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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Fox River Organic Crew Socks > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly

Fox River Organic Crew Socks
Reviewed By Pat McNeilly

Initial Report: September 25, 2007
Field Report: November 29, 2007
Long-Term Report: February 2, 2008

Name: Pat McNeilly
Fox River Organic Crew Socks in PackagingAge: 44
Gender: Male
Height: 5’ 8” (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: mcne4752 at yahoo dot com .
City, State, Country: Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Backpacking Background:
I have been hiking for at least 20 years but backpacking for only the last four years.  Most of my backpacking is done as overnight trips and occasional weekend and weeklong trips.  My typical packweight is approximately 18 to 20 lb (8 to 9 kg) before food or water.  Most of my backpacking is the three season variety in the mountains of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  In addition to backpacking, I also fish, hunt, and have been involved in disaster relief.  As a result, some of my backpacking equipment gets use in a number of different venues.

Product Information:

Product: Organic Crew Socks
Size: Large (Men’s 9-12½, Women’s 10½-12½, EC 42-46)
Manufacturer: Fox River Mills, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Color: Rope
Listed Weight:   Not listed
Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g) 
URL:  www.foxsox.com.
MSRP: $ 15.49 USD

Initial Report
Report Date: September 25, 2007
Me wearing socks
Product Description (as described by the manufacturer):
“Fox River Organic merino wool socks wick moisture for all high-performance activities and feel super-soft against your skin.  Our organic merino is produced according to standards set by USDA-accredited certification agencies.”  The manufacturer indicates that these socks are made from 70% organic merino wool, 28% nylon, and 2% spandex. 

Product Review:
The Fox River socks are of a crew length measuring 8 in (20 cm) high.  The upper porting of the sock has ribbed construction while the lower portion of the sock is divided into a number of sections with varying thickness and cushioning.  The portion of the sock which covers the top of the foot has a mesh type weave measuring 2 in x 7 in (5 cm x 18 cm) and appears to be the thinnest portion of the entire sock.  The bottom section of the sock (including the toe and heel) is the area with the most cushioning.  In addition, both the toe and the heel appear to be reinforced with a mesh weave similar to that covering the top of the foot.  The socks also have “Fox River and “Organic” written in a contrasting color near the bottom of the sock.

Toe portion of sock (inside out)The manufacturer indicates that the toe has a flat seam and although I can feel the seam slightly is raised on the outside, I can not feel a raised seam on the inside of the sock.  If I turn the sock inside out, I can see that there is a gap in the cushioning where the seam is but the seam itself is flat.  I have some concerns that the cushioning may bunch up along the seam when stuffed inside a boot, so I will keep an eye out for such problems during the test.

The first thing I noticed about these socks even before putting them on is that they are very soft.  These are not the old rag wool socks of long ago.  Putting them on my feet felt just wonderful.  I really could feel the extra cushioning on the soles of the socks.  I also noticed that the thinner mesh material on the top of the sock compressed nicely against my foot and did not feel overly constrictive.  Overall, I felt that these were not as heavy a sock as I might have guessed from the manufacturer’s website but otherwise they appear to be what the manufacturer describes.

I had an opportunity test these socks at an orienteering event and wore them with a pair of trail runners [forested terrain, running both on and off trail, dry conditions but temperature of 85 F (29 C)].  I was a little concerned that the socks may be a little too thin to wear with these shoes since I typically wear thicker socks with that particular pair.  I did tighten the laces just prior to the run but I did not have any problems with hot spots or blisters during or after the event.  I also took note that after the race my feet were only slightly damp after removing the socks.  I was impressed with the apparent wicking capabilities of the socks after this outing.

Since I wore the socks, they also received a washing although not according the manufacturer’s instructions (i.e., inside out and in warm water).  I didn’t turn them inside out.  I do note that after washing and line drying, there appears to be some loose fibers particularly on the bottom of the sock.  This could possibly lead to pilling of the material which I will also watch out for.

