The Best Socks: Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks with Heavy Cushion and Wow Technology
Smartwool Trekking Socks
I never adapted
Anybody who has known me for any length of time sooner or later realizes I have no tolerance for cold. All my life people would say "You'll adapt"…especially in cold-duty stations while I was military. Well, I'm 50 years old and guess what? I've NEVER adapted!
By this point, it should be obvious even to the most gung-ho of soldiers that some things don't change just because someone commanded it to.
I heard "You'll adapt"
so often, I just can't stand it any more. It's like a life-time achievement award for pet peeves.
Best Socks I Ever Wore
Not just in my head
When we first married, Monique thought I meant I just don't like the cold, or it makes me miserable. While that's true enough, it's a lot more serious than that. When I start getting chilled even just a little, I start sniffling. That's the warning bell. If I don't take action fast, it becomes a full-blown flu. By then, it's too late, and I'm sick in bed for a couple of days.
I don't always realize when it's starting, but Monique will usually notice and make sure I warm up.
Smartwool: Not just for Socks
Just so you'll know, Smartwool has a much broader line of protective clothing. Here, I'm featuring the socks simply because that's what I own and can most accurately describe.
First line of defense: Good Socks
What's all this got to do with a pair of socks? Just about EVERYTHING! My feet are the first line of defense. Keeping them warm comes first.
While I don't trek
in the Himalayans, and my job is decidedly desk-bound, I sit right in front of
an air stream that's often arctic in temperature, and flows across my feet all
day. Before discovering
Smartwool socks, staying healthy at work was seriously a hit or miss process
each and every day. Monique never knew if I was going to come home sick or healthy. Heck, neither did I. No matter how warm I dressed, the feet were always the weak point.
Do your socks turn into 'Low Riders' by the end of the day?
Then we found out about these socks. Monique was all set to get me a pair, but I held back. That $20 price tag seemed awfully steep. Until I tried them.
As it turns out, Smartwool socks are worth their weight in gold. I just can't say enough good about them.
Smartwool socks are very thick, super comfortable, and stay in place all day long. Any ordinary pair of thick, warm, woolen socks would be 'low riders' by the end of the day. These stay exactly where I put them. They don't slide. They don't stretch.
Yet they aren't too tight, either. Some socks cut off circulation, and leave tracks on your skin from being too tight. Not these.
Other Smartwool Socks
Balanced Comfort in Heat or Cold
As if keeping my feet warm isn't enough, they also function well when there's too much heat. My feet have never been damp or sweaty in these socks. Or smelly. Even people who actually hike in them for days, have mentioned Smartwool socks resistance to smell. While I work in an office, and come home to a nice civilized environment every day, it's nice to know I could wear these several days straight before they get smelly.
You might think I'm
exaggerating here, but Smartwool has a reputation for resisting odors to a
nearly uncanny degree. And before I found Smartwool socks, I'd wear 3 layers of regular socks to work. Trust me, by the end of the day, that inner layer was having serious odor issues.
Merino Sheep- The best wool out there
It's probably a function of how well they evaporate moisture. The wool component of Smartwool is made from Merino fibers. Wool from Merino sheep is extremely fine, making a more efficient insulator and a more comfortable wool than other sheep. The manufacturer also claims it offers a much faster moisture wicking than synthetics offer. While Smartwool is proud of their odor resistance, they also claim a very fast dry-time. So if you're out on the trail, and want to wash them in a handy stream, they'll dry out quicker than you'd expect. Given my experience, I believe it.
Some silliness, but good information here
Warm when it's cool, and Cool when it's hot
Smartwool products have a 'thermos-like' effect… in other words, keeps my feet warm when it's cold, yet cool in the heat. (Not that too much heat is usually a problem for me!)
These socks are unique for me in a number of ways. They have the thickest, heaviest cushioning I've ever felt in a pair of socks. The ankle is elasticized in a way that supports like a light brace, and there's a natural arch support in the sole. This is a lot of help to me, having broken my foot (and ankle) several times in the past. I'll take all the added support I can get!
In technical terms, they have a high-density footbed, 3x1 ribbed leg, flat-knit side panel, and flat-knit toe seam.
That may not mean much to me, but when I wear them, the translation is clear: Great fit, great comfort, warm and supportive. I've worn mine for months now, nearly every day of the week, and they still stretch and flex like brand new.
Smartwool - The World's Best Pair of Socks
In case you're curious, Smartwool socks, at least the ones I've got, are a blend of 75% wool, 24% nylon, and 1% spandex. Made with WOW Technology: higher density reinforced sole for maximum comfort and durability. WOW stands for Wool on Wool, and includes an extra layer of Smartwool to absorb impact and reduce abrasion for the heel and forefoot. The 4-degree fit system keeps the socks where they belong without being too tight. Temperature regulation, moisture management, and odor control have all been implemented as special features of this high-tech material.
Not only are they insanely comfortable in any temperature, but protect against blisters, chafing, and general discomfort from foot friction inside the shoes, and last… and last… and last. Apparently Smartwool has perfected the exact blend for the world's best pair of socks!
The Fine Print
Care, cleaning, and the Guarantee
Care and cleaning is easy enough. Aside from the "Just find any stream in the woods" method, they're machine wash and dry. Warm water to wash, tumble dry on low. Turn them inside out before washing. No ironing, no dry cleaning.
The guarantee seems strong enough; If it does not perform TO YOUR SATISFACTION (my emphasis here), bring the product and a dated receipt back to the store you purchased it from for an exchange or full refund of purchase price. (No, normal wear and tear does not count… you can't use these for a couple of years, then return them.)
Or, in Amazon's case, just follow their return policies, should you really, truly, not love these socks. I can't imagine that, personally. As time goes by, I intend to convert my entire selection of socks to Smartwool!
Feels Good - Truth in Advertising
Seriously comfortable trekking socks
Smartwool… Seriously comfortable trekking socks. It's rare to find something that exceeds what it promises. As sensitive as I am to cold, these socks are totally amazing. Even though I'm just a desk jockey, it's no exaggeration to say they've changed my life for the better.
I love the cushiony, springy feel of wearing these. I can walk further, longer, without my feet hurting. Just because I don't hike in the mountains doesn't mean I do no walking. Try a 4-hour shopping trip in a crowded grocery store. Smartwool rules!
Whatever your needs, Smartwool can do the job.
Just for fun
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