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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Farm to Feet Jamestown Midweight Crew > Test Report by Bob Dorenfeld



Farm To Feet - Jamestown Socks
Test Series By Bob Dorenfeld
Initial Report    April 7, 2014
Long Term Report  September 21, 2014

Tester Bio
Name: Bob Dorenfeld

I'm an active hiker, snowshoer, skier, backpacker, amateur geographer and naturalist.  Home base for me is the Southern Colorado Rockies, where I'll hike from 7000 ft (2100 m) to alpine tundra, with an occasional desert trip at lower altitudes.  Six to 12 miles (10 to 20 km) in a day is my norm, including elevation gains up to 4000 ft (1200 m).  Most of my backpack trips are two or three nights, sometimes longer, carrying 30-40 lb (14-18 kg).  My style is lightweight but not obsessively so - extras like binoculars, camera, and notebook make my trips more enjoyable.

Email: geartest(at)sageandspruce(dot)net
Age: 56
Location: Salida, Colorado, USA
Gender: M
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Shoe Size: Men's 8.5  (EUR 42)


Product Overview

Manufacturer:   Farm To Feet
Website:    www.farmtofeet.com
MSRP:    US$19.00
Style:   Traditional Midweight Crew
Weight:   Medium
Intended Use:
   Hiking
Materials:  73% Marino wool, 26%                  Nylon, 1% Spandex
Materials Origin:  100% US
Colors Available:   Sycamore/Black, Lead Gray/Brown, Berry/Platinum, Wooly Blue/Formula One 
Sizes Available:   (American)
    Small: W 4 - 6.5
    Medium: M 6-8.5 / W 7-9.5 (size being tested here)
    Large: M 9-11.5 / W 10-12.5
    X-Large: M 12-14.5

 Product Info
Colors (L to R): Lead Gray/Brown, Wooly Blue/Formula One, Berry/Platinum
These Farm To Feet medium-weight crew-style wool-blend socks are intended for hiking, and are, according to the manufacturer, a "traditionally knitted" sock with an even density of fabric throughout the foot and leg.  It's constructed using a seamless toe closure, and designed to "compression fit" snugly across toes, foot, and leg, reducing binding that can cause blisters.  The Jamestown sock comes in a wide variety of sizes for both men and women, and in four color combinations.  The socks I have (Medium) measure 7.5 in (19 cm) from heel to toe, and 9.75 in (24.5 cm) from toe to top.  I weighed them at 1.5 oz (43 g) per pair.  What immediately makes these socks stand out from similar clothing is the sourcing of materials: all components, but especially the Merino wool, are from the United States.  The socks are also manufactured in the US.  Recommended care instructions are to machine wash cold, lay flat to dry.  Farm To Feet supplies a "Guarantee For Life": "If you are not completely satisfied with the durability or performance of your Farm To Feet socks, then please return them for a replacement or a refund."


- Initial Review (April 7, 2014) -

First Impressions    

Terrycloth liningI received three pairs of the Jamestown socks, in size men's medium, for my American 8.5 shoe size.  Although my size is at the top end of the men's medium range (instead of being slightly below as for some other brands) I don't think that will be a problem since the Spandex will allow some stretching.  I received three different and pleasant color combinations as seen in the Product Overview photo above.  The socks feel warm and smooth on the outside, and the white terrycloth weave (photo, right) lining the inside feels very cushiony and soft on my feet.  This is the about usual sock weight I use, perhaps even just a slight bit thicker. 

What's Next?   

I'm looking forward to treating my feet to new socks!  On most hikes I wear a thin liner sock of wool or polyester blend next to my skin, and the thicker socks (like the Jamestown) on top and next to the boots.  But for casual and/or short hikes I plan to find out if a single layer of just the Jamestown socks will do.  I'll be hiking not only a wide variety of trails, from easy to steep and rocky, but also off-trail where footing conditions can change rapidly and unpredictably (and sock comfort is very important).  Depending on trail length, difficulty, and pack weight, I wear either heavier and stiffer full-grain leather boots, or a more flexible light-weight leather (or fabric) hiking boot. Now I'm off for my first hike! 

- Long Term Review (September 21, 2014) -

I've been hiking in the Jamestown socks for about four months, putting the majority of mileage on the Lead Gray and Wooly Blue pairs.  Please see the photo and its caption (below) for sock mileage.  The third pair (Berry) is still relatively new, and is my comparison for the more-used ones.  I almost always wear them over a thin pair of liners (some polyester blend, others wool blend); occasionally I'll use two Jamestowns together for some of my hiking shoes that need more padding to fit comfortably.

