POINT 6 TREKKING TECH SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
March 29, 2016
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Steven M. Kidd
5' 9" (1.80 m)
185 lb (83.90 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lb (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I also do several annual outings lasting four to five days covering distances between 15 to 20 mi (24 - 32 km) per day. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Point6 Trekking Tech Heavy Cushion Crew Socks|
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.point6.com
MSRP: US $21.95
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 3.9 oz (111 g) per pair
Colors: Black, Taupe, Gray (Testing Gray)
Materials: 80% Wool, 18% Nylon, 2% Spandex
Point6, a Steamboat Springs, Colorado company, is the brainchild of Peter and Patty Duke. The couple had formerly founded another wool sock stalwart, SmartWool, before divesting and forming Point6 in 2008. Per the company website; "Point6 is named for 98.6 F, the body's optimal temperature and stands for the temperature stabilizing properties inherent to Point6 merino wool".
The wool used is 100% compact spun merino wool. This is designed to produce more fibers per inch in comparison to the ring spun technique most other sock manufacturers employ. The process is intended to create a softer product that is not itchy or bulky. The tight yarn is also designed to reduce loose fibers and minimize pilling. Merino wool is also known to be breathable and flame-resistant while regulating body temperature. Wool also absorbs body vapor and repels exterior water.
The company makes note on nearly every hyperlink on the website that their products are made in the United States of America with imported wool.
|Specs & Materials|
Point6 product specifications include several features the company highlights. They include a non-binding welt, ventilation panels, a deep heal pocket and a smooth toe seam. The socks also offer arch support, an ankle brace, reinforced heals and toes and 'sport-specific' cushioning. The socks also have both the size and style knitted into the interior cuff so they may be easily paired with the proper mate.
The company offers eight categories and those being tested are a part of the outdoor category. These crew socks are a heavy yarn, the second heaviest of six different weight specifications that Point6 offers. They define this weight as having a heavier cushioning that surrounds the entire foot and leg of the sock.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & SUMMARY
Three pair of Point6 socks arrived for testing. The first two are for wearing during the test series and the third for a durability comparison at the series end. They appeared well made with nice design features. I really enjoy the idea of the mesh ventilation panels placed just above the toe-box and on the instep. I also found the idea of knitting both the sock style and the size on the inner cuffs to be a novel idea.
|Exterior & Interior View of Socks|
I don't have much insight on ring versus compact spun merino wool but I can immediately attest that the socks are very comfortable! First the 'ultra-smooth' toe seam is truly that, as I can't actually feel the seam. After wearing the socks for well over an hour they have been nothing but soft and comfortable on my feet. I often wear merino wool socks on the trail because of both the breathability and the moisture wicking properties they offer, but often even the nicer brands are still itchy and scratchy to me. I generally wear a synthetic or silk liner sock with wool socks. These Point6 socks are so comfortable so far that I'm willing to give them a try without a liner!
I am interested in seeing how the ankle brace and cross-stretch on the sock leg performs in the backcountry. Will it prevent the socks from slipping down my legs while hiking? Time and testing should answer this question.
|Style & Size on Cuff|
As mentioned, the socks appear well made and a look at the interior of them proved to have no loose threads or fibers. The compact spun wool appears to be more than a gimmick as I found absolutely no loose threads anywhere in the product.
Although I enjoy wearing wool socks on the trail I historically haven't used heavy weight socks that often. In an effort to minimize perspiration I typically wear a light or medium weight wool sock, even in the winter. Wearing socks with cushioning around the entire foot-bed will be something I haven't done in quite some time, but since the winters in Indiana do get pretty cold I'm excited to give them a test.
