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Icebreaker vs Smartwool socks

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Novos

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2016
Hello there,

I'll be in the camino on late August, and i have the opportunity to buy one of the mentioned above socks,

specifically the Icebreaker hike+lite/mid crew, or Smartwool phd outdoor light mid crew.

Which one do you think willl manage the best?

I have the north face hedgehog mid gtx shoes if it matters.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Dan Murphy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 25, 2016
Hello there,

I'll be in the camino on late August, and i have the opportunity to buy one of the mentioned above socks,

specifically the Icebreaker hike+lite/mid crew, or Smartwool phd outdoor light mid crew.

Which one do you think willl manage the best?

I have the north face hedgehog mid gtx shoe if it matters.

Thanks.
I too will be on the Camino beginning late August. I have be walking with a light pair of Icebreaker liner socks under Smartwool phd outdoor since early February. I recently picked up a pair of phd outdoor lights. My liner socks wore through around 974 km and were replaced as they have a life time warranty. My Smartwools have approx. 1400 km plus on them and are worn at the heals but the nylon matrix is fine. I will bring two pairs of ice breaker liners, a new pair of Smartwool phd outdoor and my Smartwool phd lights with me. Also have a pair of Sealskinz waterproof socks as I have made many trips in the country with wet feet so I am treating myself on this journey and light wools for after walking. Wearing Merrell Moab GTX Wides .... no blisters in training ..... hope this helps..... :)
 

FionaClarke

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Hornillos 2008
Burgos to Leon planned 2016
Hello there,

I'll be in the camino on late August, and i have the opportunity to buy one of the mentioned above socks,

specifically the Icebreaker hike+lite/mid crew, or Smartwool phd outdoor light mid crew.

Which one do you think willl manage the best?

I have the north face hedgehog mid gtx shoes if it matters.

Thanks.
You really really won't know until you try them. There are a whole bunch of factors that come into play. It is possible to generalise about a lot of them - eg wool = good, cotton = bad, and bulky seams where your toe touches the shoe is never a good idea, but fit is completely personal to you, depends partly on your feet and partly on the shoes/boots you will be wearing, and the more the cumulative mileage then the more that this matters. It has taken me a long while to find socks that fit like socks should (and will continue to fit at the end of my Camino) My suggestion would be to buy one pair and walk the heck out of them, washing them regularly under worst case Camino conditions (boil wash with cheap detergent and tumble dry on high). Smartwool can get a little stupid under those conditions.
 

oldhat

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May-June 2016)
Socks are a very subjective thing. You have to test them under hiking conditions to see what works best for you.

That said, I was having blister problems with Thorlo light hikers, my sock of choice for years, after 5-6 miles. I tried Smartwool PhDs and haven't had similar problems with them. I think the secret is that they fit very snugly and don't move against the skin at all. Also, their mesh construction allows better sweat ventilation.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I tried all kinds of socks including icebreaker and found that they wrinkled up. For me Nike dryfit were perfect, but they don't make them any more and the newer version is less good at wicking moisture and wrinkles up....why can't they keep on making the same thing if it works... so irritating. I also find that since icebreaker moved their production from New Zealand to Asia their quality has dropped and stuff wears out much sooner. Also the design is aimed at younger people so for oldies like me it is hard to find a piece that fits my increasingly apple like shape.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
It would help to dial this in before you leave. You have plenty of time to do this.

I now have quite a few pairs of socks that I experimented with and didn't take with me. What worked best for my particular foot issues and shoes was, Injinji toe sock liners with Darn Tough wool socks over them. I wore these every day. My feet were quite happy and my Camino was blister-free.

Hope you can say the same when you return.

Buen Camino!
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be proud of who you are.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Hello there,

I'll be in the camino on late August, and i have the opportunity to buy one of the mentioned above socks,

specifically the Icebreaker hike+lite/mid crew, or Smartwool phd outdoor light mid crew.

Which one do you think willl manage the best?

I have the north face hedgehog mid gtx shoes if it matters.

Thanks.
Hi, I think you have to try /decide yourself wich one to use.
Wish you well, Peter
 

Novos

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2016
Thank you all.
Problem is that i can only get these socks by buying it abroad.
 

Patch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (June 2014)
St Jean to Leon (Sept 2015)
Burgos to Santiago (June 2016)
Porto to Finisterre (June 2017)
I went through the sock debate years ago. Special socks no seams, double socks with talc etc. Finally found the solution is to use my everyday socks and reduce the pack weight and stop when you have had enough. Now I can use my walking boots for every day use - gardening, walking down the pub, weddings etc
 

PLOK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago 2016
There is only one kind of sock worth having and that is merino wool. Bridgedale offer the best selection from lightweight to heavyweight - look for merino wool fusion. In the end you cannot beat a sheep no matter what anyone may tell you.
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
We had the three brands (Icebreaker, Smartwool and Bridgedale) and the favourite was Icebreaker. The Smartwool has a little extra fabric on the fold at the heel that may be the reason that caused a blister on my husband's food. In the end, he was wearing the Icebreaker every day just as a precaution. The Bridgedale he wore it once and hated it, maybe because was the thickest of them all (we didn't find an equivalent thin one). The Icebreaker has been in use for the longest and is holding really well. If you turn the socks inside out you can see how the finishing of the Icebreaker is much smoother.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I went through the sock debate years ago. Special socks no seams, double socks with talc etc. Finally found the solution is to use my everyday socks and reduce the pack weight and stop when you have had enough. Now I can use my walking boots for every day use - gardening, walking down the pub, weddings etc
I am not quite as hard over as @Patch on this, but over many years walking with many different brands, I have formed the view that there are few if any differences in the performance of different brands. The practical performance of wool and wool blend socks is not better than man made fibres, and I have found wool and wool blends are generally are slower to dry and less durable. I think factors like the fibre composition, sock thickness and sock construction are more important than branding.
 

Dave2525

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014
I was on a trek recently and I started out with Icebreaker. The day the smartwool socks came up in rotation I thought I felt a hotspot forming.

It may have been a coincidence but I switched back to the Icebreakers and had no more issues the rest of the trek.
 

LakeMcD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015
Portuguese 2016
GR10/Norte/Primitivo 2017
Chemin LePuy: 2018
I like hiking in a brand’s light or ultralight running socks (merino blend) with a good amount of padding or foot cushion on the bottom with plenty of breathable panels on the top of the forefoot. Smartwool phd wears out much too quickly. DarnToughs are fantastic. I’m on my second camino (Chemin LePuy/Salvador/Primitivo/Kerry Way) on the same 2 pairs and they are still going strong. No blisters, but that’s a larger topic.

Buen Camino
 

Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
I use plain merino wool socks I bought at an agricultural show a few years back. Nothing fancy but durable and comfortable. I had a total of two small blisters the entire way, and these were caused by not bothering to adjust the lacing on my boot when I knew I should have.
 

prairiegirlmb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to SDC (September 2020)
I used to swear by Smartwools but the last couple that I have bought, my toes poked through and the heel wore down. Never before had an issue so I am not too sure if they are not built the same anymore. I recently bough some Icebreakers and after two months of lots of wear, they are holding up nicely! Will go back and buy a few more pairs.
 

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