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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > DeFeet Cloud 9 Socks > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

DeFeet Cloud 9 Socks

Initial Report 7th April 2008


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* Reviewer Information
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia

* Backpacking Background
I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where possible.

I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (29 lbs).

My preference is for hot dinners, breakfasts of cereals with fresh fruit, and lunches usually of bars and sandwiches. I am starting to work with freezer bag type meals.
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* Product Information
Manufacturer: DeFeet International
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.defeet.com
Manufactured Location: Mexico
Size: L/XL
Style: Low Cuff
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 46 g (1.62 oz)
Colour: White and Grey
Fabric: Coolmax +Fresh FX/Cordura (61%), Nylon (36%), Lycra Spandex (3%)
MSRP: US$10.00

* Initial Impressions
The Cloud 9 Socks arrived as ordered in size L/XL, Low Cuff, in a simple cardboard packaging.

They look great and feel nice and soft, as the packaging suggests "Soft as 'buttah'". One stand out feature is the extra support around the arch of the sock which is quite taut.

The cross hatch pattern down each side, upon feeling the area, appears to contain some form or reinforcing for extra support also. I will watch this with anticipation as it seems very unique.

Construction feels very durable and hard wearing. Attempts so far to reveal any weakness have been to no avail.

* Reading the Instructions
The only instructions with the socks are the washing guidelines.

As per directions; Machine wash cold, tumble-dry low, no chlorine bleach.

* Trying it out
My first wear of the socks was just like heaven, these are really comfortable socks. The support in the arch is excellent as is the cushioning around the sole, heel and toes.

Initially they looked small and to put on were a little snug, however they seemed to expand just right so that there are no loose areas that can cause discomfort.

I wore these around the house for the first wear, without shoes, then removed one sock and fitted my normal sock to the other foot and could notice a substantial difference in cushioning.

Second round of testing was with my low cut hiking shoes and the two seemed to compliment each other very well. I was initially concerned that perhaps the socks would have too much of a low cut and my shoes would cut in, this was not the case.

* Testing Strategy
The emphasis of my test plan will be on day trips and overnight hikes, which I actively combine into geocaching.

I currently wear ankle high sports socks when hiking now as they provide extra ventilation and assist keeping my feet cooler as to avoid swelling and ultimately blistering, which on my last two trips I have suffered from, so I will specifically be looking at how these socks perform in that area.

Other items I be will specifically monitoring through the test include, how comfortable the socks are after long periods of wear, will they draw the heat and moisture away from my feet to assist with the reduction in odour and swelling.

How well do they hold up to the rough terrain Western Australia tracks can be? Will the shrubs and bushes lead to damage? DeFeet website notes "superior abrasion resistance and long life".

Does the extra support around the arch and sides of the socks provide any benefit?

Overall durability and performance of the socks will form a major part of the review.

* Summary
I am very impressed with the initial look and feel of the quality of these socks and look forward to putting them through their paces.

This concludes my initial report. Please check back in two months for the results of the field report.

Thank you to DeFeet and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of testing these socks.



Field Report
 

* Field information
I have been using the DeFeet Cloud 9 socks for two months now since my initial report. During this time I have worn them on all my hiking trips.

Trip 1 - Dwellingup to Gringer Creek on the Bibbulmun Track.vert

Distance: 69 km or 42.86 miles.
Temperature Range: 5 C to 23 C (41 F to 73 F).
Precipitation: Minimal amount on day 1.
Day 1: Dwellingup to Chadora (20.4 km or 12.67 miles)
Day 2: Chadora to Mt Wells (15.2 km or 9.44 miles)
Day 3: Mt Wells to White Horse (14.7 km or 9.13 miles)
Day 4: White Horse to Gringer Creek(18.7 km or 11.61 miles)

I have included a vertical profile taken from my GPS to provide some background information as to the type of terrain the socks were worn on.

Trip 2 - Eagle View Walk Trail, John Forrest National Park.

Distance: 15 km or 9.32 miles. Completed in one day.
Temperature Range: 20 C to 23 C (60 F to 73 F)
Precipitation: Heavy Rainfall 4 km (2.48 miles) from end of trail. Water level along trail was above the height of my ankles.
 

* Field Experience
The vertical profile image above is provided so that a better understanding of the terrain can be made. For the majority of both trip 1 and trip 2 the ground surface was made up of small "pea" gravel, as can be seen in the image below, which makes for quite a slippery footing.

With terrain that is constantly undulating the socks performed well; they did not wear in any particular place, slide around on my feet, bunch up around my toes or cause discomfort. The socks performed so well that I spent less time stopping to adjust them than with other socks I have worn in the past.

