Kit review: Woolpower socks
What I know about socks:
* They do not make women’s socks long enough for my size 8.5 feet. So my toes always end up going through the end of any girls’ socks that I buy. Men’s socks are often too wide, but on balance I usually buy men’s size 8 to 9 if I can find them.
* Trainer socks are the worst because the female version slip down under my heel and into my trainers. The male version stick up too high on my ankle above my trainers.
* The washing machine either eats socks or sock manufacturers add different amounts of dye to each sock in a pair so that they don’t end up looking like a matching pair. In other words, I have a pile of odd socks in my house that grows and grows until I end up wearing pairs of odd socks or I throw them out.
* Socks smell, even after just a short exercise session.
* Few socks ever keep my feet warm enough, even during summer months when on my bike or walking in the hills.
* While I thought this problem only happened to me, now it’s the same for Little Miss Outdoors. She also has long, narrow feet. She also has a huge pile of single socks. She also wears odd socks most days.
What I’d like to find in a pair of socks:
* Women’s size 8 to 9 socks, in a narrow fit. Pleeeeeeeease!
* A little piece of velcro to keep the socks together in the wash.
* Sweat battling stuff built into the socks to keep socks smelling sweet, even after a long day on the hills.
* Very warm socks that aren’t too bulky yet keep my all-too-often ice-cold tootsies nice and warm.
My latest sock discovery: Woolpower Socks
You know when you put on a new item of clothing and it just felt so utterly snug that you let out a contented sigh? Well, this is exactly what happened with the Woolpower socks. They simply felt gorgeous. Lightweight but silky smooth and warm. I wasn’t expecting this as on first looks they just appeared to be like any other pair of walking-style socks. In fact, these socks are billed as “sports socks”. I’m not sure I’d wear them for running as I like a thinner pair but they are ideal for wearing inside walking boots – or, as I found out last night, cycling shoes. Well, perhaps they would also be a good choice for hill running in winter, inside my roomier off-road running shoes.
As you’ll have read (and if you know me, it’s something I probably whinge on about), I get really cold hands and feet. Even in summer and most often while cycling or hill walking. In fact, through all my cycling training this summer the one drawback has been cold/numb feet. I am presuming it’s because of the continually flowing air around my feet when I’m cycling – and the fact that feet do not really move much in cycle shoes.
* I’ve tried wearing two pairs of socks but it’s not very comfy at the toes with so many seams.
* I’ve tried ski socks, but they feel too bulky and long.
* I’ve thought about battery-charged foot warmers but they cost around $300. Ouch!
* I’ve been recommended to wear plastic bags in my cycle shoes to help with insulation but this ain’t going to look pretty and I’m really not so sure about the benefits! And wouldn’t it make your feet sweat ridiculously?
The problem is becoming even more urgent now as we head into autumn. So I thought I’d give the WoolPower Socks a test-ride. (A nice man sent me these to review because he knows how cold I get!). All I can say is: “Awesome”!
The WoolPower Socks are made in Sweden (where presumably they know a bit about the cold!) and are created from a Terry knit blend of 2/3 fine Merino wool and 1/3 synthetic fibres. On the packet it says: “They will keep you feet warm and comfortable when it’s cold and wet and it won’t smell, even after long use.”
Last night I headed out for an hour’s cycle on a very cool evening. For the first time in months I had on my windproof cycle jacket. I popped on two pairs of gloves (anyone want to send me some winter warmer cycling gloves to test-drive?!) and then decided to try the Woolpower socks. I can’t say I was holding out much hope as I didn’t even have my windproof outer shoes on over my ordinary cycle shoes.
Within 30 minutes my ears were burning with the chill of the wind. My legs could feel the impending coldness of winter. My body was snug in the Gore jacket and my hands held out in the two pairs of gloves. Most remarkably, however, I had warm feet! I moved them around a bit in the shoes just to check for any signs of numbness. None! The socks felt light and dry and my feet felt warm and cosy. I even had a little delighted smile to myself at the snugness of my feet!
Returning home I would normally rush to get changed to have a shower. If I stay in wet, sweaty kit for too long I get very cold indeed. But just as I came in the door the phone rang and so I was forced to sit down for 20 mins in post-cycle kit. Even in this situation my feet stayed warm!
I also dared to smell the socks. I’d had them on all day in the house and then for my bike ride. My cycle shoes stink. But the Woolpower socks smelt really quite fresh. It’s all a bit strange!
Further investigation reveals this from the Woolpower sock makers:
“The Terry-knitted material has excellent heat-insulating properties and warms even when wet, a crucial factor for feet. The socks absorb and transport away perspiration without losing heat-insulating properties.
“Socks are available in five thicknesses: Liner, 200, 400, 600 and 800 g/m². The socks can be combined in various ways depending on the temperature and form of activity.”
I was reviewing the 400s. Now I’m thinking of the ultimate power of the 800s. Bring on winter!
I’ve a Woolpower t-shirt to test on my next hill walking outing. I’ll be blogging about that, too.