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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva Socks > Test Report by Jennifer Koles

Bridgedale Women's X-Hale Trail Diva Socks

Test Series by Jennifer Koles

August 29, 2009

Skip to my Initial Report- April 27, 2009
Skip to my Field Report- July 7, 2009
Skip to my Long Term Report- August 29, 2009


Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  34
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)

Shoe size: US Women's 8-9
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States


Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

The author

The author in the Narrows at Zion National Park, Utah.


Initial Report

April 27, 2009

Product Information

Product: Women's X-Hale Trail Diva Socks
Manufacturer: Bridgedale Outdoor Limited
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer Website: www.bridgedale.com
Guarantee: 3-years

Listed Weight: None indicated on the manufacturer's website or the packaging.
Actual Weight: 1.65 oz (46 g)
Sizes Available: Small US 4-6, Medium US 6 1/2-8, Large US 8 1/2-10 (European and UK sizing information is available on the manufacturer's website)
Size Tested: Medium US 6 1/2-8, UK 5-6 1/2, Europe 38-40

Available Colors: Heather/damson, Stone/sage, Natural/blueberry
Color Tested: Natural/blueberry

MSRP: Not indicated on the manufacturer's website

Care: The recommended washing instructions on the packaging are as follows. "For best results wash inside out. Wash dark colors separately. Do not use fabric conditioner. 40 C (104 F) wool cycle. Do not bleach. Do not iron. Tumble dry on LOW Heat. Do not dry clean."


The Bridgedale Women's X-Hale Trail Diva Socks are part of the Fast and Light Series of the Bridgedale sock line-up. The manufacturer indicates on the product website that this series of socks "are designed to be worn with lighter more breathable footwear in warmer conditions and during more fast moving activities. Whether hiking in the Summer, adventure racing or training indoors."

The Trail Diva Socks have a cushion rating of 2 (lightweight) out of a maximum of 5 and a warmth rating of 1.5 (cooler) out of a maximum of 5.

Diva Socks

The socks are made of 44% nylon/polyamide, 27% Merino wool, 27% Endurofil/polypropylene, and 2% Lycra/elastane. The Lycra is knitted under the arch and above the heel to prevent the sock slipping down while in use. Lycra is also used in the cuffs of the socks to help them stay up.

These socks have a double cuff and are 3/4 height (crew type of sock). There are supportive weaved ribbed bands that surround the socks at the ankles and the mid-portion of the socks, supporting the arches. The bony prominences of the ankles (the malleolus) are cushioned with extra padding. There is also extra padding on the Achilles tendon, the heel bone, the toe region, and the bony prominences below the large toe and the small toe (this also covers the ball of the foot). The area of extra padding is a combination of a light and dark blue color. The rest of the sock is a medium gray color.

The socks have two small Tactel mesh woven areas on the bottom and a larger area on the top. These areas are woven in dark gray and appear to have a larger weave than the rest of the socks. The Bridgedale name is woven in dark gray near the toes. The sizing of the socks is woven in dark gray on the bottom just below the toe area.

The Trail Diva Socks are manufactured with Merino wool and Endurofil. The purpose of the Merino wool is to absorb moisture and the Endurofil is to help wick the moisture away. This is Bridgedale's WoolFusion technology. This technology is claimed to result in socks that perform at the highest level. The WoolFusion technology is claimed to provide supreme lasting comfort. This technology is unique to the manufacturer.

The socks have an anti-compression T2 knitted loop construction that is claimed to rebound the cushioning by using a resilient inner loop to help the outer loop stay aloft, the end result being optimized padding without bulk.


Initial Impressions

I was quite surprised on how much padding these socks have for being designed as a light-weight sock. I like the extra padding on the normal wear areas and the bony prominences of my feet. Since these socks have extra padding I have no fear of using them with my mid-height backpacking boots or with my trail runners while carrying my fully loaded backpack.

I looked at the socks on the manufacturer's website and the information about the fibers, sizing information, and the sock warranty was not listed on the main product page for the Trail Diva socks. The only information on the product page was the colors that are available. I would have liked to see some product information/specifications about the socks listed. The information used in my report was obtained from the sock packaging.

The size medium socks fit perfectly. They are not too snug even though I normally wear a women's US size 8-9 shoes and boots. I did not want to try the large size as I was afraid that the heel would be too big and the socks would not be snug enough for my liking.

The socks are soft against my feet and I did not feel any itching from the Merino wool. I can feel the extra padding against my feet and it has a soft cushiony, supportive feel.

Diva Socks

Field Report

July 7, 2009

Testing Locations

During the field reporting phase the Women's X-Hale Trail Diva socks were worn in the following locations.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, California: I wore the Diva's on two day hikes to this park during the testing period. They were worn with trail runners and low boots. The day hikes ranged from 3-5 mi (5-8 km) at a starting elevation of 800 ft (244 m). The temperatures ranged from 65 F (18 C) to 85 F (29 C) on my visits to the park. I also wore the Diva's during a mountain bike ride in this park.

Aliso and Wood Canyon Regional Park, California: I wore the Diva's while mountain biking and with my low boots for a 5 mi (8 km) day hike after my mountain bike ride. The high temperature was around 77 F (25 C) and the average elevation was 300 ft (91 m).

Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest, Utah: On one day-hike in the area totaling 5 mi (8 km). The temperatures were in the mid 40's to low 70's F (7 to 21 C) and it was partly cloudy to raining. The Diva's were worn with low boots at a starting elevation of 7,760 ft (2,365 m).

Huntington Beach, California: I wore the Diva's for 7 days with my trail runners on the beach path during my fitness walks. The temperatures were in the mid 70's F (24 C). Typically I walked 4 mi (6 km) on the beach path which is located at sea level.

