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socks ... what % wool?

Old 01-05-10, 12:01 PM
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rumrunn6
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socks ... what % wool?

I went through my winter socks last night looking for a good set of sock liners and wool socks for my bicycle commuting in temps between 30 and 13 F degrees. I decided that most of my wool socks were too tight, maybe from shrinkage or because they were gifted to me and weren't the correct size to begin with, or a combination of the above. Socks that are too tight are difficult to put on; constrict blood flow and cramp my toes. I came up with an under and over pair for today but thought I would start poking around for something more suitable.

I walked to the mall at lunchtime today and wound up in the Sears & Dick's Sporting Goods sock depts. Interesting; confusing and disappointing was my reaction. I believe REI will have the best assortment in my size. 13 foot.

Anyway - jump to question: the highest wool% I could find at these two stores was 35%. The funny thing is that was a "medium" weight sock not the heavy weight sitting next to it and not even in the sock marked as "thermal". Anybody even know the wool % of your socks? I sure don't except for these I saw on the rack today.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:12 PM
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I got my merino wool socks from Costco and I have no idea what % is actually wool. I do know that some of the heavier weight Smartwool socks are about 80% wool.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
most of my wool socks were too tight, maybe from shrinkage ...
FYI, shrunken wool can often be "unshrunk" a bit by gently applying hair conditioner and carefully stretching the item. Maybe even put the "conditioned" socks on and wear them in the shower. Carfully remove and let air dry afterward.

I know this doesn't answer your question, but this may make some of them serviceable as an "inner" sock.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:31 PM
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tjspiel - I looked at some marked Merino Wool but they had a lower wool percentage - 20% or 18% were the others I saw.

rogerstg - the under sock - or base layers I use are very thin - polypropylene ~ capelene ~ and other materials. I did put a set of outer socks over a pair of dress shoes for the evening and they were then easier to put on. I might try wetting them and trying that on another kind of shoestree or something
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Old 01-05-10, 12:34 PM
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I usually don't like to buy big name stuff, but I spurge for Smartwool socks because they are the only ones I've found that don't shink, and are easy to get my foot into.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:39 PM
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smartwool comes up with a high merino wool %:
70% merino wool/29% nylon/1% elastic
http://www.rei.com/product/604587
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Old 01-05-10, 01:22 PM
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Yep. Spring for the smartwool. You wont be sorry. Also one pair should do you. If your feet still get cold add shoe covers and booties.
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Old 01-05-10, 01:45 PM
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outlets may have lots of stuff for people size 13. i notice that at Marshalls across the street from me they have a lot of performance brand socks (including merino wool nice ones) and all are size S or XL, so you might be able to get a bargain. I have a regular 11.5 so i can't find anything and have to go to a sporting goods store.
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Old 01-05-10, 03:25 PM
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100% wool, hand knit courtesy of my wife. Once they felt a bit they are fantastic.
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Old 01-05-10, 08:38 PM
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88% Merino wool in mine. $10 from Basspro. Fantastic socks.
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Old 01-05-10, 10:10 PM
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The benefit of wool is it's moisture capacity and wicking properties. Plus, wool maintains it's warmth even when it does get damp. There are actally warmer materials out there (dry), but as they become saturated they loosing their insulating properties.

I have a pair of Bridgedales that actually feel warmer than a comparable Smartwool. It had a higher Calipene content. But it wasn't nearly as comfortable to wear as the Smartwool as the Bridgedales felt clammy.

I would say stay above 50% Merino wool and you'll be ok. The more wool the better. BTW, the warmest socks I have EVER worn or Cabelas InGenius socks. It has a sewn in liner. It's thinner than Bass Pro treestand socks and are significantly warmer. When space is at a premium inside cycling boots, that is a HUGE plus.
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Old 01-05-10, 10:42 PM
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Yeah, 80/20 is about right.
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Old 01-05-10, 11:10 PM
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I have a serious thing for wool socks!

