Just arrived, Brasher's new UK-made Hillmaster and Fellmaster socks.
As we reported very recently, Brasher has a whole new range of walking socks out this autumn and they're designed, tested and manufactured in the UK. And we have first meeja dibs on the new Hillmaster and Fellmaster models.
Of course the days when the made in the UK meant hand-knitted by grannies in Bridlington are long gone. Modern walking socks, like everything else in modern life it seems, are complicated, highly developed things and the new Brasher socks are no exception with all the zoning, cushioning, merinoing and venting you'd expect.
So what are they like? Well, state of the art would be a quick first take. The Hillmaster Sock is a three-season sort of walking sock ideal to be paired with Brasher's own Hillmaster leather walking boot. It uses a mix of 59% Merino Wool Ultra, 12% Coolmax, 21% Polyamide, plus 7% Elastane and 1% Lycra for stretch and fit.
The design's asymmetric, so you get a left and a right sock - they have 'L' and 'R' on them for easy foot matching plus there are high-density padding zones at the heel and ball of the foot, a ventilation panel on the top of the forefoot, a 'siupport fit' leg to stop rotation and Nora Batty-style slip above ankle level and the mix of fabrics is claimed to give both warmth and comfort from the merino and wicking from the Coolmax content.
We like the way they feel luxuriously densely padded underfoot, but slim on top for reduced overall bulk. The support fit leg feels good without being tight and, well, supportive and the flat toe seam is flat.
The other model we have to hand is the Fellmaster Sock, again named to correspond with one of Brasher's boots, it's also a 'three-season' sock, but uses 83% Coolmax in the men's version for faster wicking. Again there's high density padding where needed and flat toe seams, but it's a little less zoned than the Hillmaster and lacks the thin ventilation area on top of the foot, which you'll either like or not.
Interestingly, the women's version of the Fellmaster also has Merino content to improve warmth and, as with the women's Hillmaster, a gender-specific fit.
Both socks seem promising. If you're someone who tends towards sweaty feet, we suspect the Fellmaster's Coolmax construction may work better, but as a light but very cushioned all-rounder, the Hillmaster looks a good bet too.
Prices are £15 per pair for the Hillmaster in both men's and women's versions and £13.50 per pair for the Fellmaster. Expensive, but then there's nothing quite as guaranteed to ruin your day as blistered feet. Out shortly.
More Brasher information at www.brasher.com.