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WIGWAM MERINO WOOL/SILK HIKER SOCKS
Last Updated March 19, 2007

INITIAL REPORT
FIELD REPORT
LONG TERM REPORT

Wigwam Merino Wool/Silk Hiker Socks

Name Jo Ann Moffi Backpacking Background:
I was introduced to backpacking about 15 years ago when I met my husband. We have been backpacking, canoe camping, car camping, hiking, and participating in all sorts of outdoor activities ever since. We live in a border town (US & Canada), so we spend lots of time in both countries for our outdoor excursions. My most recent foray has been into Adventure Racing. When making a decision on gear, I like to go lightweight and practical. I don't like to carry around extraneous bits and pieces.
Age 33
Gender Female
Height 5'6" (168 cm)
Weight 175 lbs (79 kg)
Email Address jomoffi AT gmail DOT com
City, State, Country Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Product Information

Manufacturer:  Wigwam Mills, Inc.
Year of Manufacture:  2006
URL:  www.wigwam.com
MSRP:  N/A
Warranty:'1-Year Comfort Guarantee'. If satisfaction is not complete, Wigwam will replace them for up to one year from the date of purchase. One just has to send the laundered socks back with the dated sales receipt and an explanation of the dis-satisfaction.
Color: Grey (Other colors available: Navy, Olive Heather, & Charcoal). Not all colors are available in all sizes.

Size: MD women's shoe size 6-10 or men's shoe size 5-9.5 (Other sizes available: MS women's shoe size 4-7, LG women's shoe size 10-13 or men's shoe size 9-12, & XL men's shoe size 12-15).
Shoe Size: US size 8
Fabric:
65% Merino Wool, 20% Nylon, 10% Silk, and 5 % Lycra Spandex.

INITIAL REPORT
Date: November 18th, 2006

Item Received:
November 17th, 2006
Condition of Item:  Perfect condition.
Listed Weight: None listed.
Actual Weight: 102 g (3.6 oz)
Made In: U.S.A.

Measurements (Taken just after removing from the packaging and prior to putting the socks on):

Ribbing to heel: 20.3 cm (8 in)
Circumference at top of sock: 17.8 cm (7 in)
Toe to heel: 20.3 cm (8 in)
Circumference at toes: 19.1 cm (7.5 in)
Circumference at ankle: 17.8 cm (7 in)
Length of sock from toe to top of ribbing: 41.9 cm (16.5 in)

Two pairs of socks arrived neatly packaged in a card sleeve for merchandising in a retail store.
 The Wigwam Merino Wool/Silk Hiker Socks (herein after called the sock or socks for simplicity) are a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. Wigwam states the combination of natural and synthetic fibers keep feet dry, warm, and comfortable. Wigwam also states their 'Outdoor socks provide precise fit and comfort.'
Wigwam Socks TopWigwam Socks Heel
This particular style of sock has four 'Comfort Features:'

1. 1x1 Extra Stretch Morpul Top - A 2.2 cm (7/8 in) band at the top of the sock that has more elasticity than the rib filet of the leg and instep.
2. 6x2 Mock Rib Filet Stitch Leg and Instep - Comfortably snug around the top of the foot and the lower leg.
3. Ultra-Smooth Lin-Toe Closure - This looks like an inside out seam.  No seam can be felt by my toes from the inside of the sock.

4. Elasticized Arch Panel - Plain knit portion of the sock with elastic knit right into the fabric.

The sock is made from a combination of dark grey, light grey, and white threads knit together to form a medium grey colored sock. Along the left side of the sole of each sock is embroidered 'Wigwam' in brown threads outlined with black threads.  Wigwam Socks Toes
Wigwam Socks On
After removing one pair of the socks from its card sleeve, I took the necessary pictures then tried on the socks. They fit perfectly. The sizing on the manufacturer's website is accurate. The inside of the socks are nice and soft. The mock ribbing is comfortably snug, as is the elasticized ankle and the Morpul top. I don't foresee there being problems with the sock being too snug in any area.  

