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?? Special Socks ??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Went to the bootfitter last night and as I'm getting ready to try on the boot-of-choice he says "let's get you into a pair of these special socks before trying on the boot".

To which I say "special socks...humbug, I just ski in over-the-calf, nice and fluffy, big white cotton athletic socks".

To which he says "oh man, you're missing the boat"...and then goes on a 10 minute disertation on warmth, foot support, moisture wicking, etc...

Now, to be honest, I've never really paid attention to any of these special $15/pair socks because frankly, I just figured it didn't matter. But he was so passionate and convincing about the socks that I figure it was time to come to the Bears and get the straight skinny.

So, for those of you that have special moisture wicking sock experience...what gives and is it worth the price over and aboce regular athletic socks?
post #2 of 20
I guess if "big white athletic socks" have always kept you toes warm, go with what works but I would not go that way. I now use semi-thick wool/synthetic blend socks vs all wool in the old days. I get my socks at LL Bean usually about 10 bucks at their factory outlet stores. Aside from the moisture issue I would think it's dependent on how cold it is where you ski.
post #3 of 20
There is a saying in the outdoor industry...

Cotton Kills.

Cotton has no insulating property when wet, it also absorbs moisture and holds onto it, so as your feet sweat the moisture vapor condenses to water and stays against your feet wicking heat away from them, making you cold and clamy. Your bootfitter wasn't blowing smoke up your skirt, he was giving good advice. Never ski in cotton socks, avoid ribbed socks unless you like corrugated shins. Wear a single thin sock that is made of a wicking material (wool, polypro, etc.) and keep your core and head warm to keep your blood circulating to your feet, this will keep them warm.
post #4 of 20
As noted above, cotton is generally bad...

Also, if you use the search function a bit, you will find that most folks go thin as well. It allows a precise boot fit - so you don't end up over-tightening your boots to compensate & then cutting off your circulation. Believe it or not, under typical ski conditions, thinner can be warmer with a well fit boot. Your bootfitter steered you right. I suspect many, many people here ski with Smart Wool, Ultimax or Euro (to name a few well regarded brands) socks in the thinnest or next to thinnest model.

Another way to look at it - why would you go through the trouble of a bootfitting when your fluffy socks make it impossible to get the precision fit a good bootitter is trying to give you?
post #5 of 20
You really don't have to pay $15 for a good ski sock. Check these out or any of the others from this company. They ship promptly, no games, very reputable.http://www.sockcompany.com/ulskisoc.htmlThumbs Up
post #6 of 20
Barefoot is better than a fluffy cotton sock. search and rescue folks don't call cotton the killer fabric for nothing. it holds moisture and, unlike wool, loses its insulating properties when wet. like others have said, thick, cheap socks are penny wise and pound foolish. you are spending big bucks for boots that will be negated by bad socks.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
As noted above, cotton is generally bad...

Also, if you use the search function a bit, you will find that most folks go thin as well. It allows a precise boot fit - so you don't end up over-tightening your boots to compensate & then cutting off your circulation. Believe it or not, under typical ski conditions, thinner can be warmer with a well fit boot. Your bootfitter steered you right. I suspect many, many people here ski with Smart Wool, Ultimax or Euro (to name a few well regarded brands) socks in the thinnest or next to thinnest model.

Another way to look at it - why would you go through the trouble of a bootfitting when your fluffy socks make it impossible to get the precision fit a good bootitter is trying to give you?
I use Fox River hightop sock liners exclusively even when the temps have dropped to -25F. I use a Nordica Grand Prix ski boot that fits me like a second skin so I need to reduce my socks to absolute minimum. Sock liners keep my feet dry by wicking away moisture and are thin enough to avoid compression points and 'boot bite'.
I tried cotton cocks just once to see how long it took for my feet to be uncomfortable. I was out of them and into the sock liners within 2 hours.

