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Socks-best ones yet


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#1 pira114

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 05:26 PM

Socks may not be considered very important to a lot of people. Those of us who've spent a lot of time in boots or a lot of time walking/hiking/rucking in them know different. Especially if you've battled athletes foot, blisters, hot spots, etc..

I've always been a big fan of Merino Wool. My favorites are Darn Tough socks. Even at $20 a pair they're worth it. The lifetime warranty helps a lot with that price.

Many of you probably already know this. I'm writing to talk about a different sock I found. Cheaper, and in my mind, better. Better than even my coveted Darn Toughs.

Bamboo socks. I'd never really heard of them until me and the boy were shopping for new hiking boots for him. At, of all places, Big 5. A sporting goods store not really specializing in hiking. And not really considered high end.

These particular socks are made by Ecosox. I chose their "Light hiker" to test out. It was in my mind to try out new socks after screwing up big time. We went for a 5.84 mile hike in the Sierras where I live. Not a really strenuous hike, but loose dirt, loose gravel, a river crossing, and a few inclines and declines. Not normally a recipe for disaster. But it turned into that when less than halfway through, I realized I had stupidly put on plain old cotton socks. Guess getting up at 0500 after only 4 hours of sleep contributed to my oversight.

Anyway, I ended up with decent blisters just beneath both big toes. Ouch. By the time I finished the hike, I was really regretting it.

Fast forward two days. After washing my new socks, I reluctantly shed my sandals (the only comfortable footwear with the location of my blisters) and put my socks and hiking boots on. Then went to work in the yard. My yard is forest. On a decent incline. And walking up and down that incline with a rake is about all I had to do. But from the instant I put them on, I knew these were different socks.

Very comfortable, very soft, surprisingly cool (it's 102 out right now), and best of all, I can't feel my blisters. At all.

They advertise they will keep you either cool or warm, prevent blisters, and promote blood flow. They don't advertise they will relieve blister pain. But for me, they did. After several hours of walking up and down my little hill in the heat, with existing blisters, I can tell you these are awesome socks.

They have one more hurdle to pass. Durability. They don't share the same lifetime warranty as Darn Tough. But online reviews are favorable. But time will tell and I'll maybe update if anyone is interested. I'm extremely hard on socks by the way.

They have several types of socks for different purposes. I've only tried the light hiker. Most independent reviews said they noticed hardly any difference between regular and light hiker versions. They also have running type socks and everyday ones. Though, if they stand up to abuse, I'll likely just wear the hikers all the time.

Also, not that I cared, but if being eco friendly is your thing, these are supposed to be great in that regard. Bamboo grows easily, uses less water, and don't stress over pandas. They don't eat this particular type of bamboo.

So that's my quick review of one specific brand of bamboo sock. And my friendly reminder that footwear is a system. Socks are just as important as quality shoes/boots.
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#2 EMSWxSAR

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 07:11 PM

The wife and I swear by Wigwams for our boots, but you got me sold.  Great review Pira.  Sounds like they are worth a try.


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#3 Geist

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 08:02 PM

I'd like to hear how they hold up in the longer run, I'm a fan of darn tough and smartwool phds but if these are better than those I'd definitely try them out.



#4 DeathwatchDoc

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 08:12 PM

Huge fan of Darn Tough, months later, they still look brand new... My PHDs were already thinning by this point. Your well written review has these in the running the next time I need socks.

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#5 DieselD

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 08:25 PM

I'll be real interested in how long they last. I too am very hard on socks.


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#6 pira114

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 08:38 PM

Cool. I'm going to be using these for work. I wear Corcorans for 14 hours a day, on mostly cement with a lot of walking. I'm also going to be hiking in them almost 6 miles at a time, 4 out of every 8 days.

Shouldn't take me long for a decent comparison.
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#7 bigpac931

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 07:23 AM

http://www.duluthtra...ocessor=content . been wearing theses for awhile the still wear out but not as fast as the smart wool PHD . it made a huge difference in heavy bunker boots .the heel is the only place that has worn down but that is to be expected as a firefighter we are pulling are boots on and off so much it but a lot of wear and tear on socks. have yet to try any of there compression socks as i have enough fun getting regular socks over my calfs.


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#8 mangeface

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 07:42 AM

I have cheap ass Cabelas socks. 6 years and 2 deployments later, they're still kicking stong (even after thoughts of trashing them post deployment per typical Marine SOP).

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#9 spenceman

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 09:10 AM

I bought a 12 pack of Covert Thread socks before I went to Afghanistan 5.5 years ago, I've worn them daily ever since (2 deployments and many many miles in the chocolate mountains and Arizona desert) and they all look and perform like they're pretty much brand new. the only holes they have are near the top where my boot bands snagged and ripped a hole, but those holes haven't grown. Great socks. But I will try the bamboo ones if I see them.


Edited by spenceman, 29 June 2015 - 12:17 PM.

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#10 pira114

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 09:17 AM

Bigpac brings up a point with his link. The quick drying wool.

I went for just a quick 3 mile this morning since I have to start my work tour tonight.

First, the Ecosox were extremely comfortable. Only one of the blisters started to twinge a bit right at the end. To be expected I guess. But overall, very comfortable to wear. Felt great. Of course, they're new and I'm paying a lot of attention to it. So we'll see in the weeks to come.

So, to Bigpac's point. His link goes to a quick drying wool sock. If quick drying is a necessity, stand by on these bamboo socks. I washed mine last night. The load was half sized, so I dried them on the lowest time cycle. This morning, everything in the dryer was dry, except the socks. They were slightly damp. I wore them anyway. Why? Another test.

