Tested regularly throughout Autumn and Winter 2017/18 in the Cairngorms.
Picking the right socks for trekking can be tricky and once you find a certain brand you trust, you tend to stick with them. So when we were sent a very innovative product from X-socks we were very interested to see if they matched up or bettered our usual chosen brands. On arrival it was evident these are not just your average pair of socks but are the Swiss Army knife of the sock world. Boasting 14 integrated patented functions is quite an incredible amount of tech... for a sock! The packaging is filled with descriptions detailing each feature and a number of awards alongside to back these claims. But how do they work differently to my usual socks? How many features do socks actually need? These are a few of the questions we started asking ourselves as we also considered how much attention we had paid to our socks of the past. Previously we would consider the weight of sock to suit each season, breathability and comfort obviously being the biggest concern, whilst also considering the wear, fit and support. So how does the X-Sock compare to a regular trekking sock?
Out of the box the X-socks appear to be built to a high quality using Mythlan lightweight yarn, which aids breathability and prevents a build of bacteria and odour. The fit is comforting as you really feel the support given especially the stretching rib feature around the front of the foot. They are mid-calf in length, which is perfect for use with most trekking boots and hold in place securely throughout the day without rolling down or pinching. We tested these socks with varying footwear and they always held well and felt supportive. One of the most interesting features with this sock, and one we didn't think would be as noticeable, is the climate regulating technology. This mimics the same pattern of warmth dispersion as a bare foot, with a claim that other types of sock trap heat and moisture keeping the foot damp and overheated. This was very noticeable when using a pair of leather boots that have been a close companion for many years. When working very hard in these boots the foot can feel very warm and it had always been assumed this was just the boot itself. After using the X-socks this issue reduced massively. This has to be testament to the Air Conditioning Channel and Air Guide patented features that create space between the sock and boot, providing constant airflow. With so many different features throughout it's hard to fit them all into this review but we can safely they are all surprisingly noticeable and work well.
Many of you right now are probably thinking the same as we did when first hearing about this product. Surely these claims are more suited to a high spec Gore-Tex jacket not socks? This is the first time we have looked into socks in so much detail. It's obviously a part of our kit that doesn't get overlooked as the wrong pair of socks can make for a rough trip, but never have we had a pair of socks that simply do the job they state as well as the X-sock Trekking Light. It's also apparent that many awarding bodies agree with their claims just as we have. Are they going to replace our usual brand? For us they already have and we look forward to trying out the other products in their range.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...