To enjoy skiing, the next best thing to great fitting boots is comfortable socks.
post #8 of 20
Heh. I'm pretty sure that - everything else being equal - no one ever died because they were wearing cotton socks while skiing (anyone got any citations on this?). But OTOH, wool socks are infinitely more comfortable and resistant to packing out than wool. So, concievably they could improve your skiing by allowing a better and more consistant contact between your foot and the boot.

Here and here are some excellent socks for a great price. Try 'em and I can pretty much guarantee that you'll never ski in cotton again. And, at least according to some people, you can enjoy the thrill that comes only from cheating death.
post #9 of 20
If the price is 15 bucks, just buy what your bootfitter suggests - from your bootfitter. You'll most likely get a very appropriate sock. Your bootfitter will love you. You will then have a good sock to benchmark against when you play around buying other socks.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post
Heh. I'm pretty sure that - everything else being equal - no one ever died because they were wearing cotton socks while skiing (anyone got any citations on this?).
Death, no..... frostbite, yes.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by WmCraven View Post
Death, no..... frostbite, yes.
You forgot the citations. I know that people that were poorly dressed - perhaps including cotton socks - have gotten frostbite and worse, but I'm looking for something where someone that was well dressed in every other respect still got frostbite (or died) because they were wearing cotton socks while skiing/riding.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post
...... but I'm looking for something where someone that was well dressed in every other respect still got frostbite (or died) because they were wearing cotton socks while skiing/riding.
Happy hunting.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by WmCraven View Post
Happy hunting.
Um, you're the one that made the assertion - I was just asking you to provide an instance where what you said would happen did happen.
post #14 of 20
Dude, no socks is best socks. Nah either use proper socks, or use nylons if you want to downsize badly.
post #15 of 20
Cotton- gets wet, stays wet, stays cold. Plus lots of rubbing.

No socks is what I prefer. Maybe crazy, but after having tried many things, barefoot is best.
post #16 of 20
Ah, "bootfitter" and this post is in the Snowboard Gear forum???? Do snowboarders actually use bootfitters?

There are several threads on socks in the Ski Gear forum.e.g.:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ighlight=socks
Just advanced search for socks in the thread title to see more threads.

Skiing and riding in the Mid Atlantic, it's hardly ever cold. I used to just wear good old cotton athletic socks and they did just fine. But as I started to ride more and ride better, I noticed that my feet sweat more when I was riding. I wasn't really cold and I wasn't real uncomfortable, but it was getting noticeably squishy by the end of the day. So I said "what the heck", and bought a couple pair of "ski socks" (and eventually some snowboard socks) from Sierra Trading Post. They are rediculously expensive compared to cotton athletic socks, but hey your feet are worth it and they do make a nice difference even when you don't have a cold feet problem. Snowboard specific socks have different padding than ski socks. I'm often wearing one kind of sock and switching gear between skiing and riding throughout the day. It's not a big deal, but the snowboard socks are nicer for riding.
post #17 of 20
Uh snowboards socks I've seen never kept the promise they made to me - "To be able to downsize my snowboard boots". The added padding might be good for low performance hardboots or softboots but would actually mean that I have to upsize when wearing them compared to just wearing nylons or barefeet.

I only know that pracitcally every professional (be it on hard or soft equip) goes to see a bootfitter. In general I assume most snowboarders prefer having just flashy equip of the latest model year and buying new every year rather than seeing a bootfitter.
post #18 of 20
I once wore cotton socks and a cotton t-shirt skiing. Somehow, I managed to survive.
post #19 of 20

breathable liner socks

personally i like really thin liner socks, but recently switched from synthetics like capilene, coolmax, polypro, etc to smartwool liners($10) because they breathe better, and for something like hut-to-hut stay a lot fresher
post #20 of 20
I've used cotton socks in other sports and it's not a pleasant experience. So when I got to winter, it only made sense to use synthetics. Don't want to find out what frostbite is like.
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