By Dave Wilkes
Below is the description and Materials from the manufacturer:
Extended Hiking in Warmer Conditions.
WoolFusion® for durable performance.
Designed for Walking and Hiking in warmer conditions.
Lightweight style designed for lightweight footwear, for day-hiking or warm weather trekking.
40% New Wool
Cushing & warmth rating – 3
WoolFusion® is our unique technology that sets Bridgedale apart from other sock brands. Bridgedales WoolFusion® technology combines the highest quality natural yarns; Merino wool or Tough wool, and fuses them with high performance microfibres; Coolmax® or Endurofil™.
This unique technology, results in socks that perform to the highest level. WoolFusion® socks provide supreme, lasting comfort: they are warm when they need to be and wick when there is excess moisture. Overall they are extremely comfortable and hard wearing – this is enduring comfort.
I inspected the socks and found no loose treads or other signs of flaws. The single seam is strategically located above the toes (rather at the far end of the sock where it could become a friction point) and is more of a recess rather than a budge as on some other socks. The sock is clearly thicker on the bottom and around the toes and heel than on the top and where it extends above the ankle. The material is quite soft.
These socks are intended for extended wear in warm condition. As such they are thin except in locations where additional cushioning is needed (e.g. toes, bottom of foot, & heel). These socks are thinner than ones I normally use for hiking; as such I am interested in how this will affect comfort. The thinner sock should mean less cushioning, but combined with the material could result in cooler feet and better moisture management. As such at least initially, I will not use liner socks with these as I normally do. Since I also received sock liners as part of this review, if necessary I will try the Bridgedale liners first.
I first wore the socks to work. The socks fit nicely. During lunch I took off one sock and examined it while it was slightly damp from perspiration my foot felt dry. While wearing them the material felt quite slick against my skin, similar to the polypropylene sock liners I normally wear for hiking. I wear started wearing liners to assist with moisture management as well as to reduce friction (polypropylene is quite slick, similar to silk). The fact that these socks feel as slick as the liners suggests to me that liners may not be necessary.
[Update June 1 2010]
I wore the liners the first time on the 2nd day of my daughter’s school “Environmental Camp” (Central Washington) to study the Missoula floods (specifically Dry Falls and surrounding areas). It was sunny all day with temperatures in the 50’s F and intermittent light wind. I spent the entire day on my feet from cooking breakfast (for 39 pre-teens + 8 Adults) then various trips throughout the day into the talus, rocks and hills for study and discussion, followed by cooking dinner and then a bit of star gazing (we saw Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and the Orion Nebula – first time I had seen some of these, very exciting).
The socks performed admirably. I had absolutely no problems with rubbing or moisture and my despite a wide range of temperatures (high 50 & sun to high 30’s and wind) my feet got neither hot nor cold. At the end of the day, my feet were dry and as far as I could tell odor free.
I have since worn the socks at least once a week for normal activities (work, home, etc) and some day hikes. I have to say when it comes to keeping my feet dry and comfortable these socks are tops. The only thing I have worn that rivals these are the Bridgedale Bamboo socks I am also reviewing. These socks are thicker than the bamboo version so provide a bit more cushioning, but they seem to perform just as well when it comes to keeping my feet dry and preventing friction. I have had trouble in the past with my feet getting sweaty and then developing blisters; as such, I normally wear some sort of sock liner when hiking. With these, I have found liner socks unnecessary. The temperatures here have been too cold to get a good test of how well these perform in hot weather, however in the few hikes where I have generated a good sweat, my feet stayed dry and cool, so I look forward to the coming hot weather.
During the first few weeks I hand washed the socks (mostly to keep from losing them in the wash) but have since started washing them with my regular cloths. The socks are so far showing little to no signs of wear.
[Update Aug 9 2010]
With the weather being so hot, I have not gotten a lot of use of these since my last update. However, I did use them to climb Mt Adams (along with the Bridgedale liner 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. The socks are not showing much in the way of wear, they appear to be quite durable.
I really have been impressed with the Bridgedale socks I have been testing and fully intend to continue using them. I am also considering purchasing their heaver weight winter socks this fall.
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