Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Merino Ridge Runner Pro Socks (Review)

Except for during the occasional long run, or in winter when I use knee-high compression in place of pants for warmth, I do not often wear socks while running. They make my feet feel hot and “claustrophobic,” they soften the skin making blisters more likely, they are easily ruined on muddy trail runs, they retain moisture longer than the shoe around them, and worst of all they make me feel “detached” from the Earth courtesy of reduced ground feel.

With the right, well made shoe on your foot, socks just aren’t necessary most of the year. But since many of my favorite races have been throwing free socks into their gift bags (Prowl the Sproul) I figured I should probably wear them from time to time. And since socks are running gear I might as well write a review.

This past weekend I got a free pair of Wigwam brand Ultimax Merino Ridge Runner Pro lightweight trail running socks, “Ultimax” being “Wigwam’s patented moisture control system” (Dri-release, blended with Merino wool). Dri-Release is a blend of polyester, cotton, and stretch nylon. Merino Wool comes from a breed of sheep (Merino) originally from Turkey, world renowned for the quality of its wool and now all the rage for use in athletic apparel.

I took the socks out for a 7 mile test run last night, wearing them under a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves (REVIEW). The socks are thicker in the heel and toe, obviously intended to prevent blisters and hotspots in typical trouble areas. The sock is, however, thinner across the top of the foot, for which I am very thankful. The Trail Glove is a designed to primarily be worn without socks, and as such fits snug through the middle of the foot in order to prevent the foot from sliding forward into the wide toe box. There are certainly far thinner socks available, but I did not feel like me feet were being crowded.

If you like a good pair of house slippers, or those one piece fuzzy footed pajamas you used to wear as a kid, you’re going to absolutely love the inside of these socks. Slipping your feet into a pair of Ridge Runner Pros is kind of like stepping on a long haired bunny rabbit. The threads, even in the stitching, are left long, almost shaggy.

As I pointed out earlier, I’m not much of a sock lover, but these are some first rate fuzzy foot condoms. No complaints. Give them a try.

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