Field Conditions

I was able to test the Jamestown socks in a wide variety of hiking conditions, where trails ranged from easy tread to very difficult off-trail through tree blow-down and rocks and boulders, and also moderate to very steep mountainsides.  Using the same combination of inner liner sock and Jamestown sock, I wore a number of different types of hiking shoes:  lightweight below-the-ankle (split-grain leather), medium-weight hikers covering my ankle (mostly synthetic with GORE-TEX), and a heavier full-grain leather trekking boot.  Temperatures I hiked in varied from below freezing to about 90 F (32 C).  The socks got wet several times (damp or soaked), but due to the wool blend my feet stayed warm at the above-freezing temperatures I was in.  Since I wear sock liners I couldn't evaluate how the wet socks felt on my bare feet, but I noticed that the fabric did not seem to bunch or ball up when wet.

Comfort

Overall I felt very comfortable in the Jamestowns.  They are soft, and definitely provided good padding for my feet in all of the hiking shoes I wear.  The elastic band at the top of the socks generally kept them up on my legs most of the time, at least as well as any other hiking socks I've used in the past.  I never experienced any bunching at the toes (good!).  However, during one very long pull up a steep slope with pack weight at about 30 lb (14 kg) and wearing my trekking boots I found that the sock on my right foot continually slipped down around my ankle, something I've never experienced before with any medium-weight hiking socks.  At the time I was wearing my wool-blend liners.  Since my right foot is slightly larger than my left I might have expected this slippage to occur in my left foot where it fits slightly looser in the boot; however, a sligthly tighter sock due to my larger right foot could also cause the sock to jam toward the toe while ascending the trail.  I have subsequently tried to replicate this problem with the same sock combination and boot and was able to have it happen once more while climbing a steep slope, where apparently my foot slips just enough to drag the Jamestown sock down below the boot's top collar.  Stopping to tighten my shoelaces didn't help.  I've never had this issue before (despite hiking many long and steep trails!), so it seems that there's less friction on the sock material compared to other hiking socks I've used.

End of test
Pictured in order of most-to-least used (left to right):
145 mi (233 km), 100 mi (161 km), and 20 mi (32 km).
Wear at heel and toe, pilling on leg area is visible on the two most-used socks.
Wear

All things considered, the Jamestown socks have worn really well for me, keeping my feet comfortable most of the time while in my boots.  No holes anywhere at this time, no significant thin spots so far, and the fabric has not stretched permanently beyond its original size.  The heels on the two most-used socks have lost their softness, as have some of the toe bottoms, but I can't yet detect any loss of comfort at those wear points.  The photo at left shows noticeable pilling on the uppers of the socks (above the ankle) resulting from the socks rubbing on my boots, pants, and brushing past plants and rocks.  There's more pilling there than other brands of socks that I've been using for much longer than the Jamestowns.  Besides not looking all that great the fluffed-out fabric can pick up seeds and stickers more easily, and make the socks harder to clean (especially in camp). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washing

I've machine washed the two most-used pairs about three times each, following Farm To Feet's instructions to wash cold using my usual mild detergent.  They come out a bit stiff when air-dried, but limber up very quickly once I put them on and start hiking.  There's a bit of staining over time that hasn't come out, but that's not a concern of mine so I let it be.  I've also hand-washed the two most-used pairs some four times each, again using cold water and a small amount of the same mild detergent.  Although not quite as efficient as machine washing, hand washing gets out most of the dirt and oils and is probably easier on the wool-blend socks in the long run.  For both machine and hand washing I'll dry them in the sun, usually flat, other times hanging on a rock or clothes line.  Farm To Feet recommends drying flat (presumably to avoid stretching) but I couldn't detect any difference in the socks based how the socks were laid out to dry.  I rarely use a dryer for clothes even though the socks would come out initially softer and smoother: once they go on my feet they regain their comfort after a short time.


Summary:

I'd give Farm To Feet's Jamestown socks an above average grade, but not the highest ranking.  They are comfortable, mostly very durable and clean well, but I wish that the leg sections above the ankle exhibited less pilling.  In any case expect to get many more good hiking miles from all three pairs of these Jamestowns.

Pros
  - provides good padding for hiking in most kinds of terrain
  - elastic top stays up on the leg almost all the time
  - washes well with most dirt and sweat stains coming out after machine wash

Cons
  - sock tended to slip down below the boot to the ankle on very steep trails, with certain boot/liner sock combination
  - considerable pilling of sock above the ankle, attracting stickers and dirt

Acknowledgments     

Thanks to Farm To Feet and to BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Jamestown hiking socks.


‹ Reviewed By
Bob Dorenfeld
Central Colorado Mountains





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