Hike Smarter With Wool Socks
For the past few weeks, I’ve been testing wool socks for my upcoming hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. Despite owning a pair of broken in hiking boots, I’ve come home from Costa Rica, Peru, as well as upstate New York with blistered feet. After doing research on the causes of blisters, I realized that my cotton socks might be the culprit. Moisture and friction are the lethal combination that lead to most blisters, but this can be avoided by wearing socks that allow feet to breathe and stay dry. And what kind of sock can do this? Wool.
The outfitter for my Grand Canyon trip suggested socks made by SmartWool, a Colorado-based company that manufactures 90% of its products here in the US. Their socks are made from Merino wool, a durable and sustainable material with both cooling and heating properties. I’ve been testing the brand’s PhD Outdoor Crew socks in three weights: medium, light and ultra-light. The socks fit comfortably and have a patented durability construction in high-wear areas, such as the heel and ball of the foot. Strategically placed mesh ventilation zones regulate the feet’s temperature and moisture, effectively eliminating two of the main factors that contribute to blistering. The lighter weight socks have 52% percent Merino wool, whereas the medium weight contain 72%. I’ve been amazed by what a difference a good pair of hiking socks can make. Out of the three different weights, I found the lightest to be the best fit for warmer weather conditions, since less sweating means fewer blisters.
One benefit that will come in handy during my trip is that I can wear SmartWool socks for an extended period of time without worrying about odor. And that means less packing and more enjoying the scenery during my 3-day hike in Arizona.
Are you a SmartWool fan? Tweet us about your favorite hiking socks @OrganicSpaMag #smartsocks
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