I bought a ridiculously expensive pair of wool socks ($17.99 at Dick's Sporting Goods), but now I can tell you that they are really worth the money. The pair was made by Smartwool, which makes new generation of wool clothing. Wool apparel is a new trend of outdoor apparel. After long experiment with synthetic fabrics, finally researchers realized that wool is the most ideal fabric for outdoor activities. Wool is superior to other synthetic fabrics in (1) moisture wicking (2) thermal insulation (3) ventilation, and (4) odor control.
Some of you may say that you do not like wool clothing because of itching. Old wool sweaters cause itching. But new generation of wool clothing is different. They are made from fine wool fiber and processed to be soften. Smartwool is one of the companies that make the new wool apparel. I have known this news but did not have a chance to try on. When I received a discount coupon from Dick's, I decided to give a shot on this luxurious socks.
- Model: Men's Heathered Rib (light cushion. There are various cushion types. I picked light cushion because I thought that fishing trip typically does not require much cushion.)
- Contents: 72% wool, 23% nylon, 5% elastic (different models have different contents)
- Price: $17.99 (made in US)
- Treatment: Machine wash (warm) and machine dry (tumble dry low). Turn inside out. No fabric softener required. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
Results: the pair well passed the test. Moisture wicking was excellent. My feet didn't get wet or cold by sweating. I could not feel over heated while walking. To be honest, odor control was my major interest. Amazingly, the pair didn't stink after five days. Mild smell sweat, that was it. Um, in order to make it sure, I asked my wife to test it, and she agreed with me. Smartwool claims that their wool socks can keep feet cool when it is warm, but I could not test it at this time.
After five test days, I found that surface of the socks were a bit shaggy. I turned inside out and machine-washed them. Shags didn't look troublesome, but I am not sure after repeated use how shaggy it will become .
It is real irony to me that we didn't realize that wool is the best fabric for outdoor activities for long time. If you have your uncle's old wool sweater, why don't you wear it for your ice fishing this winter. You may want to wear cotton inner shirts first, though.