A passing conversation with a running friend recently went like this. Her: “Oh you are wearing the new Bridgedale trail running socks, aren’t you?”
After looking down at my feet, I said: “Yes, it appears I am! They are a nice colour (bright pink) aren’t they?”
Her: “What do you think of them for running?”
Hmmmm… I wasn’t sure really, so I had a quick think and I said: “If I have chosen to wear these socks today for our long trail run it means they must be good. I have so many socks in my drawer but if I’ve picked this pair today, Bridgedale must be doing something right.”
What I said was true. I do have dozens of pairs of socks and I will choose a pair without much thought but there will be an unconscious decision that is based on comfort, fit and a lack of holes! (It will also depend on which socks are in the drawer and not in the wash.)
That day I’d picked the Bridgedale Trail RUN Women’s Ultra Light T2 Coolmax sport three-quarter crew (priced at £13.95) for our 13-mile trail run at Loch Affric.
I love the colour and the size UK7 to 8.5 is great for me. There are two smaller sizes.
I was also looking for socks in my drawer that would not make my feet too sweaty on a summer’s trail run. Other pluses for these socks include flat toe seam, overcoat ventilation and anti-shock cushioning.
The socks are part of a new range of trail running socks by Bridgedale.
The background: Bridgedale trail run socks
Bridgedale Trail Run collection includes three socks:
- Merino Sport lightweight T2 ¾ Crew;
- Merino Sport Ultralight T2 ¾ Crew and Low;
- Coolmax Sport Ultralight T2 ¾ Crew and Low.
There are male and female fits and four colourways for men and women. Prices start from £12.50.
The socks were developed by trail runners for trail runners. Bridgedale worked closely with a group of 10 amateur trail runners in the Lake District to better understand their needs and developed the range, then tested them with an additional 20 runners from across the UK for product feedback.
The 18-month cycle then went through a testing-developing-redeveloping-tweaking and retesting phase until the final product was ready.
It really does seem that the development of the humble sock has become a far more sophisticated process in recent years and Bridgedale has taken this all very seriously.
Bridgedale managing director Mark Brennan said: “Our ethos is all about how ‘little things matter’ and so taking two years to develop this range was no compromise.
“The time ensured we got every little detail absolutely perfect for our testers.”
Bridgedale Trail Run sock details
Bridgedale already offers a lot of features in their socks, such as women’s width-adapted toe box and heel cup areas.
Their socks also have overfoot ventilation with open mesh structure to reduce insulation and to promote easy moisture transportation.
In addition, there is what Bridgedale call “anti-shock zones” with padding for an additional level of impact protection.
The Trail Run socks have features specific to trail running, such as allowing for natural toe spread to cope with downhill running.
A “sport fit” provides supportive compression from the cuff through the arch. This is said to improve proprioception (joint position awareness) around the ankle and mid foot to aid stability and improve balance.
There is a toe guard with reinforced toe box “to avoid split holes and blow outs when descending”.
A “zero debris cuff” aims to prevent debris entering the sock.
The new range of socks utilises Lycra DRY technology, which is claimed to be a world first.
Mark added: “Without exception, our runners reported that the new technology felt more comfy, wicked better and allowed their feet to dry quicker. They generally said they felt more comfortable.”
My review: Bridgedale Trail Run socks
As I have said above I have been wearing the Bridgedale Women’s Ultra Light T2 Coolmax sport crew sock. I really like this sock.
It is hard to give a view of each individual feature and detail but I think the fact that I choose this pair of socks when heading off for a long trail runs says a lot. I’ve worn this pair at least a dozen times and never suffered rubs, sores or annoyances.
My feet stay relatively sweat free, although I do think that the merino version is better at reducing the sweat. It is hard to compare socks because no outing is the same as the next one.
I like the slightly cushioned areas in all the right places, such as at the outer toe box and heel. Then there is the lighter and more ventilated area at the top of the sock, plus the extra band of support at the ankle.
I can’t discern all these individual details while running but I do know they add up to a very comfortable and well fitting running sock.
The jury (well, my jury of one!) is out on the “zero debris cuff”. I am not even sure what this means. I presume it’s simply that the sock is tight enough at the ankle to keep out dust and stuff while running on the trails. I haven’t noticed any debris getting inside the sock but usually the issue is debris getting inside the top of the shoe.
The socks wash really well and they still look great. I often wear out socks at the toe because I have long feet but the Bridgedales still look good after a couple of months of on-off wear.
I have also worn the Bridgedale Merino Sport lightweight T2 ¾ Crew. This is a slightly thicker sock with the addition of merino wool. Merino is a great natural fibre that reduces odour and is good at reducing sweat.
I tend to choose these Bridgedale socks when I know my feet my might get wet and cold. Merino wool is good for warmth even when wet.
I also prefer to wash may clothes less frequently. This is not because I am fine with being smelly, but rather I like to reduce the impact on the environment of over-washing. Merino is a good choice because even after multiple wears the usual odour is less than with synthetic fibres.
I can confirm that in the interests of this blog review, I found the merino socks last many days without getting too whiffy!
The third pair I have tested are the Bridgedale Merino Sport Ultralight T2 ¾ Low socks for women. Again these benefit from merino fibre. These socks are lighter weight than the “lightweight” version but a bit thicker than the Bridgedale Women’s Ultra Light T2 Coolmax sport crew sock.
Apart from that I can’t discern a lot of difference between the socks.
To be truthful, the socks are very similar and I really like them all. They are my top three choice of running socks just now and, as I have said, this means they are great socks. This is because I have a drawer of socks and a lot of choice so if I pick one or two pairs above the others, they use be good.
Running socks are not cheap and I am fortunate to be sent the three Bridgedale pairs for free. If I was to choose a pair it would be the Bridgedale Women’s Ultra Light T2 Coolmax sport crew sock because I like a slightly thinner sock in the summer.
Come the winter, I expect I’ll wear the merino Bridgedale socks more frequently.
To find out more see Bridgedale.