Gear Reviews

Smartwool Merino Hiking Socks

Did you know that a pair of socks can seriously make or break a good hike? They need to be the right material, the right weight and the right level of cushioning.

I’ve tried several brands of hiking socks over the years, and have definitely come to the conclusion that wool socks are the best option for hiking, even in the summer. Smartwool is one brand I didn’t have in my sock drawer, so when my friends at Algonquin Outfitters sent me a complimentary pair, I was thrilled to be able to give this well-known (but untested by me) brand a try on a winter hike.

I hit the trail with Alex at a Conservation Halton Trail and put my new Smartwool socks to the test. These socks are merino wool, “outdoor” socks with medium cushion.

Results: warm, dry, comfy feet after a 2+ hr hike. They stayed in place, with no rubbing or sliding down in my boots. My feet were totally cozy without getting overheated. They were perfect in -10 celsius weather.

As an aside, I experience a lot of pain in my feet because of plantar fasciitis. These socks provided nice arch support, but I still combined my socks with a compression sock on my worst foot and was really comfortable.

The socks washed well and didn’t lose their shape or shrink. I’ve worn them several times since the initial trial and they are still super comfortable and warm.

Of course, on top of the whole practical/warm/comfy thing, they come in super-cute colours. Because really, sometimes you just want a bit of wilderness bling with your highly functional gear!

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