I wear the REI merino socks (78% wool) daily under my redwing work boots. They are only like $12, hold up well, even after many, many washes. I think they have light, medium, and heavy depending on your temperature needs. Like this: http://www.rei.com/product/664969.

But the Smartwool Phd line of socks (take your pick) are pretty much man's greatest achievement. $20 is kind of steep but these are the socks I wear on the weekends. Amazing.
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Old 01-06-10, 05:20 AM
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pyze-guy Basspro online? what's their web address?

BearSquirrel - that ingenius sock looks attractive with the liner integrated into the outer sock - I would have to use the chemical warmer in the boot intself instead of between layers but that might work. It's not very expensive either! I might even get my Dad a pair cuz he's bought me socks in the past - would be nice to turn him on to something new
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Old 01-06-10, 08:58 AM
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I pretty much dress in 100% wool head to toe, but I will also put in a good word for the patagonia socks (no wool). Warm, good moisture handling, and very, very durable.
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Old 01-06-10, 09:02 AM
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Look into getting Alpaca wool socks. They hold up much better than any other type of wool sock I have used. They are also warmer.
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Old 01-06-10, 12:18 PM
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I have some cheap socks from walmart. I think they're 12%
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Old 01-06-10, 12:39 PM
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I buy the SmartWool and REI merino socks from REI Outlet, typically for about 4 to 8 dollars...
the SmartWool PHD socks are $9.93

Last edited by KLW2; 01-06-10 at 12:43 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 01-06-10, 01:09 PM
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The wool content of Smartwool socks varies with the model, but I've not seen one model that goes below 50%.

If one is partial towards the Smartwool brand and is looking for a discount, try Sierra Trading Post. No affiliation.
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Old 01-06-10, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
pyze-guy Basspro online? what's their web address?

BearSquirrel - that ingenius sock looks attractive with the liner integrated into the outer sock - I would have to use the chemical warmer in the boot intself instead of between layers but that might work. It's not very expensive either! I might even get my Dad a pair cuz he's bought me socks in the past - would be nice to turn him on to something new
Baspro socks online.
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Old 01-08-10, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
pyze-guy Basspro online? what's their web address?

BearSquirrel - that ingenius sock looks attractive with the liner integrated into the outer sock - I would have to use the chemical warmer in the boot intself instead of between layers but that might work. It's not very expensive either! I might even get my Dad a pair cuz he's bought me socks in the past - would be nice to turn him on to something new
I found these VERY thin dress socks at Wal-Mart that I use as liners. I've found that the chemical warmers make me nauseous (as do pain patches) if I try to use them on top of such a thin layer.
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Old 01-08-10, 09:56 AM
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pyze-guy - thanks for the link - not sure why I couldn't find it before

ScottNotBombs - was looking at winter socks at a big variety of store recently and it is amazing that some have so little wool % and some that LOOK like winter socks are actually close to 100% cotton! Whatever you do, stay away from BOB's store Natick, MA for winter socks! good grief

I went to REI and they had some slim pickings. They had a some that looked like the old fashioned Rag Wool socks. I used to love those but they wore thin quickly.

I went to Sports Authority and saw some very nice long ski and snow boarding socks but they were very thin.

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Old 01-08-10, 12:05 PM
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Those Bass Pro socks are great, I'm wearing a pair now I picked up earlier this winter. They run cheaper in stores though ($5.99.)
I also have a low % wool sock that's mostly synthetic fibers, my feet smell really, really badly after wearing them in shoes for some reason.
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Old 01-09-10, 01:20 PM
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I found my wool socks at wally world. 80% wool. I also have 3 pair of Omni-wool brand purchased at Sam's club. They are 75% wool.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KLW2 View Post
I buy the SmartWool and REI merino socks from REI Outlet, typically for about 4 to 8 dollars...
the SmartWool PHD socks are $9.93
thanks for the information and the link! i just bought a few pair for a great price!
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