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SmartWool Hiking Socks ($16;

Nov 20, 2003
Outside Magazine

CLICK HERE for your chance to win one of ten pairs of SmartWool socks, and throw your name into the hat for the next nine days of sweepstakes mania!

Socks are socks, right? A liner sock, something over that, then boots. Wrong. All socks are not created equal, as the SmartWool folks proved when they introduced their first wool socks in 1994. They were an instant revelation—a sock that kept your feet warm when it was cold, cool when it was warm, dry when you were sweating.

The secret: Little pores in the merino wool fibers used in SmartWool socks. These pores are excellent multi-taskers. When you sweat, they soak up moisture, keeping your skin dry to reduce blistering and even smelly feet (damp skin is a perfect breeding ground for stink-producing bacteria). When it's cold, the pores trap insulating air, keeping your feet warmer. Plus, SmartWool's merino is soft, durable, washable, and long-lasting.

I first tried a pair in 1998 or so, wearing them on an eight-mile hike with a new pair of boots. I even put to the test the SmartWool claim that no liner sock was needed. I was instantly sold. Now basically ALL my outdoor socks are SmartWool—for hiking, climbing, bicycling, skiing, you name it (for hiking, though, I do tend to still use a wicking lining sock).

Want your own pair of SmartWool Hiking Socks? ENTER our sweepstakes contest for your chance to win today's prize: one of ten pairs of SmartWool socks. And, check back tomorrow to see what's next in the Gear Guy's rundown of the all-star Hall of Gear!

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