The socks are quite a bit longer than I anticipated, nearly going to my knee. I will be able to wear these socks with my hiking boots and my regular slip on boots without them sliding into the boots. 
I don't foresee the socks being itchy, at least that wasn't apparent when I was sitting around wearing the socks. The true test will be after I have been sweating in them for a couple of hours.  

The care instructions indicate these socks can be washed in warm water with fabric softener, and tumble-dried on a low heat setting. Wigwam advises to turn the socks inside out before washing. Since most of my socks come off inside out anyway, that will be easy.

TESTING STRATEGY

I will be wearing the socks while doing all sorts of outdoor activities including (but not limited to): hiking, biking, backpacking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and walking the dogs. I will report on the fit, durability, warmth, breathability, comfort, and other concerns and considerations as they arise. 

FIELD REPORT
Date: January 23, 2007

FIELD INFORMATION

Day Hikes
I have worn the socks on several shorter hikes 
in the Algoma Highlands area ranging from 5 to 10 km (3.1 to 6.2 mi) . This area is a red and white pine forest with a sugar maple forested area that is tapped in the spring. The trails consist of gently rolling hills, some stream and river crossings, and lots of raspberry bushes and other low shrubs. The temperature range for these day hikes was 0 to 10 C (32 to 50 F). Most of the time it was sunny or overcast, there were a couple of days where it was misting lightly.

These hikes were the first tryouts of the socks. I wore them with a pair of lightweight summer hiking boots. The socks performed as I expected, although I did find them a bit warm. I have naturally hot feet, although they don't generally sweat much. On one of these outings when the temperature was about 10 C (50 F) my feet were sweating. The sweat was a bit slippery inside the socks, so I gather from this experience that the socks are not designed as wicking socks. The slipperiness was not a huge inconvenience on this trip as I was near the end of the hike when I noticed it, but this could be a potential issue on a longer hike. Wigwam doesn't specify if these socks are suited more for cooler weather hiking, but in my case, I would consider these to be a colder weather hiking sock.


Longer Hikes
I wore the socks on two days of hiking in Lake Superior Provincial Park in early January. The weather was unseasonably warm for Northern Ontario, with the temperature hovering around 5 C (41 F), and both days the sky was overcast. The first day we hiked along the Lake Superior Coastal Trail. The wind was coming off of Lake Superior at about 15 km/h (9.3 mi/h) with gusts to 21 km/h (13 mi/h) coming from the North/Northeast. The hike along the Lake Superior Coastal Trail is very rugged and demanding. It consists of jagged rock climbs, scrambling over roots and downed trees, climbing over large flat rocky hilltops, over flowing creeks, squeezing through narrow canyon walls, and traversing just about any other type of vegetation found in a northern boreal forest. We also travelled along the shore of Lake Superior for a brief period. The shoreline of the area we were hiking consists of large rocks that need care in crossing to be sure an ankle isn't twisted.  The second day we hiked an easier trail along the Pinguisibi Trail. This trail also involved climbing steep inclines over roots and downed trees, a bit of bushwhacking, and traversing along the steep edges of the Sand River.  The temperature was about 3 C (37.4 F), and the wind was 15 km/h (9.3 mi/h) from the North/Northeast. The Pinguisibi Trail is much more sheltered than the previous day's trail, so we didn't notice the wind as much.

On these outings, I again wore the socks in a lightweight pair of summer hiking boots. My feet are very adept at producing their own warmth. They were comfortably warm for the hike and did not sweat any significant amount. In fact, the warmth that my feet were able to produce made the soles of my hiking boots more pliable and made hiking over slippery and rocky terrain easier. The socks were comfortable and soft on my feet. I wore the same pair for the two days we hiked. I was concerned that the second day the socks would be stretched out and not fit as well as the first day. This was not the case, the second day the socks fit just as well as the first and were equally as warm. The heel of the right sock had stretched out a bit, but it may be because I had taken that sock off a couple of times on the trail because of an unrelated toe cramping issue.

