Smartwool's newly launched Hike collection is designed to be the comfiest, most robust and best fitting range yet. The socks replace Smartwool's popular PhD collection, but almost everything has had an upgrade.
We've been testing out the new designs to see if they hold up, and have been seriously impressed – in fact, they're some of the very best hiking socks we've tried. Sure, socks aren't the sexiest or most exciting bit of outdoor gear, but the right pair can make a huge difference to your comfort and also your performance when out hiking.
Smartwool has taken the view that all-over bulk in walking socks is not only unnecessary but actually counterproductive when it comes to efficient hiking. Instead its Hike collection socks have padding only where its needed to help you avoid blisters – namely the heel, arch and toe sections. The toe also has the most minimalist seam you've ever seen, to remove another blister danger zone. Elsewhere, newly added mesh ventilation on the upper foot helps promote breathability and stop your feet from overheating.
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There's a 4-way fit system designed to keep everything securely in place. That means you aren't going to end up with your socks in a twist, the padding will remain where you want it, and the socks stay securely up (the cuff also does an excellent job of keeping out grit and mud).
To stop them wearing through, Smartwool has employed – wait for it – 'Indestructawool technology', designed to add durability. We're also pleased to see the design uses recycled nylon (percentage varies depending on style), in a nod to eco-friendliness.
The Smartwool New Hike collection is available to buy now from Smartwool and select retailers, in men's and women's versions. There's a range of patterns, all of which are quite 'statement' but the most dramatic of which is the full mountainscape you can see in this article's hero photo.