I plan to test these socks on just about any trip I take into the outdoors during the test period.  I will also try to use these socks with as many types of footwear that I can to see how they perform under different conditions.  Of course, I will be on the lookout for wear and tear.  I would also like to see if the socks remain soft after multiple washings.  In addition, I would like to see how warm these socks are as the temperatures grow colder.

My first impressions are that these are well made socks which fit well, are soft, and appear to do a good job at wicking moisture.

Field Report
Report Date: November 29, 2007

Field Information:
Over the last two months these socks have seen lots of wear.  I wore them on one weekend trip in western Maryland which was strictly on well worn trails.  Total mileage was only about 12 miles (19 km).  The elevations on this trip ranged from 350-1100 ft (107-335 m) while the temperatures encountered were from 35-55 F (2-13 C).  I did not encounter any rain on this outing.

I also wore the socks on a Girl Scout overnight car camping trip in Maryland.  The temperatures ranged from 33-50 F (1-10 C) with breezy winds but no precipitation.  This was not backpacking or hiking but there was enough walking back and forth from the car to the campsite that I felt I put in some fair mileage.

In addition to these overnight excursions, I have been wearing these socks exclusively on my day hikes.  I have taken five day hikes in these socks in either northern Virginia or Maryland.  Mileage on these hikes has been anywhere from 5-9 miles (8-14 km).  As we have had little rain in this region lately, most of these hikes were done in clear conditions but I did hike in the rain on one occasion.

These socks have also been out on orienteering courses at least three times.  The terrain was a combination of road, trail and off-trail running with distances of 3-4 miles (5-6 km).  These events by chance happened during warm periods and I was encountering temperatures of 60-85 F (16-29 C).

Product Review:
I have been very impressed with the Fox River Organic Crew socks.  Even after multiple washings, they remain very soft.  The Merino wool does not itch like other types of wool.  Apart from some minor pilling of the fabric, they also show little signs of wear. 

Stretched out socksI find that the socks conform very well to the shape of my feet.  The elastic mesh weave across the top of the foot helps in maintaining this conformation and seems to prevent the sock from shifting inside the boot.  There is a fair amount of stretch in the sock and it is possible to put the socks on and stretch them so that the heel is pulled too far back.  This can cause a lump in the sock as I put on shoes or boots.  I have been making an effort to carefully put the socks and make sure that they are in place before putting on any footwear.  I have not noted any rubbing from the toe seam, as I had feared in my Initial Report.

I also noticed that the socks are a bit difficult to put on over liners.  The socks easily slide on my bare feet but the liners cause additional friction.  That friction in combination with the elastic over the foot appears to make them harder to get on.  This simply requires a little attention to making sure they are properly in place.  Once in the proper position, I have not found that they move around much.

One thing that I am very pleased to report on is that I feel these socks do an excellent job of wicking moisture away from the feet.  When wearing the socks alone, I found that my feet were quite dry and that was probably as good as it would get.  However, when wearing the Organic Crew socks with liners my feet stayed just about bone dry.  I have worn the socks with at least five different types of outdoor footwear, including hiking boots, trial runners and hunting boots (i.e., rubber soles and uppers).  The only type of footwear that I was not able to keep my feet dry with the combination of socks and liners was with the trail runners.  My trail runners are not waterproof and during orienteering events is not uncommon to run through streams or swamps soaking the foot completely.  That being said, I felt that my feet tended to dry quicker with the Organic Crew socks than with other socks I have worn.

These socks are quite warm and I have been known to wear them around the house on a cool evening.  The two overnight trips allowed me to get a good feel for how warm these socks are.  I did wear the socks to bed on a night where the temperature dipped to 33 F (1 C).  I am normally a cold sleeper and at that temperature I would always expect to have socks on my feet.  I was not awakened at any point with cold feet which I attributed to the warmth of the socks.

