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Kit review: Brasher women’s walking socks

Written by Fiona October 11 2012

I have long, narrow feet, which look 100% girlie. I have long, fine toes and a narrow “waist” to my feet. My heels are slender and my feet look all pink and smooth. If you compare my feet to those of most men, they are very different indeed.

But I also have a UK size 8 foot, which means for most of my adult life I have mostly worn men’s socks! The problem is that men’s socks are made for men’s feet (fair enough!) and they are usually too wide for me along the entire length of the foot.

I have generally just put up with the poor fit of men’s socks because the alternative is to buy women’s socks that are usually too short – and all too often end up with my big toe worn through the toe.

Buchaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

Buchaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

But socks are changing. You’ll already have noticed the huge range of different socks for different activities, including running, cycling and hill walking. There seem to be a wide spectrum of socks, from different brands, within each of these disciplines. Indeed, I have blogged about the mesmerising range of socks to buy before.

Hill walking socks made for women

And now I have been sent hill walking socks that are specifically designed for women. “But aren’t women’s socks just a narrower and shorter version of men’s socks,” you might be thinking. Not so, it seems.

The Brasher three and four season socks come in men and women-specific fit and “not only incorporate the latest fibres, but also use technologies that have been scientifically proven to offer gender-specific benefits.”

The difference between men and women’s feet

It seems there are many gender differences when you take a closer look at feet.

  • Our feet sweat half a pint per day, but women sweat less than half that of men on average
  • Women have 4 times as many cold sensors as hot
  • Women are 9 times more likely to suffer from cold feet than men
  • Women perceive cold faster than men, and reduce blood flow to extremities quicker as a result.
  • Women do feel the cold more than men in their feet because they are better at pulling blood back into the core meaning less blood flows to feet and hands
  • Women’s perception of cold varies with hormone levels
  • Women’s body temp drops at night faster than men.
  • Women have lower arches because oestrogen relaxes the soft tissue, and the arch flexes more than men’s.

So Brasher have embraced all these points and come up with socks to suit men and women specifically.

What is it about the new women’s Brasher socks?

The Brasher socks for women offer enhanced arch support for walking comfort. And because research shows that men’s feet don’t get as cold as women but do produce more moisture, the Brasher men’s socks are made of Coolmax fibres to keep the feet dry.  Women, however, are more likely to feel the cold and therefore Thermo° Cool Technology has been used to regulate the body’s natural temperature and act as a thermal buffer in the brasher women’s socks.

This is all very technical but I can see what Brasher are aiming at.

Brasher socks on test

I was sent two pairs of Brasher’s new socks.

The Brasher Trekmaster socks for women are fourseason socks “designed for winter trekking and featuring Merino Wool with Meraklon fibres for superb warmth and the ability to keep the foot dry”.  The men’s version features a comfort fit cuff while the women’s has a soft knit cuff, to hold the sock in place in comfort.

The Brasher Hillmaster socks are made for hill walkers, dog walkers and those who enjoy a ramble through the countryside. The info on these socks says: “Like the Mountain Master, the men’s version features Coolmax fibres while the women’s sock contains Thermo° Cool technology.  Merino Wool Ultra provides superb warmth while a specific anatomical fit, with a support cuff for men and a comfort fit cuff for women, ensure the sock is gently held in place.”

Brasher Women's Hillmaster socks

Brasher Women’s Hillmaster socks

The Brasher Hillmaster socks: I have worn these for my daily dog walks. The past few weeks, temperatures have dropped and so I have gone back to my trusty Keen boots. These require a thicker pair of socks and the Hillmasters are perfect. First impressions are that the socks feel very comfortable and really do seem to fit like a glove. This is proof that the Brasher design concept is made to fit women’s feet. The toe, heel and ankle are lovely and snug on the foot and the rest of the sock does feel quite supporting. Wearing them for dog walking has been an entirely comfortable experience. In addition, I’ve had warm and cosy feet.

Brasher Women's Trekmaster socks

Brasher Women’s Trekmaster socks

Brasher trekmaster: These were put to the ultimate test while scrambling/climbing and walking Curved Ridge on the Buchaille Etive Mor, Glencoe. (More about this to come!) There were a lot of extremes on this outing. It was very cold when we started out early one morning but these socks seemed to come with their own snug-ometre. Not once did I feel like I had cold tootsies and the socks really did fit well around my feet and inside my winter walking boots. I then spent time either climbing or waiting for others who were climbing behind me. Normally this stop-start situation would cause my feet to be permanently cold. Not so. While my hands did suffer, my feet stayed a lovely even temperature. This is a revelation.  And during the subsequent walk back down the mountain on the tourist trail I built up quite a pace – and a sweat. But my feet stayed warm and dry. I can think of no complaints at all to do with these socks. No rubs, no discomfort, no sagging, just comfort.

And the smell test: Merino is meant to be great for stopping the smell of sweat. I confess I put this to the ultimate test by wearing the socks for two full days of walking in Glencoe. I dared to smell the socks at the end of the weekend and they hardly gave off a whiff at all. Result!

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