Bridgedale Hike Lightweight T2 Coolmax Performance Boot
A well-made pair of socks that have ample cushioning, but run a little warmer than I had expected. The non-wool Coolmax technology has its pros and cons, but is overall favorable. Best worn when hiking in cooler temperatures.
- Comfortable anti-shock areas
- Durably made
- Great sizing options
- Dry time
- Warmer than advertised
- Holds a stench more than wool socks
- Confusing name
I’ve worn the Bridgedale Hike Light Weight T2 socks in a wide range of temps and conditions from April to October in the mid-Atlantic, USA. From cold, wet hikes to midsummer humidity, I’ve worn the socks on countless occasions with four different pairs of footwear—sandals, approach shoes, lightweight boots, and mountaineering boots. Below, you’ll see what temp ranges these are best suited for. I tested these socks in conjunction with another pair from Bridgedale with Coolmax technology—the Hike Ultra Light T2, which are a lighter weight version of this sock with many, but not all, of the same characteristics.
As someone with size 13 men’s (US) feet, I appreciate any brand whose extra-large size is built for those of us with big feet. Many brands stop making a socks around the 13 US size for me, but not Bridgedale. The socks fit well, don’t overly stretch nor restrict any parts of the foot, ankle, or leg, even after an entire day of wear.
Close-up of the cuff on the Bridgedale Hike Light Weight T2 socks. Still sturdy after 6+ months of regular wear.
As a warm-weather sock, this Hike Light Weight T2 was too warm for me. In the midsummer heat, my feet overheated in these socks, becoming saturated in sweat. The other pair I tested (the Hike Ultra Light T2), were better at regulating temperatures on long, hot hikes, but still left some to be desired as well. I found that when the external temps were anywhere above 60°F (15.5°C), these socks became too hot for me. While their name may suggest being ideal in the hot weather, I’d recommend using the Hike Light Weight T2 socks in cooler temps.
Support and Anti-Shock:
Perhaps the most interesting and noteworthy feature of these socks is the T2 anti-shock cushioning that is built into the socks. As the manufacturer claims, this technology is a “loop within a loop, which offers an additional level of impact protection; the inner loop has even more resilience than the outer loop for cushioning when you need it.” The socks are noticeably well-cushioned, making for a very comfortable wear. I suspect this also adds to them being warmer than expected, but once I figured out the best temp ranges, the anti-shock comfort was very much enjoyed by my feet.
Close-up of padded heel area after 6+ months of use.
Construction & Durability:
56% Coolmax (Polyester)
1% Lycra (Elastane)
As someone who almost always wears some sort of merino wool or wool-blended sock, these non-wool socks and their materials were new to me. Being open-minded and interested in the new materials, I wore the socks in a variety of settings to give them a full-spectrum test. Not once did I have any issues with the feeling of the socks, as the materials are soft, durable, and completely itch-free. No liners were needed, and I encountered no blisters, hotspots, or other irritations.
I did however recognize that these don't have the same smell-deterring properties that merino wool socks have. After a hike, I usually change out of my hiking shoes/boots and into more comfortable sandals while driving home, allowing my feet to breathe. After a hike with these socks, the funky smell was more noticeable than when I wear merino wool socks.
As for the durability, the Hike Light Weight T2 socks have held up well over six months of use, with no signs of being stretched out or threadbare. I noticed no excessive stretching when wearing them on an all-day hike.
Bridgedale recommends these socks be washed inside out in hot temps (104°F/40°C), and then dried on low heat. Being a native Fahrenheit reader, I misread the packaging that only lists the water temp in Celsius and washed these on several occasions in cold water, probably closer to 40F than the recommended 40C. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like this has negatively impacted the socks at all and I've corrected my laundering since.
Close-up of the toe area.
In order to test the dry time of these Bridgedale socks, I washed and rinsed six pair of boot height socks, hang dried them in ambient indoor temps, and monitored until I could no longer feel dampness.
From left the right, the socks are arranged based on which dried the fastest and which took the longest to feel completely dry.
In order of dry time:
- Bridgedale Hike Ultra Light T2 (55% nylon, 43% Coolmax polyester)
- Smartwool Split Stripe Socks (67% merino, 30% nylon)
- Bridgedale Hike Light Weight T2 (56% Coolmax polyester, 43% nylon)
- Ordinary polyester men's dress socks (95% polyester)
- Ordinary cotton/polyester men's crew socks (68% cotton, 27% polyester)
- Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion (66% merino, 32% nylon)
The Bridgedale Hike Light Weight T2 sock took about as long a regular polyester men's dress sock. Not too shabby for a sock noticeably thicker and cushier than the dress sock.
- Bridgedale backs these socks with a lifetime guarantee. Seems promising.
- I found the naming of the Bridgedale line of socks to be somewhat confusing. With both a merino and non-merino version of these socks in a variety of cuts, it took me awhile to figure out exactly how these compared to other socks in their line. As far I can tell, "Hike" refers to the activity it is meant for, "Light Weight" refers to the thickness, "T2" refers to the cushioning, and "Coolmax Performance" refers to the fabrics used. There are several variations to choose from, which is good for finding the exact sock to meet your needs, but a little overwhelming and slightly confusing.
- The packaging of the socks lists a recommended hike/trail for these socks, which I found kind of cool, as it might expose users to a new trail. However, the trail they recommended was the ultra-popular Camino de Santiago. Looks more like a marketing ploy to catch the attention of those hiking that specific trail. Cool idea, but I hope they put more than already well-known trails on other pairs.
I don't care what they say, socks and sandals are cool...well, at least comfortable around a campsite.
I’m a hiker and hunter, using a variety of socks depending on the season.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample provided by Bridgedale for testing and review)
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Current Retail: $22.94
56% Coolmax / Polyester, 43% Nylon / Polyamide, 1% Lycra / Elastane
Historic Range: $15.73