Columbia Says DO NOT Wear Liners With Their Socks

2:28 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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 As most of you know I have been getting ready for my trip trip out to Wyoming and hiking the Teton Crest Trail.  I have been hiking between four and 12 miles at least once a week to break in my new Alicos and prepare physically.

So I purchased two pairs of wool hiking socks made by Columbia for my training, preparation, and final trip. I have always used liner socks regardless of the main sock used, whether synthetic or wool. So as soon as I got them I donned my liners, the Columbia hiking socks, and then my Alicos and wore them around town. When I removed the socks I noticed something very strange: the wool fibers of the socks were deeply interlaced into the fabric of the liners to such an extent that it took great force to separate them. I thought maybe this was just a fluke caused by their being brand new. I have worn then several times since, including on one of my longer hikes, and experienced the same thing every time. My Smartwool socks are not behaving this way.  The results is that the liner moves and abrades against my skin. So instead of decreasing chafing, it is greatly increasing friction and causing blisters. This is really not happy at all.

Perplexed by the problem, I called Columbia to ask about it. their Customer Service agents, who very nicely attempted to answer my questions, but the responses were quite surprising and confusing.  Their response was "You mean you are wearing another sock over the hiking socks?" I said no, that I was wearing liners under them, as is typically done to avoid blisters. The rep didn't seem to be aware that this was something that was ever done, and informed me their socks used "new technology", and that liners shouldn't be worn under them.

I was definitely surprised by that response.

I attempted to explain that though this may be marvelous, if wearing liners with the sock causes this issue, which results in blister, the product information needs to state that they cannot be worn with liners. It didn't seem like the problem was being understood, so I decided I would be emailing them about it. I will be curious to hear the reply I get back.

What thoughts do you guys have about it- does the fabric binding issue and/or Columbia's response seem odd?  

3:52 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I find this quite odd. Especially being Columbia actually makes liner socks. Hmmmm....

http://www.columbia.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Columbia_US-Site/default/Search-Show?q=liner+socks&Submit=Search


I do have socks that I do not use liners with. My Dahlgren socks which are an alpace/wool blend seem to hold their loft quite well. I have never had a blister battle while wearing these. 

3:52 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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bump

6:04 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Alpaca not alpace, man I am out of it.

7:13 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Sounds odd Gonzan.

Pardon the short rant -

I worked in the Sales and Marketing industry for a few years and I saw some pretty audacious things and in some cases flat out lying done by proxy (new recruits in this case) who had been freshly hired to assist customers or sell things via phone. They usually used scripts (called 'training materials') with prepared rebuttals. Scripts were written by experienced sales teams; many times I know there was an attorney and a psychologist either on the team, or were paid for consultation.

The tactic I saw employed many times was that new sales or customer reps were trained to say certain things that they were led to believe were true (but weren't really) so they sounded honest & convincing. If caught in a lie or challenged by a savvy customer an 'experienced closer' would handle the call and claim there had been a misunderstanding and the rep was wrong and was in training (both are true). Sometimes this was called 'the third party close'.

I saw this with my own two eyes at several companies and I got out of the industry because of all the corruption. I worked first as a sales rep, then trainer & assistant office manager in that order.

Of course I have no way of knowing Columbia's practices or if I'm just conspiracy minded because of my experiences, I do like a lot of Columbia's stuff, but....

It seems funny that an experienced rep would not know liner socks are commonly worn under hiking socks - regardless of whether or not they are needed with the socks in question.

So the response you got about liner socks would lead me to believe the rep was not experienced and was possibly giving you a canned / scripted response...or maybe they were just new and confused.

Anyway, that's a funny story about the two pairs of socks  sticking together, I hope you get it worked out and have a great time in Wyoming!

8:40 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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What are liners? LOL...

 

Counterintuitive to everything I know (which isn't saying much) about socks and liners. Good luck. I hope that you get a real response.

8:41 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Maybe it's a proprietary construction technique that requires you to purchase Columbia's liner socks instead. They Gotcha!

11:04 a.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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XterroBrando said:

Maybe it's a proprietary construction technique that requires you to purchase Columbia's liner socks instead. They Gotcha!

 Its and integrated systems. Ya know just like their 3 in 1 jackets... 3 in 1 socks? Thats different.

6:18 p.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

XterroBrando said:

Maybe it's a proprietary construction technique that requires you to purchase Columbia's liner socks instead. They Gotcha!

 Its and integrated systems. Ya know just like their 3 in 1 jackets... 3 in 1 socks? Thats different.

 Haha!

Could be.

8:38 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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well i don't even wear socks (backpack now with five fingers) BUT when I did wear boots I only wore 1 pair...liners.  The wool sock I carried was for sleeping and emergency footwear.

But I do agree believe the phone representative was just following a script and had clearly never hiked before.

8:40 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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dredone said:

well i don't even wear socks (backpack now with five fingers) BUT when I did wear boots I only wore 1 pair...liners.  The wool sock I carried was for sleeping and emergency footwear.

But I do agree believe the phone representative was just following a script and had clearly never hiked before.

 Hey dredone, welcome to Trailspace. You don't do anything in the snow/cold temps? I surely wouldn't want to use V5Fs in those conditions lol...

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