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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > CEP Dynamic Merino Midcut Socks > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

CEP DYNAMIC MERINO OUTDOOR COMPRESSION SOCKS
Test Series by Theresa Lawrence
Initial Report - June 4, 2015

Long Term Report- November 22, 2015


TESTER INFORMATION

Name: Theresa Lawrence
Email: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
Age: 37
Location: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)
Ankle circumference:7.7 in (19.5 cm)
Shoe size:9 US

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.

Initial Report - June 4, 2015

PRODUCT INFORMATION


Manufacturer:CEP: Department of medi GmbH & Co.KG
Manufacturer's URL:www.cepcompression.com
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Made in:
Germany
MSRP: $30 USD
Sizes Available:Women 2 (II), 3 (III), 4 (IV)
Men 3 (III), 4 (IV), 5 (V)
Based on ankle circumference
Size Tested: Women's 2 (II)
Ankle circumference 18-20 cm (7.1-7.9 in)
Listed Weight: Not listed
Measured Weight: 64 g (2.2 oz)
Compression:
20-30 mmHg
Colors Available:
Green/Black, Grey/Black, Brown/Black
Colors Tested: All of the above
The Three Pairs of CEP Dynamic Merino Outdoor Compression Socks

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION                                                                          

The CEP Dynamic Merino Outdoor Compression socks are designed for outdoor performance activities. They are a sporty looking mid-weight (medium cushion), mid-cut hiking sock made up of 64% nylon, 18% merino wool, 10% spandex and 8% silk. With a mouth full of materials, I'm hoping they will keep their compression and provide the necessary breathability required for high performance outdoor activities. The compression strength provided is 20-30 mm Hg, which according to the manufacturer promotes increased blood flow, greater performance and faster recovery. The compression is said to be 'targeted' for improved fit and increased support. A diagram was provided inside the package indicating that the 'targeted' areas of compression were around the middle of the foot (in-step) and around the ankle. Other features included a seamless toe and left and right specific fit. Washing instructions on the package tell me to wash them in water not exceeding 40 C (104 F), permanent press, no bleaching, tumble dry in low heat, no ironing and no dry cleaning. My translation for all of this is that they will be totally okay after I throw them in the washing machine AND the dryer, meeting my current level of commitment for laundering socks.



TRYING THEM ON & FIRST IMPRESSIONS


My first thoughts about these socks were that they were a bit stiff or starchy feeling, but when I pulled them on my feet they fit snuggly and comfortably around my ankle and instep, which was a positive feeling. They did not feel too tight. Around the toes and above the heel felt a lot less snug. And as can be seen in the photo above, the toe box is very square compared to my toes and doesn't completely get filled out in this area. The compression is slight, but I would say there was a definite supportive feeling to my arch and achilles tendon. I used the sizing chart provided to determine the correct size. As the chart used only ankle circumference I was a wee bit worried about the sock length and whether it would fit my size 9 US feet. I would say length and compression are correct for my feet, but as I mentioned there are a few looser spots at the toe and above the heel that I fear may cause blisters. I think it is important to relay here that I have been told my feet are very narrow and when possible I purchase footwear that are made in narrow sizes. This may explain some of the fitting issues I have encountered. Since I will be using these socks primarily for hiking, I am very curious as to how breathable these socks are and whether the compression will help with tired feet and achilles tendinitis, which I tend to get from too much hiking.  I'm also interested in how well the compression continues to hold up given ongoing use and washing over the test period. 

SUMMARY

Overall, my initial impressions of the CEP Dynamic Outdoor Merino Compression Socks are bit conservative with reservations surrounding the fit around the toe and heel for my narrow feet. At this point the socks do feel comfortable to wear. I will be spending a lot of time in these socks on day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips in alpine terrain and my goal will be to report on fit, comfort and function. Function will include specifically how well the compression provides support against tired feet and achilles tendinitis and how well they breathe and prevent blisters and chafing. Durability will also be a factor after 4 months of hiking.

Long Term Report - November 22, 2015

 

