Smartwool hiking socks are the real deal. It was a little over a year ago when I got my first pair of Smartwools. Sure, they felt great when I was holding them at REI – but would they hold up on a real hike?
Long story short, they passed with flying colors.
The Merino wool made all the difference in comfort and did a great job of keeping my feet warm (but not hot!) However, there’s more to it than just that so let’s get into it.
My favorite things about these socks
It’s almost shocking that that same feeling of cushion I got when I held them at the store, was the same as when they were on my feet. They went a long way in making a mew, stiff boot more comfortable.
According to Smartwool themselves, Merino wool is “Lighter and softer than wool from regular sheep” – from firsthand experience, I definitely agree with that!
These socks put my normal ones to shame in this aspect for sure.
The material itself being mostly Merino wool means that it prevents that soggy feeling for a LONG time before the sock itself is wet. On the other hand, primarily cotton socks will let you down here.
That said, moisture wicking does not mean immune to getting wet. More on that shortly!
Things that could be better about them
Time to dry
Unfortunately, the things that make this sock amazing (thickness / material) also contribute to this problem. Once they DO get wet (and they will from sweat), they take longer to dry than their more synthetic counterparts.
After doing some research, it turns out that wool can hold up to 30% of its weight in moisture.
If you’ve seen Smartwool socks before, you probably are well aware that they are, well…expensive.
While they are definitely worth the price, I can see how this would turn people away. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that some things are worth the higher price point since last longer and provide a better experience than cheaper products.
Keep an eye out for sales on them – they do happen!
Sleeping / Hanging around camp
While these are great for a lot of situations, they are far from what you would probably wear to sleep or lounge in. If I were looking for a sock to sleep in, I’d probably look for something more thick in that instance.
If you’re in a cold environment and going on a trip, this point is probably pretty important. Otherwise, I’d almost consider it more of a nitpick. I don’t really consider many socks capable of being worn for all purposes, y’know?
That being said, they definitely have some cool designs to choose from.
My personal experience testing them
I have zero complaints during use. They fit extremely well and never pulled down or gave me blisters over a several mile hike.
As mentioned above, I can’t imagine a more comfortable sock for hiking with. It really takes the experience to the next level as if you’re walking on clouds.
However, when I finally got home, they were completely drenched in sweat. No big deal since it was a relatively short hike and I wasn’t out camping.
I could see that being an issue though out in the wild if you have limited resources!
Final thoughts on these socks
You’d be hard pressed to go wrong with these. Despite the high price relative to other options out there, the quality extremely high which justifies them for me personally.
Merino wool is a great material, and while not the perfect choice for every situation – it’s versatile enough. As with everything, it has its trade offs and if the soaking problem is a factor for you, I’d recommend a more synthetic blend sock.
The comfort is off the charts, and these have been my go-to day hiking sock since I bought my first pair.
I highly recommend checking them out and seeing what other people are saying for yourself.