Review by Arnie P
Sockwell provided the men’s Ascend OTC and Summit OTC socks for review.
Sockwell Men’s Therapeutic performance socks
This report will be on both pairs. The major distinction between the Ascend and the Summit is that the Ascend is a moderate compression sock while the Summit is a firm compression sock. I will start with explaining the common features followed by the differences. I admire that the Sockwell company supports the revival of the American Textile Industry and the American Sheep Farmers.
Stockwell designs and manufactures socks in the USA. The sheep that produce the wool are from the US Rockies. There is an excellent video on the website under the tab “explore” explaining the manufacturing and design criteria for making the Sockwell socks.
Spandex throughout the sock
Graduated compression leg
Turn welt top
Seamless toe closure
Sizing for men’s
M/L: 7-10 US sizes
L/XL: 10.5-13 US sizes
Colors for Men’s
41% Merino Wool
Differences between the Summit OTC and Ascend OTC
Ascend OTC: SW24M
Summit OTC: SW51M
Ascend OTC: 81 g/2.9 oz
Summit OTC: 87 g/3.0 oz
Ascend OTC: 15-20 mm Hg
Summit OTC: 20-30 mm Hg
How to put the socks on
There is a 38-second video on this under “explore”. This is the material from the sock package I received:
Step 1: Heel of hand to heel of sock
Pulls the sock over arm until the heel of hand meets the heel of the sock with palm upward.
Step 2: Peel to the heel
Peel the leg of the sock down to the heel of your hand so it’s inside out.
Step 3: Sole to sole
Slip the sole of your foot into the sole of the sock aligning the toes and heel of your foot into the sock.
Step 4: Pull it up.
Pull the leg of your sock over your calf and Voila! You have put on your compression socks!
Sockwell stands behind any quality issues with their socks, excluding normal wear and tear. Details are on product materials.
Turn socks inside out, machine washable in warm water without bleach.
Tumble dry on low heat setting.
My preference is to use Woolite and delicate setting for washing and to air dry.
I received size M/L for both pairs of socks. The Ascend is in color Black and the Summit is in color Woodland. All the Sockwell colors are stunning on both socks. I find the patterns on the Summit socks are intricate and precise. The Ascend has a simpler pattern, and the colors appeared to differ from the website. I would love any of the colors.
Trying them on
The problem with choices is deciding which goes first. I decided on alphabetic order. First up is the Ascend OTC. I’m glad I followed the instructions for putting on the socks. They reached to my knee. They felt warm and comfortable. The temperature in my house today was 68. An unusual condition for this time of year. I had thought of trying the other pair on my left foot but the ankle on that leg is larger because I broke that ankle years ago causing it to be slightly larger.
The Summit, although it was shorter than the Ascend out of the package once I put it on my leg it stretched to my knee the same as the Ascend. It felt snugger and a bit warmer. I will have to try reversing the order to see if it makes any difference. I could not detect any difference in comfort level.
I have had some swelling in my legs near the ankle area over the last 2 years. This summer in early August I was bitten by a yellow jacket and for the first time, my left leg from the knee to ankle was swollen. There remains a small amount which I will monitor during this test. The swelling is not consistent so it will be a long process. I will continue my Wednesday 2-hour group hikes in Harold Parker State forest. I will be walking around the neighborhood, including walks to Silver Lake. I still have some ladder work on my house along with winterizing the yard. I will be going to the gym, shopping, and attending seminars. I will soon be spending a week in New Hampshire adjacent to Cannon Mountain. These socks will get a lot of varied use under a variety of conditions. I will be trying the socks with several types of footwear.
In summary, I find that socks are the second most important piece of hiking and backpacking gear I use. I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Sockwell for the opportunity to test the Ascend OTC and the Summit OTC. Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say.
Compression for health
Previously a doctor had prescribed compression socks for me. When I tried them, I found the socks uncomfortable, cool, and ugly.
