The answer to the first question isn't trivial The functional benefit is liable to be arguable/minimal, but then so is the excess cost in terms of time/amount of use you'll get out of them.
Material I dunno. Think my very favourite socks are in fact polyester (because they stretch massively for a tight fit.). Merino very popular mind. In terms of smell you'll want a spare, very light evening pair anyway and can wash so not a major factor.
Bundles seem rare. In some ways a bit pointless too as, once you've got something that works for your shoes, you only really need 2 pairs tops.
Also if you are thinking of going for multiple pairs, the ability to experiment a bit is perhaps more worthwhile? Getting socks that really fit properly isn't trivial, especially as different shoes can require different thicknesses of sock to fine tune it.
How long is really long? What warmth level are you after?
(Soon implies warm season if in Northern Hemisphere...)
I only ever wear liners in cold (sub 5deg C) conditions.
I find Smartwool socks very comfy, but wear through in places relatively quickly.
Bridgedale wear better. Endurance range are good IME.
but, for work and walking I often use these unless it's very warm:
HJ Hall Cushion Sole Half Hose Indestructible
I pay £3.90 in a local shop
£5 a pair here
And in warmer times I also use these (cut down so to be shorter)
All Nylon Indestructible
Not fashionable I know, but they are both comfy and and wash easily in cold water and dry well compared to thicker merino socks.
(Iwear trail shoes outside winter)
Whatever you get you need to test them well to make sure of them, not sure price should come into it -the trip can be a chore if your feet are not right.
How many miles? I would do at least a 50 miler as a training hike that way you will be confident of all your gear. I wear trainers and for a couple of years have used Injinji toe socks with success i.e Pennine way and Pemb Coast path but the socks do not last long. I have now gone back to wearing two pair at a time of Bridgedale liner socks.
On a ten week spell once ( I did a 100 miler before that) I carried 6 pair of Bridgedale liners, 2 pair worn, 2 pr washed, 2 pr ready for washing or washed, changed everyday,even in the day. I carry a pair of runners seal skinz for wet times and a pair of Bridgedale thicker socks for sleeping in.
I tend to use Smartwool - find they don't pong too much. I suffer from cold feet and wear a pair of thick sock, a pair of medium/thin ones and liners at times, thermal or coolmax. On my trips to N Norway etc, I take a complete change and often another pair of thick ones, which can be useful for river crossings - so dual purpose. I take only SLs as footwear, tho hut slippers/fleece socks with basic soles have been useful and the sole seems to shed dirt if one walks around camp in dry conditions. Occasionally I'll take a 3rd pair of liners - they're very light. I almost always don't wear socks for longer than three days and they're fine, but I like to wash my feet say every two days, which helps.
If the sock is right, it's worth paying for, as bad socks will wreck your trip. It's also worth having variety in your socks e.g. different makes/types, so you can swap them around/remove liners if you wish.
Can'tt remeber when you're off, but we certainly had below zero conditions occasionally in Sept.
calum, you've probably left this question a bit late for experimentation
the only sock and the best sock is one that fits you properly irrespective of brand. i used to use liners (still do with my smartwools) until i found a sock that fitted me. don't need liners with them. fit really is paramount and then finding a brand that both fits and you're happy with. ui use x-socks simply because they fit well. they may have other virtues but i'm not bothered by them.
you may have to go to the size down from normal - remember socks are foot sizes and not footwear sizes - to get the upper limit size as close as possible to your foot size.
wash your "smelly" socks in polygiene - if you can track it down - to provide a long lasting anti-pong treatment.
Parky's right - you have left it a bit late to experiment.
It took me a a while to find the best socks. I tried 1000-milers, Bridgedale, Thorlo, Brasher and a couple of others before settling on Smartwool with (sometimes) Bridgedale Coolmax liners. Smartwools are an excellent fit for me, don't pong even after a few days' wear and are very comfortable.
If time is limited, you can't really go wrong with Smartwool, provided they fit your feet.
> Bridgedale wear better. Endurance range are good IME.
Ditto. My SmartWool socks wore out at the Achilles very quickly, whereas I've had my Bridgedales for years. I think the fine fibres of merino wool are simply too fragile for use in a single-fibre sock; in a fibre blend, possibly okay.
Has to be Bridgedales (Heavyweight) socks for me.
I've a few pairs of socks the blend of which are partially merino wool, they wick sweat away but feel wet to the touch when removed, although my feet were dry to the touch.
Having said that the bridgedales do the same without feeling wet to the touch, plus they didn't smell after being worn for 2 days on the trot, where the merino wool blend started to smell about half way through the second day.
BTW I normally wear boots on a daily basis and wear Bridgedales Heavyweight (Trekking and Hiking) as a daily sock and since starting to do this I've found I have fewer problems with my knees.
Also check the weather where you are going in Norway as it can get quite warm in Summer, upto mid-20s is common in Summer according to friends who live there.
Quite warm? We had 32C in late May/early June - unbelievable! The snow was flying off the hills, rivers blasting away. But that was further south, Tafjord. Interestingly, the water was still perfectly clean.
But back to the thread - my second trip to the Atlas was in the same boots and socks as the first, a winning combination kept for 'best'. But we were in a different part, and conditions were hotter. This, I reckoned, was the cause of massive blisters on both feet, up to 8 cm long - and bloody painful! I think it should have used thinner socks for that part, in hindsight.
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