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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Fox River Organic Crew Socks > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

FOX RIVER ORGANIC CREW SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT
January 22, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: TheMiddleSister@usaring.com
AGE: 56
LOCATION: White Lake, Michigan USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.63 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Fox River Mills, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Made in the USA
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.foxsox.com
MSRP: US$15.49 Fox River direct price with 3 pair minimum order
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2.25 oz (64 g)
Colors Available: Seascape, Chalk and Terra Brown
Color Tested: Chalk
Sizes Available: Women's-Specific
- Small fits sizes 1 - 51/2. Medium fits sizes 6 - 81/2. Large fits sizes 9 - 12
Size Tested: Medium
Tester Shoe Size: 8 USA/40.5 EUR/7 UK

Fiber Content: 70% organic merino wool, 28% nylon, 2% spandex

Guarantee: "Fox River guarantees all our socks against manufacturing defects for one year. Please return product with dated receipt to the place of purchase." - quoted from Fox River Organic Merino retail hangtag

Other Interesting Detail: 5% of net profits on sales goes to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Fox River Organic Crew Sock
Fox River Organic Crew Sock Package


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS - Sept 2007

Fox River Organic Crew Socks
Fox River Organic Crew Sock
Umm! These socks feel SO soft!

I received one pair of the Fox River Organic Crew Socks which were presented in retail packaging consisting of a light cardboard placard folded over the socks and a plastic hang tag at the top.

The retail placard indicated that the socks were "Organic Merino" from USDA-accredited, certified organic ranches, and listed the style, size and the designation of "women's" right on the front, along with a Fox River globe logo and other advertising information. Inside the placard was the Fox River Guarantee and washing instructions in three different languages; English, Spanish and French. The washing instructions are simple enough: "Machine wash warm, inside out. No bleach. Tumble dry low." The back of the placard detailed some of the features and benefits of the socks.

The Crew Socks themselves are a very nice shade of light beige (Fox River calls it "Chalk") for the body of the socks. A very thin cuff border with a vine graphic that encircles the socks accents the beige with a dark lavender shade which spells out "Fox River" and "Organic" on the sole of the socks. A matching "Fox" logo is stitched next to the left of "Fox River" and an oh-so-faint "pink ribbon" symbol follows. These colored threads are integral to the socks and are not raised or bumpy.

I am testing the women's specific Organic Crew Socks, size medium. The stockinette stitching of the cuff forms a typical ribbed pattern and is 6" (15 cm) from top to bottom (of the ribbing). From the top of the heel seam to the bottom of the toe seam measures 4.75" (12 cm). I will be using these measurements during my testing to help determine if the socks shrink or stretch. Neither of these seams is raised or bumpy.

The soles of the Crew Socks are nicely padded from 1" (2.5 cm) above the heel seam to 0.75" (2 cm) above the toe seam.

The quality of the Crew Socks is evident in the flat seams, tight threads and smooth, even stitching.

TESTING STRATEGY

During the next four months, I plan to wear these socks as much as possible. In Colorado, boots are my footwear of choice, so I will have ample opportunity to test out these socks daily during normal activities as well as during dayhikes and backpacking. Year round, I usually wear heavy weight wool or wool-blend socks with and without a silk liner. I will test the Fox River socks both with and without a silk liner depending on weather conditions and will report on fit and comfort.

I will be testing the Fox River Organic socks primarily for comfort 'cause if my feet hurt, the rest of me feels the pain!

I want to see if the socks fit appropriately as sized and ordered from the website information. How do the socks feel? Do they feel itchy? Are they smoothly constructed? Do they slip onto my feet? Are there any seams at the toe to rub and potentially cause a hot spot or blister? Does the heel fit snugly on my heel? Are the socks too loose, too tight or just right? Is there enough toe room in the rounded toe area to allow my piggies movement without extra bulky material?

Where does the cuff ride on my shin? Is the cuff comfortably snug or does it slide down my leg? Do I end up with sock "ridges" on my skin? Can I discern enough cushioning under my foot in the heel and arch area?

Do the socks remain in place during normal activity or do they bunch up into my boots? How about after hours of hiking? Will the socks sag?

Testing will be taking place in the hot desert of Colorado and I need to know if the socks will be too warm and cause my feet to sweat? If so, do the socks wick away perspiration? How do the socks handle protecting my feet from water from snowmelt, rain or streams? Do the socks itch when wet? Are the socks warm enough in the winter temperatures that I will encounter by the end of this testing period?

Do the socks smell disgusting after a long day on the trails hiking or snowshoeing? How about after a 2-3 days trip? Will the socks dry overnight on the trail if need be?

