Here's the text for my LTR on these socks. Love them!
html can be found here: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/LTR%20Swiftwick%20Four%20Merino%20Socks%20-%20Tim%20Earley/
Thanks in advance for the edits!
LONG TERM REPORT - August 3, 2010
Since my field report, I have worn these socks on approximately ten
outings including day hikes and overnight trips. I have also worn
them day to day when I know I'll be putting a lot of non-hiking around-
town mileage on my feet. This summer has been quite a scorcher so far
with temperatures consistently above 90 F (32 C) and as such almost
all of my uses since the field report have been hot weather above 80 F
(27C). My overnight trip saw low temperatures of about 60 F (10 C)
and high temperatures of about 85 F (29 C). Most of my day hikes saw
temperatures from 80 F (27 C) to 90 F (32 C). Elevation gains were
similar to my field testing conditions (0-1500 feet or 0-450 meters).
I have to say, I've been very impressed with the performance of these
socks. Initially I was concerned that the socks were both too thin
and too lightly padded to be suitable for my boots. Over the past
several months, however, they have proven to be more than up to the
challenge. I never had to resort to liners and I have never had any
discomfort in my feet while wearing these socks. I believe the
effective use of stretch materials throughout really creates an almost
automatic custom fit that prevents the sock from sliding. No sock
sliding means less friction and more comfort. I would like to
emphasize that I did not experience a single hot spot or blister
during this entire test period.
My concern about padding above the toes (mentioned in my initial
impressions section) was proven almost entirely false. I did feel the
seam on my pinky toe from time to time but nothing that really
bothered me. In no case did it cause discomfort, just a sense that
the seam was, in fact, above my toe. I did not feel the seam on any
of my other toes.
As for durability, these socks got off to a rocky cosmetic start (as
illustrated by pilling in the field report) but have held up well in
the long run. There has been no measurable decrease in padding or
elasticity. In addition, I believe they have remained almost exactly
the same size; I have the feeling they might have shrunk just a tiny
bit, but nothing to make them unusable. I am most impressed with the
durability of the elastic in the upper neck of the sock. It is just
as strong as it was the first time I pulled the socks out of the box.
I particularly appreciate this as these socks always hold themselves
up, providing a bit of minimal protection from scree, gravel, twigs,
Despite my love for it, the strength of the elastic neck has proven to
be a double edged sword. The neck is, in my opinion, too tight. It's
not uncomfortable at all on the trail but when I take off my boots I
get the insatiable urge to scratch my upper ankles. I think it's from
the socks hugging so tightly. I wouldn't consider this a major defect
and it might not manifest itself to all users, but I found it worth
Finally, these socks rock in the warm weather. They manage moisture
and smell better (relatively speaking, of course) than any I've used.
I'm sure their thin profile has a lot to do with warm weather
management. My feet did feel warm when on the trails in the warm
weather of this test period but I consider this a function of two
things. Firstly, my feet just tend to get hot and sweat. Secondly, I
wear somewhat heavy boots year round. These two things conspire to
make my feet sweat regardless of temperatures.
As for odor control, I wore one pair for 4 days straight to see how
the socks held up. I am happy to report that they did not smell (at
all) and they did not stand up like they were professionally dry-
cleaned and starched. I truly can't recall one time in the test
period where I thought the socks smelled foul. This is truly a tall
order with my feet.
Overall I think these socks are great. They are everything I need in
a hiking sock and have actually made me consider switching to a
lighter boot to take advantage of their thickness and maybe do
something about my nasty foot sweat. They are comfortable, durable,
odor-resistant and provide all the protection my feet needed. In
short, if I wear through these three pairs, I would purchase
Things I like:
1. I love the use of stretch fabrics throughout. They felt like they
were custom made for my feet and never slip.
2. They are more durable than they appear.
3. Odor control is fantastic.
Things I don't like:
1. The tightness of the sock neck. I would prefer it a bit looser.
I would like to thank Swiftwick International LLC and
BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this item.
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