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Sock Blog

Warmest Socks – 40 Below Boot Sock

Posted November 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Warmest Socks – What Makes The 40 Below Sock Warm

Want the warmest socks you can buy? You’re not alone. Cold feet will make the rest of your body cold as well.  The 40 below sock was created by Wigwam Mills in answer to pleas by the US Armed forces. They needed a sock rated for the extreme cold temperatures they face every day out in the field during winter. Several factors go into making the warmest sock. The sock itself does not generate heat. A sock’s effectiveness comes from it’s ability to insulate your feet and retain your body’s natural heat. The more air that a fabric is able to trap the more insulation it provides. If a sock is not able to do this, it will not keep your feet warm. The 40 below is fully cushioned, which means that is is the same thickness through out the entire sock. This provides your feet with nice thick insulation from top to bottom unlike socks that are thinner on the top of the foot.

Warmest Socks - 40 Below Boot Socks

The 40 Below is the warmest boot sock

The 40 Below sock is 50% wool. Wool has long been know for it’s ability to insulate. When wool yarn is knit into a thick yarn, it has an exceptional ability to trap air. Additionally, wool fibers are spring loaded. This allows a wool sock to retain it’s loft and also it’s insulating ability. Another great feature of wool is it’s ability to wick sweat and absorb it. Wool can absorb as much as 30% of it’s weight in moisture before it starts to feel wet against your skin. Moisture on your skin robs your feet of it’s natural heat. Moisture management is critical for a sock to be considered as the warmest.

Nylon is also used in the 40 Below. The chemical makeup of nylon fibers allow it to retain heat well. Nylon also adds durability to a sock. If you’ve owned 100% wool socks before, you might have noticed that they tend to wear out faster than other socks. The nylon content of the 40 below socks take the brunt of the wear and tear. This makes the warmest sock last almost twice as long as 100% wool socks.

Warmest Socks – Ideal Uses For the 40 Below

As the warmest sock available, the 40 below was designed for use as a boot sock. I know that many of you reading this article would love to wear the warmest socks available to the office. Unfortunately, you can’t always have the best of both worlds here. The 40 Below is too thick to wear with regular business shoes. They would also be a snug fit in a pair of sneakers.

As a boot sock, the 40 below performs the best in outdoor activities like hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, construction work, or anywhere you’d wear a boot. The 40 below is especially effective for activities where you are not very active. US Service men and women sit a a post for hours at a time as do hunters. Snowmobiler’s often get cold feet as they sit on their machine riding a long trail. The 40 below outperforms other winter socks in these examples. They retain the maximum amount of heat your feet need in order to stay warm and comfortable. If your feet do sweat a little, the 40 Below wicks that sweat from your feet keeping them dry and warm. They really are the warmest socks available!

If you’re tired of your feet freezing in the winter time, the 40 Below sock by Wigwam is your solution. They are field tested by the US Armed Forces. Wigwam originally only made them in black and green. Once civilians discovered how warm they are, Wigwam realized they needed to expand their color selection for their warmest sock. So now you can get the 40 Below to match almost anything you wear in cold weather.

100% Cotton Thermal Underwear – Pros and Cons

Posted October 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

100 % Cotton Thermal – Best Uses

100% cotton thermal underwear has been around since cotton was first used to make garments. Cotton is readily available almost anywhere in the world and since cotton is used to manufacturer so many different types of clothing it is produced in such large volume that it has kept the price low on cotton thread.

Cotton Thermal Underwear

100% Cotton Thermal Underwear

One of the first benefits you get from 100% cotton thermal underwear is that it is arguably the softest natural fiber you’ll ever wear. You wear thermal underwear to stay warm, but you also wear it to be comfortable and 100% cotton has always added to that comfort. Until polyester was invented, 100% cotton thermal underwear was really about all you could find.

The next benefit that you get with 100% cotton thermal underwear I already mentioned. It is a natural fiber. It is not man made so it doesn’t contain chemicals that many are allergic to.

Cotton is also warm. Cotton is not the warmest fiber out there by far, but when the thread is weaved into the right pattern, such as a waffle knit, it insulates well and will keep you very warm.

Lastly, cotton does not melt if exposed to heat, spark or fire. This property of 100% cotton is critical for someone who will be wearing it while working under flash hazard conditions. If the wearer was suddenly exposed to heat, spark or a flash fire, the cotton would not melt into their skin like a synthetic fiber would. For this reason, you’ll see 100% cotton used by fire fighters, aircraft pilots, electricians, oil workers, welders, etc.

