Reach Your Highest Peak: The Most Technologically Advanced Sock for Hiking and Trail Runs
I have a confession to make: my feet get unbearably sweaty when I’m out and about. Sure, maybe you don’t care – gross – but sweaty feet make for challenging sock-shoe pairings.
Socks have never quite been on my radar. Sopping, smelly wool after long days working on trail crews were par for the course. Even worse, the horror of airing out my socks on long backcountry jaunts was expected, gross fun. There’s nothing like laying your socks out on a nice rock at the end of a hiking day to have them become stiff, reeking frisbees. Well, there’s nothing like any of this, until you realize that alternative, more pleasant options exist.
My sock collection is a large, unspecified dating pile – think a smattering of mid and lightweight Smart Wool classics, meet other branded, blended merino wool brethren and cotton shorties bought at Walmart in a 16-pack. This all being said, I never had noticed a marked difference between all the hiking socks I owned. They all would get crusty after one wear and left my feet feeling well, soggy.
In an attempt to solve my sock dilemma, I tried out a pair of SwiftWick FLITE XT Trail Elites.
There might be something unglamorous about product reviewing a sock, and there might be something even more unglamorous about reading a product review about a sock, but the overlooked essential of every hiking kit deserves some time in the spotlight – because, I can tell you, these socks work.
I tried out a pair in the five-inch cuff height. The socks fit tight and comfortably to my feet (I wore a size medium and am an 8 1/2 – 9 in Women’s shoes typically).
I took the socks on a test hike up the Manitou Incline and lower section of the Barr Trail in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Known for its infamous vertical gain – over 2,000 feet in under 1 mile – I was there to test the socks ability to provide support in my running shoes.
The sock stayed dry and stable in my shoe. There is thin, but extra padding at the forefoot and heel made from Swiftwick’s GripDry™ Fiber, which provides comfort and extra grip inside your shoe. During my steep ascent and slippery descent on snow and ice, my foot stayed in place. The sock’s tight, elastic upper also made my ankle feel protected and stable.
Importantly, on all the days I tested these socks, my feet stayed dry. I was most impressed when I took the socks on a run in 5 degree, gloomy weather. My feet stayed just warm enough and to my surprise after about 30 minutes in the cold, the socks were almost completely dry. The ability of these socks to wick moisture away is what stands out. After hikes, runs, and days in my boots running errands the socks were comfortable and smell free. I went five wears without washing the socks and even then, they smelled like I had worn them for half-a-day at most.
After my five wash-less wears, I did notice the wool slightly piling on the toe. While disappointing, the piling didn’t impact the sock’s functionality. I wasn’t completely surprised and have been unable to avoid a similar result with any other wool-based socks that I own.
All in all, the sock’s Hydrophobic Olefin fibers in the footbed made the difference. In both the heat and cold these socks held up to the test – keeping my feet from freezing, slipping, or blistering. For longer trips in the cold, I might upgrade to a thicker sock, but for short trips in the cold or long days in mild and hot weather, these socks exceeded my expectations.
Swiftwick FLITE XT® TRAIL features AnkleLock™ Technology that supports your ankles during quick movements on uneven & varying terrains, while GripDry™ Fiber in the heel and forefoot keep your feet from sliding in your shoes.
But, Swiftwick didn’t stop there – Swiftwick blended natural Merino wool with a full Olefin fiber footbed to move moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry and blister-free even during the longest of treks.
- FLITE XT® TRAIL is the most technologically advanced sock for stability, ideal for hiking and trail running.
- AnkleLock™ Technology supports ankles during quick movements on varying terrain.
- GripDry™ Fiber in the heel and forefoot keeps you stable in your shoes.
- Natural Merino wool with a full Olefin footbed moves moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry and blister-free even during the longest of treks.