A Review of the Prototype Merino Socks

I would like to start off saying the socks are profoundly comfortable. They are easily my favorite pair to wear right now, beating out other brands like WigWam, Eddie Bauer, Darn Tough, Fox River, and 5.11. Without hyperbole, they are perhaps the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn.

Testing conditions:

– (4x) 12 hour plant shift – steel-toe leather work boots – mostly dry concrete floor with some trudging through shallow mud
– (2x) ~4 hour 20 km rucks – leather combat boots – pavement, grassland, forest, and marshland with light rain
– (1x) 4 hour shift tutoring – suede chukka boots – office work

I work as a Quality Assurance Chemist at a chemical manufacturing plant, and spend roughly 95% of my 12 hour shift on my feet in heavy steel-toed work boots. With other high quality wool socks, I get hot spots on the tops of my toes and Achilles tendon before shift is through. I’ve worn the NeverQuit socks through 4 shifts thus far, and after each shift I am dumbfounded with how good my feet feel. No blisters, no pain, no hot-spots.

I took the socks out (twice) on a 20 km hike with all my camping gear (roughly 25 kg) in my leather combat/hiking boots. Took them over pavement, hiking trail, and grassland, and then through dense forest and marsh/wetlands. Normally, I’d have to stop every hour or so just to give my feet a small break, and get back to it, but my feet were just fine. Again, totally amazed with how good my feet felt. No hot spots, no blisters, no need for moleskin. My feet felt warm, dry, and pretty comfortable for the entirety of each hike, with only a few small breaks to apply some foot powder. My feet felt great (relatively speaking) when I got back home, and required minimal care.

Finally, I wore them for my part time job tutoring at a local community college. They had stood up to all the other abuse I had thrown at them, and performed just as well when I was sitting at a desk helping students. Again, nothing but positive things as far as comfort goes.

Pros:
– Profoundly comfortable. Maybe the best socks I’ve ever worn.
– Kept feet dry and had zero hot-spots or blisters after some admittedly low-level abuse.
– Fit well

Improvements/Cons:

– Mid-calf instead of crew-height
– Cheap packaging
– Durability – didn’t feel like they would last

With all the great things about these socks, I wish there would have been a couple things different:

Sock height: I wear 8 inch work and hiking boots, and had would have preferred the socks to come up to mid-calf instead of stopping just below the top of my boots as the rubbing of my leather boots got kind of old after a while.

Packaging: I’m not sure if your team is looking for feedback on this, but when the socks arrived, the cellophane pocket they came in felt cheap, and not like a pair of socks I would have paid $30 for.

Durability: I did my best to care for them as the instructions stated, but after maybe the 3rd time wearing them my wife threw them in with the rest of our laundry, and washed them the same as the rest of my clothes. After the regular washing, the wool started to come … undone? The socks started to shed, and I was hesitant to wear them again. My overall impression of the socks afterwards is that they felt dainty, like a luxury item and need to be cared for as such. They’re not a piece of gear I’d be able to throw in with the rest of my laundry after being in the field for two weeks, and because of that, I couldn’t trust them as a military sock. If I knew that I would only be out for a day at a time, I would buy and wear nothing but these, but they just didn’t feel like they’d stand up to regular abuse.

Overall impression:
I absolutely loved these socks.

That being said: for $30 for one pair, I would expect them to last years. But the wool shedding is a major problem, and I don’t think I would buy any more after my initial purchase. Because I have three pairs of Fox River socks that are going on 9 years old now. Admittedly, they are not as comfortable as they were brand new, but their durability has cemented them as a company I will always buy if given the opportunity.

If I could be sure that a $30 pair of socks would last me several years, I would have no qualms about purchasing like ten pairs and tossing all my old socks. Right now, with how these held up over a month of regular use, I don’t think I would be able to justify the cost. Maybe I got a bad pair, maybe I washed them wrong, but if you want to market them to the military/tactical community, you need to ensure that the socks can take a beating not just when they’re being worn, but also when they’re being washed. Your average grunt Marine isn’t going to do a separate load of laundry just for his super nice socks, he is going to just toss them in with the rest of his clothes/uniform and forget about it. Then if the socks look like they’re falling apart, he won’t be buying them again, and will be telling all of his buddies not buy them either.

I know I’m hemming you guys up on durability, but let me be clear: I absolutely loved these socks. Durability was the only thing I could find wrong with them. If you’d like me to return my pair for your QA team to see what I was talking about, I will begrudgingly do so, but they have become my favorite socks to wear.

 

–James O’R