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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Point 6 Hiking Tech Med Mini Crew > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes
Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew
Initial Report: November 6, 2014
Long Term Report: April 3, 2015
Trying on the socks
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, canoeing/kayaking and most other outdoor activities, but backpacking is my favorite pastime. I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo. I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.
The Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew is designed for hiking but looks like it would be good for a multitude of outdoor activities and a good sock to wear with boots or other high top shoes. The packaging says the sock is designed for durability and performance, itch free comfort and moisture and odor control. As noted in the specifications, this is a wool blend sock and the packaging says superior merino wool. A drawing on the packaging shows the engineered fit and points out that the sock has a reinforced toe and heel, deep heel pocket, arch brace, mesh ventilation panels and ultra smooth toe hem. The sock feels smooth (almost slick) on the outside but the inside has a very soft feel. The sock is taller than I expected, standing 10.5 in (27 cm) from heel to top, and when stretched over my foot it stands at 11 in (28 cm) tall. The sock is listed as a stone color but as can be seen in the photos, it is actually 4 different colors. It has POINT6 printed on each sock but the socks are not left and right side specific so the print ends up on the left side of each sock, which in turn puts the print on the inside of my right foot and the outside of my left foot. When I turned the sock inside out I also noticed some writing along the very top of the sock which says, HIKE MED on one side and LG on the other side. MED must stand for medium weight. For the record, Point6 socks come in 6 different weights which are; ultra light (no cushion), extra light cushion, light cushion, medium cushion, heavy cushion and extra heavy cushion. The socks are also made in the USA
Trying them on
I should first mention that I have wide feet. I generally wear a size 12 (45 EU) shoe. I also have big calves that go pretty low on my leg. They fit really well but the very top of the sock is stretched a little over my calf. Once I pulled them on I was pleased with how they felt. Once I put my boots on over them I was even more impressed with just how good they felt. I then wore them for a couple of hours hiking 2 miles (3 km) on a local trail I frequently hike. It was about 65 F (18 C) during the hike so a little warm for the boots and these socks. However, I'm dealing with planter fasciitis so I was taking it easy but I was impressed that my feet did not sweat at all.
Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew with medium height boots
I am pleased to see these socks don't require super special treatment. For simplicity and accuracy I'll just quote what the website says. "For best results and to maximize the longevity of Point6 products, use cold-to-warm water, drying on low heat and turning products inside out before beginning the process. No need to separate Point6 items from your other laundry, but stay away from bleach as it damages the natural wool fiber, and try to avoid drying with clothing that has velcro closures as these can damage wool fibers. Be sure to check the inside cuff to ensure the right size socks get reunited in your sock drawer."
Summary so far
Hey, it's a pair of socks, but after viewing all the technical information on the website it is obvious that a lot of detail went into the design of the entire line of Point6 socks, and as founder Peter Duke says in an interview (video on the website under the point6 difference) speaking about the deep heel pocket and the extra padding at the achilles on a ski sock, "It's the little things like that that we incorporate that make a difference". All I know is that they fit great and are very comfortable so far. Oh, and if I had a dollar for every time I typed 6point instead of point6 I'd be able to retire... This concludes my Initial Report.
Testing Conditions and Locations
I have worn the Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew socks on a fairly regular basis for the past five months. All testing was in North East Alabama, mostly while hiking on local trails, but sometimes while just out and about in my yard, at work or a trip to town. I also wore the socks several times while deer hunting which consisted of sitting in a tree stand or ground blind most of the time but did involve some hiking with pretty heavy loads. I was able to test the socks during snow and ice events as well as just cold and rainy conditions. The coldest temperature encountered during the test was 6 F (-14 C) and the warmest was around 70 F (21 C). I wore them on two overnight backpacking trips which were each about 4 miles (6 km) round trip. On the January trip temperatures ranged from 51 F (11 C) that evening down to 41 F (5 C) the next morning. On the April trip temperatures ranged from 68 F (21 C) down to 61 F (16 C). However, most of my use came while out hiking local trails in temperatures from around 25 F (-4 C) up to around 50 F (10 C). Any warmer than that and I was usually barefoot and even did a few barefoot walks in cooler conditions. The main reason for this is because I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis and going barefoot offered some relief.
Long Term Test Results
The Point 6 Hiking Tech socks are truly good winter socks. I wore the socks with my The North Face Ultra Fastpack boots during much of the testing. I feel the combination of the waterproof but non-insulated Fastpack boots and these socks was ideal for most of the winter conditions I encountered during the test. For example, it was 6 F (- 14 C) when I arrived at work one morning. I am not outside constantly but I do have to walk around outside for about thirty minutes upon arriving, checking the weather station we monitor and also checking equipment around the plant. I was moving enough that my feet stayed warm but I feel the socks were a big help.
