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Yes, another sock review. That’s two in the same week, I know. But as I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been known to turn down a good pair of socks for evaluation. The thing is, they’re not easy to review. When evaluating shoes or boots, there’s plenty to write about, due to materials and construction. When reviewing socks, it’s the opposite. A pair of Merino wool socks will generally get a week long workout, in a variety of appropriate footwear. At the end of the week, we evaluate them for fit, comfort, temperature and moisture regulation, as well as quality of construction. But a sock is still just a sock, and there are a limited amount of adjectives to describe them. The folks at Swiftwick didn’t make this any easier, as they provided a variety of socks for us to review. Tamara has already covered the Pursuit Seven compression socks, so I’m covering the Pursuit Two and Vibe Two. For the record, the numerical designation corresponds to the sock’s cuff height, in inches. Zero is a bit taller than a no-show, while twelve is over the calf.
First up is the Pursuit Two. This is a technical sock made primarily of Merino wool, with nylon added for longer wear, and some Spandex for a conforming fit. It’s got a bit of dense padding on the bottom, somewhat thinner under the arch. Between the heel and cuff, as well as across the top where your toes meet your feet, it gets thinner, almost like a mesh, for better air flow and temperature regulation. Putting them on, they initially felt a bit too snug across the toes. But I gave them a bit of time, and the sensation passed. Fit at the heel was perfect too.
Once the toe-wiggling was done, I tried them in a variety of shoes for running, cycling, and even minimalist work shoes. During warmer weather there was no slipping or bunching, even though they had to be peeled off at the end of the day. It goes without saying that there were no hot spots or blisters, but all my shoes fit well, so that was expected. What wasn’t expected was how soft they were after a week of abuse. Most of my socks are a bit thinner, and while not scratchy, they certainly feel less plush after being worn. Of course, that little extra padding is nice for when you’re on your feet, but ended up being too much in my cycling shoes. Overall, an excellent performer, and great choice if you like a bit of padding, or need to fine tune the fit of your footwear. Available in black, coal, heather or a blonde (shown). MSRP $17.99
The Vibe Two was up next. A minimalist sock with a low cuff, this is closer to what I usually wear, although it’s an olefin and nylon blend, rather than wool. That means it should wick away moisture and last through a lot of hard miles, but without the temperature regulation of wool. There was the same snug sensation when I put them on, but my feet quickly adjusted. After only a few minutes, I realized that they had all but disappeared as far as my feet were concerned – while I could certainly still feel the material, the light pressure around my foot was so consistent, it was almost like not wearing a sock at all. If you like a really thin sock that doesn’t take away from your road feel when running, or need a sock that fits comfortably inside a tight cycling shoe, this may be it.
One area that I thought would be an issue was the distinct line between the dark and light colors along the bottom. Although you can feel a noticeable ridge when handling the socks, it was imperceptible when they were on my feet. Overall, another great sock, which would be perfect for running or cycling. Available in pewter/gray, black/red/gray, gray/ blue, or gray/pink accents. MSRP $13.99
Swiftwick understands that two of the most important elements of a sock are the density of the knitting and the quality of the stitching. Loosely knit socks can mat down when damp, causing them to slip and create blisters. Poorly stitched socks have hot spots that can rub and become irritated. Neither of these are a concern with either sock tested. We’re looking forward to trying out the full line. If you want to do the same, go to swiftwick.com