When I posted my initial Traveling Light post on socks, I mentioned how I don’t wear anything special for style considerations. There is, however, one caveat: athletic socks, or more specifically the ankle socks I wear with shorts and sneakers.
I picked up two different kinds to try over my recent family vacation, and I am a little blown away at how great they are. (I would have bought them sooner, but I so rarely wear these, I never got around to it.) I picked up Icebreakers and Darn Tough socks, both are heavily Merino wool based.
That Old Sock Feeling
I thought for sure Merino socks wouldn’t feel as good as cotton socks, but rather they feel much better than traditional socks. From the moment you put them on, to the moment you take them off, they are supremely comfortable. I also thought they would be far too warm, once again I was wrong. While they initially feel a littler warmer (depending on the sock), they quickly cool off as the moisture wicking gets to work and your feet adjust.
Here’s the no bullshit deal: you know how when you take off a pair of your cotton socks after a long day of, say walking around Disneyland, and those socks are beyond gross — and you want to put them in the garbage and just buy new socks?
You know that feeling?
We’ve all been there. With these socks — both pairs — after walking for over 12 hours in 90° heat, I came back to the hotel amazed the socks still felt the same as they did when I put them on. They weren’t stretched out, they weren’t grossly damp.
They weren’t even remotely stinky. You could take them off, put them back on, and not every be grossed out or worried about it. Pure comfort.
In fact, I packed three pairs of socks for 6 nights, 7 days, of travel and never washed, or rinsed, a single pair. I’d put any of them on right now without a worry as they all look, smell, and feel just like they did when I packed them.
Go back and read that last section again — if that isn’t the best testament someone could give to athletic socks, then I don’t know what to say. For my money, I would buy the Darn Tough socks as they were a bit thicker on the bottom and thus more comfortable after walking all day — but either way these socks are amazing. Next family vacation, I doubt I will pack more than two pairs.
Side Note on Dress Socks
At the urging of many, I have tried both Merino and synthetic dress socks. I really did not care for the Merino based socks I bought from Icebreakers, but the synthetic socks from Ministry of Supply have proved to be great. Unfortunately, they are not that great looking. I still much prefer my Happy Socks over these. I plan on writing more about this later on.