100% Cotton Thermal Underwear – When Not To Wear

The one major drawback to 100% cotton thermal underwear is that it absorbs water really well. This is not a big deal if you won’t be very active while wearing 100% cotton thermals. But it is a big deal if you will be exerting yourself  to the point of sweating. When you begin to sweat, 100% cotton quickly absorbs the sweat from your body. Cotton doesn’t dry quickly so the moisture just stays in the fabric. This feature causes a number of problems. The most concerning problem caused by 100% cotton thermals ability to absorb and retain moisture is that it can quickly cause hypothermia.

Your body produces sweat while you are exercising in order to cool your body and keep it at a normal temperature. Cotton thermals keep that sweat against your skin instead of allowing it to dissipate. Even after you stop sweating, the moisture held against your body by the cotton thermals continues to cool your body well after your body stopped sweating. Prolonged exposure to these conditions, even in moderately cold temperatures will likely cause hypothermia.

100% cotton thermal underwear also shrinks more than any other thermal. Cotton naturally shrinks when exposed to water and heat. Many manufactures of 100% cotton thermals will preshrink their product, but even with preshrinking it will still shrink after a number of launderings.

100% Cotton Thermal Underwear – Wear It According To Your Activity

When considering whether or not to wear 100% cotton thermal underwear, it is best to keep the things I just discussed in mind along with what you will be wearing the winter thermals for. If you will not be very active and you love the soft feel of cotton, then they are probably the right choice for you. If you know that  you’ll be active or exposed to moisture, then you’ll probably want to stay away from 100% cotton thermal underwear and steer more towards something that is synthetic like polyester or polypropylene.

Athletic Socks Should Be Comfortable

Mattress companies do a great job of pointing out how many hours in our lifetime we will spend sleeping. I think that stat is somewhere around 200,000 hours. They use this number to point out how important it is to have the right mattress so that you make the most of those 200,000 hours spent sleeping. Well, the same holds true for athletic socks. If you wear athletic socks for at least 8 hours a day, you are looking at the same amount of hours wearing athletic socks. Your feet directly affect your level of comfort so if you wear athletic socks that aren’t comfortable, you are going to spend a large portion of your life with some level of discomfort. 200,000 hours is a long time to experience foot discomfort because you won’t just invest in some good athletic socks. If you are reading this and thinking that I’m out in left field then you either live in Hawaii and never wear socks or you’ve never experienced how nice your feet can feel with the right pair of athletic socks. I think so many of us just get so used to the way our feet feel that we don’t recognize how anxious we are to take our shoes and socks off at the end of the day.

Athletic Socks – Solutions Through Technology

Athletic sock companies make socks out of a wide variety of fabrics. Fabric technology has really raised athletic socks to new heights in terms of comfort and quality. Have you ever worn an athletic sock that by the time you were

Cheap Athletic Socks Will Leave You Disappointed

Are You Disappointed With Your Athletic Socks

finished with the activity you were involved in had stretched and misshaped to the point that it bunched up all throughout your shoe? Or maybe it wouldn’t stay up on your calf any longer making your calf length socks ankle socks. These are some of the common woes that have been eliminated by modern high performance athletic socks. Lycra or Spandex as it is commonly called has played an important part in making today’s best athletic socks. When combined with polyester, Lycra makes your athletic socks hug your feet so that you get the most out of the performance of your socks. This snug fit also prevents chaffing and blisters. Many sock companies put enough Lycra in the arch of your athletic sock that it actually supports and even promotes good arches in  your feet. Polyester athletic socks perform so well because polyester manages moisture extremely well. Polyester absorbs very little water. Instead, it spreads sweat from your feet across the entire sock effectively allowing the sweat to dissipate. This keeps your feet dry and comfortable instead of damp and soggy so common with regular cotton tube socks.

Athletic Socks Don’t Have To Be Expensive

All of this talk of performance athletic socks might have you thinking you have to spend a lot more for socks that will keep  your feet more comfortable. Not so. The fact is, most athletic socks are made of the same or similar materials no matter what company produces them. So, as long as you are educated on what fabrics to look for in a quality athletic sock, you can shop according to your budget and still get top quality athletic socks for the same price you pay for regular everyday socks. I’ll educate you more on other performance fabrics to look for in future posts. But remember, you spend too much time in your life wearing socks to not have comfortable athletic socks.

