Bridgedale Enduring Comfort Coolmax Liner Socks

By Dave Wilkes

http://www.bridgedale.com/

There is not much information available on these. There is virtually nothing on the Bridgedale web site and only slightly more on the package they came in.

Image courtesy of Bridgedale

Basically these are very thin smooth socks. They come two pair to a package. I removed one pair and examined them. They look to be quite well made with what few seams there are, are flat with no bumps that are likely to cause discomfort or rubbing. In trying them on they fit quite well and feel very much like my other liner socks. They fit snuggly around my foot but do not constrict, and they feel quite smooth against the skin; suggesting they could be effective at preventing hot spots.

I often wear liner socks (year round). My feet tend to sweat a lot, and I have difficult to fit feet so hot spots and blisters are a constant concern for me. In addition I find for multi day trips, depending on the conditions, I can wash them in the evening and they will be dry and ready for use the next morning (or maybe the 2nd). Normally I purchase the cheapest Polypropylene liner socks I can find, then after a few washings (assuming they do not melt in the dryer) I throw them a way as they tend to get stinky.

So I am interested in if these socks will perform as well as cheaper socks in preventing blisters and reducing foot odor by keeping my feet dry and reducing friction. Also, if these can withstand the rigors of hiking/backpacking and laundering.

I wore the liners the first time on the first day of my daughter’s school ‘environmental camp’ (Central Washington) to study the Missoula floods (specifically Dry Falls and surrounding areas). We spent the first day traveling in a buss with short forays in various locations (Dry Falls, Grand coulee Damn, etc). I wore the socks under basic cotton socks. The temperatures were cool and windy (and the buss heat did not work…brrr). The liners were quite comfortable and despite the cool weather it was apparent they were helping keep my feet dry. It was also apparent that they helped reduce friction. By the end of a long day (7am – 10pm) of what often felt like ‘herding cats’ followed by making and serving dinner for 40 kids, I was surprised to find my feet comfortable, dry and odor free.

I look forward to using these socks over the next 3 months, especially as the temperatures warm up. I invite you to follow along as I review these and two other styles of Bridgdale socks. I also invite you to participate in our Forum section where I welcome your comments and questions.

[Update June 1 2010]

I have found it far more challenging to review these socks then I had expected. Not due to any problem with these, but because I am also reviewing two other pairs of Bridgedale socks. Normally I have no problem finding an excuse to wear liner socks, and wear them often (especially in the winter and/or on just about every hike). However, the other socks I am reviewing are performing so well, I have not been able to justify wearing liners with them. I have worn them under wool socks for snowshoeing a few times (including one overnight trip) and I have worn them alone when I needed a pair of black socks and they were the only ones I could find.

When worn under wool socks, I found it hard to differentiate these from other liner socks I have used. They did a fine job of wicking moisture away from my feet, and I have had no problems with friction.  Normally I would not wear liner socks alone for fear they would wear out too quickly. The Bridgedale liners seem as durable as any dress sock I have owned so I had no qualms about using them as such. And they performed nicely.

I wish I could say more about these socks but there just isn’t much to say. They work as expected but there is little that can make a sock liner stand out aside from durability, and I just have not had them long enough to fully evaluate this. Hopefully at the end of this review I will have had them long enough and worn them enough to have an opinion on their long term durability. But for now, I can just say that I am happy with their performance and have no complaints.

Update Aug 9 2010

I have found it far more challenging to review these socks than I had expected. Not due to any problem with them, but because I am also reviewing two other pairs of Bridgedale socks. Normally I have no problem finding an excuse to wear liner socks, and wear them often (especially in the winter and/or on just about every hike). However, the other socks I am reviewing are performing so well, I have not been able to justify wearing liners with them. I have worn them under wool socks for snowshoeing a few times (including one overnight trip) and I have worn them alone when I needed a pair of black socks and they were the only ones I could find.

When worn under wool socks, I found it hard to differentiate these from other liner socks I have used. They did a fine job of wicking moisture away from my feet, and I have had no problems with friction.  Normally I would not wear liner socks alone for fear they would wear out too quickly. The Bridgedale liners seem as durable as any dress sock I have owned so I had no qualms about using them as such. And they performed nicely.

I wish I could say more about these socks but there just isn’t much to say. They work as expected but there is little that can make a sock liner stand out aside from durability, and I just have not had them long enough to fully evaluate this. Hopefully at the end of this review I will have had them long enough and worn them enough to have an opinion on their long term durability. But for now, I can just say that I am happy with their performance and have no complaints.

I have not gotten a lot of use of these socks since my last update. Having two other pairs of Bridgedale socks to review that are performing so well I have had no real need for liner socks. However I did use them to climb Mt Adams (along with the Bridgedale Endurance Trail socks). On the way down we stopped at our camp at Lunch Counter (9,400’) for a while to regroup and pack. My feet were quite wet so I removed my boots and socks and let them dry in the sun for about an hour before we continued. The socks were warm and dry by the time I put them back on for the trip back down to the trail head. As I have come to expect I had no blisters or hotspots and my feet were virtually odor free at the end of the day.

My experience is that liner socks are not necessary when wearing quality socks (like the other Bridgedale socks I am reviewing). But for lower quality socks they can be quite effective at preventing blisters. In that these seem to be as good as any I have used, it’s hard for a sock liner to stand out as exceptional, so my main consideration for these was if they would be durable. My experience with cheap polypropylene socks is that while they are inexpensive, they are not very durable and don’t last. These socks have shown no signs of wear, I have found no snags, and they even survived a few trips through a hot clothes dryer with the rest of my laundry (treatment that often leaves polypropylene socks shrunk or melted). So I am quite happy with the durability of these and expect them to last for at least a few seasons.

I would like to thank the folks at 4AllOutdoors.org and Bridgedale for the opportunity to review such a fine product.

Dave (the turtle) Wilkes

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