On test today – Smartwool socks designed for the trail with just enough padding in all the right places, made using Merino wool for great technical performance. How do they perform on a summer mountain hike?
What is it?
- Indestructawool™ technology with extended durability zones
- 4 Degree™ elite fit system for a dialed-in, performance-oriented fit
- Additional body-mapped mesh zones for added breathability
- Virtually Seamless™ toe for enhanced comfort
- Comfort welt with ‘stay put’ fit
- Women’s specific fit
- 55% Merino Wool 12% Nylon 30% Recycled Nylon 3% Elastane
What I Thought
Socks are probably the most humble piece of attire we routinely use and most of us put little thought into these mostly hidden items of clothing. Nevertheless, the wrong pair of socks can lead to hiking misery. In the past I’ve worn the wrong socks on a hike, as well as out on runs, and as a result – have come limping home with blisters.
The wrong socks really can hinder performance, whilst the right socks will provide cushioning and comfort, helping you to keep going in greater comfort for longer.
I’ve been hiking for years and had to learn the hard way, that some socks just don’t cut it. And whilst finding the right socks for you can be a matter of trial and error, I’ve found that it’s all about two key things. The right amount of padding in the right places, along with moisture-wicking ability so your feet don’t get hot and sweaty.
Merino wool is used in a lot of high-end outdoor clothing and for good reason too. Not only is it very soft, but it helps to regulate your temperature. It also wicks away sweat, so in terms of technical performance, it makes a great choice. Ethically, it’s natural and sustainable – so it’s full marks all around.
When hiking in the summer it can be tempting to wear thinner socks, or even to choose regular everyday socks in the belief that something thicker will lead to you overheating in your hiking boots.
Truth is, thin socks on long summer hikes are not a great idea, resulting in sore feet and blisters. So even in summer, I always wear proper hiking socks.
My Smartwool socks have been worn on short canal-side bimbles, muddy dog walks, and on longer mountain hikes. They perform brilliantly on every single adventure.
My favorite hiking socks until now have been my Falke TK2 Ribbons socks, but they are quite short by comparison. The Smartwool socks offer better padding – and they are a bit longer too, providing greater protection from brambles and such. The extra length makes them more suitable for those that like to hike with their trousers tucked into their socks.
The cushioning on these socks is enough that you can feel it there, and adds a bit of a spring to your step, but not so much that it makes the socks feel bulky or like they alter the fit of your walking boots.
The best test for them so far was a recent hike in Snowdonia. It was really warm and whilst my body was overheating, my feet stayed cool, dry, and comfortable throughout the entire hike.
These socks are padded in all the right places. They are extremely comfortable to wear and I found they were brilliant at stopping my feet from overheating on warm hikes.
I know that paying more than a few dollars, even for hiking socks can seem like overkill, but both of these pairs of Smartwool socks have now joined my must-have list of hiking gear.
I really do think they are worth every penny and would have no qualms in purchasing more in the future.
DISCLOSURE | Thank you to Smartwool who supplied the featured product for us to test. We were not paid to write this review.