I’ve had a trio of new Smartwool socks on test for the past few months and first up for a write-up are the Hiking Ultra Light Mini Crews.
I used to be such a trad sock wearer, going outdoors meant big outdoor socks, these are a perfect example of my changed ways. The Mini’s (as I’ll call them, that full name is way too long) are a little different though, taking some regular hiking sock features into an active sock format.
The photie below has the socks just before they go into the wash, a days wear easily shows where the padding and elastic sections are. They keep their shape well, I’ve had no bagginess or slippage and happily regular washing and wearing is having little effect on that. That must be partly due to the fabric mix, 25% nylon and 1% elastic in there with the Zque accredited merino is going to give these socks a better chance at a longer life.
Mind you, their new WOW thing, which is Wool on Wool, means they’re doubling up the merino in high wear areas at the forefoot and heel rather than relying on the nylon holding it all together, so I guess it must as much down to construction or knit as it material how much wear you get on the sock. Fit as well of course, a better fitting socks lasts longer, a better fitting shoe over it helps plenty too for that matter.
The bottom of the sock is more padded, like regular trekking sock, soft and comfy. The toe box (where no seam can be felt) and heel are the same but the top of the foot is a much thinner knit which makes them great for wearing with mesh trail shoes, very cool and they dry quick, be they wet from sweat or bog hopping. There’s some nice padding where your shoe laces are normally tied too and the low ankle cuff has several different sized ribs which means a very easy stretch while it still stays close to the skin to stop crap getting inside.
Basically these are just nice socks to wear, fit and forget which is just what I like. The low cuff means they’re trail or bike shoe only, but that’s fine and it means that the little Smartwool man cheerily sticks out above your heel.
More socks coming soon.