Splash…splash, splash, slosh, splash.
These were the sounds that accompanied my run through the Shenandoah National Park. A rainy previous day and melting ice and snow had generously provided me some wet and cold conditions for my 15-mile trail run.
Normally this type of trail condition would have me upset, and contemplating cutting a run short. Not that I am soft or anything, but my feet get cold, and the added wet could really make for a rough day. Luckily, as shown to me during my 24 mile New Years day run earlier this year in the ice, slush, and snow Smartwool socks have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Socks are one of those items that normally we don’t give the most thought to. We just wear them, shuck them off at the end of the day, and don’t give them the credit they deserve. On these runs however I was thanking my Smartwool socks with just about every stride. Not only are they soft and incredibly well tailored, they also are made of wool and therefore keep your feet warm no matter if they are wet or dry.
I have been able to try three different variations of Smartwool socks, and now I want to go a bit more in depth on each one.
PhD Run Ultra Light Mini
The Ultra Light is just that ultra light. It has padding where it’s necessary then cuts away any excess from there. They are extremely comfortable and hug the foot. Despite being lightweight they do not feel like 5 runs from now they are going to fall apart, a problem I have found with other lightweight offerings. I found these best for runs lasting under an hour and a half, and as the description states they are good for mild weather. Don’t wear them in the bitter cold, they are not meant for it. $15.95
PhD Run Light Micro
This sock is a bit more cushioned than the Ultra Light Mini. With a thicker wool construction the sock keeps your keep warm in cold weather without feeling bulky or cumbersome. The people at Smartwool are well smart. The fit is great and again is tight where it needs to be keeping the sock in place no matter what the trail throws at you.
PhD Run Graduated Compression Ultra Light
The running crowd is an odd one, and just like most sports we have our own unique dress code. A popular fashion trend is wearing taller socks with shorts. Why you ask? Well the taller socks keeps your shins a bit more protected from thorns and other debris, while also not being as hot as a pair of tights. The Ultra Light is a great choice for this if you’re looking for a pair of longer socks. I wore them quite a few times on both road and trail and they never slipped down, which was critical. It would surprise you how a small thing like a falling sock wears on you 3 hours into a run. They are soft and fit great just like the other two models. $37.95
If you give Smartwool a closer look, they really are an interesting and neat company. They believe in the “power of comfort” which as they say is “a simple idea: when you’re comfortable, your body performs better, allowing you to forget about what you’re wearing and enjoy the moment.” If there ever were a product that falls under the “Power of Comfort” it would be socks. They keep us warm, comfortable, and allow us to spend more time enjoying the trail than fretting over the elements.
The PhD Micro is not yet available online, so I was not able to find a link or picture.
Bottom line: Picking socks doesn’t have to be a tough choice, go with Smartwool and make your feet happy.