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Coolmax and moisture management
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Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Coolmax and moisture management on 05/02/2007 08:34:26 MDT Print View

I bought a couple pairs of Injinji tetrasok's ("toe socks"), and ordered these through the mail to get the "performance" series, the ones made with Coolmax. My thought was to use these as my liner socks to reduce or eliminate toe blisters.

According to the package these are 70% Coolmax, 25% Nylon, and 5% Lycra.

The package says to machine wash warm and line dry, so I just did a low spin cycle and then hung them up on a hanger in my bathtub last night.

Eight hours later these are still quite wet. Were these normal liner socks, they would be close to if not completely dry by now. This suprised me, but sort of matches my initial feel of the socks, that they didn't feel as dry on my feet as I had expected, though I'm not really sure of that (yet).

The packaging for the socks talks about "a CooMax moisture wicking lining and a resistant nylon outer shell built with Lycra fibers".

In the FAQ on there's this text:
"Energy Saving Tip! > Because Coolmax® is so quick drying, you really don't need to use your dryer. If you've got clothes made from 100% Coolmax®, just hang 'em up to dry and be amazed at how quick it happens! Great tip for travel too!"

Well, I was amazed alright, but not in the way they suggest.

Any ideas of what's going on here? Is the particular sock material blend that Injinji used defeating the general purpose use of CoolMax, or ... ?

Further muddying the waters, I see on the CoolMax website that there are three types of CoolMax: "Everyday", "Active", and "Extreme". No where I can find either on the packaging or which of those is used; I've seen that elsewhere too (including on this site) --- sometimes a product will specify which type of CoolMax is used, others it just generically says that it's CoolMax and leaves it at that.

Liner socks that are quite wet after hanging for eight hours in a dry room aren't something I care to take along on an extended backpacking trip. I'll test these further to see how well they dry out when I'm walking in them, but I would appreciate any insights on this from others.

Brian Lewis

Edited by brianle on 05/02/2007 08:35:59 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Coolmax and moisture management on 05/02/2007 11:13:18 MDT Print View

Hi Brian:

When traveling, I wash my synthetics at night in my hotels, and they are usually dry by morning. Thus far, my experience has been:

1. Clothes dry the slowest when hung in an inside bathroom (i.e. no windows). If the bathroom is used (i.e. tub or even wash basin), then drying time will be even longer.

2. Clothes hung inside a closet -- with the doors open -- will dry faster than (1) above.

3. Clothes hung every which way in the room itself will almost always dry overnight -- esp. if AC or heater or fan is on -- or if windows are open.

4. Clothes hung outside will always dry overnight successfully (barring rain of course).

As for your socks, I don't think you will have any problems with them drying if you leave them out in the vestibule where they can air out overnight -- but still be protected from the rain.

Finally, I've found that even if clothing is still somewhat damp when put on, my body heat will dry them in just minutes -- especially if I am actively moving about. This works in all but freezing temps. :)

Edited by ben2world on 05/02/2007 11:14:31 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Coolmax and moisture management on 05/02/2007 11:42:57 MDT Print View

Thanks, Benjamin, good points.

But --- in an apples-to-apples context, I know that if I hang my normal fairly thin liner socks in the same place for the same time, they would be significantly dryer, if not dry. I hung a not-all-that-thin synthetic t-shirt nearby and it was pretty dry this morning.

I had an experience some years ago doing 8 days in the Olympic National Forest where a pair of fairly bulky wool socks got wet and they just never dried out. After that I'm a little leery of things that take a while to dry; where I live, it sometimes gets and stays wet and cold-humid day after day of a long backpacking trip.

So your general points about drying things are good, but what I'm particularly interested in here is whether I've just misunderstood something about Coolmax, for example, maybe 100% coolmax is needed rather than some hybrid to get the drying qualities ... etc.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Coolmax and moisture management on 05/02/2007 11:59:40 MDT Print View

Yeah, my observations were pretty general.

Wool can take a long time to dry -- as compared to synthetics. I can see how thicker woolen socks might stay "perpetually" damp in the PNW...

But Coolmax is supposed to dry relatively quickly -- including 75% coolmax. I have dried coolmax tees without problems. Question: how did you hang your socks? I usually hang them in a way that they stay a bit hollow and rounded (to the extent possible). In contrast, draping them flat on the shower pole (^) would be less efficient.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
How I hung the socks on 05/02/2007 12:53:19 MDT Print View

I draped them over a plastic coat hanger and hung that on the shower head. So yes --- they weren't rounded, pretty flat, though the tetrasoks have some "anatomical shape" to them, you really can't completely flatten the heel part completely. And indeed, it's an interior bathroom, no windows.

Perhaps part of the issue is that this material feels like it might be just a little thicker than my other liner socks. It stands to reason that --- all things being equal --- thicker material will take longer to dry. But the differing composition of the materials should mean that all things aren't equal!

Edited by brianle on 05/02/2007 12:54:28 MDT.