Do the socks stretch out or shrink after washing? Does the elastic remain stable after repeated use and washing/drying?

I will also report any other issues that arise during the testing period.

SUMMARY TO DATE

This concludes my Initial Report on the Fox River Organic Crew Socks. See below for my Field Testing Report .

Kathy Waters


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS/CONDITIONS - Nov 2007

During this field testing period, all of my backpacking took place in south central Colorado. All backpacking trips were weekend jaunts into the approximately 100,000 acres (40,468 hectares) of BLM land encompassing the Cooper Mountain range/Royal Gorge area near Canon City or the Wet Mountains south of the Arkansas River Valley.

The Cooper Mountain range is mostly pinon pine and juniper-covered high desert with rough primitive game and mining trails (for the most part) and is easily accessed just outside of my property fence line. So this was (and will be) most often chosen for my weekenders. My husband and I generally pack up, grab the GPS, pick a trail and go without any planned destination in mind.

The Wet Mountains rise up from the Arkansas River Valley and are dense ponderosa pine and sage forests. One of my favorite trails there is the Barlett Trail in the southern part of the Wet Mountains.

Elevations I tested in ranged from 5000' up to 14000' ( 1524 m to 4268 m) and temperatures over summer and fall varied from 50 F to 95 F (10 C to 35 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Over the past two months, I have worn the Fox River Organic Crew Socks to death. I've worn them casually around the RV, I've worn them hauling water up and down our "hogback" (just like it sounds - a mound of land that rolls like a hog's back) to newly planted trees. I've worn them tramping back and forth to my mailbox - a 5 mi (8 km) round trip and I've worn them on numerous hikes and overnights. I'd estimate that I easily have worn them a minimum of 3 solid days each week, sometimes, more. For the mathematically challenged, that's 27 days, about 270 hours of wear, so far.

I've worn the Crew Socks with tennis shoes, hiking sandals and hiking boots. Because the weather has been so wonderfully warm in my neck of the woods - er, high desert - I've worn them a lot with my Merrill High Tide hiking sandals.

Before I started testing the Fox River Organic Crew Socks, I wore my hiking sandals without socks, because I only had heavy weight hiking socks in my repertoire and those socks were too warm. This meant feet that sweat and then the collected dust/dirt under those feet mixed to form a mini-mud pack. Not very comfortable. So I rarely wore the sandals hiking. Now with the Crew Socks, I wore the sandals as a first choice for dayhikes on all but the roughest terrain.

Wearing the Crew Socks with sandals means lots of contact with dirt, stones, cactus and other sticky plant life. I am amazed at how well, the Crew Socks have held up to all the friction I've thrown at it. Especially grinding (pun not intended) is the debris that collects between the Socks and footbed of the sandals. So far, there is little wear on the Crew Socks at all and no noticeable snagging or pulls.

I also wore the Crew Socks with my hiking boots which currently are the Patagonia Vagabond boots. With the heavier footwear, I'm not as comfortable with the Fox River socks. I don't feel that there is enough padding around my foot when in contact with the rigidity of the boot material. Also, I tend to be carrying a heavier pack load when wearing boots versus hiking sandals, so that probably contributes to my wanting more "heft" in my socks. However, I have yet to get a blister or hot spot from any seams or thinness of the socks.

Throughout the testing period, I have been very impressed with the comfort of the Crew Socks. My feet never felt wet even though there were many times that upon removing the socks, I could definitely feel the socks were damp on the exterior. The wicking of the Crew Socks has been excellent. The merino wool is very soft and offers nothing but a silky texture on my foot. There is no itchiness that sometimes I have experienced with wool socks especially when sweating.
The Crew Socks come high enough on my shin without being too high and even though the cuff of the socks is snug, it is not tight enough to leave "ridges" on my skin when I remove them. I have enough room in the toe area without having excess material to bunch up in my boots and my heel fits exactly where it should in the socks.

The cuff remains pretty much in place even during strenuous hiking. By the third day of wear though, some slippage is noticeable. Not enough to bother me, but enough that I notice it late in the day.

The Crew Socks have been washed 6 times over this time period. If you do the math, that equals several days of potentially stinky feet! The Fox River Organic Crew Socks have yet to really develop that stinky, sweaty boot smell. The worst of it has been a decidedly dusty/dry dirt smell when approaching 36 hours of hiking sandals usage - and that is the least of odors I worry about!

After all this wearing and washing, the only sign of potential trouble is two loose elastic threads that have pulled away from the interior cuff hem, one on each sock. I cut the threads as close as possible to the socks as soon as I took this picture (see left). I will be checking in the future to see if problems develop.

