/ The science of socks

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Muel - on 26 Jan 2013
Howdo everyone

I've just bought some new mountain boots (Scarpa Jorasses Pro GTX), they feel great, but I realised I know nothing about socks.

My knowledge goes as far as 2 pairs mean that most movement happens between the socks, reducing blisters, but other than that I know nothing.

I've noticed that the sock display in the shop is enormous, so it's likely that my combo of 2 pairs of identical classic woolen walking socks won't be the ideal thing to wear these days.

Can anyone help? I've looked online and found some stuff, but not much, and didn't much fancy trusting the spotty oik in the shop over the collective knowledge of UKC.
RagingSphere - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:
I use a thin liner sock made of tactel (I think) made by bridgedale. They don't add much in terms of warmth but they have stopped me getting blisters like I used to.

I also tried the 1000 mile socks with the built in liners, never again though as they shrunk with the first wash.

Muel - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

After some reading it looks like the norm now is to go for a thin liner, then a thicker sock over the top. Also looks like synthetic is a better option than woolen now?
John Stainforth - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

The skiing industry have almost reinvented socks for boots in the last twenty years. Modern ski socks work really well in other mountain boots and hill-walking boots, much better, in my experience than ordinary socks for mountain boots. The come in various thicknesses and are cleverly woven and graded for different parts of the foot.
Richard Carter - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

Bridgedale socks are the best in my opinion and I'm rather OCD about socks. My entire sock drawer is now entirely bridgedale :-P

My favourie for regular every day are either Trekker or Trail if it's really hot. When it's cold or I have my heavier boots on it's Summit socks all the way. I don't usually wear liner socks unless it's for warmth (i.e Norway, etc). The summit socks are the only thick socks I like, the trekker socks I ocassionally try other brands instead of but like I say I'm very fussy and I've not found any that I prefer yet.

I bought loads at once from amazon, they were quite a bit cheaper and signing up the clothing newslatter saved me an additional 25%. I like the woolfusion socks over the other varieties of bridgedale socks.

While we're on the topic of under garments, can anyone recommend any base layer boxers? I have about 10 different types and 9 of them are rubbish. they 10th kind i have a few pairs of but they're now discontined (lowe alpine dryflo brief). Most of the ones I've tried the material is very thin and rides up and most dont have enough 'leg' to keep the boys in the barracks... as it were.
redcal - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel: Bit of jargon busting for you: most outdoor socks now blend a number of fabrics to create a desired function! Lots of warmer socks are running a very high merino wool content, socks for high energy activity or liners are using Coolmax. Merino is very insulating and anti microbial so less manky after days of use...coolmax does what you would expect and is a little cooler and helps avoid sweaty feet!Either one is usually combined with a lycra or polymide fabric to make up the rest of the sock. Some brands are weaving silver into the fabric to again have an anti microbial effect. So combine the fabrics or socks to the temperature / activity you want to wear them in!
nufkin - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

I just wear one pair at a time, which seems to work fine for me. Something with a bit of cushioning/looping for comfort and friction neutralising is good, though if the boots are a good fit to start with friction shouldn't be too much of a problem
dutybooty - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

I wear a thin cotton liner pair (just normal socks) and thicker woolen/synthetic pair dictated by whatever I pick up first. These are normally specific walking/skiing socks.

However, since discovering these

I've started to use them alone (yes...I did pay £50 for a pair of socks..I am an idiot) though I don't think they last too well, the synthetic insulation in them seems to have compressed and stayed compressed after only about 30 days usage.

I am highly amused by the fact my friend has posted a topic about socks however, and more amused by the fact that practitioners of our "extreme, adrenaline junky" sport are having a conversation about socks :D
Jim C - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to monkeymark:
> (In reply to Muel)
> I use a thin liner sock made of tactel (I think) made by bridgedale. They don't add much in terms of warmth but they have stopped me getting blisters like I used to.
> Mark

Me too, and as I have one foot a half size larger, I wear 2 liners ion the smaller foot and I get a better fit that way.
Paul Troon - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel: Well i have now been using toe socks for about 2 years now i found them great .you can get al liner toe sock then where a normal sock

ben b - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Richard Carter: duds are a whole other thread really...

Icebreaker merino are expensive and don't stink after a week. The crotch goes first though. Depends if you can justify the cost given limited lifespan (maybe 70 days?)

