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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Incrediwear Hiking Socks with CBT > Test Report by Kerri Larkin

INCREDISOCKS
TEST SERIES BY KERRI LARKIN
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - September 01, 2011
FIELD REPORT - November 20, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - January 23, 2012

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kerri Larkin
EMAIL: kerrilarkin AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 284 lb (129.00 kg)

I've been a car-camper and bushwalker for thirty years. Mostly I do day hikes as my passion is photography, which means I walk very slowly! I've returned to walking after some years away due to injuries and I'm learning to use Ultralight gear (and my new hammock!). I've traveled most of eastern Australia, walking in landscapes as diverse as tropical rainforest, snow fields, beaches and deserts. My fortieth birthday was spent trekking in Nepal which was a truly life changing experience.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Incrediwear
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: Incrediwear
MSRP: US$ 21
Measured Weight: 2.5 oz (77 g)
Sizing: Small/Medium (men's 7-9.5, women's 8-10), Large (men's 10-13.5, women's 10-13.5)
Size tested: Small/Medium
Materials: 78% organic carbonized bamboo, Organic Germanium (percentage not specified),100% natural fibres and 90% sustainable sources.


Other Details

The Incredisocks contain up to 78% carbonized bamboo fibre to provide antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These socks also contain organic germanium, which reputedly acts to release anions, (the same negatively charged particles released during a thunderstorm), to produce infrared heat, thus stimulating blood flow.

I don't pretend to fully comprehend the science behind these socks, but I'll do my best to explain what I understand: anions exist in nature but only in roughly equal numbers with cations (positive ions). Everyone knows that antioxidants are good to have in our diet, and the anions, like antioxidants, are the good guys here. These anions fight the damage done by the positive ions which we are exposed to in our daily lives.

According to Incrediwear anions have profound effects on our bodies, when present in large numbers, including: purification of the blood, activation of the cells by increasing exchange of substances through the cell membrane, promotion of immunity by increasing gamma globulin in the blood, and also exert an affect on the autonomic nervous system which governs how we think and feel.

Incrediwear claim these socks can regulate the temperature of feet by making them warmer when cold or cooler when hot due to increased blood flow.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Now that's an awful lot of responsibility for a humble sock. Mine arrived looking quite unassuming and packaged pretty much like any other sock I'd buy. There's an attractive picture of bamboo on the packaging. On the back there's a thermal imaging picture of a foot both with and without the Incredisocks, claiming a 6 F (3.2 C) difference after wearing the Incredisock for just five minutes. It all sounds almost too good to be true so I was looking forward to trying out the socks.

IMAGE 2



My socks are charcoal-gray in colour. They have black bands which extend around the heel and instep, and another band set just back from the toes. There's a smaller band running across the first toe joint. The literature doesn't explain what these bands are for; be it strengthening over wear areas, or whether this is the Carbonized Bamboo Technology (CBT) and Germanium (it took me a long while to realise this was elemental Germanium, not a flowery Geranium!).

The socks feel lovely and soft, yet give the impression of being quite tough. Incrediwear use a patented "3D weaving system" to make the socks both comfortable and tough. There is a logo across each sock just back from the toes, but no other markings.

One of the first things I noticed was that there are no major seams anywhere. It's almost like the sock is woven as a continuous cylinder. That should be great for preventing hot spots and blisters. My socks are mid-calf length and have good elasticity in all areas. The socks seem very smooth externally with nothing to suggest they will be prone to snags, although I did find a thread caught on the cracks in my heels after a couple of days. I managed to coax it back into the weave but will monitor this over the next few months.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

I received an A4 sized page of customer testimonials with a short blurb about "The healing power of carbonized bamboo", which also shows the full range of styles available. This page also mentions the Incredibraces which are available to support specific joints.

I also received a two page information brochure on the chemistry behind the Incredisocks which details how anions work.

Finally, I received a welcome letter from Incrediwear suggesting the best way to test the socks is to put a regular sock on one foot and an Incredisock on the other for an hour to appreciate the differences between the two.

TRYING IT OUT

IMAGE 3

So how incredible are these socks? Well, I followed the manufacturer's recommendation and wore the one sock for an hour or so to compare with my normal Coolmax sock. The differences were very apparent: the foot with the Incredisock seemed quite tingly and cooler than the other foot. After an hour I took off both socks and there was a noticeable difference in temperature between my feet. Although the foot wearing the Incredisock felt cooler walking around, it felt noticeably warmer when I touched the skin.

