Smartwool – PhD Outdoor Light Cushion Socks

This is a guest review by Giles from

The first I ever heard about Smartwool and their frankly vast range of products was when GearWeAre’s very own Andy announced that he was so besotted by them he was ready to sell-up and go on a Merino sheep-hugging exercise to New Zealand. Ok, so maybe I made this last bit up, but it is true that he was very keen that I try some out for myself – which is how I came by the PhDs .

Little did we know that Giles was 2-dimensional, and blue

In order to give the best possible fit, the boffins at Smartwool devised what they like to call the 4 Degree Fit System. All clever-sounding stuff, this mix of compression bands and flex zones, but does it do what they claim?

4-Degree Fit, or Snug as a Bug in a Sock

As anyone who has been on an arduous hillwalking escapade will tell you, pain most likes to rear its ugly head somewhere around the heel and ball-of-foot areas, usually whilst you’re still a good 3-5 miles away from the pub. Thankfully, these are precisely the areas supported by WOW Technology (which stands for Wool-On-Wool, don’tcha know), and offers a higher density of padding (and therefore comfort and durability). Smartwool have also added in a dash of Nylon and Elastic for structure purposes.

Professionalism prevents me from using gratuitous ‘language’ so let me say, quite simply – by jingo, these are good! The phrase ‘fits like a glove’ is perfectly suited here, and I can honestly say these are among the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn.

With the ‘mini’ length fitting much like everyday casual socks, they’ve been great in my day-to-day Karrimors. The PhDs just create such a nice environment for the foot; for one thing, there’s no sagging of material and no clumpy bits at the ends of your toes. We know that wool does a great job of wicking moisture away from the body – as Andy would say, when was the last time you saw a sheep shivering? – and with these socks, your feet stay dry and comfortable whilst out on the trail. I’ve yet to experience any over-heating and or sweat build-up.

Summary: If you are the sort of person who heats up really easily, then you probably wouldn’t want to wear this weight of sock on a hot day. But certainly, if you’re the sort who does feel the cold easily, your little pinkies will thank you for giving them such a nice home in the autumn and winter months. Either way, these are great socks and they even wash-up really nicely, too. Now to book a flight to New Zealand…

 Price: £15.99
 More: Smartwool (US SITE)