Costa Mesa, California: During evening fitness walks on the river trail and my usual loop around the neighborhood. Typically the walks were 3 mi (5 km) in length at an elevation below 100 ft (30 m).


Performance in the Field

I must say that so far I am very impressed with the Bridgedale Women's X-Hale Trail Diva socks. The socks are what I would consider to be a great lightweight blend for summer activities. The main body is vented enough for ventilation in the summer heat. But there is also enough cushioning to help prevent blisters and to increase comfort, especially in the high wear areas of the socks.

I received two pairs of socks to test, but I have only worn one pair of the socks, primarily to test the durability and the wear. They have been worn with trail runners and mid-height lightweight hiking boots. When I wear them with my trail runners the more highly cushioned areas (blue areas) are highly visible on my foot. This does not have the most fashionable appearance. In my personal opinion I would rather the socks to have a more subtle change of color for the more cushioned areas.

During the field report phase of my testing the socks have been washed almost after each time I wore them. There are times I worn them for two days just to see if there was any odd odor. They do not smell odd after being worn, even with perspiration and when they became wet. No stinky wool smell here! I would have to estimate that they were washed over 20 times. I tried to remember to turn them inside out when washing them, but there are times I forgot. They were dried in the dryer or overnight on a drying rack. They were not stiff when air dried at room temperature. The Diva socks have not shrunk or stretched out yet. The elastic cuffs still give enough support to prevent the socks from migrating down my legs. The Lycra knitted around the arches and above the heels is not stretched out and is still keeping the socks from slipping down. The Diva socks now have a slight fuzzy appearance, and this is most noticeable in the high cushioned areas (blue areas).

Divas with trail runners

 

Divas with boots

The extra cushioning of the socks seems to be targeted for all the right areas. The heels, balls of the feet, toes, and the ankles have this extra padding. My mid-height hiking boots were causing blisters on the one heel of my foot and the Diva's provided the extra padding needed to help prevent further hot spots and blisters. I actually love all the extra cushioning in a sock that is intended for summer use.


Long Term Report

August 29, 2009

Testing Locations

During the past two months the Diva socks were worn on one backpacking trip, three hiking trips, around town, mountain biking, and on the beach path (rollerblading and walking). I wore the socks about 25 times during the testing period.

Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest, Utah: I wore the Diva socks here on two day-hikes that turned into night hikes. The hikes were from 4 to 6 mi (6 to 10 km) in length. The temperatures ranged from the upper 50's F (10 C) to the upper 60's F (16 C). The elevation range was from 8,200 ft (2,499 m) to 10,220 ft (3,115 m).

San Jacinto State Park, California: This was originally a backpacking trip that turned into a day hike, due to me having an injured toe. The high temperature was 78 F (26 C) and sunny skies. The high elevation was 9,400 ft (2,865 m).

Yosemite National Park, California: Three days backpacking in Yosemite National Park. The temperatures ranged from 43 to 80 F (6 to 27 C) mostly sunny skies except for a thunder, rain, and graupel storm our first afternoon. The trails were mostly dirt, rock, and wet rock down the Mist Trail. The trip was approximately 20 mi (32 km). The starting elevation was 8,600 ft (2,621 m). I wore the Diva socks the first day, at night, and around camp.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, California: The Diva socks were worn at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park while mountain biking two times during the testing period. The temperatures ranged from 70 F (39 C) to 92 F (51 C).

Huntington Beach, California: I wore the Diva's for 6 days with my trail runners on the beach path during my fitness walks. The temperatures were in the upper 70's F (24 C) to low 80's (27 C). I also wore them three times while rollerblading at this location.


Performance in the Field

I am very pleased with the performance of the Diva socks. The only thing I can possibly complain about is the eye sore of the contrasting colors of the cushioned areas. They hold their shape, do not stink or stretch, have great cushioning, and are not too warm for summer use.

During the long term reporting phase I wore the Diva socks with my trail runners and with my mid-height hiking boots. There is nothing really new to report from my field report. The socks have good ventilation and help keep moisture off my feet. I encountered a blister while wearing them with my mid-height hiking boots. But, I do not necessarily believe this is from the socks since I got blisters in those boots while wearing other socks.

I also had the opportunity to try the socks while mountain biking and rollerblading. My feet were comfortable while wearing the socks during these activities. My feet were slightly warm while wearing them rollerblading, just because my rollerblades do not offer much ventilation. However, the extra cushioning of the socks was a plus. As it helped dampen the vibration from rollerblading. While mountain biking I tend to hike some sections of the trail. The socks were more comfortable than my light weight biking socks. This is because of the extra cushioning. I had no ventilation issues and my shoes still fit even though the Diva socks are slightly thicker than my biking socks.

The socks have not stretched or shrunk during the entire testing period. I was concerned that the ribbed bands would stretch, but that is not the case. The socks stay up in place and the ribbed bands around my arches provide a supportive feel. There is a fuzzy appearance on the cushioned areas of the socks, but this is not affecting the performance of the socks. I washed the socks at camp and they dried in the sun within a few hours. During the testing period I washed the socks at home over 15 times.

Things That Rock:

  • Cushioning
  • Breathable
  • No odor
  • They did not stretch out or shrink

Things That Are So-So:

  • The contrasting colors of the cushioned areas

Summary

I am very pleased with the Women's X-Hale Trail Diva socks. They are lightweight, comfortable, breathable, do not stink, and provide padding in the areas that I feel I need it most.

Remarks

This concludes my reporting on the Women's X-Hale Trail Diva Socks. A thank you goes to Bridgedale Outdoor Limited and backpackgeartest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.

 



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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva Socks > Test Report by Jennifer Koles



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