Swiftwick Socks: Tested

SOCKS? REALLY?
I am actually amazed at the amount of gear that I have had for a long time that I have never written about. To say the least – it’s been a busy few years and I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked. My Swiftwick socks certainly fall into that category.

My experience with Swiftwick socks goes back quite some time. If I had to guess I would say it was sometime around 2005 or 2006 when one of the owners of the company walked into the bike shop I was running in Brentwood, Tennessee (suburb South of Nashville and Swiftwick’s home town). He handed me a sample set  claiming they’d be the best socks I’d ever worn and said he’d check back in a few weeks to see how I like them. Well, long story short (’cause I can be long-winded); I still own the socks, they get regular use, and not only are they still holding up but they are among my favorites. Additionally; I have spent a decent amount of my own  money acquiring more (the photo above is just the pairs that aren’t in the laundry at the time…and there are 6-pair pictured.)

socks-0001

THE DETAILS
So what’s the deal? What makes these so great? Well, as much as I’d like to start off with materials and technobabble – I think what is at the core of the greatness here is good old fashioned attention to detail.

They get the small stuff right. Seam placement; compression; cuff height (and options of cuff heights); bulk and weight of material; durability; and last but not least: fit – all of these are qualities that I would praise in every one of my socks from the Mid-South brand. Every single one of these qualities lends toward a sock that doesn’t have “hot spots” in the shoe, will support your foot and the many muscles and bones within, and provides proper cushion and protection for a variety of activities. I have run, played soccer and basketball, skied, gone on road and mountain bike rides – heck; I even hiked the Great Wall of China – while wearing these socks and I am convinced that my feet felt better than if I’d have worn something else.

Now the technobabble: because it actually fits well with their attention to detail. The main component in their socks is a polyester derivative called olefin. Olefin is pretty much a wonder-material that is durable, wicks and disperses moisture very effectively, is very light and holds is shape and elasticity well.  It also resists staining and mildew well. You’ll find it is used in a variety of other industries – from wallpaper to automotive interiors – as these qualities are advantageous in many areas.
WALKING A MILE…
What’s this mean for a sock? In short: your feet stay dry, cool, and comfortable. Because of the compression built into the fit (these should fit you comfortably snug – not at all like a cotton gym sock) your feet receive a nice amount of support and the sock doesn’t stretch out and bunch up during activity. This compression effect also lends to great fit which can lead to fewer blisters as well (Swiftwick claims the socks are “blister-free”; but after playing some indoor soccer I did have a few nice blisters on my feet…however I’m sure I would have had worse in different socks; especially plain ol’ cotton crew socks.)
Swiftwick have recently expanded their product line as well.  I can’t speak for some of the designs as – at the moment – the only models I own are the Merino “Pursuit” (more on those soon) and the original “Performance” sock. I’d love to try some of the others though as my only gripe is that I feel the original socks are a little thick for the hottest of days and I’d like to try something thinner (*cough* hint, hint, Swiftwick *cough*) but that will have to wait for a later date.
BOTTOM LINE:get some.
Stay tuned for my review of the Merino wool Swiftwick socks soon…
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