Since I had swelling in my legs when I received the Sockwell socks, I was eager to try them out. My swelling reduced after the first day and was not visible after 4 days. The Ascend and the Summit socks produced such similar results that I found it difficult to distinguish between them. The purpose of compression socks is to increase circulation and reduce the possibility of blood clots in the lower legs. I love the idea I can carry out those goals and still be comfortable.
At the gym
It may be my age, but for several years I have been finding the temperature at gyms is colder. The first thing I noticed while wearing the Ascend and Summit socks, was that I was warm in my gym shorts. While doing my regular “cardio” I did not get overheated or sweaty. The ventilation on these socks is excellent.
I have worn the socks for weekly Wednesday group hiking. They are warm and comfortable. A fellow hiker asked me about the socks. When I mentioned they were compression socks, the hiker was interested on behalf of a family member with swelling in the legs who did not want the standard medical sock.
Since these socks go to my knee and are warm, I could wear shorts on days I normally would wear long pants for the warmth. For backpacking, it could mean wearing shorts instead of hiking pants cutting my carrying weight by a half pound. For me, that is a big change.
I have been wearing these socks walking in the neighborhood, walking to the plaza, and going for coffee. I have also attended meetings and the senior center. I could wear these socks anywhere I could wear my regular socks.
Ease of use
I found that when I followed the instructions for putting on the socks; it was an easy task. I had more trouble removing my socks. The Ascend socks were easier to remove. I had to struggle removing the Summit socks. I may not have the control I used to have. I find the Summit socks are warmer and more interesting.
It is not often that I have been told I was wearing elegant socks. I get positive comments while hiking, while at the gym, and while at the senior center.
I suspect that with the approaching holidays I may consume things that that may cause swelling in my lower legs. I intend on reporting the results of my findings.
I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Sockwell for the opportunity to test the Ascend OTC socks and the Summit OTC socks. Please check in a month when I should have more to say.
A Last look 12-28-17
In this report, we discuss washing and the reduction of swelling in my legs. I have been out on the trail in the cold weather of 15 F and winds up to 20 mph. We get to see differences between these two excellent pairs of socks. I will answer a question asked by an observer on the trail.
Using the socks
These socks take longer to put on than regular socks. The method shown on the website is better than any I tried. Taking the socks off also takes a few seconds longer. Taking off the Summit socks takes a little longer than taking off the lower compression Ascend socks.
On the trail
I never had trouble with the socks sliding down my leg while on the trail. They extend to just below my knee and that is where I would find them at the end of a hike or at days end. I was warm in these socks. The Summit socks were warmer than the Ascend socks.
I have walked to the local shopping plazas. I have been to the senior center and the gym many times. These socks performed well at the gym, never falling down or causing my feet or legs to overheat.
Reducing the swelling in my legs
I get swelling in my legs more often than I would like. While wearing the socks, it was difficult for me to feel the difference in compression between the 2 pair of socks. The degree of reduction of the swelling in my legs and the time the swelling remained reduced after removing the socks showed the difference in compression. The swelling reduction occurred in 2 to 4 days. It was quicker with the Summit socks. I have before and after pictures of the swelling.
I used Woolite soap with warm water and the delicate cycle on my washing machine. With the weather in the single digits, I hung the clothes inside and after 4 hours they were almost dry.
My legs never felt squeezed. I felt no tightness, no itchiness, and no discomfort.
A lady hiker asked me if Sockwell had compression socks for women. I assured her they did, and I had forgotten to mention it in my initial report. The women’s socks seem to have different colors.
If you doctor ever advises you to wear therapeutic compression socks. You may find these socks provide an easy path to reduce the swelling in your legs. They are also attractive.
This concludes my review. I hope you enjoyed reading this report as much as I enjoyed wearing these socks and writing about them. I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Sockwell for the opportunity to test the Ascend and Summit therapeutic compression socks. Please check out our website often to read our reviews and articles.