Part of my running garb for winter running is a pair of toasty wool socks. But I don’t wear those regular wool socks knitted with the itching ragg wool. I use wool socks specially designed for running from SmartWool. In fact, I’ve been using the PhD Running Light Mini for the past 3 winters. These socks are warm, dry, and comfortable – I ended up buying them as holiday gifts for family members. Recently I’ve collaborated with SmartWool to review some products I haven’t tried in the past – the PhD Running Ultra Light. You can check out my in-dept review on iRunnerBlog.
One thing I did not mention in that review is regarding durability. Although I haven’t logged enough miles in the PhD Running Ultra Light, from experience I must say SmartWool holds up pretty well. I was able to log around 350 miles in each of my old PhD Running Light Mini before noticing some thinning in high contact areas of the foot. But I suspect this durability significantly varies from person to person, depending on running intensity and technique.
An example of this is that I have given 2 pairs of SmartWool socks (same model as my old ones) to my mother in the fall of 2011, because she takes hour-long walks in the woods 2~3 times a week. It was shocking to me when I noticed that her socks were thinning significantly – much more so than my old pair – in the heel area because she didn’t come close to my running mileage.
In addition to durability, I’ve also noticed some pilling in these socks – the small balling of fabrics on the surface. This isn’t a major flaw, as most fabrics pill more or less. As it turns out, there hasn’t bee enough pilling to cause irritation or structural damage on my old SmartWool socks.
Lastly I’d like to remind you that these socks are a little pricier than regular socks – but for good reasons. SmartWool’s merino blend is top-notch, and its fit and comfort are also worth every penny. As a matter of fact, I sometimes wear these wool socks casually in cold and wet conditions even when I’m not running. For more on these socks, don’t forget to read my other review.
What do you think of my article? What’s your experience with wool socks? What are some other ways to keep your feet warm when running in the cold? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.