Snowgum in Australia do some great ones for day use, dry, wicking, comfortable and not too expensive. If you happen to be in Melbourne ever.

The old karrimor silver impregnated ones were good but no longer made.

Basically synthetics are ok for day trips but merino best for cold or extended trips.

Muel - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

Cheers for the replies guys, think I'm going to look into those Bridgedale ones, they seem like just the ticket for now. Not going to start splashing out £50 on them or experimenting with toe socks just yet.
philpdr - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Richard Carter:Got a couple of pairs of Paramo which are pretty good.
Flat4matt on 27 Jan 2013 -
In reply to Muel:

Worn a pair of mund socks(cant remember the model but they were thick when new andwere thermo somethings!!!) and werent wool but synthetic based in scotland last feb and were fine when worn with a very thin liner. Nice and warm and no blisters at all, though that's thanks to perfect fitting boots ofcourse.(mammut/raichle gtx xt from memory)
However, I was skiing in france last week and my feet were freezing in a brand new pair of smartwool phd's. I very rarely get cold feet and am sure that they made my feet sweat too much that caused moisture and then made my feet feel cold, that swith custom footbeds too!!!) Though ski boots arent breathable so an unfair test i guess??!. Shall be putting the phds to the test next week In scotland again but climbing this time in a different pair of boots!!

nufkin - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to dutybooty:
> (In reply to Muel)
> more amused by the fact that practitioners of our "extreme, adrenaline junky" sport are having a conversation about socks :D

You're forgetting what Loo-Tenant Dayan tought you?
readysalted on 27 Jan 2013 - whois?
Never tried 1000 mile socks, and don't think I would like them.

My feet aren't too fussy thankfully and don't blister up too much, but I swear by Bridgedales. I have loads of different pairs of them, and at 15 quid a pop they're not exactly cheap are they but they are very comfy, very good in hot temps at reducing sweating but also very warm in the cold, and most importantly for me hold up VERY well to regular washing (a few times a week and they've lasted me a few years without thinning out or getting holes), and also resist the abuse my sometimes long toenails give them.

I'm sticking with them now so wouldn't change them and am happy they work for me. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
CarolineMc - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel: The spongiest longest lasting warmest lovliest socks that I use (and have for the last 20 years!) are Thorlo Mountaineering socks. They have been called a few different things over the decades but haven't really changed. Big fat woolly things that are toasty as a toasty thing, and last for literally years and years. However, they've just discontinued the small size so I can't get them anymore . My 18 year old ones have been relegated to dossing, and my 8 year old ones are just getting a bit thin.

I find Bridgedales go flat after about a year and even Wigwam which are supposed to be as good as Thorlo don't hold up so well (although they are better than Bridgdales!). I'm currently experimenting with a new pair of Wigwam that cost about £16 versus a pair of Regatta £5.99 which have 55% wool and cost £6. So far there is little difference, so if I'm going to be getting through them every 12 months I'll go for the cheap Regattas!

Meantime if anyone finds any Thorlo mountaineering in size UK4-5.5 then let me know - I'll buy the lot!! Co:
iksander on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel: Personally I find 2 pairs bulky, hot and slippery (disconcerting when climbing). I really rate Lorpen Heavy Trekker socks
owlart - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel: I wear Bridgedale Light Hiker socks and I've hardly ever had a problem with blisters (and the times I have, it's not been the socks at fault, but the wearer!). I think they've renamed them to be 'Comfort Trekker' or something now. Mine have lasted a fair number of years, but they've gone thin on the soles now and are about in need of replacement. I've never tried two pairs of socks, as I haven't needed to.
John Stainforth - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Muel:

Talking of science and socks, can any one explain the continual mystery of how I put an even number of socks into the wash and only an odd number of socks comes out? This happened to me again this morning, and it has been happening all my life. The quantity of socks I must have lost is astronomical.

Is this something to do with quantum weirdness, or parallel universes, or just plain old black holes?
Flinticus - on 28 Jan 2013
Anyone else use Fox River socks? I got two pairs of their Wick Dry Off Road socks and that was an end to my blisters. However I cannot get the same sock again in the UK so have switched to another of their socks, the Trail Crew Lightweight: yet to test out.

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