Gear Review: Icebreaker Socks
Why read a review about socks? Because socks are really, really important. When you’re hiking, climbing or generally outdoorsing, your feet are the business end of the day. If you don’t take care of your feet all the rest of your fancy gear is, well, inconsequential. The good folks at EMS sent me a couple pairs of the new Ice Breaker socks to test and review, specifying that I was under no obligation to write a positive review. Seemed pretty straight forward- until I tried the socks and learned about the company that made them. That’s when I decided that I had to package this review into two distinct parts: one for the socks, and the other for the company. So, here is my opinion.
Part I: The Socks
Let’s talk about the Ice Breaker Hike+ socks made of New Zealand Merino Wool. They were medium cushioned, light weight and crew length. Perfect for spring! I brought them paddling in icy cold water, climbing crags in the Whites, and hiking all around both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. They were awesome: warm when I wanted them to be warm, and cool when I wanted them to be cool. Super dry, too.
My favorite part (yes, I have a favorite part about a pair of socks) is that they come with a right and left foot fit. Wicked cool. I didn’t just enjoy the left and right fitted socks, I tortured my wife constantly modeling them around the house. The toe box angles perfectly and there’s never a need to fine-tune the fit, even in super tight climbing shoes. Imagine nice, comfy wool socks in climbing shoes?
Overall they were crazy comfortable and never itched- not even once. Also, though I’d never admit this publicly, if you wear them three days in a row, they actually maintain their shape, tightness and supportive fit. Or, toss them in the wash and dryer and they’re good to go again. Money well spent!
Part II: The Company
This is the surprising part. In my opinion, a product is as good as the company that makes it and sells it. I’m not big into cheap at the expense of child labor and unfair trade practices and I’m certainly not a player for junky materials for a disposable lifestyle.This company, Ice Breaker, seems to be operating at the opposite end of the spectrum with respect to all that.
According to their website, they’re all about fair trade, sustainable practices and ethical living. My socks even came with a code to track the source of the wool. Pretty cool to think the wool for my socks came from a farm in Central Canterbury on South Island New Zealand. Better yet- a family farm! Having grown up on one of the United States’ oldest farms, which my family still operates, I particularly like that. I could go on and on, but I’m sure I’d lose you. But please, check out their website. They have tons of information about animal welfare, manufacturing ethics, environmental ethics and all sorts of other good stuff.
Summary: The socks are awesome. Personally, I think they crush many of the other top quality socks out there. Spring is here, so retire your heavy Winter socks and purchase up a couple pairs of Ice Breakers from. Oh, and be careful. If you’re terrible at organizing your laundry like I am, try not to hit the trail with two lefts!
BTW- As I’ve only had them for a month, totally feel free to contact me via my blog at any time to see if I still like them and check how they are holding up.