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Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock hiking/backpacking sock

Comfortable, plush, cushiony, odor-free, blister reducing hiking socks!


  • Comfort plus
  • Thick cushion strategically placed
  • Doesn't retain odors
  • Support

I must preface this review with an admission that I resisted using wool socks ever since "wonder material, moisture wicking" socks entered the outdoor scene decades ago.

This past month I relented and bought a pair of Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium socks before a 25+ mile roundtrip hike on the Barr Trail (not by design). It was recommended to me that I make the switch if I wanted to coddle my feet. So I did...and boy, am I glad I did.

The marathon ascent/descent put my feet (and the rest of my body) through the paces...but no blisters. I was pleasingly shocked...and sold on Smartwool...all in one day.

I was concerned that the sock sizing might be an issue, with my foot falling directly in the middle of the listed sizing spread of 9-11...but somehow, the sock gurus at Smartwool got it right.

The PhD's have varying densities and support bands in key areas...and I have to concur with their claims. The socks made all the difference on that prolonged hike. Speaking of claims...not that my feet were odoriferous prior to using Smartwool socks, but I have noticed no retention of odor in the socks.

I have since purchased numerous Smartwool PhD socks for cycling, running, and everyday activities. I am uncertain on how long the PhD socks will last...but I'll check back and update this review the longer I use them.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $10 on sale

Great product, but short-term life. The socks will be warm and comfortable, but only for about one season.


  • Warm
  • Comfortable


  • Wears out easily

I love these socks. They are comfy and warm (especially during the harsh Minnesota winters). I've been buying pairs of these for years, but that's just the problem—two pairs only last one season before the bottom wears out below the toes and heel.

Lovely socks, just wish they were more durable.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $15

Very versatile either in a hiking boot or in a dress shoe. Can hand wash without damaging sock. Limited odor retention.


  • Multiple sizes for a good fit
  • Thin thickness with good heat retention


  • Not for extreme cold

I have had two pairs for 2.5 years now. One in grey and one in the same pattern pictured here. I do not wear them daily, but I have worn them dozens of times in a variety of activities. I have worn a pair in Torres Del Paine over a five-day period of time alternating the two pair. No holes or tears yet. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $13

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Price MSRP: $21.95
Historic Range: $10.95-$24.95
Reviewers Paid: $10.00-$13.00
Price MSRP: $21.95
Historic Range: $7.00-$29.95
Reviewers Paid: $15.00
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