Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gordini Lavawool Hiking Socks


Last weekend I spent a couple blissful hours in the great outdoors. It's spring hiking time again--yay! Though my feet are pasty white and soft from being cold and in shoes or slippers much of the past few months, they are feeling fine thanks to some Lavawool socks I was trying out from Gordini.

It is painful for most of us to lay out $15 to $20 for a pair of socks. It's especially hard when you see plain old cotton ones selling for a buck. But hey, your feet get far more pressure than the parts of your body covered by a fancy t-shirt or shorts, so it can pay off to equip them well. Quality socks do keep your feet in blister-free shape when you're subjecting them to punishment and the good socks outlast the cheapies, staying in working order for years if you treat them right. (A few pairs I bought for hiking the Inca Trail three years ago are still going strong.)

So what's special about these?

The official line is that these merino wool socks give you "the warmth and benefit of wool, but with the comfort of fleece. " The truth is they do feel quite good, with no wool scratchiness to deal with. Plus they're cushioned where they need to be and aren't where they don't need to be. So you don't have bulky socks bunching up in your shoes. They've got the wicking thing down too and in my short test they kept things dry and odor-free. Definitely going in the pack for my next trip.

There's a bit of synthetic material in the mix here though to make them stretchy and durable, so don't go thinking you're going to get an extra helping of eco-cred. (The socks say "Made in the USA," but the wasteful cardboard and metal packaging the retailers insist on for hanging is made in China.)

These midweight hiking socks are part of a whole big line of socks that cover the gamut from ultralight to heavyweight hiking socks, two versions of running socks, and ski/snowboard socks. Most come in six colors and four sizes. Go to the Gordini sock section to see the whole shebang, but you'll pay $8.90 of shipping even if you only buy one pair. So you might want to get your Lavawool socks at a physical store or combined with another order here:

REI Footwear

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