I also wore them on several day hikes when temperatures were only slightly warmer. Sometimes my feet would sweat a little on these hikes, especially if there was a lot of elevation to be gained. In fact, the only time my feet ever felt cool was while sitting in my ground blind for about three hours on a 22 F (-6 C) morning. Even then my feet did not get real cold and warmed up as the day did.
My first overnight trip was on January 19, 2015. It had been very cold the previous week so I was glad to see some warmer temperatures. I hiked about 4 miles (6 km) total with a pack weight of around 25 lb (11 kg). The temperatures ranged from 51 F (11 C) that evening down to 41 F (5 C) the next morning. I stayed on relatively flat trails during the hike but still worked up a pretty good sweat before reaching my campsite for the night. However, the socks only felt slightly damp when I took my boots off and entered my hammock. I let them air out for a couple of hours (still on my feet) while I relaxed in the hammock. The socks were completely dry by the time I decided to turn in for the night so I went ahead and put my synthetic booties on over them. My feet stayed warm all night. To complete the picture I was wearing enough clothes to stay warm instead of using a sleeping bag. I used the stock pad that is sold for my double bottom Hennessy Deep Jungle Hammock which is similar to a windshield reflector. I was a little surprised that I was able to sleep very comfortable with clothing that was not much heavier than my 20 F (-7 C) synthetic sleeping bag.
On February 25, 2015 we had a pretty big snow event for our area. Grant, Alabama got 11.5 inches (29 cm) officially. Anyways, I wore the socks in my Ultra Fastpack boots for several hours that afternoon while out taking pictures of the snow. There was about 4 inches (10 cm) on the ground when I first ventured out and about 6 inches (15 cm) when I came back inside. I was not hiking hard or fast and the temperature was around 28 F (-2 C). It snowed pretty hard most of the time and I ended up walking about a mile (1.6 km) while out taking pictures around the neighborhood and down at the bluff. My feet did not sweat (if they did I couldn't tell it) and stayed warm the entire time I was out in the snow. I did have on a pair of waterproof pants that tie off at the bottom cuff which was sufficient to keep any snow from entering my boots
The next morning I got up and hiked to the holler with my wife and some friends. It had snowed several more inches during the night. We were out for about three hours. It was around 28 F (-2 C) during the hike but I stayed warm the entire time. As a matter of fact, I got hot while hiking back up the side of the mountain. Anyways, I wore the Point6 socks again, but due to the deep snow I opted for some 18 inch (46 cm) tall LaCross AeroHead boots. When I got home my clothes were pretty wet from sweat and my socks were even wetter. I took my socks off and let them dry across a chair in the kitchen. A few hours later they were dry to the touch and I put them back on to head back out for some more snow photography.
After the big snow melted away the cold weather was very sporadic so I haven't worn the socks as much as I did earlier in the test. However, I went on a recent day hike in some new shoes (Altra Olympus) and chose the Point6 socks for these shoes inaugural hike to the holler. I got these shoes specifically with my plantar fasciitis in mind and they have seemed to help. They are not waterproof so I have avoided wading in the creek. The Point6 socks were great in the new shoes, not only on this hike but several since then, including a couple of long walks on pavement. But back to the first hike, it was around 60 F (16 C) but my feet did not get too hot, or should I say, my socks felt dry at the end of the hike. I'm pretty sure they sweated a little on the hike back home because the rest of my clothes were pretty damp. Here I am down by the creek.
Author sporting the Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew socks
My last opportunity for testing was on my second overnight hike on April 2, 2015. Conditions were similar to the first overnight except that it was quite a bit warmer. When I first got in my hammock at around 9 PM it was 66 F (19 C). I had on some sweat pants and a flannel shirt and did not put on any extra clothes until 3 AM when I woke up feeling just a tad bit chilly. It had only dropped a couple of degrees but was pretty windy. I did not put on my booties though, even though I packed them. I woke up at around 6:15 AM and it was still not all that cold at 61 F (16 C). My feet still felt fine in just the socks.
Sleeping in the Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew
Care and Durability
I only highlighted a few of my times wearing the socks but they have held up very well during the test period. The always stayed up and have not appeared to stretch at all. The thickness seems as good as when new with only a slight hint of wear at the heel area. One thing I really liked about these socks is that even thought they are mostly wool (67%), I did not have to use special detergent to wash them. I just threw them in my front load washer along with other laundry and used All detergent packs meant for front load washers. The care directions do say they can be dried in the dryer on low heat but I chose to dry them naturally, usually on my deck in full sun but occasionally just hung across a chair back. I did not keep up with how many times I washed them but I estimate at least a dozen, and even then it was usually not because the smelled, they just got dirty and needed washing. I was often able to wear them two and even three times before needing to wash them. They are great hiking socks and I will be wearing them in cold weather when needed, which could be several winters, given how well they held up through the first winter.
This concludes my testing of the Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew socks. I would like to thank Point6 and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Point 6 Hiking Tech Med Mini Crew > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes
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