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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Fox River Country Crew Sock > Test Report by Chuck Kime

Fox River Country Crew Socks
February, 2008

Photo courtesy www.foxsox.com
Fox River Country Crew Socks - Basil, Charcoal & Grey

Contents
Reviewer Information[return to top]
Name: Chuck Kime
Nickname: Fuzzy
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Weight: 243 lb (110 kg)
Email address: chuck_kime AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Upper Darby (Philadelphia suburb), Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Additional Information applicable to this test
Foot size: 9½EEEE (US)
Shoe size: 8½EEE-10D (US), depending on cut of shoe

Backpacking Background[return to top]
My family started car/trailer camping when I was about 5. I now go on monthly Boy Scout camping/hiking weekends, with similar family trips occasionally, and plan to add one or two week-long trips per year. Advancing age, arthritic knees and injuries have led me to rethink my gear choices, switch to hammocking, make some of my own gear, and look closer at my ‘toys’ with an eye for multi-use and light weight. I now have a sub-20 lb (9 kg) 3-season load – before food, fuel and water – and should be able to reduce it further with a little effort.

Additional Information applicable to this test
I have been wearing socks for… lesseee… twelve times four… plus three… carry the one… oh, about 40 years now. I generally prefer wool and silk or synthetics when hiking, and have recently been trying different singles/combinations to find what pads, cools and protects best. I also wear my ‘technical/hiking’ clothing at other times, so as not to increase the storage space I require (and my wife’s ire) by having duplicate items, and to give me increased testing opportunities.

Product Information[return to top]
Manufacturer: Fox River
Model: Country Crew
Year of Manufacture: 2007
URL: http://www.foxsox.com
Listed weight: none
Measured weight (size Large): 2.6 oz (74 g), scale accurate to 0.1 oz
Color: Basil (an olive-y green)
Other colors available: Grey (Men’s), Teal (Women’s), Lavender (Women’s), Sand (Women’s), Charcoal
MSRP: $12.99 US

Features/claims (from web site)[return to top]
  • Wick Dry® construction keeps feet dry and comfortable by wicking moisture away, reducing blisters and hot spots
  • Light weight, smooth knit fabric
  • Dimensional knit for a memory fit
  • Reinforced special areas for durability
  • Mesh foot vents allow for breathability
  • Smooth, flat toe seam

Initial Report - september, 2007
Arrival [return to top]
Fox River Country Crew Socks, pair - as delivered
The socks arrived undamaged on September 20, 2007, in a standard retail hang-card. Additionally, there was an oval sticker on the upper of the sock indicating that these socks are made with corn.

Description [return to top]
Made with Corn The Country Crew is part of Fox River’s Goodearth line of socks, all made with Ingeo (a corn-based fiber - see tag). It is available in men’s and women’s sizes, along with men’s and women’s quarter-length versions. The crew length has a ribbed calf about 8 in (20 cm) high, with the top inch (3 cm) or so being woven as a thicker cuff. The top of the foot is woven with a thin ribbed design for ventilation while the sole – particularly at the toe and heel – are quite noticeably thicker. The Country is constructed of 65% Ingeo, 33% nylon, and 2% spandex.

First Impressions [return to top]
Fox River Country Crew Socks, pair The socks look exactly like what I expected based on the web site, though I wasn’t sure what they would feel like. They feel to me like a lightweight wool/synthetic blend, though with a low wool content. In my experience, men’s size Large socks are usually US shoe size 10-13 – and are large enough to be too long for my feet – so I stick with Medium, as I prefer socks be slightly too small than slightly too large to prevent bunching. Fox River’s size Large socks are US size 9-12½, per the sizing chart on the web site. This sizing would put me in the lower range of Large instead of the upper range of Medium. With this in mind, and the large size of my calves, I got the Large. The first time I put the socks on I found them to be extremely soft, and nicely padded where they mean to be, but much ‘stretchier’ than I imagined. If I pulled them on firmly – as is my habit – the heel cup would cover my Achilles tendon instead of my heel, so I just simply slipped them on and adjusted them accordingly. They feel quite nice on my feet, and do not bind my calves at all, but I will be on the lookout for bunching.

Field Testing Plan [return to top]
Our Boy Scout troop camps monthly, generally in the wooded areas of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Pocono Mountains. Almost all of these outings include a minimum of 2 nights of camping, with temperatures expected to be from lows around 15 ºF (-9 ºC) to highs around 85 ºF (30 ºC) during the 4-month test period. Elevations will range from sea level to approximately 1,500’ (457 m). We have added monthly hikes to our schedule as well. My wife and I, who between us have 3 high-ranking boy scouts (ages 16, 17 and 18), are also looking into additional camping without the scouts, and there are possibilities of some AT section hikes (with overnights) in Pennsylvania with my son as he works towards the Hiking Merit Badge.

We have several trips definitely on our schedule so far for this fall/winter: in October we will be spending a weekend at Gettysburg Battlefield and hiking portions of the National Historic Trail, Thanksgiving weekend at a Scout camp, and a Winter Survival campout held the first weekend in January. My wife and I – with some combination of our children – will be spending Veterans Day weekend with a group that should include at least a few other BGT testers near the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania/New Jersey. Over the past 2 years these trips have gotten me an average of about 14 miles (22 km) per day of fairly rough terrain.

