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Let's talk socks

I read a closed post from last year about wool socks in summer. I haven't tried it but would like input as to the best weight for walking at that time of year. How light is "light weight"? We will be in Italy in late June. I was looking for white but not much available. I don't know which would work best with tennis type shoes in terms of height - "micro" or "mini". I wear black smartwool crews all winter and love them. Appreciate opinions.

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
4233 posts

The right sock "weight" or thicknesses is the one that matches the size/volume of your shoes or boots. Having too thick a sock or too many socks given your boot's volume can result in foot problems as can too thin a sock. The test is marching around on trails or walks matching that of your holiday plans. The bonus is getting feet, legs and cardiovascular system in shape to enjoy the holiday.

Smartwool first came in basic grey. I would avoid white if available in that chemistry used to bleach the wool seems wrong. Gray and black are advantageous when sink washing cold.

For summer height seems to be unimportant. Don't know if Europe has deer ticks.

Posted by June
Edmonton, Alberta
704 posts

I wear Wright socks and Smartwool for travel. The former have 2 layers so they wick away moisture. Mine are white inside and grey outside. The Smartwool I wear are the Artisan series and are thinner than others. Both handwash well in the sink. At home I do macine wash on cold and hang to dry. They last a long time if treated well!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
9549 posts

I really love the fit and feel of the PhD line of running socks for women.

http://www.smartwool.com/socks/run.html?gender=9915

I wear them (with sneakers) for walking in Europe as well as for running. I have both the low-cut and micro style and both are fine; it just depends what I am wearing with them. Capris call for the hidden sock. Just don't bother with the socket style designed to hide under ballet flats; they don't stay in place.

I buy them at a discount from REI Outlet or Sierra Trading Post so do not have a complete range of colors to choose from; most of mine are some combi of navy and grey. If younwant a particular color you can buy them direct on the Smartwool website and pay full price.

Icebreaker also makes good Merino socks. I have those for light hiking but haven't found light "summer" socks in their line. Backcountry.com often has good prices on Icebreaker (I love their Tech Lite tees for summer).

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
5091 posts

I'm with Lola, I like the Smartwool PhD's. I got the ones with no cushioning last year as I was wearing orthotics and could not have any extra sock in my shoe, lol. The uncushioned ones worked great, took me thru 8 weeks in Europe including Rick's 21 day BOE with a couple of 10-12 mile walking days. They washed well, mostly dried overnight, but I could actually wear them for several days. My limit was 3 days and even though they didn't hold an odor, washed them anyway. I don't remember if mine were micro or mini. They were an awful silver color that just looked dingy to me but I decided no one would be looking at my feet so went with them and am very glad I did. I had no blisters, no hot spots, no issues at all. I traveled beginning the last week of August and hit Italy the first week in Sept when it was still quite hot and they were surprisingly comfortable.

Posted by Nancy
Fort Montgomery
39 posts

I know many people like wool socks. I am a volksmarcher and have always worn Thor Lo or Walking Company. These are not wool. Last year Walking Company brought out a thicker sock. I bought one pair to try and really like it. Have never had trouble with blisters, Use medicated foot powder in the socks and in my shoes as well. Both companies have white and black socks. My walking shoes ae either black or white.

Posted by Barb OP
Andover, MN, USA
222 posts

Thanks everyone for all your comments. I looked at the link for smartwool and think that the mini looks best for me. The PHD type seem to be more expensive - any particular benefit? One more question - not sure about size. I wear size 8 shoes but my foot is very narrow. Can't decide on small or medium. I do want the white and will have to order them so don't want to have to exchange!

Barb

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
9549 posts

The PhD socks are shaped so they fit a woman's foot well, especially a narrow foot. My shoe size is 6-6.5 ( euro 36-37) and the Smartwool S fits perfectly. If you are a size 8 shoe maybe the next size up?

I will admit I have never tried the white ones as they never appear on the discount sites where I shop.

Posted by Diane
Faribault
152 posts

Barb,
Check out Smartwool on Sierra Trading Post. I bought the Smartwool Hide and Seek II for my trip to Italy etc. last Sept. They have good sale prices. I bought the green ones which did not show in the shoes that I wore. The only problem was the size. I wear 8 1/2
shoe and bought the M. I like the socks, but I wanted a little more room in the toes, so I recently bought the L. The L fits just the way I wanted it to.

Posted by chinalake67
302 posts

I like SmartWool, but I usually get them on Sierra Trading Post as seconds, which are fine. I actually like DarnTough even better, but they are more expensive, but I find they last longer and feel better...I get them on Amazon & I watch often and get them on sale. We wash in sink on longer trips, but because of the Merino Wool, we find we can wear them several times before they need washing (I know that may sound gross, but it's true).

Posted by Barb OP
Andover, MN, USA
222 posts

Thanks again for the input. Even though I know I am going to have to order the white, I think I will check out sizing in a local store.

Barb

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
4233 posts

I think I will check out sizing in a local store.

I suspect that your local store will not be too happy with you sticking your foot into a sock to check fit then buy online.

Posted by Don
Rhode Island, USA
120 posts

I prefer Darn Tough as they fit the best but I do have 3 pair of Smart Wool that I purchased half price as seconds and find them comfortable also. For summer I wear ultra light weight. Many reviews I have seen make the comment that the Smart Wool do wear out quicker. The Darn Tough is guaranteed for life. When I first changed to wool I found different brands fit differently. Now if I get anything but the Darn Tough socks I try them on in the store before buying them. I have a pair of LL Bean and two pair of Wright Socks I purchased before getting the Darn Tough but prefer the fit of the Darn Tough to everything else. Now that I know the size, style, and brand of socks I prefer I order them on line at Gobros ( http://www.gobros.com/ ).

Posted by KC
San Leandro, CA, USA
509 posts

As a big fan of Smartwool I'll throw in my two cents. They are indeed comfortable but they also wick away moisture and they don't smell after wearing them for a long day and sweating in them. Well, at least nowhere near as much as with cotton socks. They are indeed pricey, but I think it's worth it. One thing I'd like to point out is that wool will wear out much sooner than cotton and in my experience, it's mainly in the heel/Achilles area. To avoid this, don't make a habit of "slipping" your feet into your shoes without undoing the laces. Undo the laces, open the shoe up nice and wide so the back of the sock is not scraping against the back of the shoe when you put your foot in it. Or use a shoehorn.