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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > TCK Slog Series Topo Socks > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

TCK Slog Series
-- graphic from sticker included with socks from TCK --

Topo Socks

Cream and Green Topo Socks

Test Series by Ryan Christensen
Last Update -- August 31, 2007

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THE LINKS BELOW:

INITIAL REPORT

FIELD REPORT

LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT
April 23, 2007

Reviewer Information:

Backpacking Background:

Name: Ryan L. Christensen

Age:  42

Gender:  Male

Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)

Weight:  235 lb (102 kg)

Email address:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com

City, State, Country:  Idaho Falls, ID, U.S.A

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago and began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. For several years, we have hiked or camped nearly every month, year-round. We vary our experience: desert, forest, meadow, and mountain; spring, summer, fall, and winter; sunshine, rain, wind, or snow. I am a lightweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.

Product Information:

The information below comes from the product packaging and the TCK website.

Slog Series Topo Socks

Manufacturer:

Twin City Knitting Company, Inc.

Manufacturer website:

http://www.slogseries.com

Place of Manufacture:

USA (imported yarns)

Year Manufactured:

assume 2007; no manufacture date on packaging

Material:

77% Polypropylene
17% Nylon
3% Lycra Spandex
3% Elastic

Styles Available:

Crew
Quarter
Roll

Sizes Available:
Women's
Men's
Euro
yUK

S - M = 6 - 10; L - XL = 10 - 12
S - M = 5 - 10; L - XL = 10 - 13
30 - 42; 42 - 46
12 - 8; 8 - 12

Colors Available:

Two Color Combinations
Cream with Red and Black Accents
Green with Red and Black Accents

Care Instructions:

"For maximum care and preservation, wash and dry inside out. Use cold water, and wash with like colors. Line dry or tumble dry low. Do not bleach. Do not iron. Do not dry clean."

Warranty:

The TCK Slog Series Guarantee
"We stand by what we make, and we want to know if our product does not meet your satisfaction at the time you receive it or after you have put it to the test. Simply return it to TCK for a repair or replacement. Normal wear and tear is not covered by this guarantee."

MSRP:
Crew
Quarter
Roll


$9.95 USD
$8.95 USD
$7.95 USD

 

Product Specifications

Manufacturer’s Listed Weight:

None

Actual Measured Weight:

Quarter (L-XL)


Cream/Red/Black:
1.9 oz (54 g) per pair
Green/Red/Black:1.5 oz (43 g) per pair

Product Description:

Topo Components

The first thing I noticed about the TCK Topo socks were the color blocks and graphics that yield a bold styling. These are not your father's hiking socks. The Topos have four colors--a main color of either cream or green, accents of red and black, and orange lettering on the toe. The varied material thicknesses and weaves were what I noticed next. The photograph on the right illustrates this. The sole is more padded than the balance of the sock; especially at the ball of the foot and around the heel--the areas identified as "High-Splice" in the photo. These areas feel similar to the padding in the soles of lightweight hiking/backpacking socks. TCK says the extra padding in the "High-Splice" areas "protects against abrasion and blisters." The material covering the top of the foot, the toe, and the heel is thinner than a typical lightweight hiking/backpacking sock. The material covering the top of the foot has two distinct weaves. Near the toe, and along the ankle, there is a mesh with a pebble-like texture. According to the packaging, TCK claims this mesh "increases breathability." The weave that covers the instep has longitudinal ridges, but appears to also facilitate breathability. The socks seem to stretch well in all directions, but promptly return to normal shape and size.

Initial Impression:

The TCK Topo socks appear to be well constructed. I did not find any loose or fraying threads or snags. The exterior has a distinct, smooth feel. The interior feels almost silky next to the skin. The toe-seam is almost unnoticeable. The cushion in the sole of the sock is very comfortable. I am testing the men's L-XL quarter sock and they fit my size 11 US (44.5 European) medium-volume feet quite well. The socks fit snugly and feel supportive.

As noted in the first table above, the two pair of Topo socks that I received have fairly significant weight differences. The cream pair, at 1.9 oz (54 g), weighs nearly 26% more than the green pair at 1.5 oz (43 g). However, both pair of socks are L-XL in size and there is no noticable difference in construction or feel. I do not anticipate the weight difference resulting in performance differences between the two pair of socks.

After my initial investigation, I believe the Topo socks are well made, comfortable, and versatile. My previous experience with polypropylene socks has been in the form of very thin liners. Therefore, I am anxious to test the much thicker Topos as both liners and stand-alone socks. I am especially interested in seeing how the polypropylene Topos perform as compared to the merino wool socks I normally wear.


FIELD REPORT
June 20, 2007

Topo and Blisters Since receiving the TCK Topo Socks to test, I have worn them on every biking, hiking, and backpacking outing I have taken. Generally, these socks have held up well. However, they are beginning to show signs of pilling--especially on the soles and heels.

I began testing the Topos by wearing them on several bicycle rides near my home. The socks felt very comfortable from the beginning to the end of each ride. The arch support actually seemed to "support" my feet and the thicker high-splice areas provided great cushioning. After each 10-15 mi (16 - 24 km) ride, the socks were damp but wicked the moisture away from my skin. Because my cycling shoes were not more breathable, the socks were not completely dry.