Wearing the socks for the duration of trip 1 was a good experience. As two pairs of socks were delivered I was able to rotate them each day and hang the other pair on the outside of my pack to dry and aerate. Only one pair was washed while out hiking so that I was able to evaluate the sock odour if they were not washed. This proved to be a worthwhile exercise as the socks did not retain much odour at all.

The elastic around the top of the socks was tight enough to stop foreign objects from entering but not too tight to cause any discomfort. The extra support around the arch of the socks was a good experience and gave some comfort in an area of my feet that is normally a concern as they get quite sore after long distances.

The CoolMax/Condura yarn blend fibre felt as though it did assist with keeping my feet cooler in the warmer parts of the day while walking and warmer at night when in camp or sleeping. My feet sweat less and retained less odour. I also did not experience any itching from the socks.

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Cloud 9 Socks at Mt Wells - Bibbulmun Track Western Australia

* Durability
The socks have really lived up to my expectations and provided great comfort and durability. They are very comfortable and have retained the majority if not all of their cushioning.

They currently do not show any signs of pilling or wear in any of the normal stress points that might be expected on socks. The socks have not stretched or shrunk from normal washing in my machine at home (front loader) or from being hand washed on the trail. There are also no stains on the socks which has been very surprising as the last hike (trip 2) I was walking through water and mud for nearly one hour.

5
Cloud 9 Socks after 84 km (52 miles)

* Summary
These are the first pair of socks that I have owned that are specifically for outdoors activities. So far they have been very comfortable and durable.

I found the seamless toe has been very beneficial in aiding the prevention of blisters or other issues caused by material rubbing on the skin. The stretch characteristics of the socks means that only two sizes are needed and size L/XL fits me well (size US 10).

During the test period I have not encountered any blisters at all and my feet feel more comfortable which makes my hiking experiences a lot more enjoyable.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long-Term Report should be completed by August. Please check back then for further information.


Long-Term Report

How they look now


The Cloud 9 socks have continued to impress me throughout the test period. I have used them on all my hiking activities and in general use where I know I am going to walk a reasonable distance, for example shopping with the wife. Funny as that my sound this does mean a great deal of time will be spent standing and walking.

The socks have performed so well in preventing blisters and sore feet that I have actually needed to revert back to a pair of previously worn socks so that I was able to inflict blisters upon myself to complete another test I am currently undertaking.

Since the field report was posted I have walked approximately an additional 150 km or 90 miles in various locations around the state of Western Australia.

Four field trips have been along the Bibbulmun Track in temperatures of 17 C (63 F) to a maximum of 25 C (77 F), some with rain also. These trails have ranged from old logging roads with a gravel base to complete bush walking without any trail.

The last hike with the Cloud 9 socks was has been the Coastal Plains trail in the Yanchep National park where the trail conditions were very sandy. Temperature during the day was approximately 25 C (77 F) and reached a low of 8 C (46 F) during the night. I wore short length (ankle-height) gaiters with the socks in an attempt to keep loose materials out of my shoes and the socks cleaner. This proved to be quite effective and comfortable. I initially thought that with the socks being a low cuff style there might be issues with the gaiters, however this was not the case.

I have found the socks to be very durable and long lasting. There are no signs of stretching, wear or malfunction in the material. They still are still holding shape and fit as well as they did when used for the first time.

The support band around the arch of the sock is still performing well and has held its shape.

Odour retention hasn't been an issue either and I am very pleased with the fact that they can be aired out whilst in camp and worn the next day without offending anyone by the smell.

There is a slight amount of pilling which is not causing any issues with either the performance of the socks or discomfort to my feet. The image below shows some of the pilling on the toe of the sock. Talk about airing your dirty laundry!

The socks are quite difficult to keep white. The image at the start of the long-term report shows the socks after washing. I would expect that if they were bleached they would come up whiter. Hiking isn't a fashion statement for me so the colour does not deter me from wanting to use these.


Pilling on the toe

* Summary

I have not found any issues with the socks or would be able to make any negative comments. These truly are an excellent product that I will continue to wear whilst hiking and will purchase more in the future when needed.

Things I liked
Very comfortable.
Retained fit and shape.
Repelled odour.

Things I disliked
White is hard to keep clean

This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the DeFeet Cloud 9 socks.

I would like to thank DeFeet and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these socks which have made my hiking experiences more enjoyable.



Read more reviews of DeFeet gear
Read more gear reviews by Mark McLauchlin

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > DeFeet Cloud 9 Socks > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin



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