SWIFTWICK PURSUIT SEVEN MID-CALF SOCKS
August 15, 2013
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.swiftwick.com
MSRP: US$ 21.99
Listed Weight: 2.3 oz (64 g)
Measured Weight: 2 oz (59 g)
Sizes Available: Small to XLarge - unisex sizing
Size Reviewed: Medium
Colors Available: Black, Brown, Gray
Color Reviewed: Gray
* A light compression sock with a 7 inch (17.8 cm) single layered cuff and 1 inch (2.5 cm) welt which hits mid-calf.
* Material: 64% Merino, 29% Nylon, 7% Spandex
* Lifetime Warranty
* Made in the USA
|Picture Courtesy of Swiftwick|
The Swifwick Pursuit Seven Mid-Calf Socks are Australian Merino wool light compression socks. The compression part of the socks is compliments of the 29% Nylon and 7% Spandex materials in the construction.
The Swiftwick Pursuit line of socks is labeled from Zero to Twelve and the number in the style name corresponds to the length of the sock from "no-show" socks all the way to "over-the-calf." So in this review, the Pursuit Seven indicates it has a 7 inch (17.8 cm) length which for me is just about mid-calf. The welt - top edge of the cuff - is a generous 1 inch (2.5 cm). The whole sock body is knitted in a 200-needle construction, surprisingly thin, flat stitch. The socks are "thin" that is, except for the soles which are noticeably more cushioned from the heel to just over the top of my toes.
Just above the heel and circling over the top of my foot is a black and gray checkered pattern which appears to be more stretchy than the rest of the sock. The same stitching pattern is repeated at the toe box. "Swiftwick" is over-stitched just below and there is a Swiftwick logo at the back top of each cuff.
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
I've had the pleasure of wearing the Swiftwick Pursuit Seven socks for about two months now. While that may not sound like a terribly long period of time, I have probably worn them more in that period of time and put more miles/kilometers on them than normal as I have worn them at least 2-3 days a week (sometimes, more). Really!
I currently live on a construction site (finally, we are building our house!) and that means, at best, dirt. At worst, that means mud. Not to mention, nails, boards, holes and uneven dirt! So, my footwear for all this summer has been boots and yes, socks. No cute, little strappy sandals for me, no sir! And that's just everyday wear. Of course, I also don socks and boots for weekly hiking/backpacking trips as well. Mostly, I've worn the Pursuit Seven socks with my current pair of trail runners when at home, in town and on generally level, more-or-less, groomed trails. On backpacking trips, I wore the socks with mid-height boots, especially when my pack weight exceeded 20 lb (9 kg) or more, such as on our Huron Peak trek.
|Can you see my socks?||Since I wanted to evaluate the Pursuit Seven this summer, I deliberately wore them more often. I counted 22 days with these socks on my feet and I estimate over 120 miles (193 km) traveled.|
Almost all my forays were in southern Colorado, except for a short stint in Utah where I was able to get in a short (3 miles/5 km) evening hike during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The weather was mostly hot and when it wasn't hot, it was hotter! Rarely, over the past two months has the daytime temperature been under 85 F (29 C) and very often it was well over 100 F (37 C). Fortunately, thanks to our high desert climate, the nighttime cools down to the low 60s F (Teens C) and on one backpack near Huron Peak, Colorado, we were surprised by a night time low below freezing. So the Pursuit Seven socks have survived wild temperature extremes.
Other than casual wear, all of my backpacking and hiking took place on rough terrain, whether bushwhacking in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property behind our property or on established trails in state or national parks lands. This entailed packed dirt, scree, granite slabs, loose rocks and boulders and oh yeah, mud, along with cactus and other prickly "hitch-hiker" vegetation.
When I evaluate a pair of socks, I look at 4 things: fit, warmth, wicking and durability. I generally feel that if I'm not aware of my footwear - and that includes my socks - they must be doing their job properly. I prefer to focus on the joys of the outdoors when I'm on the trail, not the clothes I am wearing. So, if at the end of the day, I look down and see my socks and think - "Oh, I have the Pursuit Seven socks on. How did they do today?" - that's good thing!
|That means the socks weren't so tight as to leave mini-mountain ridges on my calves nor were they so loose as to be creeping downward into my boots. It means my feet were warm when I was unprepared for the freezing temperatures at night at the trailhead on Huron Peak. It means my feet weren't sweating and causing me blisters when it was 100 F (37 C) on Music Pass, It means the bottoms of my feet were cushioned. All of which together means, I like them. I really, really, like them!|
The Pursuit Seven is a "light compression" sock that Swiftwick claims will promote blood flow, thus improving circulation and increasing performance so it is very "fitted". There is a size chart on the Swiftwick website but I found the Medium size to be typical and to fit my women's size 8 (boot) feet just fine. I particularly appreciated the way the socks stayed put on my legs when scrambling up the trail, especially on the home stretch of Huron Peak, one of Colorado's famous Fourteeners (mountains summits over 14,000 ft/4267 m). Faced with a very steep trail and large boulders, I really didn't want to be stopping to pull up my socks! I was too busy using my hands to hang on!
I am a fairly recent convert to the wearing of wool all year round. I used to pull out the wool clothing at the first frost and pack it back away when the daffodils bloomed. I was under the delusion that wool would be itchy and too warm in the summer. Well, no more! Wool is a fantastic natural fiber that I come to rely on in the hottest of the hot weather. It's no warmer than any other fabric - actually, it's cooler than a lot of my socks that are more synthetic. Thanks to the Pursuit Seven's syntheitc/wool combination, the socks wick away my inevitable sweat like no other fabric does. Wool is hydrophilic and absorbs the moisture keeping it away from my tootsies and keeping them dry. The Pursuit Seven socks are wool and they perform off the charts in this aspect. And despite the extreme heat I exposed the socks to, and even after wearing them 3 days straight in that heat, the antimicrobial material (wool) kept my feet from clearing the tent at night.
As for "durability", despite the abuse I've heaped on the Pursuit Seven socks and after multiple washings, they look brand-new. There has been no pilling, stretching, sagging or shrinking. According to the care directions on the socks' packaging, I washed the socks in cold water. I always wash using a tech wash liquid soap. While Swiftwick indicated the "tumble dry low", I air dry almost all my backpacking/hiking clothing and the Pursuit Seven socks are no exception. No bleach was used and Swiftwick didn't really need to tell ME to not iron them! I am very pleased with the way the socks are holding up.
|Summit Bid on Huron Peak|
1.) Solid, cushioned footbed helps to keep my feet from trail fatigue.
2.) Stays in place during rigorous hiking and climbing even after several washings.
3.) Wicks away sweat to keep my feet dry and blister-free.
4.) I like the Swiftwick "conserve and recycle" philosophy and the fact they use no chemicals in the socks to wick away moisture!
1.) Um, let me think . . . I can't think of a thing, actually!
Anyone who knows me knows I am addicted to three things: hats, shoes and - YES - SOCKS!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
I have dozens of brands and styles but, of course, I tend to grab some of the same ones more often than others. The Swiftwick Pursuit Seven Socks are now among those favored pairs. Having had the opportunity to try out these socks provided by Swiftwick was a chance I jumped at without a second thought. And am I glad that I did! These socks are supportive without being constrictive, warm without being sweaty and all-round, plain comfy! I plan to wear them throughout the years until they wear out and considering there is a "lifetime warranty" that might be a long time to come.
Thank you, Swiftwick for making the Pursuit Seven!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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