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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > REI Merino Wool Light Hiker > Owner Review by Sheila Morrissey

Hiking Socks

REI Merino
Photo from REI website


Date: June 1, 2007

Name: Sheila Morrissey
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Height: 5’ 8” (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Shoe Size: 10 US Women's
Email address: geosheila(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Goleta, California, USA

I enjoy hiking and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and Los Padres National Forest with friends and my dog, Patch. My pack is usually around 25 lb (11 kg), including consumables. In the past I most often wore light hiking boots, but I now usually wear trail runners. In either case, I always pair my hiking shoes with REI Merino Wool Light Hiker - Low hiking socks.

Manufacturer: Recreation Equipment, Inc.
Year: 2003-2006
Manufacturer’s Website:
Size: Medium
Color: Beige/Walnut
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2 oz (57 g) per pair
MSRP: $8.50

REI Merino Wool Light Hiker - Low hiking socks are unisex and are sold in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. They are made of 78% merino lambswool, 20% nylon and 2% Lycra spandex. They have a stretchy band across the arch, are reinforced at the toes and heels and have REI's Lin-Toe "no-feel" seems across the toe box. These "Low" version of the REI Merino Wool Light Hikers are ankle height. They are also available as crew socks. Beige/Walnut and Charcoal/Grey colors are both available.

I have used REI Merino Wool Light Hiker - Low hiking socks on most of my hiking and backpacking trips since I bought my first pair in 2003. I have worn them at elevations from sea level to 11,000 ft (3300 m), in temperatures ranging from 5 to 100 F (-15 to 38 C) and in clear, rainy and snowy conditions. When backpacking, I always change to a new pair before bed each night.

REI Merino    REI Merino

I am blown away by the high price of hiking socks. I bought my first pair of REI Merino Wool Light Hiker -Low hiking socks in 2003 simply because they were the least expensive hiking socks at the store. I have since purchased several more pairs of the same socks and have not purchased any other type of hiking socks. The look of the socks has changed slightly over the years (see photo of one mismatched pair above).

The REI Merino Wool Light Hiker - Low hiking socks feel only slightly thicker than my everyday cotton athletic socks. I really like the slight extra cushioning the hiking socks provide compared with my everyday socks, but I also like that they are not hugely thick like other wool hiking socks I have tried. Because I mostly hike in trail runners and don't have dedicated hiking boots, I don't want to have to buy separate shoes for use with extra thick hiking socks that would require I buy a size larger than my normal shoe size.

The fit of these socks is perfect. I have never had a problem with these socks slipping or bunching in my hiking shoes, nor have I had a problem with them rubbing against my feet, even when my feet have gotten wet. I find the stretchy arch band very comfortable and, since trying these socks, have switched to only wearing socks with an arch band like this. As promised by the Lin-Toe "no-feel" seams, I can't feel any seams on the inside of these socks.

All of my pairs of REI Merino Wool Light Hiker - Low hiking socks appear in similar condition, whether I've been using them for one or four years. They pill slightly after their first trip through the washing machine, but then, so far as I can tell, endure for several years without shrinking or losing elasticity. I try to dry them with low heat when I remember, but they have all been through high heat cycles on more than one occasion without shrinking. The reinforced toe boxes on the socks work well, too. My big toes turn up, so most of my everyday athletic socks last only a few months because they get holes over my big toes. This has never happened with these hiking socks.

  • Durable
  • Can't feel the seams because of the Lin-Toe "no-feel" seams
  • I like the stretchy arch band
  • Reasonable cost, for hiking socks
  • Machine-washable
  • None!

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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > REI Merino Wool Light Hiker > Owner Review by Sheila Morrissey

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