Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Xsocks Trekking Expedition Short Socks – A Review

Xsocks Trekking Expedition Short Socks

[Note that on 5 September 2012, Webtogs Limited went into liquidation, but its business has legitimately been continued in the name of Dorset Mountain Sports Limited, t/a Webtogs, with whom I have had no contact whatsoever, nor did the liquidator of Webtogs Ltd respond to my enquiry as to whether any members of the public had lost money as a result of the liquidation.]

Webtogs sell a range of quality socks.  Recently they were kind enough to send me a pair of Xsocks Trekking Expedition Short Socks for review.

I’ve been wearing these socks for the last couple of weeks.  (Yes, they do get a bit smelly after about three days!)  I’ve also been using a pair of a sister product, Xsocks Trekking Light Short Socks, for the last three years.

Made in Italy, the socks come with a two year guarantee.  They are certainly hard wearing.  The socks I’ve been using for three years – just the one pair, all year round, are only just starting to show signs of wear.  The new socks, at 54 gm just 5 gm lighter than the Trekking Light socks, are just as comfortable and look to be equally hard wearing.

The socks come with anatomically shaped footbeds for the right and left feet.  They feel odd if you put them on the wrong feet!  There are numerous other features that I’ll reiterate below in the product specification, and the composition is a mix of nylon, merino wool and other materials.
My favourite ‘feature’ is the capacity of these socks to dry quickly.  Even on a wet day, they can be washed by a backpacker in a pot of warm water and a few soap flakes (or shampoo, etc), wrung out, rolled a few times in a hand towel to remove most of the water, and hung in the tent to dry overnight.  Obviously they may dry more quickly outside in fair weather, but even inside the tent, if the wearer puts them back on in the morning they should be perfectly dry by the time he or she needs to start walking.  Using this method, I walked the entire two week TGO Challenge last year using just the one pair of Xsocks and some thin liner socks for the evenings.  Some Goretex socks I’d taken in case my boots leaked were not used at all.

The Xsocks are not uncomfortable in the wet, but personally I prefer to avoid fungal infections by keeping my feet dry by way of a Goretex liner either in my footwear or my socks.

I appreciate there are other issues relating to the wearing of socks.  As a youth I always wore two pairs, or even three in the winter, but many years ago I discovered that life became much easier with just one good pair of socks, and even in cold conditions I find that adequate so long as I remain active.  I’m not sure how people who wear multiple pairs of socks would find this fairly snug product – perhaps they would use a liner sock underneath, or a larger pair over the top.  Either way, in my opinion all you actually need is just the one pair of socks, and these Xsocks are perfect for that purpose.

So, to summarise:

Fit and Finish:
  • the EU size 42-44 socks fit my size 43 feet perfectly, and pleasantly snugly with no uncomfortable tightness or loose ‘wrinkles’
  • the Italian construction is excellent.  I can verify that the Trekking Light socks are extremely durable (the most durable hiking socks I’ve ever possessed) and I would expect the Expedition socks to be the same
  • the socks come in a choice of two dark colours and could be worn with any sort of footwear.  Mine will be worn with anything from 4-season boots to casual shoes
Features:
  • Xsocks stated features are reiterated below
  • I like the anatomically shaped footbeds
  • these socks are much quicker drying than other hiking socks I’ve owned – a great advantage on a long trek
Weight:
  • at 54gm (59gm for the Trekking Light version), they are not going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  They are the lightest hiking socks that I have ever owned
Practical Use:
  • these socks are ideal for… well, hiking and trekking!
  • their quick drying and hard wearing qualities make them an excellent choice for long trips
  • the two year warranty is testament to the manufacturer’s confidence in their durability  
Price:
  • the Trekking Expedition socks are available from Webtogs for £15.49, whereas the slightly heavier Trekking Light socks are just £12.49
Alternatives:
  • there are lots of alternatives to these socks, a good selection being available as part of Webtog’s product range.  As in the case of all footwear, different products suit different feet.  But I haven’t found anything better than the Xsocks products I’ve been using for three years
Conclusion:
  • these socks are excellent.  They are my personal first choice for hiking, backpacking and trekking
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Note: Whilst the gear was provided by Webtogs, this review, over which I have total editorial control, is totally independent of that on-line retailer.

FEATURES of the Xsocks Trekking Expedition Short Socks
  • Self-adjusting Cuff – adapts to any size leg without slipping or constricting.
  • AirConditioning Channel – ventilates and dries
  • Toe Protector – protects against blisters and chafing
  • Instep Protector – distributes pressure
  • Stretching Rib – for an optimised fit
  • Anatomically shaped footbed – for a precise fit
  • Achilles Tendon Protector – reduces the incidence of pressure points and the risk of scraping and bruising
  • X-Cross Bandage – cushions and stabilises the sensitive ankle area without restricting freedom of movement
  • Heel Protector – reduces friction and the risk of blistering
  • Traverse AirFlow Channel System – lateral ventilation under the sole

Technical details

TECHNICAL COMPOSITION
33 % Nylon
28 % Merino wool
14 % Robur
12 % Mythlan
9 % Silk
4 % Elastane
MATERIAL
45 % Nylon
28 % Merino wool
14 % Polypropylene
9 % Silk
4 % Elastane

3 comments:

James Boulter said...

I bought exactly the same ones last week for the challenge so good to know that all is well with them. Webtogs have also sent me a pair of the Trekking silver ones as well, so will be interesting to see which smell the less after a few days. I am too lazy to wash my socks at night so whilst wearing a pair I will carry some bed socks and a couple of spair pairs. I like nice clean fluffy socks in the morning, even though they will be wet within 10 mins in my inov-8's! Only one spair pair of pants though................

Alan said...

Very good review Martin,
I bought a pair of these in the long leg variety and found i couldn’t pull them over my calf muscle. They were unbelievably tight.
However, they were well made and comfy at the foot so maybe i will try a short pair and see how i get on with them.
Thanks.

Phreerunner said...

That's a lot of socks for one Challenge, James. But if you can carry them all, why not? I find that both the pairs I've discussed in this posting can be worn for three or four days, but I'd draw the line at three days for my Rohan t-shirt and pants!
[I can't believe you are happy to walk in wet feet all day!]

Alan, thanks for the useful comment. These days I very very rarely use long socks (just for x-c skiing), and I commend these short ones.