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Gear Review: SmartWool PhD Mountaineering Sock

A blend of nylon and merino makes these socks durable and fast-drying.

[best all-around]

Our test crew’s favorite new winter model, the high-cut (14-inch), merino PhD uses nylon (18 percent) to boost durability and spandex (1 percent) for stretch; the mix prevented the sock from losing its shape throughout multiple washes and days on the mountain. “After stream dunkings or sink washings, they were always at least 95-percent dry by morning (when stored carefully in my bag),” says a tester.

The plush heel and toe wrapped snuggly around our ice-climber’s feet, and mesh panels in the ankle and arch drew moisture to the surface for fast evaporation. “My toes stayed warm, and I was blister-free,” he reported after a multiday trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. $26; 3.3 oz.; smartwool.com

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