|Rating:||8.8 / 10|
|Warmth||1.6 / 2|
|Comfort||1.9 / 2|
|Durability||1.7 / 2|
|Breathability||1.8 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.8 / 2|
Recently I tested out the Smartwool Hike Light Cushion Crew Men’s Socks and for a majority of hikers the degree of cushioning and warmth provided by that model will suit them well. While I like a cushioned sock, warmth isn’t an issue. In all but the coldest conditions I will wear socks that are much thinner than those when by the average hiker. Keep in mind that blisters on the feet are caused by heat, friction and moisture, and your socks play just as much of a role as your shoes in prevention of blisters.
My perfect sock has the following attributes:
Now onto this particular sock. The first thing to note is that the Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Mid Crew Men’s Sock is for runners; but I never let labels determine if this will be of use to me or not. Given that I wear trail runners for most of my hikes, a running sock isn’t out of the ordinary. Upfront I didn’t really expect this sock to work for me but after wearing them for around 300km they have now become my sock of choice for hiking for 2023. So what’s so good about them?
First up its the cushioning. This sock is called a ‘Targeted Cushion’ sock and means the cushioning under the heel and toe section of the foot which is where hiking/running impacts most on the feet. Unlike most socks there is no cushioning under the mid foot which allows additional breathability. If you have flat feet then this particular feature may not be for you. The sock upper is nice and lightweight and even in hot conditions my feet didn’t over heat.
These socks as you would expect from Smartwool are mainly constructed using wool with just enough synthetic fibres for extra comfort. They are made from 55% Merino Wool, 40% Nylon, 2% Recycled Nylon and 3% Elastane to produce the required compression which Smartwool calls their ‘4 Degree elite fit system’. This is a fancy way of saying that this sock stays put on your feet and doesn’t move around even when wet. The wool is also high quality and has that soft lux feel.
Colour wise the range in Australia is limited with the grey version I tested looking like an older colour and the newer versions having a more angular colour pattern shown in the cover image of this review; this pattern isn’t too lairy and shouldn’t upset anyone. I have seen one other colour option available but the limited range isn’t surprising. Size wise these socks come in medium, large and extra-large. As someone with a size US15 foot, the XL fits me well and feels very comfortable.
Price wise these socks sit at AUD $37.90 RRP which is typical for a sock of this quality and in all honesty given all the features this stock has they are great value. While I can attest to the durability of these socks having worn them for 300km, I know from previous versions of Smartwool socks they are likely to be very durable and I expect to get a few years use out of them.
Now the negatives, and there is only one from my point of view. The height of these socks is 16.5cm (6.5 inches) while the shorter ankle version of this sock is 8.3cm (3.25 inches). If I was making this sock just for me I would prefer a length of around 12cm. This is very much a personal preference but this slightly shorter length would make this sock perfect in my view.
As mentioned these are now my preferred sock for my hiking adventures so many ticked boxes for my hiking needs. With so many sock options on the market it’s rare that one comes along that stands out. While everyone has different preferences, the Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Mid Crew Men’s Sock is definitely worth trying out and one I happily recommend.
Great sock for those who need to limit the heat on their feet. Tim’s sock of choice for his 2023 hiking adventures
Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Mid Crew Men’s Socks – Military Olive colour
Tim wearing Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Mid Crew Men’s Socks. The black colouring is the cushioning on this sock. The grey is the lightweight and breathable zone. This colour option isn’t readily available on the Australian market
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AUD $37.90 RRP
Smartwool produces a lower ankle height version of this sock
This review was done with product provided by the Australian supplier for testing