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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > The Sock Guy MTN Tech Hiker > Test Report by Michael Mosack

SOCKGUY MTN-TECH HIKER EL CAP SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 15, 2010

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack(AT)earthlink(DOT)net
AGE: 46
LOCATION: San Diego, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)
US SHOE SIZE 14 (EU) 48

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons, from summer desert trips to Spring/Winter camping in Michigan, Canada California and Grand Canyon, Arizona to Afghanistan and rely on my backpacking equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter whenever possible and am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items I carry are paramount to me over price and weight


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Sock Guy
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.sockguy.com
MSRP: US $13.95
IMAGE 1
Size chart from manufacturer's website

Listed Weight: Not available
Measured Weight: 2.5 oz (70 grams).
Sock size tested: L/XL Men's fits US 9-13 (43-48 European)
Other details:
Made with 75% IsolWOOL, 12% Nylon, 10% Spandex and 3% Olefin
Wash in cold water with like colors and tumble dry low. Wash and dry inside out for best results.
These socks are made in the USA.
Manufacturer guarantee - 100% customer satisfaction guarantee of all of their products for the period of 1 year, but damage due to normal wear and tear is not covered.
Purchasing this product can be done directly from the website.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Sock Guy Mtn-Tech Hiker El Cap, hereafter referred to as socks or the sock, are a performance wool blend, mid-weight, crew length sock. It is designed using bold colors and modern patterns that I haven't seen before. There is one color option for this model, being brown, blue and trimmed in black. The primary color of the sock is brown and the additional colors are a combination of different fibers and dyed areas of the sock. There are double stitched areas of the sock that according to the manufacturer, are to provide additional padding in the heel, toe and ankle, and two sections across the top of the foot area having distinctly different weaves for breathability and moisture transfer. There are also "air channels" within the sock design (note the black parallel lines that encompass the middle area of the foot). There is a thick cuff at the top of the sock and I can easily feel the different weaves, thicknesses of material and pattern of the sock as I touch the different areas.

IMAGE 2
Product and packaging

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I found the packaging to be attractive, simple and informative. The use of the bright green color on the packaging and image of a backpacker overlooking a mountainous view is compatible with the standard graphic symbol and statement to, "Please recycle this package." The packaging fails to list however, if the materials used in this package or product actually came from recycled materials. It would be a nice addition to complete the full circle and show that the manufacturer is truly "green" in its beliefs and practices.

The manufacturer's complete contact information, to include name, address, toll free telephone number, website address and email are all listed on the packaging which I like very much.

I removed the socks from the packaging and immediately thought that these socks might be too small, but the packaging did say, "Stretch to fit" so I tried them on. I found that the socks were a little tight to get past my heel, but once they were on they fit my feet fine. The material being wool and the feel of it in my hand, made me think the socks would be scratchy when worn. This was just not the case at all. The socks are very comfortable on my feet

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The only instructions are the washing instructions. These are listed on the website in English, but in 4 languages on the packaging.
The instructions read, "Wash with like colors, tumble dry low heat."

TRYING IT OUT

When I first handled the socks, I thought they might be prickly or scratchy on my skin and too small for my feet. I normally wear low cut socks because they are cooler, as I work in the desert of Afghanistan where unrelenting heat affects my choice of what to wear. I was surprised in that these crew length socks are as comfortable to wear as they are. I had some initial difficulty pulling up the socks past my heel, but I do have large feet and this is something I deal with all of the time. I briefly wondered if I was going to be able to get them on at all. Once on they are form fitting with no extra material or thick seams commonly located around the toes like other socks. I do not feel any tightness or constriction from the socks and they seem well made. Presently, I can find no defects of workmanship at all. The socks are comfortable and airy and I can feel a slight breeze flowing through the sock across the top of the foot and in the toes.

SUMMARY

Overall, I am initially impressed with these socks. They appear to be durable, well designed and constructed. I have found that they fit like a second skin and breathe well. My feet are comfortable and not overly warm or sweaty. I like the color and design and the manufacturer's packaging is attractive and lists full contact information. I look forward to testing these socks.



Please return in 2 months for my field report. I would like to thank Sock Guy and BackpackGearTest.org for providing the MTN-Tech Hiker and allowing me to test this product.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have worn these socks approximately 20 times during my daily travels in Afghanistan. The temperatures have ranged from 55 F (13 C) to 131 F (55 C). This is a desert type terrain with a surface ranging from a fine powder type dust to very rocky areas and bright clear sunny skies throughout. I have also used these socks during a trip to the Sierras. I wore them on 6 days and the terrain consisted of grassy fields, swamp lands, to rocky and snowy mountainous areas. The weather there consisted of sunny and clear to partly cloudy skies and temperatures from 58 F (14 C) to 85 F (30 C). Elevations I have travelled during this test period have ranged from sea level to over 9800 ft. (3000 m).

