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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva Socks > Test Report by Pamela Wyant

Bridgedale Trail Diva Socks

Initial Report - April 26, 2009
Field Report - July 7, 2009
Long Term Report - September 7, 2009


Tester Information:

Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  51
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  170 lb (77 kg)
Shoe size:  US women's 9 medium

E-mail address:  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location:  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background: 

Pursuing a long-time interest, I started backpacking five years ago.  In addition to day-hiking and weekend backpacking trips I try to do one longer trip each year.  A couple of years ago I began a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 250 mi (400 km) so far.  My backpacking style always seems to be evolving somewhat, and I like trying different gear and techniques.  I can probably best be described as lightweight and minimalist; cutting as much pack weight as I can without sacrificing warmth, comfort, or safety.

Initial Report - April 26, 2009


Product Information:

Manufacturer:  Bridgedale
Year of manufacture:  2009
Model:  Women's X-Hale Trail Diva
Color:  Stone/sage
Size:  Large
 
 
Manufacturer specified weight:  not listed
  Measured weight:  46 g (1.7 oz)

  Website: http://www.bridgedale.com/
MSRP:  not given
Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva socks

As packagedProduct Description:

The X-Hale Trail Diva socks are part of Bridgedale's 'Fast & Light Styles' line, "designed to be worn with lighter, more breathable footwear in warmer conditions and during more fast moving activities".  They are described as "fast & vented" on both the website and the packaging.  The socks are constructed with Bridgedale's WoolFusion technology.  Their website describes this as combining the highest quality natural yarns with performance microfibers, for socks that perform to the "highest level" for enduring comfort - hard wearing, warm when needed, and wicking away excess moisture.

The Trail Diva packaging lists their fibre content as 44% Nylon/polyamide; 27% Merino Wool/Laine Merino; 27% Endurofil/polypropylene; and 2% Lycra/elastane.  They have a 3 year guarantee according to both the packaging and the website, since they are constructed with WoolFusion technology.  (Products without WoolFusion have a 1 year guarantee, according to the website.)  The website indicates if the purchaser is not satisfied with the quality and performance, the socks should be returned to the place of purchase, with a proof of purchase.

The Trail Diva socks are what I consider low crew height, extending about 2 in (5 cm) above my ankles.  The sock is relatively thin, with thicker cushioned sections at the heel, toe, and ball of the foot.  The cushioning in the ball area extends up the sides, for extra cushioning in the widest section of my foot, an area often subject to pressure from my shoes.  The socks are technical in appearance, having several different weaves and color patterns, including a rib knit around the arch and ankle areas, and a mesh-like weave on much of the section that goes over the top of the foot.

Information on the website indicates Bridgedale's women's socks are specifically made to fit the female foot, being lower volume with a narrower heel and higher instep, for "superb fit".  It also indicates the Lycra is used in specific zones, including the area under the arch, above the heel, and at the cuff, to improve fit and to help ensure the socks stay up.

Tops and bottoms of the Trail Diva

The sizing of the socks is somewhat smaller than I am used to.  Whereas I typically take a medium sock, I ordered a large in these, based upon the size charts on Bridgedale's website.  They list a large as fitting US women's shoe size 8 1/2 -10, medium fitting 6 1/2 - 8, and small as fitting 4 - 6.  I normally wear a US women's 9 shoe, and the large socks fit me perfectly.

Trying them out:

The socks felt very soft right out of the package, and even softer when I placed them on my feet.  They fit well, with the arch having noticeable, yet comfortable, compression.  The toe box is roomy, without being too loose.  The heel conforms well to the shape of my foot.  The sock tops are comfortable - snug enough to stay up, but not so tight that they feel binding.

I wore them this past weekend - all weekend long - to one of our local Girl Scout camps where I spent a lot of time on my feet.  The Trail Divas performed very well.  They stayed up, felt adequately cushioned under foot, and in spite of temperatures in the 80 F (27 C) range, my feet stayed cool and comfortable.

Preliminary Impressions:

The appearance of the Trail Diva socks is consistent with what I expected from viewing the website information.  Performance so far seems very good, with the socks staying put well, being comfortable, and keeping my feet cool and dry even in very warm weather.




Field Report - July 7, 2009

Field Locations and Conditions:

In mid-May I used the Trail Divas on a 6-day section hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in North Carolina, from Winding Stair Gap to Fontana Dam (approximately 58 mi/93 km).  Daytime temperatures ranged from around 45 F (about 7 C) to around 85 F (about 29 C), with night temperatures about 35 F (2 C) to around 55 F (13 C).  The first day and early night were rainy and windy, and after that weather conditions were dry with only light breezes.   Terrain was rugged, with lots of rocks and roots and significant elevation changes (from a low of about 1700 ft/500 m to a high of about 5300 ft/1600 m, and lots of ups and downs in between those extremes).  It seemed I was always either going straight up or straight down!  I used one pair for hiking and the second pair for sleeping.

In early June I wore them on a car camping trip with an 8 mi/13 km day hike on the AT in Shenandoah National Park.  It seems we decided to travel the wrong direction (north to south), since we had lots of endless uphills and only a few downhills.  The weather was warm in the 80 F (27 C) range during the day, cooling down into the 60 F (16 C) range at night.  Elevation was around 2400 to 3300 ft (700 to 1000 m).  As before, I wore one pair for hiking and the second for sleeping and to wear home the second day.

