How We Tested Hiking Socks

By:
Amber King
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday

These socks were tested so thoroughly that wool turned to felt. Over the course of a few months, each individual pair was worn constantly for two to three weeks. During this time, we took them all around the Western Hemisphere. We flew them into the Alaskan range for a split boarding adventure where temperatures ranged from 10-30F daily. On some nights, temps dropped even lower. We went day hiking through the steep mountains and varied terrain of the San Juan in Colorado. We also took them on several running days in the Peruvian Andes. Here these socks experienced everything! Hot, dry, warm, wet, and rain weather. By the end, we had a pretty clear idea of how each performed.

The cold conditions of the Alaskan range proved to be a perfect testing ground for warmth  breathability  and wicking. Gosh it's fun to be a tester!
The cold conditions of the Alaskan range proved to be a perfect testing ground for warmth, breathability, and wicking. Gosh it's fun to be a tester!

In addition, they were then taken on several multi-day backpacking and climbing trips. They were soaked repeatedly, sometimes while being worn in cold weather, to ensure thorough testing, often at the expense of the testers comfort. Finally we tested the drying speed of each in a controlled environment. We soaked each and hung them to dry in the sun. The result? What we believe is the most comprehensive and exhaustive testing of mid-weight hiking socks yet performed. Enjoy!

The Smartwool PhD's on a chilly day at Mickey's Beach  CA.
The Smartwool PhD's on a chilly day at Mickey's Beach, CA.
 

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    Unbiased.