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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > SmartWool Hiking Medium Crew > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter

SMARTWOOL MEDIUM HIKING CREW
BY CHAD POINDEXTER
OWNER REVIEW

May 15, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: stick1377 (AT) gmail (DOT) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I am a fairly new hiker and have hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. I initially obtained slightly heavy gear, however, I am currently making efforts to go lighter. I love my tent and appreciate a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. So far my distance has averaged around 10 mi (16 km) per day, depending on terrain. My wife or my son typically tag along with me on my hikes.

PRODUCT SPECS & INFORMATION

IMAGE 2
Courtesy of SmartWool

Manufacturer: SmartWool
Year of Purchase: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.smartwool.com
MSRP: (US) $ 17.95
Listed Weight: N / A
Measured Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g) / Pair
Size Reviewed: XL
Other Sizes Available: S, M & L
Color Reviewed: Gray
Other Colors Available: Navy, Sage & Dark Brown
Materials:
74% Merino Wool
25 % Nylon
1 % Elastic
Cushion: Medium
Height: Crew
Advanced Technology: WOW (Wool On Wool)
Other Features: Arch Braces, Flat-Knit Toe Seam

The SmartWool Hiking Medium Crew socks (hereafter referred to as the "socks") are built with hikers and backpackers in mind, however, the overall design of these socks have classified them as all-purpose, three-season socks. The medium weight cushion provides comfort while on or off the trail as well as with or without a backpack on. And the crew height length allows the socks to be worn in cold conditions while still maintaining warmth.

SmartWool also added in an arch brace to their design, which both provides support to the arches, as well as helps to hold the sock in place while wearing the socks out on the trail. And while there is plenty of wool both to warm as well as cushion the foot, SmartWool uses a flat-knit toe seam to help maximize comfort. SmartWool also uses the WOW (Wool On Wool) Technology, which is basically adding an extra layer of wool to the high impact areas, such as in the heel and the forefront, of the sock which helps protect from shock and abrasion.

SmartWool also takes pride in their socks ability to manage moisture as well as odor-control. The SmartWool socks actually absorb moisture while it is still in the form of a vapor rather than an actual liquid. The vapor is then transferred through the SmartWool and then evaporates as it reaches the outside of the sock. This is also the reason for SmartWool's success in controlling odor. Since the moisture is not allowed to form a liquid, bacteria is not able to successfully grow, which results in less odor.

FOOTPRINTS

I bought two pairs of these socks almost one year ago, and have worn each pair approximately twenty to twenty-five times each. Both pairs have been washed probably between fifteen to twenty times. I love wearing these socks, whether hiking or not. I have worn these socks comfortably with not only my Merrell hiking boots, but also a pair of Adidas running shoes, Converse All-Stars, Crocs and even a pair of Dr. Martens all leather boots. I have worn them on trail as well as off trail, for walking trails at the local city park to wearing them as my daily socks to work in.

IMAGE 1
At Big Hill Pond State Park


I have worn these on a few day hikes to some of the local state parks around my home as well as some overnight trips. I have used these to both hike in as well as to sleep in while on some of these overnight trips. I have worn them in a range of temperatures from 15 - 90 F (-9 to 32 C). I have worn them while hiking in conditions that have ranged from wet and rainy to sunny and dry, on trails that have consisted of dirt (sometimes mud) and rocks (some small and some big).Average elevation at the local state parks are between 400 - 500 ft (122 - 152 m).

I have worn these socks while on a few multi-day trips, including a five day trip on the Appalachian Trail (AT) which I used these socks to hike in exclusively. Temperatures here ranged between 61 - 85 F (16 - 29 C). Conditions ranged from sunny dry days to a few rainy, slightly wet days. Elevations ranged between 1,770 - 4,450 ft (539 - 1,356 m), and there were many ups and downs in between! We trudged over dirt and rocks and roots, and loved every minute of it!

I also wore these socks while on a three day trip to Sipsey Wilderness last November. The temperatures were around 25 - 40 F (-4 to 4 C) and mostly sunny. The trails were well maintained here and consisted of mostly dirt with some rocks, however, there were a few places I had to actually climb over rocks, and others where I even had to squeeze between wet and slimy rock walls. And even though the days were sunny and nice, the air was still thick with moisture as we were following the Sipsey River inside a boxed-canyon the whole time.

I carried these socks with me on a three day hike in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park this past January. However, I did not use them to hike in on this trip, but rather to change into some clean and dry socks while at camp. The temperatures here were between 20 - 35 F (-7 to 2 C) and snowy.

IMAGE 4
Hiking the AT

SUMMARY

I have been impressed with these socks since the moment I put them on. They are extremely soft. Not only do they feel good while walking around in, but they just feel good in general, around the entire foot as well as around my leg. I can actually feel the arch support band in the socks, and they are comfortable the way the hug my foot. And since the top 7 in (18 cm) of the sock is ribbed, the soft wool actually hugs my lower leg. And while wearing the socks with my boots, they are some of the most comfortable socks I have worn.

I actually bought these socks at the same time that I bought my Merrell hiking boots. While in the store I grabbed these socks off the rack to try on with the boots so that I could get the right size boots. So, right from the get-go, these socks have worked well with these boots. However, why wouldn't they feel comfortable since both the socks and the boots were right off the shelf? Since then, I have put approximately 140 miles (225 km) on my boots, and I have worn these socks while doing so for all except about thirty of those miles. However, I have probably put at least those missed thirty miles on the socks while wearing them with some of my other shoes.

The socks have held up very well from this use. The socks have done a wonderful job at staying in place around my foot, despite a long days hike in the mountains. And thanks to the ribbed design the socks do extremely well at staying up on my legs. While there has been a few times that I have reached down to pull my socks up, it was not necessarily because they were slipping down, but more so out of habit. Overall I am impressed with the socks ability to stay up around my legs.

And true to SmartWool's promise, I have not had any issues with moisture build up while wearing these socks. However, the real plus to this is that I have not had any blisters, or even hot spots, while wearing these socks. Another great thing about this is that the odor has in fact, been minimal.

I have learned to be careful while washing these socks as they pill very easily. After the first two or three washings I realized this and have since began turning the socks inside out while washing. According to the washing instructions on these socks, wash on gentle cycle in warm water, and tumble dry on low. Here is a picture of the socks piling.

IMAGE 5


Overall these socks are awesome. They are comfortable, and they have held up well over time. Other than the piling, the socks are the same as the day I bought them. They still fluff up well, and are still very soft. I will be purchasing a few more pairs of these to wear on a daily bases once the temperatures cool down again.

THE GOOD

1. The comfort.
2. They are not too thick to wear with a wide range of footwear.
3. They are warm.
4. They stay in place on my foot.
5. They stay up on my leg.
6. They take a few days of wear before stinking.
7. The elastic retains its elasticity over time.
8. They are quick to dry out.

NOT SO GOOD

1. The price.
2. They pill easily.

SIGNATURE

IMAGE 3
Chad Poindexter
"Stick"

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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