I certainly won’t be writing this much detail about everything on here! But there are certain things that are so important to comfort on a long walk that they’re worth concentrating on. Like socks for instance.
There’s no point in spending a money on good footwear if you then put on a pair of cheap socks. We’ve tried X-Socks Smartwool and Sealskinz as well as a host of cheaper ones. The cheaper ones aren’t worthy of mention. I’ve found Bridgedales to be fine but only Thorlos give Smartwool any competition in my experience.
What we’ll take
You certainly don’t need a fresh pair of socks every day! You’d probably need an extra bag to carry them.
Then, each night in the hut, I’ll wash out the thick sock and liner from that day. Roll them up in my towel and squeeze the water out. They should be dry enough by the morning. Even if they’re not completely dry you’ll be putting on the dry, spare liner sock and quickly getting them damp with sweat anyhow.
Taking an extra pair of thick socks pretty much guarantees that you’ll have a dry pair each day and taking just one pair for a week seems like under doing it, but it can be done!
The X-Socks were of the lightweight hiking variety (I must admit I’m not sure which ones now – have you seen how many there are?). We found they were too thin and both ended a weekend with slightly sore feet but that’s our own fault really for choosing the wrong thickness. But the most off-putting thing was the smell! Being synthetic it was very, very cheesy after just a day’s walk. There are lots of people that love these socks but even with thicker ones I wouldn’t want to put up with that smell.
Gorgeous. Really cushioned and grippy. Best of all, because it’s only Merino wool in contact with your skin, they are amazingly smell resistant (there’s elastane in them but it’s not touching your skin). Nothing much more I can add. Wouldn’t buy anything else. Apart from a pair of…
Sealskinz appear to be tougher than other brands of waterproof socks. Possibly because they’re not a laminate fabric. And to be clear – they have nothing whatsoever to do with seal skin!
Wearing waterproof socks whilst walking up hills with a pack in pouring rain obviously will not keep your feet 100% dry, but they do at least get no worse than rather damp. Which means warmer feet of course.
My first pair actually failed within four days of use but that seems to be very much the exception. Also, I simply stuck them in an envelope with a covering letter saying they leaked and they sent me a brand new pair within a week.
There are now many people that use an unlined approach shoe (no waterproof membrane), which is cooler, combined with a pair of Sealskinz when it’s wet.
Both LB and I went from thinking Liner Socks were just more unnecessary faff to not wanting to be without them. They can certainly prevent blisters in our experience. The theory being that they provide a slip plane between the liner and the outer sock that prevents friction raising a blister. Smartwool make these as well.