Socks that work well for you, your hiking style, and the shoes you wear are the crucial foundation for hiking.
Ill-fitting socks will cause blisters or wear out quickly and turn what could be an otherwise pleasant backpacking trip into an ordeal best forgotten.
Yet, my criteria for picking socks that work for me is rather simple: Do I notice the socks at all when hiking?
Are my feet too cold or too hot? Are the socks wearing out too quickly? Are blisters or even hot spots forming?
If I am hiking, or skiing, and not thinking about my feet, I know I have the sock or sock system dialed-in correctly.
I’ve used many different socks over the years that worked well for various activities, but it is hiking socks that get used and abused the most.
Fine sand, talus or scree scrambling, water, etc. makes for a quick turnover of socks and shoes.
Frankly, socks and shoes have the most significant turnover of gear, and I could always use new pairs of these items.
For the past three months, I’ve been wearing these socks for my hikes here in Utah and Florida.
Rather than reiterate the specs of these socks, I’ll just copypasta some of the verbiage from their website:
- Silverlight® Technology by Ventury for odor-free hiking with silver-coated threads that never wash out.
- Blister-Blasting. Fast-Drying. Silky-Smooth Compression Comfort. Long-Lasting Durability.
- Lifetime Guarantee
- Manufactured with Australian Merino Wool
- 45% Nylon, 44% Merino Wool, 7% Silver Yarn, 4% Spandex
As with similar socks from the other companies, these socks are lightweight but not the ultralight, almost silk, weight of thinner, more running oriented, socks. A good fit with the trail shoes I use vs. trail runners, or needing heavier socks for something like traditional boots or low-cut boot-like shoes such as Keens.
So, enough of the specs. How do they work in the field?
Well, after three months of using them, I did not pay too much attention to them. Meaning, they worked. I did not suffer blisters, they fit my feet with my preferred Salomon Ultras well, and they felt comfortable. I can’t ask too much more from a hiking sock. The compression areas “hugged” my feet to prevent slippage and bunching without feeling too tight. Truthfully, they felt very comfortable on my feet vs. other socks.
The lifetime guarantee makes the socks attractive for someone who goes through many socks in a given year.
But if the socks do not last in the field, and no matter how comfortable the socks, the lifetime guarantee is not of as much use to me overall.
How durable are these socks?
After several washings and miles, the socks are not pilling as much similar socks from other companies. However, the heel cup and bottom toe area do show more wear versus the rest of the sock as expected.
However, I suspect these socks will eventually wear out where all socks wear out for me – the top of the large toe.
As you can tell from the photo above, the toe area is showing some initial wear and tear. But, again, expected.
My rule of thumb is that two pairs of socks need to last the lifetime of my trail shoe. For Utah, or similar areas that beat-up shoes, I expect ~400 miles or a bit less. I suspect these socks will work for that metric. And, again, they fit my feet well.
So good durability and fitting my feet and shoes well means I’ll continue to use these socks.
What about the silver lining for anti-microbial properties?
I do not have the lab equipment to test the before and after of the bacteria properties. I do know that people who do lab tests do not disagree with how effective silver could be in static conditions such as a ship’s hold or a controlled environment such as a hospital.
However, the skeptic in me wonders if I am sweating, wading through the muck, and have not showered for a few days, how odorless any clothing might be overall?
The outdoors is not a ship’s hold or a hospital. 🙂 In other words, for real-world outdoor conditions, I have not noticed the socks smelled less or more than socks of similar composition. Again, I do not doubt there are fewer bacteria overall; I don’t think there is enough to notice a real-world difference with 7% composition. Or to put it another way, you still need to do laundry!
And finally, how competitive are the price of the socks?
Per sock, each pair of ankle socks come out to $25 ea., or $7-$9 per pair vs. the competition. If you go through many pairs of socks a year as with me, that price adds up. The crew socks are an “ouch” price of $32 each.
However, if you find the socks work well for you, I suspect most people can get by with 2-3 pairs of socks a year. Ventury sells thee-pairs for $55. With the free shipping, a much more reasonable $18.33 ea. Five pairs? A very competive $16.40 ea. The more expensive crew socks end up being a similar price to the competition when buying in bulk, too.
The lifetime warranty does not hurt, either.
Overall? The Ventury Silverlight Socks are comfortable, seem durable, and of similar quality to the competition. Consider them an excellent alternative to other socks if they fit your shoe and feet well. Buy them in at least lots of three; otherwise, the price does add up for frequent hikers or runners.
Disclosure: Ventury supplied a pair of socks for my review