I generally wear socks while hiking, foregoing them only around camp in my sandals. As I hope to be on some even more varied terrain in the coming months as our Scouts start choosing new destinations for our monthly trips, I think it is time to add additional socks to my pack, both to keep my feet dry and to try different types out.

I plan to wear the socks on all coming outdoor trips, including camping and hiking, as well as wearing them to work (in an office) at least once a week, checking for both comfort and durability.

The socks will be worn with the following footwear:
Things I am/will be looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Do they fit me? Is the sizing on the web site accurate?
  • Fabric. I have no experience at all with Ingeo. Is it durable? Does it stretch (permanently)? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Warmth. How cold can it get and still keep my feet warm in sandals? How warm can it get and still keep my feet cool in boots? How much warmth do they add to my sleep system?
  • Comfort. Do they keep my feet dry? Is the padding well located?
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Do they dry well? Do they hold much dirt in the first place?
My findings so far: [return to top]
  • Fit. If I stretch them out they are too big, but they fit nicely when relaxed.
  • Comfort. The padding feels good.
  • Washability. Turn inside out, machine wash warm, tumble dry low – doesn’t get much simpler.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Comfortable.
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. None yet.

Field Report - December, 2007
Field Testing [return to top]
My first wearing of the socks was for roughly 18 hours, about half in the NB748 Country Walkers and the rest in the NB851 Trail Runners. When I took the shoes off at the end of the day I took note of the following issues:
  • Pilling around the right big toe
Pilling, Side View
  • Pilling around the left big toe
Pilling, Top View
Thread Separation, Top View
  • Wear on the left arch (Green)
  • Significant wear behind the ball of the left foot, where I could detect the color of my skin (Yellow)
  • Extreme wear at the left big toe joint, where I could clearly see my skin through the remaining threads (Red)
Wear on Left Foot
Light wear indicates early breakdown/scuffing of the cushioning fibers. Pilling is where the breakdown becomes sufficient for a portion of the fibers to actually separate from their original location and bond together loosely inside the shoe in small clumps. In the case of the two worst spots the cushioning fibers were nearly to completely gone, leaving just the thin structural threads underneath and providing no further cushioning or friction relief at those locations. When I removed the socks that night – by turning them inside out – they left a lot of pilled fibers on my feet.

The socks have so far been worn with the following footwear:

I put the socks in the hamper (inside out) and found them a few days later folded and sitting on the coffee table, separate from the rest of the folded laundry. When I picked them up, my wife asked if they were a test item. When I told her I was testing them she remarked that she had almost thrown them out due to their condition, but realized she had never seen them before and they were probably something I was testing. This did not bode well for the socks.

I wore the socks to work for another 10-hour day – including some walking around in addition to my normal commuting walk over the cobblestones of Old City Philadelphia – with the Montrail Namches, then changed into the NB748s for another 4 hours to attend a meeting. There was some bunching of the socks where the heel cup met the insole of the boot, but it was not problematic with the short distance covered. While at the meeting I looked at the area exposed by the shoes that had been covered by the boots during the day and could see noticeable wear from the collar of the boots. Also, at one point I reached down to scratch an itch on my lower shin and noticed curls of sock fibers created by each of my fingernails. When I removed the socks that night – again by turning them inside out – they left on each foot a ‘film’ of powdered fiber covering the sole and enough loose thread and fiber to easily fill a thimble.

I have so far sent at least 4 emails to Fox River Customer Service asking how to exchange the socks under warranty, but have yet to receive a reply. I hope to get this taken care of soon, as I do find the socks to be comfortable, but I do not wish to risk tearing up my feet by wearing them in their current condition.

Things I am/will be looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Do they fit me? Is the sizing on the web site accurate?
  • Fabric. I have no experience at all with Ingeo. Is it durable? Does it stretch (permanently)? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Warmth. How cold can it get and still keep my feet warm in sandals? How warm can it get and still keep my feet cool in boots? How much warmth do they add to my sleep system?
  • Comfort. Do they keep my feet dry? Is the padding well located?
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Do they dry well? Do they hold much dirt in the first place?
My findings so far: [return to top]
  • Fit. If I stretch them out they are too big, but they fit nicely when relaxed.
  • Fabric. It’s not looking good for the Ingeo. It stretches, though not permanently (yet?). It pills significantly, and has worn almost through in just a couple of wearings.
  • Comfort. Do they keep my feet dry? Is the padding well located?
  • Washability. So far, washing has removed most, if not all, of the loose fibers created when I wore the socks, but this leaves some very thin spots.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Comfortable.
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. Way too much wear, way too soon.
  2. No response from Customer Service.

Long Term Report - February, 2008
Field Testing [return to top]
I have still had no response from Fox River since I posted my Field Report, and as such have been unable to do any further testing.
Things I was looking for: [return to top]
See my Field Report
My findings: [return to top]
See my Field Report
Things I like [return to top]
See my Field Report
Things I don't like [return to top]
See my Field Report
Summary [return to top]
The socks were comfortable from the first minute I put them on, but were rendered unwearable in just 2 wearings. The idea of using recycleable fibers in socks is novel, but the execution - not to mention the manufacturer response to my repeated attempts to contact them - is sorely lacking.
Thank you for your time.

Chuck Kime
a.k.a. Fuzzy


Read more reviews of Fox River Mills gear
Read more gear reviews by Chuck Kime

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Fox River Country Crew Sock > Test Report by Chuck Kime



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