Socks for Trail Shoes

11:44 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm used to backpacking with regular hiking boots.  The sock combination I've been using for years, based on trial & error and many blisters early on (but rarely anymore) is a thin "silk" liner under a heavy-weight (even in summer) cushioned SmartWool sock.

Now switching to Trail Shoes the situation changes.  Full height socks don't seem right with them.  Since, aside from the upper height, these trail shoes are [appear to be, and feel] identical to their "boot" style cousin, I tried to mimic the same kind of sock plan, but in a low-cut sock to be right-sized for the shoes.

I picked up some "WrightSock" Coolmesh II liners, and some Merino Wool/Silk "Experia", Powered by Thorlo Pads" heavy socks.  The heavy socks have some really nice padding for under the ball of the foot and the heel.  They've got price tags to match :(.

It seems like this combination "should" work well, but I'm curious what you-all have found effective for use with a heavy hiking SHOE (not trail runners, but hiking shoes).

11:51 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I personally use Keen's lower cut socks(last ones on the page in this link with the tab:)

http://m.keenfootwear.com/us/en/wall/socks/men/Performance

Cheap? No... But from my experiences with them they are very well made and can take a beating.

Oh another cool thing is each sock is marked "R & L" which designates(you guessed it)which foot the sock is intended to be worn on.

Each sock is cut different for the foot it is intended to be worn on. Very comfy imho.

11:57 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Do you wear a single sock, or do you double them up for blister protection?

Maybe that's not necessary for low cut shoes like it is (for me anyway) with boots?

12:01 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Typicall I go single sock but I am also only carrying a daypack(20-25lbs max) when I go this route. If you feel any hot spots(or anticipate them) just use a bit of moleskin(or duct tape for that matter) and you should be fine.

I don't see why ya couldn't use a liner sock if it works for you though.

I personally haven't needed too as of yet.

12:03 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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It would be nice to eliminate the second pair if I don't need them.  I'll probably have to experiment to see what works for me.  I got the liners in white because in gym class they always told us "always wear white next to your skin when doing sporting activities" or some such :).  I think they were concerned about color dyes getting into any cuts or scratches.

It's funny how those little things stick with us thru all these years (right or wrong)...

12:06 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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On high mileage days with a heavy pack I tend to "moleskin it up" ahead of time. For me this negates the potential for me running into foot trouble later on down the trail and I am lazy. Last thing I feel like doing is dumping the pack while on trail and taking care of hotspots, and blisters. It kind of puts a dent in my progress to cover ground so I get it out of the way ahead of time while I am packing up in the a.m.

12:19 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmmm, yeah, for sure. I'd rather head off potential problems then deal with them once the've happened.  This is why I've  used liner socks - I'd probably stick with this approach rather than using something like moleskin (one more thing to carry/deal with, as opposed to socks which I can just take off, wash, and dry in the sun).

12:19 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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for trail shoes that work better w/thicker socks (for me), i have been happiest with Bridgedale Trekker and Darn Tough Boot Sock Full Cushion. both are merino wool blend.  darn tough is a firmer fabric, doesn't tend to lose stretch over multiple days; bridgedale feels softer and not as firm a fit, but still very good.  for whatever reason, i have not liked smartwool or REI's thinner merino wool socks as much as these. 

for lighter trail shoes where i like a thin sock, more like a running sock, i have been happy with Point6 "light mini crew" - merino, but a pretty significant amount of nylon.   

no idea why i prefer some brands for some uses - some combination of availability and trial & error.

for full leather boots, i wear thicker smartwool socks and often wear a thin wicking sock liner. 

9:47 a.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Call me a dork.  Go ahead.  I keep the tall socks with the trail shoes.  I find they sag less.  I'm dedicated to the liner and sock combo too, and fold the top of the liner over the top of the sock to "lock" it in place.  I don't use this combo on hikes shorter than a weekend.

I'm a big fan of Thorlo socks.  I got a few free pairs from a former employer, and walked 1,000 miles in one of them.  I still wear them.  No joke.

10:45 a.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Hehe, did I say it was dorky? I meant to say tall socks are awesome with trail shoes. Really! Hehe :)

But seriously, I have been trying the new Thorlo-padded low socks on some urban "shoe-break-in" walks, and I'm not convinced they'll be enough for 10+ miles per day on the trail. I may end up going back to the tall socks too, in the liner/thick sock configuration, mostly because I haven't found any comparably-thick socks that aren't full-height (guess everyone uses thinner socks with low cut trail shoes). I guess with the right gaiters hiding the socks the "dork" factor will be limited anyway :)

10:48 a.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth said:

Call me a dork.  

 Dork. ;)

5:31 p.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I've got Wright runners socks. Double-walled so they're pretty much blister proof. In boots I wear them with a light liner, but in trail runners I don't.

I've also used Injini toe socks (used for Five-Finger shoes) and worn them as a liner under a second thin pair of socks. No rubbing between the toes!

5:39 p.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=177B&dir_id=885&group_id=28027&cat_id=11324&subcat_id=11325

These are the only socks you'll ever need. They are very thin, super comfortable! and come with a lifetime warranty! at least it said that on the package when i got them!

Best. birthday. present. ever! I've been rocking them close to a year now!!

7:12 p.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I wear Ragg Wool socks for hiking all year long. They are warmer than cotton socks and dry quickly too. I hang mine on my tent or a tree limb at night if they got wet crossing a stream that day. They are dry by morning.

7:49 p.m. on July 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Here's some feedback on one sock I've tried so far.   This is the first of what will be a number of Gear Reviews following my JMT hike.  But this item failed pre-trip, so it's "gone", and the review is done.

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/wrightsock/coolmesh-ii-lo-quarter-sock/review/25294/

Let's not compare this review to Rick's recent Hille tent review, lol :).

Anyway, I've picked up a pair of Wigwam Ultimax Thunder Pro Low-Cut socks as a potential replacement.  

7:59 p.m. on July 13, 2012 (EDT)
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for what it's worth, Orvis Invincible Extra socks are private label Darn Tough socks.  They are pretty good.  they have a higher percentage of nylon than many socks sold under the Darn Tough label, though, at least from what i could determine.  my experience with them was that they were very durable (more nylon) but not as breathable or comfortable (less merino wool) than some other merino wool blend options.  my opinion and experience, anyway - try them for yourself...

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