I've worn these socks for about three days now and have noticed that my feet often feel cool to cold when wearing them, which is quite a change for me. I normally have hot feet and often have to sleep with them out of the bed to stay cool. I rarely wear socks because they make my feet too hot, yet the Incredisocks have remained quite comfortable all day.

I did try sleeping with them on one night and I'm not sure whether it was because my feet were warm or those anions were doing their thing, but I sure didn't sleep well - I felt overstimulated. I took the socks off and immediately slept better. I'll try this again over the next couple of months to see if it happens again.

IMAGE 4

SUMMARY

These socks feel quite different from any socks I've worn before. As for the health benefits, I'll need to wear them a lot more to be certain. I have felt some changes in foot temperature wearing these socks, though, and will be fascinated to see if I can wear them for thirty days without them smelling, as claimed by one previous customer!

So far, the Incredisocks seem like a quality piece of clothing that will provide many benefits to my tired and sore feet. Please check back in about two months for my field report.

That concludes my Initial Report on the Incrediwear Incredisocks. I'd like to thank Incrediwear and BackPackGearTesters.org for the opportunity to participate in this test.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've worn the Incredisocks for a total of twenty seven days now. This has included two, two-night camps in warm, dry conditions, and two single-day walks in damp conditions. I've worn the socks most days, instead of other socks, and have used them with running shoes and walking boots.

There were seven days where it rained continuously, with one resulting in local flooding. The maximum temperature I've worn them in was 30 C (86 F) and the minimum temperature was around 12 C (53 F)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've been very impressed with the Incredisocks since starting my testing; they seem to keep my feet comfortable virtually all the time. Normally, my feet are very hot and my preferred footwear is none, or sandals, just to keep the heat down. With the Incredisocks, my feet have been warm, but not really uncomfortably so. On one grueling walk (temps around 30 C (86 F), my feet were sore by the end but I wasn't constantly uncomfortable due to being too hot, which has often been a problem previously.

I was intrigued by the claim that these socks could last thirty days without a wash, and decided to give it a try. I managed to get to twenty days before my mind freaked out and I had to wash them. Even so, there was no offensive odour at the twenty day mark - quite an achievement I think!

One of the other claims is that the more the socks are washed, the thicker and softer they become. I'm hoping to be able to comment more on that in my Long Term Report, because so far, they've only been washed once for each of my two pairs.

IMAGE 1



I've read the literature, I've been to the web site, I've even read the original wrapper, but I can't figure out why these socks make feet feel so, well, tingly! Every time I put them on there is an almost immediate reaction where my feet start tingling. It's by no means an unpleasant sensation and is, in fact, rather nice. My feet also feel strangely cooled. It's almost like a fan blowing cool air over the skin. Again, this surprises me enormously as my feet usually start feeling hot and sweaty the moment I put socks on. It's also interesting to note that on cold days my feet have felt warm, and on hot days, my feet have felt cooler than expected. I'm sure there's plenty of science to keep the Geeks amused with this, but I'm just thrilled by the outcomes.

I've machine washed the socks once with my usual level of care (toss them in the machine and close the lid), which they survived unscathed. They seemed to dry comparatively quickly and felt dry to the touch almost immediately. There has been a very slight matting of the matterial since washing, but it's barely noticable and may be the beginnings of the softening process. The socks have kept their shape since washing and fit as well as when new.

There are no obvious signs of wear on the socks even though I certainly haven't babied them. I'm prone to poking holes through the big toe side of my socks, but haven't felt any sign of that yet. This may be, in part, due to there being no large seam running across the toes. I believe it's also due to the acurate fit of the socks; there's no slipping and sliding when wearing them. The black bands around the socks appear to do an excellent job of keeping the sock in place and don't seem to have loosened or lost function with washing. The Incredisocks fit very well, and are some of the most comfortable socks I've worn.

The socks were advertised as being suited to diabetics, so I gave a pair to my father to get his impressions of them. He generally has no feeling in his feet at all, so although he wasn't able to report on any tingling or altered temperature sensations, he did say that the top of the socks were too tight for him. This is a particular concern for a diabetic as tight socks lead to reduced blood flow and a host of problems. He is very cautious about the socks he wears for that reason. I was disappointed that he found the socks too tight as I was hoping to see what effect they would have on his circulation.