In early June, along with my two oldest sons and a couple of friends, I climbed the Big Southern Butte. The Big Southern Butte is located approximately 23 mi (27 km) southeast of Arco, Idaho. It rises approximately 2,500 ft (762 m) above the surrounding area. On this particular hike, I wore the Polypropylene/Nylon blend Topos as my lone sock inside my well broken-in hiking boots. From where we began, it is approximately 4 mi (6.4 km) to the top of the Big Southern Butte. The first mile (1.6 km) or so is quite steep and without much in the way of switchbacks. As I neared the end of this steep section, I began to feel "hot spots" on both heels. I stopped to apply moleskin. However, it was too late; I had a blister on each heel that was approximately 2 in (5 cm) in diameter. Nevertheless, I applied moleskin to the blisters in an attempt to prevent them from becoming worse. I was able to complete the hike without additional blisters or the two worsening. The socks were barely damp when I took off my Gore-Tex lined boots after arriving home, slightly more than an hour after completing the hike. The Topos wicked the moisture away from my skin nicely, even better than on my cycling outings. However, based on this experience, I believe these socks are too thin to were as a single layer sock when hiking or backpacking.

The weekend following my Big Southern Butte hike, I wore the Topos on an overnight backpacking trip into the Big Elk Creek area near Palisades, ID. The Big Elk trailhead is located approximately 56 mi (90 km) southeast of Idaho Falls, ID and nearly 11 mi (18 km) east of Palisades, ID. It begins at approximately 5,700 ft (1,737 m) above sea level at the mouth of Big Elk Canyon. On this 6 mi (9.7 km) round-trip hike, I wore the Topos under medium-weight merino wool hiking socks. My blisters neither worsened nor did I develop additional blisters. However, I had a couple of Band-Aid adhesive bandages covering the blister on each heel. The Topos seemed to be an ideal first-layer sock. Although this hike was neither as steep nor as long as the Big Southern Butte hike, I was very pleased with how the TCK Topos performed as a liner on this outing.

The following weekend, a friend and I went on an overnight bicycle camping trip. We pedaled approximately 28 mi (45 km) one way to Heise, which is east of Idaho Falls, ID at an elevation of approximately 4,998 ft (1,523 m). I carried my gear in panniers on my bike, with my tent, sleeping bag, and mattress strapped on top of the pannier support rack. I wore the Topos on this 56+ mi (93+ km) ride. The socks felt quite comfortable and supportive during the entire ride. They wicked the moisture away from my skin. I like how the TCK Topo performs as a cycling sock.

To date, the TCK Topo socks have performed well. For me, they work best as a cycling sock or as a liner when hiking and backpacking. These Polypropylene/Nylon blend socks are holding up well, no holes thus far. However, as mentioned earlier, they are beginning to pill in the high friction areas. I will monitor the pilling to see if it worsens during the Long-Term test phase.


LONG TERM REPORT
August 31, 2007

I wore the TCK Slog Series Topo socks on a weeklong backpacking trip into the Wind River Range from July 30 - August 4, 2007. Much of our hiking was above 10,000 ft (3,048 m) in elevation. We hiked fifty miles (80 km) over six days on this BSA High Adventure. We had rain four of the six days we were in the Winds. I always wear two pair of socks when backpacking. Therefore, I do not know what I was thinking, as I started this trip, carrying a 50 lb (23 kg) pack, wearing only a single pair of medium-weight merino wool socks. After a few miles, I began developing hot spots. I should have treated them at once, but did not. I proceeded on only to develop some ugly blisters after a few more miles. This forced me to treat my feet. I applied Moleskin and duct tape to the blistered areas. In addition, I donned the Topos under the merino wool socks I had been wearing. My blisters did not worsen as we continued to our destination for the day. Because TCK sent me two pair of the Topo socks, I was able to wear a pair each day thereafter on the trip (washing one pair each day.) As stated above, on this trip, we hiked 50 mi (80 km) over varied terrain; gaining and losing elevation, climbing over rocks and downed trees, and my blisters did not worsen during the balance of the trip. The Topos wicked the moisture away nicely. After a day of hiking, my foot felt dry whereas the outer merino wool sock was damp. Consequently, I was very pleased with how well the Topo socks performed as a base layer on this multi-day hike.

Roughly two weeks after my trip to the Wind River Range, I wore the Topo sock and a medium-weight merino wool hiking sock on an overnight backpacking trip into Idaho's Copper Basin. Based on forecasted thunderstorms, we debated whether to go ahead with this outing. We decided to go, and the weather cooperated on our way in. My pack weighed approximately 35 lb (16 kg). We hiked approximately 4 mi (6.4 km) and gained approximately 4,000 ft (1,219 m) until we reached our campsite. We then hiked another 0.5 mi (0.8 km) and gained another 150+ ft (46 m) as we hiked to Baptie Lake. We awoke the next morning at 6:00 a.m. to thunder, lighting, hail and then rain at 10,000 ft (3,048 m). Although my feet were still tender from the Wind River trip two weeks earlier, the Topo sock performed nicely on this outing. I did not develop new blisters on the way up or as we quickly descended the 4,000 ft (1,219 m) to avoid encounters with lightning. Thus, I was quite happy with the Topos on this hike.

Summary:

I have worn the TCK Slog Series Topo socks more than twenty different days. During the test period I learned that I can wear the Topo alone when biking or walking around town, but I need an additional layer when hiking or backpacking. After learning that for me the Topo works best for me as a base layer, I have been very please with these socks. They have held up extremely well, no loose thread, wear spots, pilling, or fading. Consequently, I would recommend these Polypropylene socks to anyone looking for a moisture-wicking base-layer sock.


Thanks to Twin City Knitting Company, Inc. (TCK) and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to participate int the TCK Slog Series Topo sock test.




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Read more gear reviews by Ryan Lane Christensen

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > TCK Slog Series Topo Socks > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen



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