of the wool are largely gone.

Those will be just fine no doubt. Actually, my most used socks are amongst the cheapest. I really like my Fox River "Tramper" mid-weight socks. They're a little thicker than standard mid-weights so they do tend to be a bit warmer, but they also are comfier and last a long time. And for about $8 a pair, they're a lot cheaper than most other name brands.

I'd like to try some ice-breaker socks, I've been very impressed with their other products so far.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2012, 1:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And, Costco sells Kirkland mid-weight merino hiking socks for cheap - like 3 pairs for $10. They're made in the USA by a previous smart wool plant. The design is like an older smartwool one, but I actually prefer them to my actual smartwool socks, and they cost a fraction of the price.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2012, 12:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SmokeyBear @ Oct. 07 2012, 1:09 am)
QUOTE
And, Costco sells Kirkland mid-weight merino hiking socks for cheap - like 3 pairs for $10. They're made in the USA by a previous smart wool plant. The design is like an older smartwool one, but I actually prefer them to my actual smartwool socks, and they cost a fraction of the price.

I am pretty sure I saw some Kirkland brand socks, maybe at Walmart online, and I also found a deal at an online sock store at 4 pairs of medium merino woll socks on sale for $25. Here's the link: http://thesocksite.com/antimic....82.html

I also found some other cheap, American made merino wool hiking socks for $25 for 4 pairs, made by a company called "People socks": http://www.amazon.com/Merino-....g+socks

But the reason I didnt get them was because of the old adage, "you get what you pay for", which was reinforced by bad reviews about another cheap brand of merino wool socks called "Hiker GX". The reviews said they were too small for size, and they kinda fell apart in short order, so I 'assumed' that may be the case with other, similar priced socks.

But after reading your last post, maybe I shouldve sprung for the cheaper ones to try 'em out, and if it doesnt work out, I'm only out $12-$24. Depending on the comfort of these I ordered, I might do that anyway.

But the Browning medium merino wool socks I ordered were fairly cheap at around $14 for 2 pairs on sale.

But apparently I gotta get myself a Costco membership, if for no other reason to buy the Kirkland socks at $10 for 3 pair. Also for the fantastic frozen Panko breaded shrimp they were handing out samples of at a Costco last year while I was there with another member!

We'll see.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2012, 1:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like the Kirkland brand. I've been using them in town for quite a few years and they hold up fine. I occasionally will throw a few pairs in for winter hiking.

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