Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: April 9, 2012
Photo Album – REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Socks
BACKGROUND: I successfully hiked the West Coast Trail in 2011. I successfully thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010. I also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to the snow-packed mountains. I have had to deal with thunderstorms, hail, extreme winds and most things in-between. The REI Merino Wool Light Hiker sock was my choice for socks during these adventures and also the reason I wrote this review.
DISCLAIMER: I am currently employed by REI, but have NOT been paid to write this review. I was NOT employed by REI at the time I purchased and used my original socks. Since I’ve been employed by REI, I have purchased socks using my employee discount.
- Manufacturer: REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.)
- Product: Merino Wool Hiking II Socks
- Model: Crew
- Color: Navy/Denim
- Item Number: 712-784
DESCRIPTION: The REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II socks are unisex and sold in medium, large and extra-large sizes. They are made of 78% merino lambswool, 20% nylon and 2% lycra spandex. The uniquely formed toe area and Lin-Toe “no-feel” seems keep the socks smooth and unirritating. The combination wool/spandex material forms to the foot for a perfect comfortable fit. They are available in several different colors.
REVIEW: This review is for the Light Hiker II crew model of this sock. I have been using REI merino socks for several years now and can’t seem to speak more highly of this sock. I have used both the “low cut” model as well as the “crew” cut model of this sock. I have used this sock for both my Appalachian trail hike, my Pacific Crest Trail hike, My West Coast Trail hike and for everyday trips to my local conservation areas.
I have learned quit a bit about various gear and socks are no exception. When I first started hiking I remember using plain white cotton sock. Once I started hiking I learned about the various socks on the market and discovered the REI Merino Wool Socks. I have never looked back and this has become my everyday sock as well as my choice for hiking socks.
It is well-known that cotton dries very slowing and not really recommended for physical activities such as hiking, running or water-sports. Because the Light Hikers are made from merino wool and spandex they dry very quickly. This is a great features of the sock. When I first started hiking I always noticed how hot and sweaty my feet would get. After long periods of hiking It was almost like my fee were soaked in water all day and started to look like prunes. Switching to a sock that has the ability to wick the moisture away from your foot makes all the different in the world. The REI merino wool socks are designed with this in mind and work perfectly for this.
The socks are great and perform exactly how they are suppose too. I would like to mention however, if you are wearing a heavier thicker waterproof shoe or boot they lose a bit of this wicking ability. Since any boot with Gor-tex or waterproofing will create a moisture barrier this also affects the wicking ability of any sock you end up wearing with the waterproofed boot or shoe. I discovered this in 2007 while hiking the Appalachian Trail. During this hike I switched out to a full leather boot and found my feet seemed to have more moisture when I took off my boots at the end of the day.
Another thought about these is to let them air dry. When placed in hot dryer they tend become more deformed and shrink in an non-universal way. Meaning that the spandex either shrinks or gets to hot from the dryer causing it to lose the shape of the sock. Not a big deal but something I wanted to mention in this review.
Since my footwear has evolved over the years I choose to wear a lighter weight trail runner such as the Moab ventilator which is not waterproofed. When I pair the two together this creates an excellent solution to my hiking footwear and gear.
Overall, I’m completely satisfied with the REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Socks and would recommend them to anyone looking for a fast drying wicking sock. They are really comfortable not only for hiking but also for everyday use.
Fuzzy Monkey likes:
- Wicking ability
- Fuzzy Monkey dislikes:
Deform in dryer
- Fuzzy Monkey Approved: Yes