IMAGE 4
Hiking in the Sierras

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Putting on and wearing the socks, I have found so far that the opening at the cuff is a little too tight. On occasion, I have heard a ripping sound as I have attempted to pull the socks over my heel/ankle. Once on, they are comfortable and I am able to wear them all day and without a thought about how they are holding up. The seams are flat and unnoticed when worn. The socks feel airy, even in very hot temperatures. I have found that when I go to take them off at the end of the day, that my feet are clean and no fuzzies are left on my feet. I have also seen where my ankles seem a little swollen or there is a little evidence of edema around the area where the top of the socks are usually pulled up to. This hasn't caused any pain or discomfort and the edema has gone away within a few hours or over night. Still it leaves me a little concerned in that I have never seen this happen from any other socks I have worn, so I am monitoring this closely.

Pilling of the material has occurred from the onset of my using these socks. It comes from the inside of my shoes primarily. This has yet to cause any noticeable degradation of performance or material, so I am not too concerned by this to date. I am closely monitoring this as well and will report on these further in my long term report.

Washing the socks is easy using both machine washers and by hand. I usually hang the socks to drip dry and have had no problems.

SUMMARY

To date, I have worn these socks many times and except for some relatively minor issues already discussed above, I find that the socks are well made and comfortable. I am monitoring some minor pilling of the material and some edema I have been getting around the top cuff of the sock which I believe is due in part to the tightness of the cuff against my larger diameter ankles. The socks do not "quit" in that they do not slide down my ankles during the course of a hike or even all day. They stay where I choose to wear them and I like that a lot. The colors have stayed true during many washings, both machine and hand. I have not yet machine dried the socks as I want to wait to the end of this test to try that in case they shrink. I think I am at the maximum range for these socks already and don't want to ruin my ability to continue if they were to shrink before I was able to complete this test.

Please return in two months for my Long Term Report and I wish to thank both BackpackGearTest.org and The Sock Guy for the opportunity to test these socks.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have worn these socks during a two day trip to Dubai United Arab Emirates. The temperature there was approximately 92 F (33 C) both days and the elevation was from sea level to approximately 9 feet (3 m) above sea level. This area is mostly desert type terrain that has beach access to the Persian Gulf. The specific terrain I was on included city streets, side walks, groomed grassy areas, beach sand and sandy to rocky desert areas.

I have worn these socks during my daily travels in Afghanistan, wearing them over 15 days and nights, where the terrain consisted of a very fine babypowder type consistency of sand to gravel and rocky areas. Very low humidity with temperatures ranging from approximately 65 F to 110 F (18 C to 43 C). The elevation here was approximately 2300 ft to 6200 ft (700 m to 1890 m).

I have also worn these socks during a 4 day trip to Napa Valley California USA where the temperatures were approximately 80 F (27 C). The terrain here consisted of rolling hills and grassy / groomed trails and walkways. The elevations I experienced were from about 900 F to 2000 ft (275 m to 610 m) above sea level.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Throughout the course of this testing period, the socks have done pretty well. They continue to maintain their shape and elasticity. Their colors have not faded much despite approximately 25 to 30 washings. I have machine dried the socks and using "low" or "no heat" settings, they do not appear to have shrunk at all. The socks have shown minor pilling of the fabric from the very first time I wore them, but this has not affected their performance in any obviously noticeable way.
IMAGE 5
Edema shown on leg

I continue to find that I get some minor edema in my leg right above the top cuff opening of the sock and this is not something that I experience when wearing any other socks. The socks are snug on my legs, but not uncomfortably so and I really can not explain the swelling, but it does go away in a couple of hours after I take the socks off. The socks allow my feet to breathe and I can not feel any seams while wearing them. There is no bunching of the sock material anywhere around my feet and I did not get any hot spots or blisters despite many miles of use.

SUMMARY

I received these socks for testing with the knowledge that my feet were a little bigger than the size limits for these socks. This is not something that I am a stranger to as I often can not find socks that are intended to fit my size 14 feet. However, I did test them like I would any other sock, despite the size issue. I found that these socks are a little more difficult to put on and take off as I stretch them over my heel. Once on, they are comfortable and I can easily forget that they are on my feet. The sock upper stays where I put them, meaning that if I pull them up, they stay there all day. If I choose to wear them scrunched down, they stay there as well. I feel air movement around my toes when I wear the socks, even when I have shoes or boots on. My feet do not seem to sweat much at all even when I am in very hot climates. Now that this test is complete, I probably will no longer wear these socks. The swelling of my lower legs that I have noticed from the very beginning has returned each time I have worn these socks and while this is minor and it goes away in short order, it is still something that causes me enough concern that I do not wish to experience this any further. I believe that if the socks were a bit larger or my feet were a little smaller, that this might have had a difference, but I will never know for sure. I can not find any other negative thing to say about the socks. On the positive side, they hold their shape and color well. They are comfortable on my feet and they are constructed so that there are no noticeable seams and no excessive material that could bunch near the toes. They breathe well and do not hold any foot odor.

This concludes my test report and I would like to thank SockGuy and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these socks.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of The Sock Guy gear
Read more gear reviews by Michael Mosack

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > The Sock Guy MTN Tech Hiker > Test Report by Michael Mosack



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