No more blisters when hiking and skiing, and good-bye sweaty feet? Sounds too good to be true? Then read on to find out if WRIGHTSOCK socks can keep their promises!
Disclosure: This review was supported financially and with socks from WRIGHTSOCK. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is - I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on blogger transparency and affiliate links.
I found the WRIGHTSOCK Escape and Merino Stride socks good for hiking and every-day use, but got blisters on my shins when using the Merino Coolmesh II otc socks for skiing. When hiking and in normal use I didn’t get any Blisters, and my feet were less sweaty, but I still had moist feet after a day of hiking. Overall I think they’re good socks for colder weather and activities where you usually get really sweaty feet.
My WRIGHTSOCK package arrived in late November, and contained a pair of COOLMESH II Merino, ESCAPE crew and MERINO STRIDE crew, all in Size Large (which fits feet between 41,5 and 45). They have been used all for several weeks, mostly for day hikes and normal, every-day use.
The function of a sock is to absorb perspiration (= sweat!) as your feet are one of the biggest producers of sweat. Socks help to absorb the sweat from your feet and transport it to areas where air can evaporate the perspiration. And in cold weather, socks should insulate the foot and keep it toasty.
- All of the WRIGHTSOCK socks I tested were at least partly made from Dri-Wright, which is a Polyester fibre. Polyester dries quickly and keeps it shape/ form well, hence it is a good material for socks.
- All socks have an inner and outer layer, this construction is supposed to protect from blisters and help you keep dry feet
- Some of the socks I tested also had a Merino wool layer/ fabric, which made them less smelly and warmer
- And all socks also had a “stabilization zone” knitted into the metatarsal area
The socks have held up well over the past three months and still look good. They can be washed at 40° which gets them nice and clean after a few days of use, and I expect them to hold at least another year or two of regular use.
The weight of the socks, as a pair (so both socks!), in Size Large, are as follows:
- Merino Coolmesh II otc socks: 88 g
- Merino Stride socks: 64 g
- Escape socks: 84 g
I’ll look at two different use-cases here: Using the Merino Coolmesh II otc socks for skiing and using the Escape and Merino Stride socks for hiking and every-day use. Lets start with skiing and the Merino Coolmesh II otc socks. I sweat a LOT when I ski, and it doesn’t matter if it is skitouring and skinning up a mountain or just riding the whole day in the front country - I have soaking wet socks after a day on skis. I used the Merino Coolmesh II otc with my La Sportiva Synchro in Ruka for two days, and already after the first day I had a strange feeling on my shins, but didn’t pay any attention to it. That was a mistake.
After the second day on the slopes I had on each leg a big blister on my shins. I never had blisters on my shins, ever before, so you can imagine I was really surprised to find blisters on my legs from using socks which claim they don’t give you blisters! Needless to say, I didn’t use the socks for skiing after that anymore, and would not use the socks for skiing ever again. This is even more surprising as I was literally only downhill skiing, in a light boot which was fastened as usual. On the plus side, my feet were slightly less sweaty, but they still were moist when I took the socks off.
Which brings me to the Escape and Merino Stride socks, which I used for hiking and in everyday use. Currently we have the shittiest winter ever and no snow, but temps still drop down to -11°C or more in the mornings, and only slowly it rises throughout the day. In this weather these socks have been really good, and they kept my feet toasty and warm, even if I wore less warm shoes like the new Black Diamond Mission LT shoes (I usually wear in the colder months the La Sportiva Crossover 2.0). The Merino Stride socks are ideal for daily use as they can dry nicely inside, and they are toasty warm outside in the cold weather. The Escape is also great, though maybe a tiny bit less warm. Overall, as this are double-layer socks, they are warmer than other socks of a comparable weight, as in between the layers air is trapped, which helps keep your feet warm.
Two things, though: I usually never get Blisters anymore as I use good shoes for hiking, backpacking, trailrunning and in every-day use, so I can not say that the claim of not getting Blisters when hiking with these socks works. Secondly, I still had moist feet when I took the socks off after a day outside, however, they were less sweaty than with normal socks. So while I still got sweaty feet they were less moist than with a normal pair of socks. I also liked the extra “cushioning” these socks had because of the two layers, and they also felt nice and comfortable on my feet - the white inner sock has a minimal amount of seams, which is really positive in my book.
Could be better
I don’t have suggestions for improvement, to be honest.
Overall I liked the WRIGHTSOCK Escape and Merino Stride socks, and will use the Merino Coolmesh II otc socks for normal use when it’s cold, but not for skiing anymore. The Escape and Merino Stride socks are both well suited for backpacking and hiking, and the Escape sock definitely is the better pick for multi-day backpacking trips as it is made completely from synthetic materials and hence should dry faster than the Merino Stride socks. However, as most ultralight backpackers are well-used to hiking in wet footwear and hence moist socks, I think also the Merino Stride socks should be fine for backpacking. Especially if you have a problem with Blisters and really sweaty feet you might want to try these socks (and please let me know if the “No Blisters System” works for you!)!
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