My favorite thing to do in the winter time is snowmobile. Utah in the late fall sees the temperatures start to drop into the freezing range a lot quicker that I would like. But it lets me know it is time to get my sleds out and get them ready for the winter season. It also means it is time to get all of my warm polypropylene gear out of the attic so that I can enjoy being out in frigid winter conditions and still be warm and have a great time.

One product that I have been wearing when I snowmobile is a thick pair of 100% polypropylene military weight socks from Burnesville Mills. I’ve always known that 100% polypropylene retains more heat than any other fabric. It also retains your body heat when it is wet. That is the main reason I choose to wear them because it seems like no matter how hard you try to keep snow out of your boots, some always finds a way in and your feet get wet and cold. Ever since I started wearing the polypro socks my feet woes have all but gone away.

Well, last winter I had an unexpected chance to really put my 100% polypro military weight socks to the test. My wife and I were out snowmobiling in the Strawberry Reservoir area past Daniels Summit in Utah.  We were on the north side of the reservoir where there are several creek beds that wind through the area. We weren’t too concerned about the creek beds because the snow was so deep. You couldn’t really see them for the most part. Well, as luck would have it I was turning around to head back into the middle of a meadow when my track dug in and I got stuck. When I stepped off to assess my situation I sunk into the snow up to my waist. I thought it was pretty funny at first until I could feel my feet getting wet. It quickly hit me that I was in a creek bed and now my snowmobile boots, polypro socks and feet were now soaked. I quickly scrambled out.

Putting my 100% polypropylene socks to the test

A creek bed puts my 100% polypro military socks to the test

After tying a rope to my snowmobile and pulling it out, I sat on my seat and took my boots off. By now my feet were starting to get pretty cold. I poured all the water that I could out of my boots. Luckily my boots have a liner too that I was able to pull out and ring most of the water out. I took my 100% polypropylene military weight socks off and rung them out too. With no other options but to wear them, I put everything back on and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t get frost bite or something. The sun was out and it wasn’t bitterly cold, but the temperature was below freezing. After putting my socks and boots back on, my feet were a little warmer but still cold. I trudged through the snow for 20 yards or so to get the blood flowing and my feet warmed right up.

When this incident first happened, I was thinking that our fun was all over and that we would have to quickly get back to our vehicle so that my feet wouldn’t freeze. But, thanks to my thick 100% polypro socks, we were able to ride for the rest of the day without any real problem. My feet did get a little cold on the longer trail rides, but it didn’t take much to get the blood moving again effectively warming my feet back up each time. I’m sure glad technology has made a product like polypropylene available. I know that the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard are required to wear 100% polypropylene under their cold water suits to keep them alive in cold water. 100% polypropylene is good stuff!

Expedition Weight Merino Wool Full Zip Jacket

Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Merino wool is a huge topic on this blog. The main reason for this is that wool is the perfect outdoor fabric. It is natural. It has superb insulating properties. It retains warmth even when it is wet. What more could you ask for? Well, the problem with your standard wool is that it tends to be itchy. If your skin is in the least bid sensitive then regular wool is not an option. It is just too abrasive. So that is where merino wool comes in. If you read the wiki on merino sheep you’ll find that merino sheep have soft wool. You get all of the awesome properties of regular wool without the itch.

Winter Merino Wool Full Zip Jacket With Thumb Holes

The Warmest Wool Jacket Available

For this post, I wanted to put a shout out for Minus 33’s Expedition weight full zip merino wool jacket. Expedition weight merino wool is not available from many manufacturers. Minus 33 specializes in merino wool garments and they realize that people who are serious about their outdoor clothing love just about anything made from merino wool. Their expedition weight full zip jacket is awesome to have with you at all times. During the winter, when I’m not wearing it I keep it in my car just to have it on hand. You can’t always predict when you’ll need a jacket to fight off the bitter cold while you run into a store or stop to fill up your car with gas.

One feature that I love about the expedition weight merino wool jacket is the extended length arms with thumb holes. This keeps the sleeves from riding up when you put an outer shell on over it. It also eliminates any skin from being exposed between your gloves and jacket. I mentioned putting an outer shell over it. If you aren’t familiar with this practice then you need to read up on proper layering. Many people use a fleece top as a mid layer for layering. This expedition weight merino wool full zip jacket gives you maximum insulation for your mid layer.