LONG TERM FIELD CONDITIONS

Ten Lakes Scenic Area, Montana
(3 days, 2 nights)
Distance: 30 km (18.6 mi). Elevation Gain: ~ 900 m (2953 ft). Maximum Elevation: 2256 m (7400 ft).
Temperatures: 7 C (45 F) to 28 C (82 F). Weather: thunder storms with torrential rain.
Trail Conditions: alpine trail, deep wet snow.
Vimy Peak, Waterton National Park, Alberta
(2 days, 1 night)
Distance: 30 km (18.6 mi). Elevation Gain: ~1100 m (3600 ft). Maximum Elevation: 2385 m (7825 ft).
Temperatures: 15 C (59 F) to 34 C (93 F). Weather: dry and sunny, light breeze.
Trail Conditions: overgrown forest trail and alpine scrambling, scree.
Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia
(5 days, 4 nights)
Distance: 110 km (68 mi). Elevation Gain: ~ 7000 m (22960 ft). Maximum Elevation: 2822 m (9259 ft).
Temperatures: 9 C (48 F) to 27 C (81 F). Weather: periodic thunder storms, strong winds, cloudy and sunny.
Trail Conditions: forest, sub-alpine, alpine trails, alpine scrambling, scree.
Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
(4 days, 3 nights)
Distance: 65 km (44.4 mi). Elevation Gain: ~ 4000 m (13123 ft). Maximum Elevation: 2336 m (7664 ft).
Temperatures: - 3 C (26 F) to 26 C (79 F). Weather: one full day of rain, some strong winds, and sleet/ snow at higher elevations, the rest of the trip was cloudy and sunny with one morning waking up to frost. Trail Conditions: forest, sub-alpine and alpine trails.
Thunder Meadows, Fernie Provincial Park, British Columbia
(3 days, 2 nights)
Distance: 8.2 km (5 mi). Elevation Gain: 710 m (2330 ft). Maximum Elevation: 1900 m (6235 ft).
Temperatures: -3 C ( F) to 15 C (59 F). Weather: dry and sunny, light breeze.
Trail Conditions: steep forest trail and steep alpine meadows, boulders and scree
Mount Fisher, British Columbia
(Done twice on 2 different day hikes)
Distance: 10.4 km (6.4 mi). Elevation Gail: 1345 m (4410 ft). Maximum Elevation: 2845 m (9335 ft).
Temperatures: 3 C (37 F) to 9 C (48 F). Weather: blustery, misty, cold and wet.
Trail Conditions: steep forest trail and steep alpine scrambling, scree.



PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Having trekked over 250 km (155 mi) in a variety of climates with these socks I have come to a few conclusions. Firstly, they don't breathe or wick. I don't have overly sweaty feet normally, but with these socks, my feet would start to overheat and sweat within the first 20 minutes and somewhat longer in cooler temperatures. This was a very disconcerting discovery as I've never had to deal which such sweaty feet before and there were direct consequences of this, namely, blisters. Blisters would happen very quickly with these socks, on the back of my heel, on the instep and on the tops of my toes and outsides of my big and little toes. What I found was that the sweat, which wasn't wicked away from the skin was just a slippery layer and combined with the wet sock created rubbing in many spots. I overcame this by using a roll-on 'anti-chaffing' product, which worked to my surprise amazingly well and I was able to continue the test without too many more blisters. I also found the sock material was stiffer and not soft and malleable like the
socks I am used to wearing for hiking. And especially when damp the material became more and more rough feeling. Also with the wetter socks, they became stretched over the course of the day and they did not offer as much compression as they did when I would first put them on. To add to that, the compression around my calf was completely non-existing by the end of the day and they would actually slump down and I would have to continue to hike them up repeatedly to stay up.

I did not get the compression that I was hoping to get from these socks. I think my feet were too narrow and slim even though my ankle measurement is 19.5 cm (7.68 in), which according to the sizing chart for these socks is actually towards the upper end of the range, 18-20 cm (7.1-7.9 in) for the size. The other observation I made was that these were supposed to be 20-30 mmHg of compression pressure, which is a substantial amount of compression. I didn't clue in to what this number meant until it dawned on me after wearing my 15-20 mmHg compression stockings that I wear for standing all day at work. These hiking socks have never offered even close to the same compression I get with this lower strength. As such, I am unable to report on any benefits of having had compression on my hikes.

I have always machine washed these socks in warm water and machine dried them after every trip. I would say they have been washed and dried about 10-15 times. Funny story, or not, I cannot seem to find the other half of two pairs out of  the three pairs of socks I was given. They are apparently not immune to the 'washing machine monster' whom eats socks. And my last complete pair of socks, on my last trip developed a hole in the toe of one of them. It took 5 months of wearing them before they got a hole, but, a hole they did get. I was disappointed to see this happen as socks of this cost I would usually have for several years.

SUMMARY

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of good things to say about these socks. They did not work for me and I don't plan to continue using the socks following this test. I feel that my feet were too narrow and slim for the compression that I was hoping to get despite that the size was correct. As a result I did not get any of the benefits that compression socks are supposed to provide such as less tired feet and less injuries such as tendinitis. I also found these socks did not breathe or wick and my feet became uncharacteristically sweaty causing a lot of discomfort and abrasion. Overtime they lost their elasticity and I had to continue to pull them up otherwise they would start to slip down into my boot. And durability was questioned when I poked a hole in the toe of one after 5 months of what I would call heavy use.

Likes
- Color and looks

Dislikes
- Not breathable or wicking
- Material was not soft, but instead abrasive, stiff and rough feeling
- Compression not observed
- Lost its elasticity over time
- Hole in toe after 5 months of use

I'd like to thank CEP: Department of medi GmbH & Co.KG and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to take part in this test series. 




Read more reviews of CEP Compression gear
Read more gear reviews by Theresa Lawrence

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > CEP Dynamic Merino Midcut Socks > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence



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