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