I’m working up my holiday gift guide for cyclists, and I wanted to make a quick mention of socks for cooler weather use. This is an update of an review I wrote in 2005.
Smartwool socks seem to be universally endorsed among experienced winter cyclists. The New Zealand merino wool used in Smartwool socks is extremely comfy, the socks are reasonably priced and the company is based in Colorado.
I own several pairs of Smartwool socks and I also recommended Smartwool socks enthusiastically. In the summer, I hiked and climbed mountains wearing these socks. In the winter, I hiked, snowshoed, and rode my bike in these Smartwool hiking socks.
The two bottom photos to the left shows two pairs of my Smartwool hiking socks after two years of this use.
I no longer own Smartwool socks because they became unusable after four or five years. This is maybe reasonable for heavily used socks, but I’ve found something better.
Eventually, I asked the local hiking shop for socks that won’t fall apart on me. They recommended Bridgedale socks. I bought the Trekker from them, a midweight sock similar to my Smartwool socks made of merino wool designed for trail running, hiking and backpacking. After
two eight years of use, my Bridgedale socks have held up significantly better than my Smartwool socks. When I originally wrote this review five years ago, there was no hint of sagging in the cuffs. After eight years, the socks are finally beginning to sag a little. The socks fit my feet better, meaning there don’t blister like I do with the Smartwool socks on my peak bagging runs (the discolored areas on the Smartwool socks are blood stains).
Because they’re made of the same Merino wool as Smartwools, the fabric is just as comfortable. The Bridgedale’s are a little bit pricier but the construction and quality are significantly better. Bridgedale socks are a combination of wool and synthetics. I can’t recommend these socks enough.
The top photo shows a Bridgedale Trekker sock after two years of use similar to what I’ve done with the Smartwool socks. There’s absolutely no thinning and the sock fits just as perfectly as when I first bought them.