Last time I attended the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, I got me a lesson in socks. My complaint to the vendors who manufacture socks was that my socks often fall down my calves. I always thought it was because my calves were so big and it stretched out the tops of the socks.
What I learned was that if the footing, specifically the heel, isn’t properly reinforced, the socks will slide into your shoe and pull down your calf. That bit of info took my sock buying to a whole new level. And yes, I did clear out the sock drawer and to get rid of those without heel reinforcement.
So, that brings me to my Smartwools. And more importantly, my Smartwool socks for hiking – ’cause I been doing a bit of that lately.
First, a word about Smartwool. These folks produce a huge variety of socks (as well as a line of clothes) for both active people and those not-so-active. If you’re used to purchasing your socks at Target, you’ll have a bit of sticker shock when you look at Smartwool prices. My suggestion would be for you to go to your nearest outdoor store and purchase a pair on sale (you can often find them for just over $10). Once you slip your foot into a pair of Smartwools, there’s no going back.
Why are they on my radar now? Well, I’ve been keeping an ongoing list of items I need to pack for the Snowman Trek. While my initial thought was, because I’m always a light packer, that I might only bring two pairs of socks, I was recently schooled in the fact that I NEED to change my socks every day, lest my feet get–and stay–wet causing a foot fungus. So, the hunt has been on for hiking socks that aren’t going to bug me by falling down my calves.
As I took stock of my sock drawer, I found that in addition to my fun, not-so-active socks like these >>> I also had amassed a small pile of socks for hiking.
Here are a few that I can recommend and that will likely be packed away in my ever-growing bag of stuff coming with me on the Snowman Trek.
PhD Heavy Over the Calf
These heavy-duty hikers (pictured at top), are made of Smartwool’s ReliaWool. This reinforced wool is located in the most highly worn areas so as to prevent them from wearing out (think: heel, toes). The PhD Heavy Over the Calf socks also include some ventilation so your feet have a chance to breathe and hopefully won’t get overheated.
Also, because these are heavy socks, they provide a nice cushioning. Great if you’re going to be pounding the trail for eight hours a day.
I plan to wear these on the coldest of days during the trek.
Available on the Smartwool site for about $27.
Hike Lite Crew
These crew socks are thinner than the PhD Heavy Over the Calf socks above. Maybe by about half. Even though they are thinner, like all Smartwools, they still stand up well on long hikes and have a soft cushioning which will make it easy to hike for long days and for days at a time. These have a reinforced sole that will (hopefully) still hold up by the end of the trek.
I plan to wear these (or similar) on most days during the trek.
Available on the Smartwool site for about $18.
PhD Snowboard Medium
These are very similar to the PhD Heavy Over the Calf socks but just a bit lighter and a lot more fun. As best as I can tell, these have the same properties as the Over the Calf socks with the same ReliaWool for extra cushioning that will help prevent them from wearing out. They’re also ventilated so my feet won’t overheat. Being a tad thinner, I may experiment to determine which of my hiking boots will work best with these.
I plan to wear these on the coldest of trekking days.
Available on the Smartwool site for about $26.
Do you have favorite socks you can’t travel without?
Disclosure: Smartwool sent provided these socks to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.