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What is your sock strategy?
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Linsey Budden

Locale: pugetropolis
What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 13:02:25 MDT Print View

Archaic perhaps, but I've always sized my shoes to be worn with two pairs of socks. This tactic has treated my feet very well. Usually I bring 2 pairs Injinji merino blend toe socks for liners and one pair to wear over that. In order to be a bit lighter, I'm thinking about wearing only one sock.

Is there anybody out there who wears two at a time? My sock situation seems out of control (I also use marsupial down sleeping socks--these would not hold up to hiking). Any feedback on sock strategy would be much appreciated.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 13:16:40 MDT Print View

You know socks are one of the very few items I double up on in my pack but I only wear one at a time. I carry a light weight merino pair (usually Darn Tough) for general 3 season hiking and have a more cushioned pair (Smartwool Lightweight Mini Crew) to wear to bed, when it's cold or in case of sock failure. Plus they can always double as mittens. I have also brought a waterproof sock or something like the Seirus hyperlite stormsock if it's going to be really wet and nasty.

Only other things I think I double up on are fire (lighter and matches) and water treatment (SteriPen and MP1 backup).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 15:54:05 MDT Print View

> Is there anybody out there who wears two at a time?
In the snow, yes.

Read Will Rietveld's articles on Footwwear for snow travel.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 16:05:37 MDT Print View

I've tried it and went back to What Works for Me: single medium- to heavy-weight wool hiking sock with Blister Shield powder. For me, the friction's lower, the padding's higher, my feet breathe better, and it's a bit lighter in total. Like Christopher I never skimp on extra socks in my pack, but I do wear them one pair at a time. Everyone's feet are different, though!

Linsey Budden

Locale: pugetropolis
"What is your sock strategy?" on 08/16/2008 16:50:44 MDT Print View

>Read Will Rietveld's articles on Footwear for snow travel.

This was a great article and I have used Gore-Tex socks (which might work if they weren't so tight), am very interested in the Seirus, and have untested neoprene (so I guess my personal sock situation was understated). Really, I meant in the non-storm, general, fair situations; is there anyone who goes around in two pairs).

But shoe size should consider these fine extra sock suggestions. With my old shoesize, I've had three pairs on (Gore-tex over) but I just odered two Inov8 choices down 1/2 size so I wouldn't have to go around in two socks all the time. The 280's (tried and trusted) feel like an extension of my foot with one sock, but the 290s (never before tried) could fit, and feel as if they need (for my foots protection) two pairs, and a break in period. That might make a better shoe for shoulder and fourth season when you want all those socks on.

Last mid-Oct with two and three pairs of socks on, my feet looked like I'd been to the spa after a 15 mile a day multiday.

Nathan's idea of a single medium to heavyweight sock appeals to me, but I'm really stuck on those Injinjy toe socks and they only come so thick.

My sock gripe is tight band at the top and I've been know to cut these off and seek out the few among many that aren't constructed thusly.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 17:07:42 MDT Print View

>Is there anybody out there who wears two at a time?

Yep, one on the left foot, the other on the right. ;-)

I usually have the other pair drying on the back of the pack.

Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
Re: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 17:56:42 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of the injinji socks as well. If two pairs work well for you, you could try to save weight by exchanging the outer pair for anklets if you haven't already, but I would try going down to one pair while having a backup extra pair in your pack. They aren't heavy, and you're going to have to change your shoe size to make it work most likely.

I've been having a bit of a sock issue lately, myself. It's been getting harder to find non-wool socks thanks to the technical clothing wool boom and my few favorite synthetic socks are starting to wear out. Since my wool allergy is steadily getting worse since moving to New England (along with every other seasonal allergy), I may not be able to wear wool at all anymore. Right now I'm down to non-consecutive days to let the rash clear up, and you can probably guess why I find that sub-optimal. I haven't had any long enough days on my feet to tell how the rash impacts how my feet hold up otherwise, but I'm really on the lookout for which clothing companies haven't jumped on the wool bandwagon.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 18:01:45 MDT Print View

1. It depends on conditions.
2. When my feet are soft - starting out - I wear mareno wool over light liners. When my feet are harder, I leave off either the liners or the wool, depending on the temperature. This depends somewhat on the shoes. If they can be snugged sufficiently, the liners alone are ok; if not, I keep using the wool alone. Unless it is cold, I prefer lightweight liners instead of wool.
3. In subfreezing weather, I wear 2 pairs of wool and maybe liners with running shoes. In snow, neopreme over liners.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 18:34:16 MDT Print View

I tried wearing just a pair of Merino wool socks and developed a blister on the ball of my foot after three or four days in warm, dry conditions. Prior to that I always wore thin liner socks under wool socks, and never got a blister.

Now I'm back to my tried-and-true thin liner under wool. The only problem I've had is in when my socks and shoes are soaked...I tend to develop hot spots.

One advantage of using liner socks is that they dry out quickly after washing. If they are not too wet and the conditions are good, you can even dry them in your sleeping bag without causing problems with loft.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
RE: What is your sock strategy? on 08/16/2008 20:30:07 MDT Print View

I have always worn a pair of liner socks and a pair of Smartwool socks over them year 'round, with an identical set of backup socks in my pack. I wore them today on a day-hike in 90-degree weather, and I wear them in the winter in 10-degree weather, but with winter boots. On backpacking trips, the backup socks are tonight's bedtime socks and tomorrow's day socks, while today's day socks are dangling out to dry on the pack after being washed, getting ready to be tomorrow's bedtime socks, etc.
Because this system works so well for me, I haven't tried to "fix" it by wearing just one pair of socks, although I know a lot of posters on this site say this works for them. The only change I've made in the last 9 years is switching from Thorlo outer socks to Smartwool outer socks.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: "What is your sock strategy?" on 08/17/2008 09:07:14 MDT Print View

Linsey, you mentioned the Injinji socks and they're pretty cool...I've found, however, with sufficient powder I get the same reduced friction benefits. I have a claw toe on each foot, so ensuring mah li'l toesies don't step on one another is a key blister prevention method. After giving them a spin, I gave up on Injinji's because, due to lack of padding, I'd get heel blisters even in my most comfy trailrunners, which I never got with more padded socks.

In your case, though, sounds like Injinji's and outer socks are a good combo!

However, Injinji socks are still awesome for one thing: if you want to cut weight but still bring camp shoes, you can wear uber-light flipflops in camp and still be able to wear socks for warmth!