Overnight Trip
On a trip later in January, my husband and I hiked into Lake Gamitagama in Lake Superior Provincial Park for an overnight trip. The temperature was -14 C (6.8 F) during the afternoon of first day, with wind from the South/Southeast at about 4 km/h (2.5 mi/h). Overnight, the temperature warmed up to -4 C (24.8 F) with wind from the West/Southwest at 10 km/h (6.2 mi/h). Inside the tent, we used a tent heater and were at about 3 C (37.4 F) at the warmest point of the night. The next day the temperature was -6 C (21.2 F) when we crawled out of the tent. I felt considerably colder on the second day, most likely due to the wind coming down the lake in the morning from the North/Northeast at about 8 km/h (5 mi/h). We were on the southern 'shore' of the frozen lake on a point and the wind had a direct path right into our camp. The terrain in this area of Lake Superior Provincial Park is somewhat flatter than the previous weekend's trails. The trails were snow covered, a few centimeters (a couple of inches) in some spots to about 20 cm (8 in) in other areas.
Buried under the snow on the trail were tree roots, rocks jutting out from the hillside, and other such obstacles. Once we reached Lake Gamitagama, there was 5 cm (2 in) to about 15 cm (6 in) of snow on the ice. The ice was quite thick, close to 25 cm (10 in).

On the hike in, I wore the socks by themselves in a lightweight pair of summer hiking boots inside my Kahtoola FLIGHTboots. My feet were toasty warm. I did have a blister on my left heel from my everyday boots that occurred a couple of days prior to this outing (not while wearing the Wigwam socks). The socks did not make the blister any worse and did not break the blister. Once we arrived at camp, I left the socks, hiking boots, and FLIGHTboots on until bedtime. For bedtime, I decided to wear the socks overtop of another midweight pair of hiking socks in my sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner. This combination initially kept my feet warm, but as the night progressed, my feet got quite cold, to the point of distracting me from sleeping. After a couple of hours of tossing around trying to rub my feet against each other to get them warm, I got up. I took off the other midweight hiking socks, put on a pair of sock liners underneath the Wigwam socks, and put my freezing feet into my hiking boots and FLIGHTboots. My husband had got a fire going, and my feet warmed up to a more comfortable temperature after spending some time walking around camp and warming near the fire. They were still a bit chilled by the time we were all packed up to go, but they continued to warm on the trek off the lake. By the time we made it back to the car, they were once again comfortably warm and cosy.

The blister however, was a different story. It was not created by any of the footwear I was wearing, but the addition of the liner between the Wigwam socks and my feet burst the blister and made it quite painful. I did not notice it had burst until I was removing my FLIGHTboots at the car. I also removed the sock liner at this point and put just the Wigwam socks on to go back into my hiking boots. When I removed the socks prior to my shower when I arrived home, the sock fuzz of the Wigwam sock was stuck to the burst blister. Not a very pleasant experience in removing the sock, but not the sock's fault either. Next time I will leave well enough alone and not put on the sock liner over a blister!
Wigwam Socks Velcro Damage

Care and Cleaning:
I washed the socks without incident with my other dark colored clothes. They came out fine and were just as soft as when they went into the machine, no shrinking has occurred. One pair of the socks has had the unfortunate problem of getting stuck to the Velcro on my husband's pant cuffs while in the dryer. The weave of the socks has pulled a bit on the outside of the ribbing, but it does not affect the performance of the socks. 

