Editors' Choice

Editors' Choice Snow 2017: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer

This sock is the foundation of comfort on long-haul ski tours.

Brand: SmartWool

Model: PhD Outdoor Mountaineer

Sore feet are the quickest way to ruin a perfectly good ski tour. After more than a year of testing, we found the antidote: The Outdoor Mountaineer is the best way to ensure all-day comfort on every trip. “It’s my go-to sock for everything from leisurely sidecountry jaunts to multiday ski mountaineering missions,” one Colorado tester says. Alpinist Conrad Anker, who knows a thing or two about living in mountaineering boots, provided design input for the sock. Graduated compression through the heel and calf aid in circulation and muscle recovery—and help prevent any bagging out that might result in blisters—which testers noticed after grinding climbs in Colorado’s San Juan range. 

The merino/nylon/elastane blend is thinner on top of the foot and around the ankle bone, where your boot fits snuggest to your foot, and the venting pattern on the top of the foot helped disperse moisture on long ascents. High-density cushion in the forefoot and heel (where it extends up the Achilles) protected the areas impacted most by narrow, technical boots without adding unnecessary volume. Which is to say, if you want socks that are as technical as the ski boots you pair them with, get these. 

3.2 oz. (M); S-XL