The socks fit my foot perfectly and are very comfortable. After wearing the socks for some time around the house, the legs have not slipped toward my ankles. I have extremely large calves, so that can be a nuisance I often deal with when wearing crew socks. I hope trail testing will prove they stay up. At this point I have absolutely nothing negative to report on the product.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
12 - 15 November, 2015; Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Tennessee and Kentucky. I backpacked for 4 days and 3 nights out of the Bandy Creek area of Big South Fork with eight other hammock campers. We averaged 8 - 10 mi (13 - 16 km) per day with elevations ranging from 400 - 900 ft (122 - 274 m). Low temperatures at night were around 24 F (-4.5 C) and in the day they rose to a high of 52 F (11 C). The weather was wonderful with cloudless skies in the day and starry skies at night.
|Hiking the BSF with the Point6|
28 - 30 December, 2015, Straightstone, Virginia. I hiked and camped in the wooded areas along Straightstone Creek on my family farm in southern Virginia. The area is filled with rolling hills and the average elevation is 636 ft (194 m). Conditions were dry and temperatures ranged from the high 40's F (9 C) to around 25 F (-4 C) at night.
15 - 17 January, 2016; Hoosier National Forest, Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, near Bloomington, Indiana. This was a weekend solo backpacking off-trail and camping on Lake Monroe, covering a total of around 14 mi (23 km) Temperatures were as low as 20 F (-7 C) at night and rose to around 40 F (4 C) in the day. It was grey and dreary, but it never rained.
January 31, 2016. Perfect North, Indiana. The family spent the day skiing and snow tubing at a small ski resort in southern Indiana. It turned out to be a pretty warm day for snow sports as temperatures rose to 45 F (7 C) that day.
20 - 21 February, 2016, Brown County, Indiana. My son and I did an overnight outing covering a total of 6 mi (10 km) Low temperatures were right at freezing and highs were at 40 F (4 C), but the wind-chill made it feel considerably cooler. It drizzled lightly as we were hiking out on Sunday morning.
I also wore the socks regularly to work throughout the late Autumn and Winter on days that temperatures were below 20 F (-7 C) and every time I played in the snow with the kids.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD & SUMMARY
I wore either one or two pair of the Point6 socks on four backpacking trips, a ski trip and countless cold winter days throughout the winter. They were very comfortable with every combination of footwear I chose to use them with. I wore them with both lightweight and heavy hiking boots on the trail and with Bean Boots in snowy and icy conditions around town.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
|Worn Socks (Left) New Socks (Right)|
The socks are heavy weight, and I generally don't choose such a sock, even in colder conditions, but I found them very comfortable and warm. When I hiked higher miles in the November and the temperature rose above 50 F (10 C) I did have some decent perspiration after one full day on the trail. I did find them more suitable for cooler temperatures. I enjoyed them enough to wear around on cold winter days and even wore them to the office on the coldest of days.
The most important benefit is that I never once had a blister or even a hotspot while wearing the socks. After multiple days on the trail they didn't retain too much of an odor. I generally prefer to change socks after a day on the trail and allow them to dry overnight. I would hang them on the ridgeline of my hammock and they were never too damp or moist to put on again the next day.
After five months of use, repeated wear and multiple washings and dryings they appear no worse for the wear. I typically prefer air-dry wool socks, but in the spirit of testing I did put them in the electric dryer and noticed no issues from doing so. The socks have what I'd say is very nominal pilling in the ankle area, but have held up remarkably well in my opinion. I likely wouldn't have noticed anything had I not retained an unused pair to compare against at the end of the test. Take a look at one of the pair worn over the testing period compared to the unused socks in the image. I was impressed with how they held up both on the interior and the exterior.
In summary I'm very happy with the comfort and the durability of these socks. I can also say that my feet never once felt itchy or scratchy in these socks. The manufacturer claimed they were designed to minimize this and I truly believe they succeeded at this task. In fact I rarely wore any other wool socks in the winter period and on the rare occasion I pulled on a differing brand I would notice the difference in comfort.
I enjoyed these socks so well that I plan to purchase a lighter weight version for three-season wear. I liked these enough to keep in my gear stash, but believe they best suit me for winter use based on the way I perspire. I am definitely a fan of Point6 products and look forward to trying more products.
I'd like to thank both Point6 and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test the Trekking Heavy Crew Socks and I look forward to continued use of this fine product.
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Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd