SmartWool's PhD Run (medium cushion) is hands down…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $19
SmartWool's PhD Run (medium cushion) is hands down the best hiking sock I have ever used. After 100+ miles on the same pair, there is virtually no signs of wear or pilling.
- Extremely comfortable
- Quality construction, durable materials
- Great fit
- I've yet to discover one.
I've purchased SmartWool socks in the past and was not that impressed. They haven't held up any better than cheaper brands. For this reason, I had begun to believe that SmartWool was one of those companies that had once earned its reputation and then faded into fashion-oriented mediocrity.
However, the moment I tried on the PhD Run Medium Mini Sock in the store, I knew I was wearing a better quality sock than I had ever worn previously. That impression has continued after more than one hundred miles, composed of one longer trip and several weekend excursion.
Testing Conditions: I have been wearing these socks in the hills of the Shawnee Forest for the last 4 months, with my longest trip lasting around 80 miles. Temps have ranged from sub-freezing to mid-80's. I've worn them through many days of rain, with soaking wet feet and muddy trails. I have been wearing them with Injinji Toe Socks as liners.
Fit: These socks fit snugly. After several washings, I have observed no sagging or stretching (I wash my wool socks by hand and drip dry.).
Comfort: They are well cushioned on the heal and toe mound. They're extremely comfortable, the kind of socks you don't want to take off at the end of the day.
Temp Control: Being wool, they wick moisture well. My feet have been warm in colder temperatures and cool in the heat.
Durability: I have observed no wear or pilling of the socks. This picture was taken after hitting the 100-mile mark. Note how little wear can be observed in the sole of this sock. I have never had a hiking sock looking this good after this amount of mileage.
Odor: Being wool, these socks hold the stink down. My wife HATES it when I whip off wool socks and sniff them. But she's forced to admit, it takes a few days of hot hiking before they get too bad.
In Conclusion: Following is a video I have posted with a few other reviews. I have put approximately 30 more miles on them since this video. But wrapping it all up, I say this: SmartWool really impressed me with these socks. I hope to put a lot more miles on them before it's time to retire them. They were well worth the $19!