Running, Biking, And Hiking With Swiftwick Socks

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And snowshoeing, skating, sledding, skiing….. well, you get the point.

Initial Thoughts On Some Very Nice Swiftwick Socks

Swiftwick’s moto, tagline, or catchphrase is “Chase Adventure. It Fits You.” That obviously speaks to many of our readers and reviewers.  Socks always seem to get the short end of the stick, or be treated like an afterthought.  They usually aren’t flashy, fancy, or full of features, but of course they serve a vital role in allowing us to tackle our outdoor passions. Technological advances have definitely infiltrated the foot and sock wear world. From that simple layer of cloth between our shoes feet and toes to padding, compression, and sweat wicking.  There are plenty of sock options out there, but as its name suggest, Swiftwick has provided a niche market on providing a sock that will keep you going.

I was given the opportunity to take a handful of Swiftwick socks for a spin. To my surprise and delight, I received a really nice diversity of socks that would allow me to test them in numerous applications.  From running and biking to hiking and snowshoeing; these Swiftwick socks were given a thorough test in and around the Front Range of Denver’s Rocky Mountains.

What’s unique is that the diverse lines have numerous sock heights to satisfy each and every discerning and picky athlete. I know some that like them tall, and some that don’t care for anything over their ankle. Swiftwick has you covered with cuff height styles that are numbered and range from Zero to Twelve which corresponds to sock height inches. I prefer something just over the ankle for running, a slightly taller version for hiking and biking, and a full blown Twelve for Skiing is ideal.  Choices galore, and I got a Four, a Five, and a Seven to take on my adventures.

The labels on the Swiftwick socks are jampacked with information, but I’ll outline the basics here

Swiftwick Pursuit

The Swiftwick Pursuit is this all-around super comfortable pair of socks that can take you anywhere. The Pursuit have a medium cushion and moderate compression. I mountain bike and run up Colorado mountains, and these provide enough cushion to battle the elements. The Merino wool is the superstar here.  It is antibacterial, wicks away moisture, and is perfect for hot and cold action.

I wore my Pursuit Seven Mid Calf socks in January in a snowshoe race; an 11.5 mile jaunt in the Indian Peak range which has seen record snowfalls.  Hence, this race had us tracking through a wide variety of snow conditions. Having done this race 5 years in a row now, the question isn’t if your feet will get wet, but when?  You can try all the tricks in the book to figure out a way to keep snow from creeping into your shoes. For a 2.5-3 hour intense race in knee deep snow, it is just a matter of time before the wetness filters in, through, around, or over whatever protective barriers you may have come up with. To be totally honest, my feet were never an issue. I’m not going to say that my feet stayed dry because of the Swiftwick socks, but what did happen is that my feet stayed dry for a good 7-8 miles of the race. The best thing was that I never experienced any discomfort or issues until I finished. That’s when I noticed that I did have wet feet, but I did not have any rubbing or blisters.

Swiftwick Vision

Moderate compression and medium cushion for a wide range of uses. It also sports a durable T-66 nylon toe and heel to provide some durability.  Aside from it’s features, the main focus for the Vision Series is the ‘pride’ factor.  There are numerous USA designs, and I sported my iconic Colorado State socks on numerous occasions with great fanfare.  There’s nothing wrong with showing off your running attire. The shoes and shirts usually take all glory, but in this case, I had a chance to highlight my calves and ankles. The Swiftwick Vision has performed well, but this has really been the “fun” sock for me.

Swiftwick Socks Vision Colorado Proud

Swiftwick Aspire

These socks contain Olefin. Apparently, this is a Nobel Prize winning fiber….  I did not know that they gave fibers their own award, but apparently some Italian scientists were given the Nobel for transition metal catalysis of olefins to fiber. That’s a mouth full, but someone much smarter than me came up with this brilliant idea.  The beauty of Olefins is that it retains less than .01% of its weight in moisture and resists deterioration from perspiration and detergents.

The Aspire’s main feature is the Managed Compression. I would not call these full blown compression socks which I only wear intermittently anyways. These served me well during a lot of my shorter 4-8 mile runs. I never had any issues, and they provided just enough compression to help alleviate any swelling. And as far as the moisture retention goes, I never experienced any sweaty feet, rubbing, or hotspots. The use and laundry deterioration factor will be a test of time. Thus far, I haven’t noticed anything that would indicate that these Aspire Swiftwick socks are losing their form or function.

Some Final Thought On The Swiftwick Socks

A few key take-away’s are that Swiftwick socks are made in the USA, they refuse to use chemicals, and are on a mission to be carbon neutral in their approach. From a sock standpoint, as their name suggest, the socks wick away moisture like no other. Sweaty feet during long endurance efforts can be the start to a host of issues. Rubbing and hotspots can lead to blisters that will turn any adventure into a nightmare.

Finally, if you have to give your socks anymore thought after putting them on, they have failed.  You simply wants to focus on the task at hand. If your socks start to come to the forefront, then something has probably gone awry. Swiftwick Socks have gone the extra mile to help us tackle that extra mile successfully.

Pick some up for yourself!  You won’t be disappointed.

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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