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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > The Sock Guy MTN Tech Hiker > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

SockGuy MTN-Tech Hiker Socks
Test Report

Initial Report - 16 April 2010
Field Report - 13 July 2010
Long Term Report - 14 September 2010

Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 49
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
 
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last few years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for twelve years and I have kayak/canoe camped for five years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my sixteen year-old son.
 Shasta sock
photo courtesy of the website

Product Information

Manufacturer: Sock Guy
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.sockguy.com
MSRP: $13.95 US
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2.25 oz (64 g)
Colors Available: Whitney (pink and gray), Shasta (blue and purple)
Color Reviewed: Both
Sizes Available: s/m, l/xl
Size Reviewed: s/m - fits US women's 6-10
Contents: 75% IsolWOOL, 12% Nylon, 10% Spandex, 3% Olefin
MADE IN USA

"Guaranteed Luv": 100% customer satisfaction guarantee for 1 year
 
socks

Initial Report
16 April 2010

Initial Impressions

 
I was struck first by the colors.  Lovely!  I received 3 pairs (2 Whitney [pink], 1 Shasta [blue]) and several SockGuy stickers. 1 pair of Whitney and 1 pair of Shasta were in cardboard holders and one pair of Whitney was not. When I held them in my hands for the first time I thought they were a little scratchy.  They seem to be fairly well-made except for some missed stitching in three places on the hemmed top edge of the socks.  This must be standard because it occurs on all the pairs of socks (see picture below). The second picture shows the sock inside out to show the padding.  These socks are SockGuy's midweight hikers.  They rise almost midcalf.  The hem is about 2.75 inches (70 mm) wide.  As  can be seen in the picture, there is no toe seam that runs along the edge of the toe.  Instead there is a seam that runs along the top of my toes.  

 stitchinginside sock

The following numbers refer to the picture below from the packaging on the socks.  The padding is quite substantial.  The gray areas, except for the top stripes, on the Whitney are the terry padded areas that are advertised to absorb impact (4).  On the Shasta the terry padded areas are purple.  On the foot area of the sock the pink padded area on the Whitney and the blue on the Shasta are padded ankle support (2).  There is a band with white stripes that runs completely around the middle of my foot (3) that is an arch support.  The sock between the hem and the foot is fairly thin and I like that. The inside of the sock is not scratchy at all. (1) is a "non binding protective cuff." (5) is "double-stitched heel & toe."  

sock parts

 
Care Instructions – Wash with like colors. Tumble dry low.
 
Trying them on
Wow!!  I really like the way they feel on my foot.  They advertise on the packaging, "The most comfortable sock you'll ever wear."  They are very snug, but not constricting or bulky.  I like that they fit my foot snugly so they won't chafe.  Sometimes socks have extra material at the toe, but these provide just enough cushion without all the bulk.  The areas that are most cushy are around the ankle, heel, sole and toe.  I'm not so sure about the "non-binding hem."  When I tried them on I had to squish the tops of the socks down because the hem was binding my calf.  
 
Summary
I am off to camp and hike at Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina.  I am looking forward to trying them out.  I will also test the socks on longer local hikes with the Teva Dahlea hiking shoes and my more rugged Asolo hiking boots.  I also sometimes do day hikes in higher end sneakers.  I plan to take a low-top hiking shoe (probably Merrell Arc Stretch) to Guatemala in June as well as my Chaco sandals. I will probably test 2 pairs of these and leave one pair as is to compare for durability and performance at the end of the testing period. I am also anxious to test for the wicking properties of these socks. The Olefin is advertised to "increase the volume and speed of moisture transfer."  It is getting warm here in South Carolina. That is going to be important.  I am also anxious to test the IsoWOOL to see if it really keeps my feet cool and comfy. 


Field Report
13 July 2010

Conditions

Hiking
:
Nature Trail in Wallace Woods, Florence, South Carolina:  I hiked this 0.75 mile (1.21 km) nature trail at least ten times in this test period.  The trail is fairly level, but with cypress roots to trip me.  It is also leaf covered and usually muddy and wet.

Florence Rail Trail, Florence, South Carolina:  This system includes about 10 miles (16 km) of trails.  I hike it very often, usually different sections, but generally I try to hike at least 2 miles (3 km) per trip.  I hiked this trail until I left South Carolina in early June.

Guatemala trip 2 weeks June 6 - 21:   I used the socks on a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) hike up a very steep side of a volcano. As well, I used these socks at least five days, all day, walking with my hiking shoes around the very mountainous and cobblestoned streets of Xela (Quetzeltanengo).  Temperatures averaged about 70 degrees F (21 C) and it was usually wet as it was their rainy season.

Austin, Texas night hike July 5:  We hiked the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin for about 1 mile (1.6 km). The weather was clear and warm, 80 degrees F (27 C).  The trail was level, but with rocks and cypress roots everywhere.  

