Walking socks...worth the $$
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Although these were AUS$35 socks. Bit more than US$12
Hope that helps
If you have small feet, get kid's hiking socks -- they're cheaper and the same quality (I've bought Wigwam and Smartwool kids socks). If not, then check out Sierra Trading Post, REI-Outlet, or similar closeout stores to save money.
My personal favorites are the Wigwam merino socks. I can't speak for the current models but I have a few pairs that must be at least 4 years old now and are still in great shape... and I'm pretty harsh on socks. They have that nice soft fuzzy feel to them so it feels great to pull a clean pair onto cold feet.
Early Icebreaker merino socks were super comfortable and warm but of poor quality and they didn't last long at all. They couldn't be worn for more than a day without tearing. When I spoke to the rep last winter he said that the new ones were going to be much better.
I've got a couple of pairs of the Smartwool Medium Hikers and one pair of the Heavy Trekking socks (which I'm wearing right now) and I've been very happy with them. Warm and well shaped to stay on your foot. Although they have a bit of a heavier weave, I did somehow manage to put a hole in the toe of one pair rather quickly. I don't know if it was a bad pair, the other two have been fine, but it has made me a little bit leery of them.
I recently acquired a pair of Bridgedales that I've only worn twice, and just to work, but were quite comfortable. Same with some newer Curve socks that I know nothing about and have only worn once each.
With all of the above pairs I think one of the biggest benefits was how they felt over different temeperature ranges. The beauty of merino is that I rarely found myself overheating when sitting in Starbucks or getting cold feet while out on the trail. For longer hikes I have been pairing them with liner socks, but they've all done a good job of keeping moisture away from my skin the times I've worn them alone.
If you spend the money on a good pair of socks then you'll probably notice the difference. Although it's worth noting that as long as you stay away from cotton then you're doing ok.
If you don't know where you want to go, you can't get lost.
My RTW blog is "Melting"
"He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch."
-Jean Luc Godard
I also haven't worn a hole in either brand, and I'm hell on socks.
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