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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Swiftwick Pursuit Hike Six Medium Socks > Test Report by Michael Pearl

SWIFTWICK PURSUIT HIKER MEDIUM SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - November 26, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - April 11, 2017

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 43
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Swiftwick IMAGE 1
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: www.swiftwick.com
Made in the USA
MSRP: US$21.99 (Light Cushion)
US$23.99 (Medium Cushion)

Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: Light Cushion 2.3 oz (65 g) / Medium Cushion 2.9 oz (82 g)

Materials: 63% Merino Wool, 18% Nylon, 15% Olefin

Sizes Available:
Small, Medium, Large and X-Large IMAGE 2
Size Tested: Medium
Tester Shoe Size: US Men's 9

Light Cushion Colors Available:
Brown Red, Coal Kelly, Heather Gray and Heather Mint
Color Testing : Coal Kelly, Brown Red and Heather Gray

Medium Cushion Colors Available:
Brown Orange, Coal White and Heather Red
Color Testing: Brown Orange

Details:
- Linked Toe Technology
- Contoured Compression Fit
- Fiber-First Moisture Wicking
- Dry Performance
- High Knit Density - 200 Needles

Linked Toe Technology and Contoured Compression Fit is part of Swiftwick's trademarked Managed Compression. This is a "second skin fit" that hugs the shape of the foot eliminating negative space inside the sock. It stabilizes the foot's ligaments and muscles to reduce swelling and increase circulation.

Fiber-First Moisture Wicking and Dry Performance is Swiftwick's advanced knit pattern fusing olefin (a synthetic fiber with great strength, abrasion resistance, low moisture absorption and low specific gravity meaning high warmth to weight ratio) and Merino wool. This combination has very good wicking and moisture repelling properties.

Swiftwick states this is the highest density sock available. The high needle count and density allows the sock to create a second-skin feel which prevents bunching and therefore fiction blisters as well as preventing debris from penetrating the sock and causing irritation and blistering.

Swiftwick Guarantee - provide the best experience possible, if unsatisfied with product contact Swiftwick
and they "will take care of you".

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I received three pairs of socks of my color preference. Each pair was held in a display hanger and wrapped in plastic. The hang tag is rich in information (more details in the next section). The socks are all well made with no loose stitches or threads. They feel nice to the touch and have a fair amount of stretch to them. Each section (toe, midfoot, heel and ankle) of the sock has a different fabric pattern and direction. At first glance these socks appear smaller than other socks I own. My guess is both of these observations are due to the contoured compression fit. The Pursuit Hiker socks pass Station 1, visional inspection.

IMAGE 3


My color choice was based on information gathered on the Swiftwick company website. I read the item description of light or medium cushion for each color. But clicking on either light or medium cushion to get more information provided the same details about foot bed thickness and weight for both. So I made my selection based on solely on color. Only upon receiving the socks did the color/cushion detail become clear. So I ended up with two light and one medium cushion pairs of socks. This is no big deal as I usually go with thinner socks in the warmer months. However the temperatures are now dropping as we move into winter here and soon I will want a thicker sock. I feel if the website did not present this slightly conflicting information I would have selected colors differently.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

There is lots of information on the hang tag. This includes the usual make, model, size, materials and made in information. Of more interest are the care instructions as follows; machine wash cold, no bleach. Tumble dry low, do not iron.

The Swiftwick guarantee is provided along with customer service contact information. This test series is with the Pursuit Hike Six, this refers to the cuff height. The tag mentions the Pursuit is available in seven different cuff heights from zero (below ankle) to twelve (knee high). Also as mentioned earlier the Pursuit is available in variety of cushions options. Four options are listed; ultra light, light, medium and heavy. Again information I did not find on the website. Both of these options are explained to be possible by the highest fiber density knitting in its class. Other information found on the hanger has been listed and explained in previous sections. Some of the points include sock features like fit, wicking and materials.

TRYING IT OUT

And moving on to Station 2, fit inspection. The Pursuit Hiker socks go on in three steps. I expected this much being IMAGE 4compression and "second-skin" fitting socks. The first step is sliding my foot into the calf section of the sock. At this point I cannot push my foot any further into the sock. The second step is pulling the foot section of the sock onto my toes. The third and final step, pulling the calf section up to my calf completes putting on the sock. Which up until now has been a process I have given little thought to.

The Pursuit Hiker socks are snug without being tight. This is most noticeable around the arch of my foot and heel. There is almost a lifting sensation in the arch of my foot. This is all rather unusual as I have not worn a compression sock before. I have socks that have similar fabric patterns at each section of the foot. Even the close fit is familiar but not the squeeze of the arch. I suspect this is the nylon and/or olefin contributing to the compression sensation as all my other socks are 100% Merino wool.

In the past I have not been a fan of nylon or other synthetics in my socks. My feet usually become too moist and uncomfortable with a synthetic directly against my feet. However the compression the Pursuit socks provide is very appealing. And the warmth quality of olefin is promising for winter use. Station 2 fit inspection passed, the Pursuit Hiker socks are next out into the station 3, field use.

SUMMARY


IMAGE 5The Swiftwick Pursuit Hike socks are exceptional. They are very well made and extremely comfortable. I experienced Achilles tendonitis for the first time this past summer. It prematurely ended a two week backpack trip after one week. While healing, I read compression socks can help alleviate this condition. While I hope this never happens again I am curious if I notice any difference wearing these socks. So far I have only worn the socks while lounging around the house. At this point the most noticeable thing is the compression fit around the arch of my foot. I almost feel like my feet are being massaged while wearing them. I look forward to my first outing and what my feet have to say about these socks then.






LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

All testing has taken place in New Hampshire, USA.

Day Hike at Storrs Pond
IMAGE 1
worn but not torn

Elevation - 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 8 mi (13 km) Temperature 32 F (0 C) with snow, sleet, light rain and back to snow for a total of 5 in (13 cm) of fresh mix

Day Hike at Velvet Rocks
Elevation - 525 to 1100 ft (160 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 20 lb (9 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 5 mi (8 km) Temperature 4 F (-15 C) warming to 10 F (-12 C) clear and cold, trail covered in ice and hard snow

Cross Country Skiing at Girl Brook
Elevation - 425 to 600 ft (130 to 183 m)
Pack Weight - 5 lb (2.25 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 6 mi (9.6 km) Temperature 33 F (0 C) and windy with fresh 6 in (15 cm) of snow

Overnight at Velvet Rocks
Elevation - 525 to 1100 ft (160 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 25 lb (11 kg)
IMAGE 2
very minor pilling at the toe

Distance and Conditions - 5 mi (8 km) Temperature 20 F (-7 C) cooling to 10 F (-12 C) clear and calm, trail a poor mix of ice, snow and leaves (ugh!).

Day Hike at Velvet Rocks
Elevation - 525 to 1100 ft (160 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 20 lb (9 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 5 mi (8 km) Temperature 20 F (-6.7 C) clear and calm with 18 in (46 cm) of fresh, puffy snow

Day Hike at Balch Hill
Elevation - 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (6.8 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 5 mi (8 km) 30 F (-8 C) and windy. Hard-packed snow and ice covered trail

Two Night Backpack at Mt Cardigan
Elevation - 1400 to 2250 ft (427 to 680 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.6 kg)
IMAGE 3
very minor pilling at the heel

Distance and Conditions - 8 mi (13 km) Night / Day 1 low around 35 F (1.7 C) calm and clear unseasonable high of 55 F (13 C). Night 2 low 20 F (-6.7 C) with 0.5 in (1.3 cm) rain turning to ice with winds around 40 mph (64 kph). Day 2 high of 30 F (-1 C) winds calming by afternoon.

Day Hike Mts Tom, Field and Willey
Elevation - 1800 to 4340 ft (549 to 1323 m)
Pack Weight - 25 lb (11 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 9.8 mi (15.8 km) starting at 20 F (-6.6 C) with windy and snowing ending at 40 F (4 C) with clear calm skies. Trail firm packed snow with 3 to 6 in (7.6 to 15 cm) of fresh snow and very steep in two sections. Three streams crossed two fully frozen the other partially frozen.

Day Hike Storrs Pond
Elevation - 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4 mi (6.4 km) Temperature 15 F (-9 C) very windy and snowing heavy with 8 in (20 cm) of fresh snow on the ground.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Station 3 field testing has been almost 60 mi (96.5 km) on nine outings of hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and two overnight backpacks. I have matched the Pursuit Hiker socks up with my three season, insulated winter and Nordic ski boots. Plus a few days of wear with my work shoes when I missed laundry day and ran out of socks. The fit and comfort in all four pairs of footwear were very good.

The duration of field testing I wore one pair (green) and carried a spare (red). The third gray pair remained unused in new condition to act as a comparison to the used worn pair.

I used the backup pair on two occasions. First on the Mt. Cardigan overnight trip it was so warm the first day that there was substantial snowmelt. My feet became damp rather quickly snowshoeing through deep, soft, wet snow. Then that evening it rained and my boots and socks became saturated. I was very happy to change into dry, warm spare socks and crawl into my sleeping bag. The second time was on Mts. Tom, Field and Willey. I opted not to put on gaiters because the snow on the trail was well packed and firm. However as the day warmed and the snow softened I found several spots were snow snuck into my boots. This in turn made for wet socks. I made a pit stop for a sock change and snack. With refreshed fuel and feet I finished the hike comfortable and happy.

At the time of writing this report I put all three pairs of socks side by side. The only visual difference is some very minor pilling on the heels and toes of the worn pairs. I cannot feel or smell any difference between the three.

One thing that has changed during the test is the way the socks go on. It no longer takes three steps to get the socks on. My guess is they have broken in or stretched a bit. I can now get them on in two steps. I am able to get my toes through the calf section and into the toe section in one pull. Then it's any easy second pull up the calf. This is what I am more accustomed to with my other socks. The new unworn pair requires a little more effort and has a slightly snugger feel around my arch.

My feet and toes have been warm on all outings with no cold spots. And I was surprised my feet were never moist, which I have encountered in the past with synthetic fibers. So I have been very pleased with the blend of fibers in the Pursuit Hiker socks. The downside to using these socks in the winter is their length. They do not come very high up the calf. Any cold air that blows up my pant leg because of the shorter sock gets to my exposed skin. This makes for slightly less than warm lower legs. However the point was mute as soon as measurable snow came around. Once the snow is ankle deep I am almost always wearing gaiters. This ended the possibility of any updrafting.

SUMMARY

In closing the Swiftwick Pursuit Hiker socks have performed great and held up very well. They remain in relatively the same condition as when new. There are no rips, tears, bare spots or loose threads. And thinking of held up I feel the Pursuit Hiker socks provided extra support and held up the arches of my feet. I thank goodness I have not experienced any foot or ankle tendon issues again. While I cannot say this is entirely because of the socks I can say I feel a change in my arches when putting them on and taking them off. I am excited to wear the Pursuit Hiker socks into the warmer months.

This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to thank Swiftwick and BackpackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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