Qualities such as natural breathability, good moisture absorption, and evaporation are very important to look for in your socks nowadays, and the American company Goodhew incorporates all these important aspects and more into their Lifestyle Outdoor Hiker line thanks to a mix of fabrics that includes high-performance merino wool.
Goodhew’s Light and Medium Outdoor Hiker socks combine natural merino wool with stretch nylon and a bit of spandex throughout to provide an unmatched level of comfort, in addition to the wicking and anti-bacterial properties provided by the merino. I thoroughly enjoyed features such as the flat toe seam, where the sock is stitched together right over the toes without any perceptible seam which prevents the sock material from bunching and rubbing your toes. The socks are also engineered to have good arch support, with the bottom portion following along your arch line instead of the just flopping under foot. The stretch nylon and spandex allows the socks to stretch and return to their original shape, even after four washings.
After 12 miles on moderate terrain, it was hard to take these super socks off. I also hiked for five hours down mountain streams with the Light Hikers in my Keen Hood River boots (look for the review of these water boots next month), trout fishing in rocky stream beds. Due to my warm-weather romping, the lighter socks were my go-to choice. The heavier weight of the Medium Hikers would work well for cooler weather, or for high-mileage hikers. Personally, the weight of the medium hikers seems sufficient for weather down to 10° F.
At $19.99 for a two-pack of the Light Hiker (and $21.99/pack for the Medium Hiker), I wasn’t afraid to experiment with these good hiking socks by taking them on my soggy trout trek! I wouldn’t do that with a pair of socks that cost $14 each! Comparably, quality merino wool light hikers run around $9 for REI merino socks to $14 for SmartWool and Thorlos. Getting a two pack of American-made merino wool for under $22 is a steal in my opinion.
Bottom line: Both the Light and Medium Hiker sock are a great choice for all backpackers, especially if you are looking for a quality sock that doesn’t hurt the wallet.
Light Hiker (pair) 2.9 oz; Medium Hiker (pair) 3.2 oz
Light Hiker 2 pack: $19.99; Medium Hiker 2 pack: $21.99
Men M/L 7-10, L/XL 10.5-13; Women’s S/M 5-7.5, M/L 8-10.5