Coldpruf Merino Wool Blend Thermal Underwear

Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Are you familiar with the brand Coldpruf? Coldpruf is a fitting name for a new line from one of America’s oldest and largest thermal underwear producers. Indera Mills thermal underwear company was founded in1914. Some of their first primary products were thermal slips, vests, and thermal union suits. Indera’s focus has always been cotton and cotton blend thermal under garments so they have spent almost 100 years reducing costs and perfecting their high quality products. However, all of Indera Mills products were for general use and not necessarily for specialty outdoor markets.  3 years ago, at the suggestion of one of their major retailers, Indera introduced a new line of premium brand thermal underwear designed for the competitive outdoor industry. Indera appropriately named this new line Coldpruf after the products ability to keep your body’s natural warmth in and the cold out.

Features of Coldpruf's Merino Wool Authentic Thermals

Coldpruf Authentic Premium Merino Wool Thermals

The highlight of Coldpruf’s new line of thermal underwear is it’s Coldpruf Authentic merino wool blend thermal underwear. What sets Coldpruf apart from the rest of Indera Mills product is it’s extra soft hand. Hand refers to the feel of the garments fabric. The thread for Coldpruf’s thermal underwear is knit extra small so that it is more fine making it softer to the touch. The Authentic merino wool thermals utilize high quality merino wool thermal fabric for superior insulation effectively trapping your body’s heat next to your skin. All of the Coldpruf line feature flat lock seams, a signature quality of high end garments. Flat lock seams are seams that are sewn down so that you can’t feel the seam. This makes Coldpruf thermals ideal for wearing underneath ski or snowboard clothing because the seams in your thermals won’t cause pressure points underneath your outer winter clothing.

With all this talk of how well Coldpruf merino wool thermals perform for outdoor activities, it is important to realize that all of the qualities that make them perfect for the outdoors also makes them perfect for indoor use. If you sit in an office and freeze all through the winter and the waffle knit thermals you are familiar with are not very comfortable then Coldpruf is for you. In just a few short seasons since its’ release, Coldpruf has quickly made a name for itself as a first choice for comfortable merino wool thermal underwear.

Are you new to snowboarding? Maybe you’re getting ready for a winter trip and a couple weeks of snowboarding at a major resort. Whatever you might be gearing up for, you want to have a blast. You don’t want to get out onto the slopes only to learn that your snowboard socks aren’t what you thought they were and now you’re miserable because your feet are hurt or frozen. This is one of the number one complaints for beginner or novice snowboarders. Don’t make the same mistake that so many others have made. You’ve already invested a lot of money in your board and outerwear. Don’t forget to treat your feet the way  you should with a nice pair of merino wool socks designed just for snowboarders.

Fox River Mills is famous for their Made In The USA quality outdoor socks. They’ve been specializing in merino wool

snowboarders love the boarderzone merino wool socks

Enjoy this season with boarderzone merino wool snowboard socks

outdoor socks for years. They’ve taken the time to listen to their customers and improve their socks based on that feedback. The Fox River Boarderzone merino wool snowboard sock is a result of seasons of feedback from customers. The high merino wool content insures that your feet stay nice and warm. Merino wool also wicks sweat well so your feet also stay dry, not damp and clammy like you may have experienced with inferior socks. Unlike regular wool, merino wool is extra soft and feels great next to your skin.

Do yourself a favor this winter season and buy the snowboard socks you know you’ve always wanted. After just one run down the slopes you’ll be glad you bought the Boarderzone merino wool snowboard socks from Fox River

Merino Wool Socks for Men And Women

Posted October 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I don’t know the history of socks, but I can probably guess that a high percentage of all of the socks that have ever been manufactured on this earth through the ages were made of 100% cotton. I would also guess that a high percentage of weekend warrior outdoor enthusiasts still wear 100% cotton socks as their staple for outdoor comfort on their outdoor adventures. If you are reading this and thinking to yourself “Hey, that sounds like me” then let me enlighten you a little bit on what a real outdoor sock is. Your first hint is that it is not made out of 100% cotton. No, when it comes to taking care of your feet so you can enjoy hiking, backpacking, or any other outdoor activity longer, merino wool is the name of the game.