I wore them on seven day hikes of about 3 mi (5 km) at around 1200 to 1600 ft (350 to 500 m) in elevation.  Temperatures varied from around 60 F (16 C) to 85 F (29 C).  The terrain varied from smooth dirt semi-maintained old county roads to single width trails varying from smooth dirt to somewhat rough with rocks and roots.  I have also used them for about 10 days of casual wear.

Use:

I have used two different pairs of low cut trail shoes with the Trail Divas, and worn them in camp with Croc shoes. The socks fit smoothly, and I have not had any trouble with them bunching up or shifting around, even when I am putting my shoes on. 

They have also been very breathable.  My feet have stayed dry and relatively cool (considering the temperature) when I've worn the socks on warmer days.  They were also sufficiently warm enough to keep my feet from feeling too cold when sitting around camp, or hiking in a soaking all day rain.  They seem to wick moisture away very well, as my feet didn't get 'pruny' wrinkles from hiking in wet socks and shoes on the rainy day. 

They dry pretty quickly when I wash them, and even partially dried out overnight on the trail in spite of it continuing to rain throughout the night after the wet day of hiking.  They just felt a little damp the next morning, instead of soaked.

I did have issues with the shoes I was wearing on my longer AT hike, and got a small blister on the top of one toe.  This does not appear to have been caused by the socks, since I have not had any blisters while wearing them with other shoes or on shorter hikes.  The heavier padding in the socks felt great underfoot - I found it made a noticeable difference in comfort level.  I also like the lighter weave of the area under the shoe tongue as this seems to keep the top of my foot cooler and pressure free.  In the past I've sometimes experienced itching in this area of my foot after I take my socks off, I think because the heat would build up in that area.  With the Trail Divas this hasn't been a problem. 

They also have been very comfortable to sleep in, fitting well without being so tight that they bind or cut into my leg as some highly elastic socks have in the past.

Another great benefit of these socks is the odor resistance.  Even after wearing a single pair for hiking for a straight 3 days and around 28 mi (45 km) on the first stretch of my May AT hike, I didn't notice any nasty odor from the socks.  With the chance to do laundry at that point, they were so odor free that I debated on whether to even wash them.  I decided I would probably feel better if I at least washed the salts from them, so in the washer they went.  I didn't bother to wash the pair I was using for sleeping, as I could hardly tell that they had been worn.

Overall I've probably washed the socks about 7 times.  I find that they dry odor free enough that I can wear them for 3 or more days of short hikes or casual use before they pick up enough dirt that I figure it's time to wash them even if they don't smell bad.  They are showing only some very light fuzzing so far.  I don't notice any thin areas or excessive pilling.

Summary:

The Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva socks have been a great spring and summer hiking sock.  They're light enough that my feet don't overheat on the warmer days, warm enough to provide comfort for camp or sleeping, and cushioned enough to feel great underfoot.  They wash well, wick like crazy, and resist odor.  So far I estimate I've hiked close to 90 mi (145 km) in them and they appear to be wearing well.

Long Term Report - September 7, 2009

Field Locations and Conditions:

On Day 2 of AT hikeIn late July I wore the Bridgedale Trail Diva socks during a 4 day Girl Scout camp.  Temperatures were in the 60-80 F range (16-27 C).  The weather varied from sunny to light rain to a heavy downpour.

In early August I wore them on a 4 mi (6.5 km) hike in Prince William Forest in eastern Virginia.  The weather was hot and muggy, with high humidity and temperatures in the mid 80 F (around 30 C) range.  The trail was wooded, alternating between running along a stream and climbing wooded hillsides, with many areas filled with roots and moderate sized rocks.

During August I also wore them on three day hikes of around 3 mi (5 km) each in western West Virginia on old county roads and four-wheeler trails.  The weather was warm and dry, ranging from about 70 F to 80 F (21 to 27 C).

In early September I wore them on a 24 mi (39 km) weekend backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in the Catawba, Virginia area.  Temperatures ranged from about 60 F (16 C) at night to around 80 F (27 C) during the warmest part of the day.  I wore one pair during the day for hiking, and another at night for sleeping.

Use and conclusions:

I have worn the Trail Divas with eVent lined leather and fabric trail shoes, and mesh and synthetic leather trail runners.  I have also worn them with Croc shoes in camp, and with sport sandals for casual use. 

The socks have performed very well.  Although they have some slight fuzzing, as can be noted by looking closely at the photo above, they are still thick and cushiony on the bottoms and have no noticeable thinning.  They also are still very elastic and stay snug when I wear them.  They have been fairly odor-resistant, although they do naturally smell a little sweaty after a long, hot hike or backpacking weekend.  They have also been stain resistant.  Any residual dirt has always laundered out without a trace.

With a little airing by wearing them with my Crocs, the socks will dry out relatively quickly (within 30 minutes or so) after a day of backpacking.  They will dry overnight after laundering and hanging them to drip dry.

Summary:

Over the test period I wore the Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva socks about 40 days.  They have been a great all around sock which has worn and performed well.  They are breathable, odor-resistant, and durable, in addition to being just plain comfortable.  I plan to wear them for many hikes in the future and would definitely considering purchasing replacements when these wear out.

Likes:

Comfortable
Odor-resistant
Stain-resistant
Durable

Dislikes:

Try as hard as I might, I can't think of anything I don't like about these socks.


Thanks to Bridgedale and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the X-Hale Trail Diva socks.

Read more reviews of Bridgedale gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale X-Hale Trail Diva Socks > Test Report by Pamela Wyant



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