Heavy Duty Summer Socks

7:48 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi.  I’m a new hitchhiker from Davis, CA and I have a problem: My feet are too sweaty.  I get constant redness and irritation, not to mention the smell!  The very best socks I have found yet are some so-called US Military socks made of mostly cotton with “silver-containing fibers” that supposedly create an inhospitable environment for bacteria.

But they aren’t the best for long hiking; when they get wet, they get bunchy and uncomfortable.

In contrast, the most comfortable fit of socks I’ve found are DeFeet Aerators, considered by some folks to be the best socks money can buy.  But they are way sweatier and stinkier than my cotton socks.  And they could be a little more durable.

I’m hitchhiking across the country this summer, so I’ll see lots of heat and humidity.  I’m willing to spend up to $20 per pair for socks if they’re comfortable and durable enough to last me all summer.  What do you recommend if DeFeet’s fail me?

8:24 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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in my opinion, you should look at socks made primarily of merino wool.  merino is a soft wool, tends to be less scratchy than old 'ragg wool' socks you may tend to think of when you consider wool.  merino is best in socks when it's blended with some nylon or polyester for strength/durability.  merino is also the best sock material i know of to avoid odor.  wool actually does a better job keeping your feet cool than many other sock materials. 

there are a number of brands that use merino wool in socks.  i happen to like smartwool, darn tough, and bridgedale socks, they have tended to last the longest and fit the best for me.  all these brands have socks in a variety of different styles and thicknesses - you would have to try them on with your hiking shoes/boots to figure out which model fits best.  there are many other brands that use merino. 

cotton isn't a great material for a hiking sock because it absorbs moisture, stays wet, bunches, and chafes your feet.

the defeet socks are primarily made of coolmax, a synthetic fabric that supposedly wicks moisture away from your skin rather than absorbing it, and presumably keeps your feet more comfortable as a result.  what you have found about the odor, however, is an unfortunate byproduct of many synthetic fabrics - over time, they tend to acquire an unpleasant odor, even if they are impregnated with particles (eg silver) designed to combat moisture. 

8:54 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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I've been using Dahlgren backpacker socks. They are a wool/alpaca blend. Seem really good so far. Smartwool may be another option for ya. Have had good results with them as well(both used year round.)

9:02 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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+1 Leadbelly.  I love Merino Wool.  Stays soft and comfy for days on end.  Turn them inside out and you got yourself a few day sock.  I also still use the old itchy woolies and liners in the summah.  It only lasts for about a week up this way anyhow. 

3:59 p.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Take a peek at Lorpen socks, you can get them from Zappos. They make a heavily ventilated, ultra-durable sock called the Tri-Layer Light Hiker.

They don't retain odor (well, not too much...), wear very well and feel great. They also dry fast by air. They even work well when wet.

10:23 p.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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1,238 forum posts

I've been all over this subject for YEARS.

Construction business for over 30 years.   From Southern New-England to Central Virginia ....   Try working /. walking on a black asphalt shingle roof on a 90+ degree day.

Best combo is Red-Wing, or the old (USA-made) Timberland high-top work shoes or boots ... and merino-wool socks.

I've had great success with SmartWool and Woolrich brands.  I probably have over a couple dozen pairs, for all temperature conditions.

BTW -- I use 'em for hiking, too.

I live near an L.L. Bean outlet store, and can buy them at great discounts.  Sometimes "seconds", are just a couple bucks a pair.

For several years running, I've been buying the socks for Christmas presents.   Amazing how many "Thanks, Robert(s)" I get all year round from appreciative recipients.

Great gift idea.

BTW #2 --  I used to hitch-hike about 1000 miles annually, "back-in-the-day".   Ohh, what stories I could tell 'Ya !!


9:18 a.m. on June 28, 2011 (EDT)
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6 forum posts

Go with http://www.thorlo.com/ These are best I have found after purchasing all the major made in USA brands for comparison purposes. You will not be disappointed.

9:48 a.m. on June 28, 2011 (EDT)
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1,625 forum posts

I like Thorlo socks too, they last FOREVER. The bamboo socks are also aquiting themselves well as not-as-stinky as other options, just less durable.

A .45 auto might be a good idea too.

12:41 p.m. on June 28, 2011 (EDT)
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1,469 forum posts

Try some liner socks too. Fox River X-Static Liner Socks

3:20 a.m. on June 29, 2011 (EDT)
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3,962 forum posts

I am still gonna say my Dahlgren backpackers(USA made) are awesome lol.

June 18, 2018
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