These bamboo socks are supposed to be superior for getting moisture away from your feet. So I figured that even though they seem to completely fail the quick drying part, I'd see what damp bamboo socks felt like to hike in. Dangerous test in regards to causing more problems for my feet. But, as noted above, they felt awesome. So I'll put moisture wicking in the win column. Much better than my wools. Not that the wools are bad, these are just better.

So, for now, that's all I got. Unless they fall apart soon, I need to use them a few weeks at least to say one way or the other about durability.

So far, a great start for a $7 sock.
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#11 pira114

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 09:25 AM

I bout a 12 pack of Covert Thread socks before I went to Afghanistan 5.5 years ago, I've worn them daily ever since (2 deployments and many many miles in the chocolate mountains and Arizona desert) and they all look and perform like they're pretty much brand new. the only holes they have are near the top where my boot bands snagged and ripped a hole, but those holes haven't grown. Great socks. But I will try the bamboo ones if I see them.


I almost bought some of those. The high cotton content scared me off. That's when I was in my "nothing beats wool" frame of mind.

I might just grab a pair to compare all three.

#12 ArkansasFan

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 01:07 PM

I was at Lewis and Clark Outdoor about a month ago (not sure if it's a national chain or not), and they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale on Omni wool socks.  They are magnificent.  In fact, they're so nice my wife wanted some so we went back and got her the same in girly sizes. 


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#13 B3dlam

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 07:30 AM

I am a huge merino wool fan as well.  I have been wearing REI brand socks for the last 4 years or so.  I started with 10~ pairs of their expedition weights  purchased before my transfer to Alaska so around 4 years ago and I wore them exclusively while I was up there.  They held up well but did fail me after around 3 years they all failed at the same point which was the top 1/2" of the sock would start to tear free. They were still useable but I decided to replace them with my move to a warmer climate.  

http://www.rei.com/p...rino-socks-mens  These are the socks I am currently using and they are amazing although at 14.50 twice the price of the socks you mentioned in the OP.  As a side note on buying socks if you happen to have an REI nearby you get 10% off if you buy 3 or more pairs.

 

Of course now Spencman has me looking at those Covert Threads socks they look like I may have to give them a try. 


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#14 Psybain

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 10:55 AM

I like darn tough boot and pt socks.

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#15 pira114

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 11:21 PM

Well, it has been just about a month with almost daily wear.

The good:
They're still down right comfortable. Many washes later, they seem to feel the same. No color fade (who cares), no blisters. And I wear them with both my lightweight hiking shoes and my Corcorans at work. I did actually test the multi day wear without washing. I did three days, same pair, Corcoran boots and the hikers, turned inside out to dry while I slept. And they did dry, but really weren't all THAT wet. Just my disgusting sweat. No smell, no change in wear.

The bad:
One pair (I've been keeping track of actual pairs) developed holes in the toes. Both socks in that one pair. I called Eco Sock and they asked that I send them in. That was today, so no feedback yet. They DO NOT have the life time guarantee that Darn Tough does, but they wanted to evaluate if it was a defect since only one pair did this. Jury is out for now.

They really don't dry well from the washing machine. It takes about 10 minutes longer than the normal setting on my dryer. Everything else dries, including my Darn Toughs, so it has to be the socks. It's not a deal breaker in itself, since the sweat dried fine.

Conclusion:
None yet. We'll see how the company deals with the one pair. And we'll see if any other socks develop holes. That's obviously a deal breaker for almost anyone I'd imagine. At their price, they'd be ok if the holes showed up in 6-12 months. But one month, or anything less than six, and we're done.

I'll report back when I hear more.

Edited by pira114, 29 July 2015 - 11:23 PM.


#16 Geist

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 10:09 AM

Thanks for the follow up.



#17 pira114

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 11:38 PM

Figured I'd update this and maybe put it all to rest.

Overall, I'm 50/50 on the socks.

They performed as advertised. I really do love them. And they're cheap as heck for being in the same catagory as some $20-30 socks.

I've used them for work, hiking, working out, and normal everyday use. They really shine in the hiking department with good hiking shoes. For wearing with my Corcorans, I still prefer Darn Tough as they are a bit thicker. But I sized my Corcorans for the Darn Tough heavy hikers. So it might be different had I sized them with the bamboo.

They dry super quick. Zero blister issues. Comfortable. Keep my feet cool in hOT weather.

They're ok in cooler weather. As its been in the low 30s where I live, they're still decent. Much colder than that, and I'm not sure they'd be warm enough. I'll soon find out.

That one defective pair. Well, I never heard back from EcoSocks. Initially, it sounded as if they were gonna take care of it. But after one email, they dropped contact. I've tried about three times. Knowing that they don't actually come with a warranty, and I'm out a total of $7, I wouldn't really care. IF they had told me to pound salt initially. But making it sound like they'd rectify it, then months of not responding left a bad taste for the company.

So that's why I'm 50/50. The sock (except one pair) performed great. One pair out of a handful isn't a deal breaker. Any manufacturing process can produce bad results. It's the customer service that counts. And there really isn't any.

Having said that, I'm keeping them. I like them. Had I had no reason to contact them, I'd probably be singing their praises.

Will they replace my Darn Toughs?? No, not by a long shot. But they have their place. Specifically, hiking in hot weather.

#18 Psybain

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 12:45 AM

Thanks for the 5 follow up. They sound worthy of a gamble, where did you find them?

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#19 pira114

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 02:55 AM

Big 5. Someone told me they were at REI also, but I didn't check.
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