Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Product Review: SealSkinz Thin Mid Length Socks

Take care of your feet. How many times have you heard that being preached? More than once, right? Well it's true! I take care of my feet and for years I have been on the search for great footwear. Along with a good pair of boots you need a good pair of socks. For three years I have been using wool socks on my hunts, but my feet would get sweaty and I had hot spots and major blisters. Then I found Seal Skinz socks and my game plan was changed forever.

The socks are made with merino wool and elastic. They are waterproof and breathable. Waterproof, but breathable socks? Really? How will they work in the warm temperatures in SoCal? That is exactly what went through my mind when I was checking the socks out. Out of the package the thin, mid length socks had an entirely different feel to them. They were thicker, had elasticity, and you could feel a difference when you tried to stretch them out. I honestly was afraid to try them out! I figured that when my feet were sweating on a hike, that last thing I needed was a rubber sock rubbing against my heel, but I sucked it up and planned a two-mile hike with 80# of sand on my back. 

One of the hikes when I tested out the Seal Skinz socks with 90# on my back.

When you first put them on, they feel weird. You can tell they are different, yet they surround your foot like they were molded specifically for your foot. With the boots on over them they felt even better. They had cushion and protection. I knew I was probably going to feel some hot spots on my three-miler, but I agreed to do a field test. I was wrong. Not only were there no hot spots, my feet felt awesome after the hike! I knew they were warm inside my boot, but my feet were very comfortable on the entire hike up and down hills near my house. Back at the house, I took them off and while my feet were sweaty, it wasn't bad. I could only imagine if I were hiking in cold, wet areas.

Pondering a hunt in the backcountry, I opted to not wash the socks right away. I know, pretty gross, but sometimes that is just the way it is. I let them dry for a couple days and went on another hike. This time with 90# of sand on my back, moving faster and taking trails that were not flat. These trails had twists, turns, and steep angles that forced me to think about where I was planting my feet. I wanted to try to create as much friction inside my boot that I could. I did just that and my feet continued to feel great.  

My daughter had a blast 'watering' my socks.

My daughter was watering our garden and I asked her to pour some water over my socks. She was delighted and most of you know she loves helping me with my gear reviews. After two watering cans of water were poured over the outside, I walked around for a few minutes. When I pulled the socks off my feet were dry. It's insane how well these work!

I decided to wash the socks by hand so I could see what happened when they got water on the inside and the outside. The amount of dirt and nastiness that was washed out was incredible, but you don't need to know that. Then I filled a sock with water and held it up. The only water that came off was from the outside. The inside water stayed put. So, if in need of a water bladder in the wilderness, you could use your Seal Skinz sock. Clean it first unless you like Earthy water. Blech! I hung them out to dry and noticed that once the outside was dry to the touch, the inside was still very wet, so I turned them completely inside out. They dried quickly and I had socks to wear again.

My feet felt great even though they were completely wet on the outside!

Fast forward a couple weeks and a long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. I threw on a pack with 40# on a warm day and hiked and hiked. The dusty trail went up and down and was very sandy, so my feet were slipping. Even still, no hot spots on my feet and they felt great. Long story short, I hiked nearly 10 miles and my feet felt great. I am seriously amazed at how well the socks protected my feet. This truly is a magnificent sock. I told my hunting partner that I needed to get him a pair before we go to Colorado to see exactly what I was talking about. My feet felt great!

The socks are not inexpensive and have an investment value of $45.00/pr. For a pair of socks that will protect your feet in different situations like they do, I would gladly pay that knowing what I know now. I would have a hard time paying $45.00 for socks if I had not tested them out first. One plus is that Seal Skinz offers a two-year warranty on the socks against defects. That's a pretty awesome warranty for a sock, don't you think? I used to pay $6.00 for wool socks, but my feet would slide around and I would get blisters. Three major hikes later with the Seal Skinz socks and I have zero blisters to show. Take my word for it, these socks will change the way you hike and hunt. I already know what my family in NY needs for hunting in the cold, damp winter months when chasing deer. They need Seal Skinz waterproof socks.

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