SUMMARY

I love these socks! They are a breath of fresh air for my tired and aching feet, and I feel they provide both support and comfort by the truckload. I've never owned "technical" socks before and so I'm not sure whether the heating and cooling effect is purely a result of the technology in these particular socks, or if I would expect that from any technical sock. I own another brand of sock which is marketed as cooling, but it is no where near as effective as the Incredisocks. The Incredisocks look to be long lasting and fit very, very well. So far, I believe, these socks represent great value for money. The only disappointment has been that the sock tops were too tight for a diabetic to wear. This would be worth checking before purchase for a diabetic, especially one with impaired circulation or sensation.

I'm looking forward to continued testing of the Incredisocks, and with summer here in Australia now, it will be fascinating to see how they continue to perform.

This concludes my Field Report on the Incredisocks. I'd like to thank Incrediwear and BackPackGearTest.org for the chance to test them. Please check back in around two months for my Long Term Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've used the Incredisocks for a total of four more backpacking days since my Field Report, and another three non-hiking days (around town). Even though the Incredisocks are cooler than most socks I've worn, it's been just too darned hot too wear socks and shoes often. My hikes consisted of one overnight hike in an open forest environment (coastal) where temperatures ranged from 29 C (84 F) during the day to 21 C (70 F) overnight, and two day walks. The first day walk was in a rainforest environment with temps around 24 degrees Celsius (75 F), the second along a coastal path with temps about 18 C (64 F) and rain showers all day. In every case, the humidity was the killer and I'd estimate it was usually between 65% and 90%. As much as I would've liked to have done more multi-day trips with the socks, the weather has been too foul and unpredictable most of this summer. We've had very few fine days but when they arrive, they are scorchers. It's constantly really humid to the point where the mushrooms are getting Athlete's Foot!

The coastal walk included some very steep sections which, I'm pleased to say, didn't upset the socks at all. Quite often I find steep grades cause my socks to bunch or slip, but that didn't happen with the Incredisocks.

IMAGE 3
Minimal signs of wear



PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Nothing has changed since my Field Report with these socks - they are still just as comfortable, and still give that weird 'buzz' to the feet. As mentioned above, the socks still fit really well with no signs of bagging or slipping. There's very minor fluffing of the material, which I believe will result in a softer sock, as advertised, rather than being a defect. There's only minimal signs of wear on my two pairs of socks and the printing on the socks is pretty much as clear as ever. I've not found any loose threads or signs of worn elastic. All in all, these socks look like they will last quite some time.

IMAGE 2
Wonderful tailored fit - always comfy


Although I'm not a big fan of shoes or boots, I must say these socks make things more comfortable when I must wear closed in shoes. I still can't quite work out how they do it, but the socks do seem to make my feet feel almost cold when I don't have a boot or shoe on (which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned), and significantly cooler than I'd expect when I have. They are comfortable enough to leave on as camp socks, although my feral nature prefers to be sans footwear whenever possible. I usually just wear flip-flops around camp.

I've washed both pairs of socks a couple more times since my last report, and find no obvious damage, matting or pilling effects. The socks dry fairly quickly and retain their shape well. I've washed the socks due more to psychological need, rather than because they've become stinky! So far, I've still noticed no appreciable odour to the socks before washing.

IMAGE 1
Not enough pong to interest Sam!


One of the nice things I've noted is that the Incredisocks remained comfortable and close fitting even when wet. During a long day walking in the rain, my feet and boots got a thorough soaking: perfect blister conditions. I'm happy to report I got no blisters. Because the socks are so well tailored, there's no rubbing, chaffing, or slipping around. It was a sheer joy to be wearing the socks in such weather!



SUMMARY

So are the Incredisocks incredible? I believe they are. They have proven themselves to be comfortable in a range of weather conditions, and temperatures. I'm still no closer to understanding the science behind the whole Carbonized Bamboo and Germainium technology but, for my money, I believe it actually works. Certainly the socks seem to have a remarkable ability to keep my feet comfortable. Whether that's mind over matter, or not, don't matter to me - all I know is my feet have stayed at a comfortable temperature in a range of conditions, which is something very new to me!

The socks seem built to last: they haven't caught on anything, pulled threads, worn excessively, or sagged into a floppy heap.

In case you haven't got the message yet, I really like these socks!

CONTINUED USE

The Incrediwear Incredisocks are now a part of my permanent gear list. They have answered every test I've given them, and done so without raising a sweat, literally. Yes, I will be continuing to use these socks until they wear out, and when they do I will be replacing them with more of the same.

This concluded my Long Term Report on the Incrediwear Incredisocks. I'd truly like to thank Incrediwear and BackPackGearTest.org for the opportunity to be involved in this test.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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