Spring Sock Roundup 2018


Springtime socks have to be ready for anything: cold mornings, mid-day heat, sudden thunderstorms, or muddy trails. This spring we looked for socks that are durable enough to take a beating, while keeping our feet cool, dry, and comfortable. As always, unique fashion earns bonus style points. Here are some of our favorites from this spring’s sock bounty.

Darn Tough Vertex Micro Crew Ultra-Light Cushion ($19)
Material Construction: 51% Merino Wool, 43% Nylon, 6% Lycra Spandex
Weight (pair): 50g

The Vertex Micro Crew is one of the lightest socks in this test group, but also one of the most durable. It’s a stripped-down version of the company’s legendary hiking socks, with a performance fit to stay snug, and a light layer of cushioning along the underside. This sock performs exceptionally well at wicking moisture away, and remains comfortable from chilly mornings to hot afternoons. A high merino wool content helps minimize odor, while fine gauge knitting and seamless construction keep the Micro Crew soft against your skin without any points of irritation, even with multi-day use.


Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Pattern Crew ($22)
Material Construction: 60% Merino Wool, 38% Nylon, 2% Elastane
Weight (pair): 70g

We frequently use Smartwool’s classic Run PhD Ultra Light socks in summer months, but for cooler temps, rougher conditions, or longer miles we like this slightly thicker and more cushioned version which has the highest merino content in our roundup. It is constructed with Indestructawool technology that increases durability in key areas, plus strategic mesh zones for optimal breathability and wicking. A 4 Degree Fit system uses elastic bands crossed over the midfoot to keep the sock in place, with a seamless toe box for comfort in the forefoot. Although this is thicker than the Ultra Lights, it doesn’t feel excessively hot when temperatures increase.


Swiftwick Flite XT Five ($24)
Material Construction: 66% Nylon, 17% Polyester, 14% Olefin, 3% Spandex
Weight (pair): 45g

The Flite XT series from Swiftwick is intended for running or cross training, and combines light cushioning with moderate compression that wraps and secures your entire foot and ankle. One design element we love is the GripDry fibers in the heel and bottom of the forefoot, which have a slightly sticky feel and prevent the foot from slipping inside the shoe. The GripDry areas of the forefoot are constructed with flex grooves that help with moisture management and provide a slightly ribbed feel that further supports underfoot stability. Olefin fibers help with moisture wicking and dry quickly after immersion.


Lorpen T3 Running Mid Crew ($16)
Material Construction: 40% Polyester Coolmax, 30% Nylon, 20% Lyocell Tencel, 10% Lycra
Weight (pair): 60g

The name of these socks (and a larger T3 collection) refers to an innovative three-layer technology that combines fibers with different performance characteristics to provide enhanced warmth in cold weather and effective moisture management in warm weather. A Coolmax layer is next to the skin, with a soft moisture-wicking (and odor resistant) Tencel middle layer. A resistant Nylon fabric on the outside gives the socks durability and resistance to friction or tearing, and Lycra is woven throughout to ensure the socks hold their shape and stay in place. T3 running socks are available in a variety of heights, and the mid crew size we tested will be available in August 2018.


Drymax Bosio and Jester ($15)
Material Construction: 65% Drymax Olefin, 20% polyester, 8% Nylon, 7% Elastene
Weight (pair): 70g

Drymax continues its practice of releasing special edition socks that reflect the style of their sponsored elite athletes. This spring sees the release of a crew length argyle version of their Lite Trail Running sock named after Rory Bosio, the two-time UTMB winner with a colorful personality to match her eye-catching footwear. They have a double welted ankle collar, seamless interior surface, instep-hugging arch band, and light dense padding to provide moderate cushioning without bulk. The Bosio is a female-specific model, and the male counter part (with red accents instead of pink) is the Jester.


Wigwam Highline Pro ($16)
Material Construction: 33% Merino Wool, 31% Polyester, 30% Stretch Nylon, 4% Tencel, 2% Spandex
Weight (pair): 80g

The Highline Pro is from Wigwam’s outdoor collection, which is generally thicker and more durable than its running series socks. Like many of Wigwam’s hiking socks, this one is named for a famous trail – our favorite Highline is in Glacier National Park – and has stylish accents that are equally suitable for casual or performance use. Merino wool is the main component of this model, which provides moisture wicking as well as odor resistance, and moderate padding in the heel and forefoot provides comfort on long trail days. These socks run warmer than the others tested here, so they’re better suited for colder conditions than enjoying an early spring heat wave.

All of the models described above are available now at the company websites, with the exception of the Lorpen socks, which will be available in August 2018.


About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

1 Comment

  1. No toe socks? They worked for me in 100 mile trail runs with no blisters or hot spots.