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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > TCK Slog Series Topo Socks > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

TCK SLOG SERIES TOPO SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER
INITIAL REPORT
April 22, 2007

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98@hotmail.com
AGE: 43
LOCATION: Columbus, OH
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts, I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do a few weekend hikes per year, and have recently spent 2 weeks backpacking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmarron, New Mexico. I like to travel "in comfort", so I often pack a little heavier than needed, but I'm trying to cut down. With all of my investment into this trip, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek long after the kids are goneÖ


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: TCK
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: TCK Slog Series Homepage
MSRP: US$9.95 (per pair)
Listed Weight: not given
Measured Weight: 1.96 oz (55.5 g)
Other details: I am testing the Crew style of sock, size L-XL (corresponding to USA Mens size 10-13/Womens 10-12). The socks also come in a S-M size (corresponding to USA Mens size 5-10/Womens 6-10), and are available in quarter (above ankle) or roll (below ankle) styles, as well.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I received the TCK Slog series TOPO socks packaged in a compact cardboard package, containing a very nice outdoors vista on the front, suggesting that these socks are aimed at the backpacking market.

The TOPOs themselves appear to be a sturdily constructed, tightly woven sock, with a composition of 77% polypropylene, 17% nylon, 3% lycra, and 3% elastic, as listed on the side of the package. The socks come in two color schemes: one is a white-based color with black and red highlights, whereas the other is a bluish-green with black and red accents. The pair I am testing uses the latter of these, and I think they are rather cool looking socks:
TOPO crew socks, color scheme 2
They have an interesting color scheme, although most of this will be hidden under my boots when I actually wear them for hiking. One feature that I find nice is the fact that the socks are marked asymmetrically, with the footprint logo on one side of the upper part of the sock. Although this might seem like a small thing, it will allow me to have a "right" sock and a "left" sock, which I find tends to help because my socks tend to wear a little unevenly.
The socks have a nice soft feel, with a stretchy character due to the elastic. They appear to be well-made and fairly lightweight, as advertised.

TRYING THEM OUT

I wore the socks this weekend on an overnight with some light day hiking in sneakers. I was a little worried that they might be a little too tight because of the elastic, but after spending the day on my feet, I can report no problems, and actually they felt quite good on my feet. I'm now looking forward to a more serious test in the next couple of weeks, including using them for backpacking around central Ohio, and for running and biking around town.


Thanks to TCK (Twin City Knitting Company, Inc) for providing these socks for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the chance to run around in them.

Please check back in two months to see my impressions after field testing...


FIELD REPORT
June 26, 2007

FIELD USE

In accordance with their billing as socks capable of a variety of activities, I have worn my TCK TOPO socks under a variety of conditions. Initially, I wore them on 3 short weekend hikes in central Ohio. Surprisingly, the weather was very pleasant on these treks, with dry conditions and highs around 78 F (25 C) and lows only around 50 F (10 C). I have also worn the socks biking around town (usually about 10 mi, or 16 K) as well jogging (typically 3 mi, or 5K).

FIT AND COMFORT

As I noted in my Initial Report, the TOPOs have a fair amount of elastic, and this gives them a nice comfortable feel. They are much more stretchy that my typical wool liners worn for hiking, so there I have actually had fewer concerns about rubbing on feet. They are not too tight and the fabric has remained comfortable at this level of usage.

The manufacturer's site states that the elastic nature of the arch support is supposed to reduce foot fatigue and I would have to agree that this feature works. I have definitely noticed more bounce to my step after getting off the trail with these socks, as compared to others I have worn. The socks also have very good wicking capability. When I have returned from jogging in the warm weather, my body is usually covered in a good lather, with the exception of TOPO-clad feet, which have remained quite dry. The socks are also a little more substantial than my liners (although less so than a pair of cotton athletic socks) so they do provide some measure of padding to the feet.

WEAR AND TEAR

So far, I have not noticed any appreciable wear on the socks. I always wear my 'right' sock on my right foot, and the left on left, but I have not yet noticed the socks beginning to deform to fit my feet. I also report no particular worn spots on the bottom of the socks or any pilling of the fabric. I haven't taken any special care when washing the socks, and they have not had any difficulty tolerating the washing machine, either in terms of losing their elasticity or in losing their color.

