DeFeet Cloud 9 Socks
Initial Report 7th April 2008
* Reviewer Information
Name: Mark McLauchlin
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.
* Product Information
Manufacturer: DeFeet International
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.defeet.com
Manufactured Location: Mexico
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%)
* 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Cloud 9 Socks at Mt Wells - Bibbulmun Track Western
This concludes my Field Report. The Long-Term Report should be
completed by August. Please check back then for further information.
The socks have really lived up to my expectations and
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.
Cloud 9 Socks after 84 km (52 miles)
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
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
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
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
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
Retained fit and shape.
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