Shrinkage has been minimal, measuring barely 3/8 " (0.95 cm) difference from my original measurements before commencing testing. This hasn't affected the comfort or utility of the socks, as of yet.
Loose Thread on Crew Socks
Loose thread on Fox River Organic Crew Socks

SUMMARY TO DATE

So far, I really like these socks. However, from my two months' worth of experience, I feel they are more a light-weight sock than a mid-weight sock. The Fox River Organic Crew Socks are very comfortable and appear to be wearing well. I particularly like wearing them with my favorite Merrill High Tide hiking sandals. I'm not nearly as fond of the socks when wearing boots and hauling more than a day pack up rocky inclines, though.

CONTINUING TESTING STRATEGY

Finally, this coming Thanksgiving weekend, the weather is going to behave like a proper autumn and turn colder. Then I will get an opportunity to see how the Fox River Organic Crew Socks handle the cold. I will continue to wear the socks a minimum of 24-36 hours a week with various footwear, including daily wear tennis shoes, trail shoes and of course, my hiking boots which are currently the Patagonia Vagabond boots. Wear will include casual walking, backpacking in the usual haunts and weather-permitting, lots of snowshoeing.

Please see below for the results for my final report on the Fox River Organic Crew Socks.
Kathy Waters


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM LOCATIONS/CONDITIONS-Jan 08

My long-term testing phase of the Fox River Organic Crew Socks fell over the months of December and January. Weather conditions were very unpredictable here in south central Colorado. One day it was in the high 50s (14+ C) and the next day the temperatures barely got out of the teens F (-12 to -7 C). Most days were nice and sunny, but we had our fair share of snow. As a matter of fact, our area is already way above the yearly average for precipitation so far this winter.

This did not bode well for the Crew Socks - at least not for testing solo while hiking in the great outdoors.

As during my field testing period, all of my backpacking took place in south central Colorado. All backpacking trips were weekend jaunts into the approximately 100,000 acres (40,468 hectares) of BLM land encompassing the Cooper Mountain range/Royal Gorge area near Canon City or the Wet Mountains south of the Arkansas River Valley.

However, during these past two months, most of my testing of the Crew Socks consisted of casual wear, not hiking or backpacking. I continued to test the socks for durability by wearing them with tennis shoes and hiking boots around the house and on casual outings. However, for winter hiking, unfortunately, I wasn't able to feel comfortable with the thinness of these socks even with a silk liner. I tried a couple of times to use the Crew Socks as liners, but then they proved too bulky.

I still can say I easily wore the socks at least a couple of days a week throughout the past two months


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Fox River Organic Crew Socks are more than adequate hiking and backpacking socks. When the temperatures were right, they performed superbly. They were never uncomfortable, itchy or sweaty. Even when I knew my feet were hot, the socks wicked the moisture so efficiently from my feet that when I took off my boots, the outside of the socks were noticeably damp, but my skin was not. I never developed a blister or felt any chafing in any area of my feet. The Crew Socks are just so darned comfortable!

However, with the dipping of the mercury below 30-ish (-1 C), the socks were insufficiently warm enough for me and with when cold, I start to feel every little bone in my feet and even the slightest bump or pebble underfoot becomes an irritant. This was less of a problem with my heavier winter boots, but an insurmountable one with lighter boots like the Patagonia Vagabonds I am concurrently testing.

Through constant casual wear I was able to continue to test the long-term durability and I'm happy to say, the Crew Socks behaved wonderfully. Even after approximately a dozen washings in a commercial laundry washer - on cold, inside out and line-dried - the socks have not shrunk nor pilled at all. My initial concern with a couple of stray broken cuff threads was for naught as no more broken threads ever materialized.

I continued to experience slippage of the cuffs after prolonged periods of wearing of the Crew Socks, usually on the second day of wear. Washing the socks restored the shape though.

The Organic Crews have retained their color with no fading or running of the contrasting cuff decorative edging.

I think I'll keep them! :)

SUMMARY

I really like these socks, especially when paired with my hiking sandals! They have held up beautifully throughout all the abuse I've thrown at them. While they are too thin for winter use for my taste, the Fox River Organic Crew socks have earned a permanent place in my hiking wardrobe.

I plan on purchasing additional pairs as warmer weather prevails and my hiking sandals are unearthed from the gear closet and dusted off for the coming 2008's spring/summer/fall hiking seasons.

Thank you to BackpackGearTesting.org and Fox River for introducing this product to me and allowing me to participate in this test.

Kathleen Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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