FIELD IMPRESSIONS

To date, I have been very impressed with the TOPO socks. I have found them to be comfortable and to hold up well over the period of the field report. I am anticipating wearing them on an upcoming canoe trip, so I will have a better opportunity to test their comfort when wet and their ability to dry rapidly. I will continue to wear them on all upcoming hikes, and during my continuing efforts to run and bike to keep my activity levels up when I am not on the trail.

BACK TO THE INITIAL REPORT


LONG-TERM REPORT
September 3, 2007

I have continued to wear my TOPO socks during a variety of activities around town, including jogging, hiking, and a lot of biking. I usually wear the socks by themselves, and I can report that they have remained comfortable over the period of the test. They have very good wicking function when worn by themselves, such that my legs down to the sock line are sweaty, but my ankles and feet are dry.

I have also worn them on 2 brief outings in central Ohio as liners underneath wool hiking socks. On these trips, I wore sneakers as it was warm (70 F/20 C and up) and dry and did not cover a lot of distance. However, I would again report that the socks were quite comfortable. They did not rub and wicked away any sweat/moisture. I would also point out that even after working up a good sweat, the socks did not have an unpleasant odor. I'm not sure if this is due to any odor-resistance treatment, or if they keep the feet dry enough to prevent odor build-up.

As the final test for the TOPO socks, I took 2 pairs as my major socks for a 10-day canoe trip in Canada. The weather was warm for the trip, between 75-90 F (24-32 C) during the day and only in the 60's F (15-20 C) at night. The weather was mostly dry, although there were 2-3 days of mild rain. As I had the 2 pairs to use, I used 1 pair as my 'wet socks', meaning I wore them all day in the canoe and in the water, and the second pair as my 'dry socks', which I put on at night after getting off the water for the day. As we only got in/out of the canoe while it was in the water, this meant that the wet socks were truly worn wet for 8-10 hours per day, after which I would line dry them overnight. If there was some sun and a nice breeze in the evening, the wet socks would typically be dry in the morning when I put them on. I won't comment on the dry socks much, other than to reiterate that they made it through the trip smelling like fairly clean socks. The wet socks, despite being used in this fashion, retained their elasticity and comfort through the trip. Although they were frequently in the water, I never felt my feet getting cold or blisters from the wet socks. When I returned home, both sets of socks were thrown in the washer-can you tell from the photo below which were the wet socks and which the dry?

wet and dry TOPO socks
I couldn't really either, except for the fact that some of sole of my boots rubbed off on the wet socks. (FYI, the 'wet socks' are on the left)

Finally, let me just add a comment on durability. Over the period of the test, I have worn and washed one set of the socks almost weekly. Much of this usage has been for running and/or biking, but I was trying to wear and wash them as frequently as possible, as a test of durability. (I have been taking both pairs on hiking trips, but these have not been nearly as frequent.) On the pair that has gotten the harsher usage, I have not noticed a significant amount of pulling of the fibers or of pilling of the fabric.


SUMMARY

Overall, I have found the TCK TOPO socks to be of high quality and have gotten a lot of good use out of them. Although this concludes the test of this item, I plan to use these socks as my primary liners on future backpacking trips, and will continue to wear them for my everyday athletic activities.

Things I liked about the TCK TOPO socks:

  • Elastic fabric holds shape very well
  • Arch support works to decrease foot fatigue.
  • Excellent wicking character
  • Good durability
  • Asymmetric marking facilitates keeping track of right vs. left sock


Things I disliked about the TCK TOPO socks:
  • No major complaints.
  • In retrospect, Iím not sure that green was a great color for me, since I frequently wear them without oversocks.


This completes my test series on the TCK Slog Series TOPO socks. I wish to thank again the Twin Cities Knitting company for providing these socks for testing, and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in the evaluation of this product.

BACK TO THE INITIAL REPORT

This report was (partially) created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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