Cotton socks are super soft and for the most part warm. But one big problem with cotton that you’ve surely noticed is

Merino wool socks for hiking and outdoor use

Have you tried a pair of merino wool socks?

that cotton absorbs lots of water. When talking about socks we’re referring to sweat. Your feet have around 3000 sweat glands per inch. Your athletic socks have to be able to manage moisture well in order to keep your feet comfortable. Cotton socks soak up all of that sweat keeping your feet soggy and cold. Cotton socks also lose their form easily causing them to bunch creating pressure points and making blisters inevitable. Wool socks have been around as long as sheep have. Wool is great at managing moisture and keeping your feet at a nice temperature, but wool socks have a bad reputation for being too itchy or scratchy for the average person. This is where merino wool comes in. Merino wool comes from Merino Sheep. Merino sheep produce wool that is extra fine and soft so it does not feel itchy to  a persons skin, yet it has all of the excellent qualities of regular wool.

So, merino wool socks are your best choice for pretty much all outdoor activities. They are nice and soft next to your skin, they don’t itch, they have superior moisture management properties and they keep you feet warm even when the socks get wet. They also do a great job  keeping your feet warm. In fact, some of the warmest socks you’ll find for winter use are made from merino wool. Now, one down side to wool or merino wool is that it is not quite as rugged as you might like them to be. So, in order to make a pair of merino wool socks last longer, the manufacturer adds a blend of other materials that help them to wear better and last longer. These materials only serve to improve the performance of the merino wool

Anatomical Merino Wool Ski Socks For Winter

Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

How much do your feet have to do with your comfort on the ski slopes? Frozen feet can ruin an otherwise perfect ski day. So why is it that some people think that they can throw on any old tube socks and not expect to have some degree of foot discomfort while skiing?

Sock technology has advanced ten fold since the start of the 19th century. The machines that knit socks and the fabrics available now are so advanced that you no longer have to suffer from cotton tube socks that bunch up, absorb water and kill your feet. In fact, new technology allows sock companies to produce socks that fit each foot anatomically. So let me tell you about the ultimate in ski socks that your feet will absolutely love.

Fox River Mills specializes in high performance merino wool socks. After years and years of manufacturing, testing, and improving socks, Fox River has perfected an anatomical merino wool ski sock that fits each foot perfectly. It is

Anatomical Merino Wool Ski Socks

Don't let your feet freeze. Get the VVS MV Merino Wool Ski Socks to keep your feet warm

called the VVS MV Ski Sock. They added just the right amount of cushion in the shin, heel and bottom areas of the each sock for maximum comfort without creating any pressure points that restrict blood flow. Restricted blood flow is the most common cause for cold feet while you are skiing. Blood flow is critical for cycling warmth throughout your foot to keep it warm. The merino wool content of the sock ensures the right amount of insulation to trap your body’s natural heat keeping your feet nice and warm. Merino wool also has superior wicking and moisture management so that when your feet do sweat, they don’t get cold. The VVS MV merino wool sock also has silk thread interlaced giving it that soft premium feel you’d expect in a high end ski sock.

Expedition Weight Merino Wool Thermal Underwear

Posted October 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

With merino wool being the new buzz word in outdoor apparel, most major brands are coming out with their own line of merino wool apparel. The most popular use for merino wool is for socks and for thermal underwear. A quick search on the search engines will lead you to many different sites with many different selections of merino wool thermal underwear. If you hate being cold and you are looking for the warmest merino wool base layer available, you’ll want to search for expedition weight merino wool.  Expedition weight merino wool is the thickest available. The thicker the garment the more air it is able to trap inside providing more insulation for your body’s natural heating system.

Expedition Weight Merino Wool is the warmest available for thermal underwear

A woman reaches new heights wearing her expedition weight merino wool thermal underwear

As I mentioned already, there are a lot of different brands out there producing merino wool thermal underwear. But there is only one that I know of that makes merino wool garments in an expedition weight and it is from a brand called Minus 33. With a name like Minus 33, you know they make warm stuff and you can guarantee that their expedition weight merino wool thermals are as warm as you can get. Minus 33 has been making expedition weight wool garments since they were founded in 1916, but only recently began making them from 100% merino wool. Right now they are only available in black which is probably the second most popular color for thermal underwear second to white. They do have other lighter weight merino wool thermal underwear and products available a wider selection of colors. I would guess that in the future Minus 33 will expand their color selection to their expedition weight merino wool lines.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that Minus 33 does make their expedition weight merino wool in both mens and womens sizes.

So, if you want the warmest merino wool thermals available, then go with the Minus 33 expedition weight merino wool thermal underwear. I guarantee you’ll love not only the warmth but also the quality of the product.

        
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