Slight pilling of fabricThe manufacturer suggests that the socks should be laundered inside out.  After washing the socks this way, I find that the outside of the sock does not get adequately clean.  Dirt that accumulates on the outside may be ground in just doesn’t wash out by this method.  I have also laundered the socks without turning them inside out and have not had a problem getting them clean.  The only possibly adverse effect that I have seen from not laundering the sock inside out is some slight pilling of the outer material, as I noted above. 


Long-Term Report
Report Date: February 2, 2008


Field Information:
I have been wearing the Fox River Organic Crew socks almost exclusively when hiking, orienteering, or trail running over the past two months.  I wore these socks on six day hikes in the central Maryland or northern Virginia area which ranged from 4 to 8 miles (6 to 13 km).  These hikes were on maintained trails at elevations of 300 to1350 ft (100 to 400 m).  I encountered temperatures of 25 to 65 F (-4 to 18 C) on these hikes.  The hikes were all taken in hiking boots.

I have worn the socks on numerous trail runs and during three orienteering events.  Trail runs were always on maintained trails, usually of dirt or gravel.  Orienteering involved both on and off trail running over a variety of terrain including open woods, creek beds, bare rock, and swamp.  Typical distances covered either trail running or orienteering were approximately 3 to 4 miles (5 to 6 km).  Weather conditions included temperatures of 25 to 50 F (-4 to 10 C) and generally clear, although I did encounter a couple instances of rain showers.

I brought the Organic Crew socks along on a weekend trip with my local Boy Scout troop to the George Washington National Forest in West Virginia since I expected cold weather.  This trip involved car camping but allowed for some day hiking of approximately 2 to 3 total miles (3 to 5 km) at elevations of 1100 to 2100 ft (300 to 600 m).  The temperatures on this trip ranged from 4 to 35 F (-16 to 2 C) and the conditions involved snowy, icy trails.

Product Review:
After wearing the Fox River Organic Crew socks for the past four months, I am very satisfied by their performance.  Other than some mild pilling of the fabric (as I noted in my Field Report), they look almost as good as when they were new.  I have not noticed any shrinking or excessive wear, even in the heel or under the ball of the foot.  I also continued to be impressed with their wicking capabilities and warmth.

I have worn these socks with at least seven different types of footwear, including two different types of hiking boots and two different types of running shoes.  I even wore them with dress shoes when I wanted to leave a dressier event to go running.  I almost got away with it but the mesh over the top of the foot shows above the top of the shoes.  The socks have worked well with all types of footwear.  I have not had a single blister (even when totally wet) over the entire testing period while wearing the Organic Crew Socks.  I had wondered whether the mesh on the top of the sock would be too thin and leave me prone to irritation when my laces were tight.  Well, I haven’t noticed any.

These socks also seem to dry quickly.  During at least one orienteering event in the last month, I did have my feet completely soaked and had to continue the race in wet socks.  I was wearing non-waterproof trail runners.  By the end of the race, my feet were no wetter than if I had run in dry conditions. 

I have found that the Organic Crew socks do not retain odors to any greater extent than other socks.  Yes, if you wear socks long enough they will stink.  I am not immune to that but after a single wearing, they certainly weren’t rank.  In my Field Report, I mentioned laundering the socks.  I have continued washing the socks without turning them inside out.  There has been a bit more pilling but I have not seen any other effects from this method.

Overall, I would have to say that I believe these socks are among the best I have worn.  I have worn many types and can’t think of a pair that could keep my feet as dry and blister free as these.

Summary:
The Fox River Organic Crew socks are made from made from organic merino wool, nylon, and spandex.  The socks conform to my feet and are soft and itch free.  These socks are quite warm and perform well at wicking moisture from the feet.  However, the socks can be somewhat difficult to put on over liners socks.

Things I like:
1. Softness of material
2. Warmth
3.
Wicking capabilities

Things I don’t like:
1. Hard to put on over liners
2. Recommended laundering instructions

This concludes my testing of the Organic Crew Socks.  I would like to thank Fox River Mills and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this item.



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Read more gear reviews by Patrick McNeilly

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Fox River Organic Crew Socks > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly



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