More than a decade ago, while on a three-month walking spree in New Zealand, I first discovered merino socks. I’d been having blister troubles and was talked into trying a well-known NZ brand of merino socks. Problem solved! Except the socks developed holes after a week of tramping, which made them an expensive solution.
Since then I’ve watched carefully as outdoor sock manufacturers work on ways of combining the comfort of merino wool with something that has greater durability. Most use nylon or polyester, and a touch of lycra, to achieve greater thread strength and a bit of stretch. Many also reinforce high wear areas. Wigwam, a US company that’s been making socks for over a century, has tried something new. They’ve combined a cellulose-based fiber called Tencel® with polyester to produce what they call Dri-release Tencel®. This moisture-controlling and the antibacterial material is then combined with merino wool and stretch nylon.
Design, Comfort & Durability (Rating: 85%)
Wigwam carries a large range of socks. The particular pair in this review is called Highline Pro (part of the “Peak 2 Pub” range). They’re meant to be comfortable while walking and look good while socialising, and I think they achieve that. Straight out of the box they felt good, fit snugly without strangling my feet, and looked less “industrial” than a lot of other outdoor socks. On first impression, they felt slightly scratchier than some other merino socks I’ve worn. Given they only have 33% merino, that’s understandable. However, I did notice that after a few washes and a couple of weeks of wear, they seemed to soften a little.
I put the socks through a bit of punishment, such as walking around in them (without shoes) on floorboards and slate floors. I even left my toenails longer than normal, usually a good way to wear a hole in the toe of your socks. They stood up to this nasty treatment very well. The socks come with a lifetime warranty, so Wigwam clearly back the durability of their socks. I did notice that my pair had a few loose ends – perhaps along an invisible seam – on the inside of the sock. This had no cosmetic effect on the outside, and didn’t appear to alter the integrity of the sock, but is less than ideal.
Functionality & Ease of Use (Rating: 90%)
I wore the socks mainly on day walks and mountain bike rides, and they suited both activities perfectly. The moisture-wicking properties weren’t hugely apparent, but despite some hard riding, including through puddles, my feet never felt sweaty or wet. Add to that the fact that the socks didn’t smell bad after a week of continuous use, and you’d be thinking that Dri-release Tencel® works well in combination with merino. If I was planning on doing overnight walking in boots, I’d probably choose one of Wigwam’s heavier hiker socks. Despite their name, I didn’t actually wear them in a pub. But I did wear them while socialising and felt no less fashionable than I normally do – although that mightn’t be saying much.
What I Like
- They look and feel good enough that you don’t really know they’re there (and let’s face it, sock are meant to be downtrodden).
- They appear to be quite durable and put up with the punishment I threw at them.
- They resist foot odour very well.
- They fit snugly, but without feeling as though your blood supply is going to be cut off.
What I Don’t Like
- They initially felt a little scratchier than comparable walking socks.
- While it didn’t change the integrity of the socks, there were a few threads on the inside of the sock that had loose ends.
Disclaimer: Wigwam supplied a pair of socks for review. The Amazon link above is an affiliate link. None of this has any influence on the opinions presented in my review.
Have you tried any of Wigwam’s socks? Got any questions or comments? Let us know by commenting below.