General Impression of the Socks and Its Performance Thus Far
These socks are so soft! I love the way the socks feel on my feet, I have to say they are one of the more comfortable pairs of hiking socks I have worn. They fit well inside my boots without bunching or sliding down my legs. The ribbing is of adequate elasticity, neither being too tight nor too loose. The ribbing goes well above the top of my boots and they do not slide down over the top of the boots. The sock feels as though it is one continuous piece of fabric, the seams across the toe are not noticeable at all when the sock is on.
These socks are rapidly becoming a favourite pair of cold weather hiking socks.

LONG TERM REPORT
March 15, 2007


In addition to wearing the socks on weekly hiking and snowshoe outings throughout the Long Term Testing stage, I also wore them while pulling a pulk in Lake Superior Provincial Park and into our cottage at Batchawana Bay on Lake Superior. On these occasions, the temperature was about -6 C (21 F) and overcast. I hiked out onto Lake Superior while my husband was ice fishing. This was a particularly warm day, about -2 C (28 F) and I ended up unzipping my jacket to cool off. I wore the socks alone with my hiking boots in the Kahtoola FLIGHTboots. My feet were plenty warm and toasty, even after standing around on the frozen lake for an extended period of time.

The terrain travelled in Lake Superior Park is similar to where I went during the Field Testing stage, snow covered tree roots, rocks jutting out from the hill side, and other of Mother Nature's obstacles. The road into our cottage is unplowed, but fairly flat. There was somewhat of a trail there from previous cottage owners' trekking into their cottages along the same road. In Lake Superior Provincial Park, my husband and I were cutting our own trail. Snow coverage averaged 91 cm (3 ft) in Lake Superior Provincial Park and a packed 46 cm (18 in) on the road into our cottage. The snow on Lake Superior varied from almost completely clear ice, crusty packed snow about 30 cm (12 in) deep, to drifts up to 122 cm (4 ft). Most of the time I was able to pick my way around the drifts and remain on the crusty packed snow.

Performance and Comfort of the Socks:
The socks performed exceptionally well, especially when keeping my feet warm on cold days. Not once have I had cold feet while hiking, backpacking, or snowshoeing. It has been cold enough during the Long Term testing stage that my feet haven't been sweaty, so I can't comment on any wicking abilities of the socks. Other than the incident I mentioned in the Field Report, I haven't had any further problems with blisters. I also wore the socks in my -20 C (-4 F) sleeping bag in temperatures down to -6 C (21 F). My feet were plenty warm enough through the night. The socks also function well as slippers over light cotton socks while walking around on the cold floors in our cottage.

Extended Durability of the Socks:
The socks have held up very well for the amount of wear they have had during the test period. They are not pilling anywhere, nor are they wearing thin in any of the usual spots I wear socks through (the toes and heels to begin with, then the balls of the feet). The socks have been washed about once a week during the test period, or approximately 10-12 times. The socks are just as stretchy now as they were when I removed them from the packaging. I have determined that the socks do get a bit floppy and lose some of their elasticity after a couple of days in a row of wearing. This is remedied by tossing the socks in the wash. The seams across the toes show no signs of coming undone and are still comfortable in my shoes and boots. There are still no issues with shrinkage, I think Wigwam has licked this typical wool sock problem with the blend of fibers they are using for these socks. The socks are still very soft and I haven't had any itching from the wool.

Things I Like About the Socks:
* The length of the socks. They come well above my mid height hikers.
* The durability of the socks.
* Nice and warm without baking my feet.

Room for Improvement:
* Nothing that comes to mind!


Conclusion
These are a great pair of socks for cold weather use. They kept my feet warm and dry throughout the test period. Would I buy another pair? Yes, I would. The are a great addition to a backpacker's or hiker's cold weather footwear.

Thank you to BackpackGearTest for and to Wigwam Mills, Inc. for the opportunity to test the Wigwam Merino/Silk Hiker Socks.


Read more reviews of Wigwam gear
Read more gear reviews by Jo Ann Moffi

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Wigwam Merino Silk Socks > Jo Ann Moffi > Test Report by Jo Ann Moffi



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