Don't let the name put you off, these socks can be worn all year round, but especially stand out in the colder months. An all around great sock. I've used this sock in a variety of outdoor pursuits in a variety of weather conditions with a variety of shoes/boots and the one constant in each situation was the quality and high-performance of this sock.
- Nice Length
- Fast wicking and drying properties (thanks Merino wool)
- Made in the good ol' US of A
- Sort of silly graphic design on the ankle, but oh well
Overview and Conditions:
I came across these socks late last year at my local bike shop. Why they were carrying a trail sock was a bit surprising to me at first, but later the owner told me that the majority of their cycling club uses them during cold weather rides. I made the purchase for the purpose of cold weather hiking, but as the weather turned warmer I kept wearing the socks.
I've now worn them mountain bike riding in cool, muddy conditions, hiking in the summer heat and humidity (90+F and 90% humidity) and hunting in snowy sub-20F conditions, not to mention on a number of less strenuous day hikes. I went to a local mountain bike festival this past spring and as folks there were inevitably discussing gear, I realized that I wasn't the only one who enjoys these multi-purpose socks.
Lastly, it's good to know that DeFeet are designing and manufacturing their socks right here in the States (Hildebran, NC). They are transparent in their supply chain, committed to environmentally sustainable practices and only use non-mulesed wool. If you're unfamiliar with mulesing in the wool industry, I encourage you to look it up.
Although I typically wear a shoe size of US men's 12-13, I mistakenly bought a size Large, which fits US men's size 9.5-11.5. I didn't realize this until after I bought them, removed them from the packaging, tried them on at home and was tossing out the packaging. They are snug, but not restrictive in any way. With arch compression and added padding in the heel and forefoot, there socks fit great and never slip or bunch up in my shoes/boots.
I am sort of collector of wool socks, and I can honestly say that I've only ever owned one pair of socks more comfortable than these ones a pair that was handmade by a very talented friend using expensive alpaca wool, custom-made for my feet. And these DeFeet Blaze socks are a close second.
These are designed with a nice compression area near the arches (not the type that constrict your feet until they hurt either), padding in the heel, forefoot, and lace area, and a Mach rib cuff, all of which offer enough support that allow these socks to be used for a variety of adventures.
With a name like Blaze, it would be easy to assume these socks are strictly for winter use, but that is not the case. As mentioned, I purchased them for cold-weather hiking, but have since used them in various conditions. They do a great job keeping my feet a comfortable temperature each and every time.
The high quality merino wool used (63%), with the addition of nylon (27%) and Lycra spandex (10%), make for a very comfortable sock and the mesh weave vapor zones provide the sock with adequate breathability and ventilation, keeping the feet from overheating in the summer and keeping them warm in the winter. Also, like all good quality wool socks, these stay comfortable when wet.
The only semi-qualm I have with these socks is the graphic design work on the ankle. It looks like DeFeet doesn't make these socks without some sort of emblem on the ankle for all the world to see. Most have the DeFeet logo, which isn't too bad, but my pair has peppers on the ankles.
I could have waited and had the store order me a pair without the peppers, but I was too anxious to get them home and try them on. My wife laughs at my pepper socks every time I wear them. I like her laugh, so I'm okay with getting laughed at.
***It may be worth noting that of my 19 gear reviews so far, this is the first that received a full 5-star rating. I typically find some reason to not give 5-stars, but these socks have no good reason not to receive an excellent rating!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: After a $10-off gift card, I paid $4