Camping and hiking:
Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina - 4/16-18.  The weather was warm and clear, but very windy as this campground is on the beach just behind the dunes. Temperatures were about 87 degrees F (31 C) during the day and about 55 degrees F (13 C) at night.  I used my sleeping hammock for one night and a backpacking tent for the other.

Maggie Valley, North Carolina in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains - 5/13-15.  The weather was humid with intermittent showers with temperatures in the upper 80s F (30 C) during the day and mid 50s F (13 C) at night. I tied my sleeping hammock in the woods on a hillside behind a privately owned wilderness cabin.

Observations

These socks are very snug and stay in place.  They are almost too snug around the toe area.  Sometimes if I don't pull on the toes of the socks to give my toes some room, when I put on my boots and the toe material is pulled tight, it hurts my toenails after a while.  If I do pull on the material to give my toes room, the socks are very comfortable.  

I have rather wide calves and the hem is not "non-binding."  I have to fold the socks down in order for the hems to be comfortable.  However, the socks do not slip down when I do that.  They absolutely stay in place.

The padding is really wonderful.  My hiking shoes tend to rub my ankles. With these socks the padding cushions that area very well.  Also, my hiking shoes are a little big for me so I need padded socks for them to be comfortable.  These socks do the trick in that respect too without bunching up or being bulky.  They are a little bulky, however, for tennis shoe wear.  I am more comfortable in tennis shoes with thinner socks.

When I went hiking in Guatemala, I hiked for 4 hours in the rain.  My feet stayed very warm and dry.  Though my boots were certainly part of the dryness, my feet sweated and the socks really wicked the moisture away.  

In the summer heat in Texas, I didn't feel like my feet were smothering either.  And I think that the material really wicks the moisture from my feet.  My feet aren't absolutely dry after a hike, but they are not chaffed and wet either.

The socks seem to machine wash and dry very well.  They also dry very well overnight in the outdoor air. The light colors show dirt though. The dirt has, so far, washed out.

Summary
I really like these socks as long as I remember to pull on the toe areas before I put on my boots.  They are very comfortable and cushy without being too bulky.  As well, I really love the colors.

What I like
nice padding
very comfortable
great colors

What I don't like
a little bulky for sneakers
the toe area squeezes my toes if I don't pull out enough material

Long Term Report
14 September 2010


Field Conditions and Use
  • Weekend camping trip Forsyth, Missouri in August - The weather was warm, 80s F (23-27 C) at night, and clear.
  • 2 day backpacking trip, Buffalo River, Arkansas, August - The weather was much like Missouri, but it rained one night.
  • 8 day trip to Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August 31- September 7 - The playa is hot, 90-100 F (32-38 C), during the day; and cold, 30s to 50s F (-1 to 10 C), at night.  The dust is very alkaline and permeates EVERYTHING.  The wind blows all the time.  There were two especially strong dust storms with winds up to 45 mph (72 kmph), one at night.
Conclusions

These socks are comfortable with boots.  I like the padding. Like I explained in my field report, as long as I remembered to pull the toes out some before I put them in my boots, they were comfortable in boots.   However, they are a little too padded to wear with tennis shoes.  The toes bunched up in my sneakers.  As well, they bind at the top hem in boots or shoes.  As long as I fold the hems down, they are comfortable.

They absorb sweat very well and dry out very well the next day, even in hot and humid Missouri and Arkansas.  They did not repel the dust of the Black Rock Desert, however. My feet were gray with dust through the socks.  All the socks I've ever taken to Burning Man did that.  The dust is like talcum powder and gets in everything!

I wore these socks during the day at Burning Man when it was hot and at night when it was cold.  I was comfortable in both temperature extremes.  I would say that makes these SockGuy socks very versatile.

Because I wore one of the pairs every other day at Burning Man with motorcycle boots, that pair got a lot of use.  I compared it with the pair that I didn't wear and and I found that the worn pair showed pilling on the heels and toes.  

They held the beautiful color very well through approximately ten washings.

Summary

I don't think these socks will be my favorite "wear-with-everything" socks because of the binding issues and heavy padding, BUT I do think they will be my wear-on-hiking-trips socks because they are so comfortable with boots and because they wick moisture so well.  I also really like the colors. Girls get tired of brown, green and gray!

What I liked
The padding is great.
I love the colors.

What I didn't like
They are tight around the hem.
They pilled on heels and toes after wearing every other day for a week (4 days).

This concludes my long term report.  Thanks to SockGuy and BackpackGearTest.org for providing the MTN-Tech Hiker for testing.


Read more reviews of The Sock Guy gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > The Sock Guy MTN Tech Hiker > Test Report by Dawn Larsen



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