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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Swiftwick Pursuit Hike Six Medium Socks > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

SWIFTWICK PURSUIT HIKE MEDIUM SOCKS

Initial Report - Dec 1 2016
Long Term Report - due Apr 2017

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
E-Mail: amatbrewer@yahoo.com
Age: 50
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 200 lb (90.7 kg)

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions the Northwest has to offer.  I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 30 lb (14 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer:

Swiftwick - PO Box 2363, Brentwood, TN 37024 

Year of Manufacture:

2016

Manufacturer’s Website:

www.swiftwick.com

MSRP:

23.99 US$

Measured weight:

3 oz (84 g) pair size L

Product

Product Description:

These are socks...er...um...more? Ok. These are wool socks, more specifically moisture wicking compression socks made from a blend of Merino wool and Olefin. They are available in multiple cushion weights and are advertised as being “the driest performance hiking sock in its class”.


Initial Report

Dec 1 2016

Sock and Shoe size reference

Size

S

M

L

XL

Men

3-5.5

6-9.5

10-12

12-15

Women

5-7.5

8-10

10.5-12.5

12.5-15

Euro

35-37

39-42

43-45

46-48


The socks look to have 3 different versions; Light and Medium Cushion Outdoor Compression Socks and a light cushion Cycling Compression sock (despite being called PURSUIT HIKE and are available in various colors. Oddly as far as I have been able to find they all are listed with the same weight 22g and foot-bed thickness “10”. I received 3 pair, two of the medium cushion (one Coal/White the other Heather/Red) and 1 pair of light cushion (Brown/Red). Per our normal procedure I will be primarily wearing one pair, use a second as a ‘backup’ (e.g.  primary pair too wet to wear). The third pair will be used to compare to the others to evaluate wear at the end of the Long Term report.

I had never heard of Olefin so I did a bit of online research. After digging around I discovered Olefin seems to be another name for Polypropylene and/or Polyethylene). Olefin fiber is touted with a number of features that are relevant to socks including abrasion resistant, quick drying, resistant to deterioration from mildew, perspiration, rot, and weather, and as having the “lowest specific gravity of all fibers” (fibersource.com, Wikipedia, and other sources). In my research I have read conflicting descriptions of it not regaining its shape after being stretched/crushed, and bounding back well after stretching/crushing. I presume this is due to the various forms this fiber can take and the various treatments it can receive. My reading suggests that Olefin can be “modified in a wide range with additives” including antibacterial. According to the manufacturers web site they use “Swiftwick's signature Olefin fiber” but does not provide any specifics. The Swiftwick PURSUIT HIKE uses Merino wool (I love Merino wool).

Before opening the packages I placed the 3 pairs side by side and compared the thickness to see if I could tell the light cushion pair from the other two and found them to be noticeably thinner (about 1/3). The packaging includes some boastful text including “the BEST SOCKS you will EVER wear GUARANTEED” as well as some more informative information such as having a contoured compression fit so they fit well and move with the wearer, and a description as to the socks moisture wicking abilities. The labeling indicates the medium socks are composed of 69% Merino, 15% Nylon, and 13% Olefin, while the light uses 63%/18%/15% respectfully.
 
I would note that I have discovered one of the most important factors in keeping my feet comfortable is how effective my socks are at moisture management. I have found that the better a sock is at keeping my feet dry, the less thickness (insulation) I need. This is most apparent for cross country skiing since I use tight fitting boots that do not breathe well, and experience periods of high activity intermixed with periods of low to no activity. So I am very interested in if these stand up to their claims about wicking.

Long Term Report

Apr 11 2017
Cold DayUsage:
  • Nordic Skiing/Snowshoeing, White Pass Ski Area, 12 days
  • Snowshoeing, day trip, North Fork of the Tieton, Eastern Cascades Washington [18km (11 m) of groomed track. A patrol day = at least 4hrs of skiing/snowshoeing.]
  • Snowshoeing, 2 days/1 night, Pacific Crest Trail Central Washington  5 miles (8 km)
  • Daily wear

These socks are warm. We experienced some very cold days this winter, one particularly memorable day the high temperature was 14 F (-10 C) and having not looked at a weather report I was a bit under dressed. As a result I had a difficult time staying warm throughout the day. I spent the morning snowshoeing and the afternoon Nordic skiing. As there was only one other patroler with me that day, for sweep at the end of the day I had to do half of our 18k (11 mi). Soon after starting I could already not feel my fingers. I was hesitant to stop during sweep for fear of just how cold I would get. Throughout this, to my surprise my feet stayed warm. Note that historically my fingers AND feet tend to get cold quite easily. Having my feet stay warm under these conditions was significant.

Cozy with my best friendOther days were at or above freezing. During these days the challenge for Nordic patrollers is moisture management. We work up some heat and sweat, and so wear a minimum of insulation to avoid overheating. The down side is if I let my base layer get too wet, I can get really cold during stops, which are sometimes unavoidable, and can be prolonged. These socks did an excellent job of wicking moisture and thereby kept my feet dry.

Overall the fit and feel of these socks is fine. They feel good, are snug but not tight, and they tend to stay in place regardless of the activity I am pursuing. However I would note that during this test I have had 3 blisters on the heel of my right foot all occurring while snowshoeing with these socks and the same pair of boots. This is significant since I normally average about 1 blister every 2-3 years. I put the primary cause of the blisters on the boots, but since I have used those boots with other socks and not gotten blisters I would put at least a small amount of blame on the socks for not helping to prevent it. By the end of the testing I started taping that heel prophylactically in order to prevent a recurrence.

I compared the pair I have been wearing to the pair set aside and unused. While the used sock is still in good condition it is showing noticeable indications of wear. They have more of a “fuzzy” look and show some pilling especially around the heel. I can see no indications of thinning and the elastic of the leg seems to be holding up quite well, they do not sag during use. Throughout the test with only 1 or 2 exceptions where I put them in a clothes washer, the socks have been hand washed, and hung to dry.

In summary I find these socks to fit well, to be very warm, and to wick moisture well. They seem to be showing more wear then I would expect after this amount of use. And I am concerned about how much they contributed to the blisters I experienced. I plan to continue to use these for cold weather use but probably not for hiking and/or snowshoeing due to the blisters I experienced. And doubt I will use them much in the warmer weather.
Post comparsion

This concludes my Report. I would like to thank the folks at Swiftwick and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 



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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Swiftwick Pursuit Hike Six Medium Socks > Test Report by David Wilkes



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