The Smartwool Experiment

Charting the wear and tear on four pairs of Smartwool socks.

Episode 10: Another Mystery Package

with 5 comments

[ ?posts_id=1783665&dest=-1]

This afternoon another mystery package arrived, this one from Bridgedale. If you recall, Brad touted the glories of his Bridgedale socks in Episode 7: Go Hike.

I am completely floored at how comfortable these socks are. Allison, who is pickier than even I when it comes to socks, is downright converted. Really, they’re fantastic. They feel light and breathable, but still totally like you’re walking on a cloud. My shoes feel more comfortable when I’m wearing these socks. Time will tell how they wear and tear, but they’re going to be the clear favorite in my sock drawer.

The socks featured in this episode are, in the order they were tried on: Women’s X-Hale Trail Diva, Women’s Bamboo Crew, Endurance Trail Light (my favorite), and the Women’s X-Hale Multisport. These socks sell for $14-$17. Bridgedale guarantees most of their socks for three years, with the exception of the Bamboo ones, which are only guaranteed for one year. Washing and drying instructions are the same as Smartwools (inside out, machine wash, tumble dry low, no dry cleaning, no bleach, no fabric softener).

Thank you for the socks Bridgedale, we’re total converts.


Written by Beck Tench

February 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Posted in The Show

Playing Catch Up

with one comment

Playing Catch Up  (CC photo by Automania)

CC photo by Automania on Flickr

It can be tricky keeping up with things that are commented on slowly and over time.  Not to mention, many of the conversations I have about this experiment happen face-to-face.  So, with that I’d thought I’d update/point you to some bits of interestingness.

On Washing Socks

Ken, who runs a dyehouse and washroom at a sock manufacturing plant had this to say about washing socks.

if you stuff your washing machine full , or use only enough water to cover the socks , then they will beat against the machine and all the other clothes causing more wear on them .. handwashing , if done roughly can be even worse , more so if you wring them out by hand .. to wash i would suggest a low temperature (low warm , or even cold) and lots of water to give the socks room to move and not beat against other material. that will help prevent some of the pilling effect . as for drying , less heat is much better. For the same reasons as washing, using a machine to dry is worse .. my suggestion would be cool or cold wash in a machine that has a light load, use a lot of water and air dry .

On Getting Socks for Free

Brad, featured in Episode 7: Go Hike has received a pair of free socks from Bridgedale.  He loves ’em.  Word on the email wire is I may have a pair in the mail, too.  I’ll report back.

On Good Smartwool Experiences

Three commenters have posted their positive experiences with Smartwool socks.  Click their names to read the whole comment:

Dave Matusiak: What are you doing to these poor socks? Do you walk around on sandpaper while not wearing shoes? I have Smartwools that have lasted for 4-5 years or more.

Marilyn: I have never had a problem with any of my SmartWool socks. I have worn them for years and not even one sock has ever worn out. I still own other socks, but only wear them reluctantly.

Tia: I have two pairs of Smartwools and I wear them everyday for a week without washing. I love them and there are no signs of wear yet! Heck, sometimes I even sleep with them on!

On Predicting the Result of this Experiment

For those that made a declaration, three think the socks will last the year, seven think they’ll wear before the year’s up.

Written by Beck Tench

February 10, 2009 at 9:51 am

Episode 9: The Winner Is…

with 3 comments

[ ?posts_id=1757847&dest=-1]

I won’t type the winner soin’s I don’t ruin the suspense, ‘an all. Thanks to everyone who participated.  Better luck next time!

p/s. That awesome song is My Mom from Kimya Dawson’s album, Remember That I Love You.

Written by Beck Tench

February 7, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Still kickin’

with 16 comments

CC photo by Hyeenus on Flickr

Creative Commons photo by Hyeenus on Flickr

Folks, just in case you were wondering what happened with this experiment, I had a little technical glitch induced lazy spell over the holidays and a particularly travel-heavy January, whereby I didn’t track my sock wearage over at Swivel.  I didn’t wear my socks as often for one reason in particular, which has to do with a different sort of laziness…

Hand washing and air drying is sort of annoying.

I’m just sayin’.  When the shininess of a cool bloggy science experiment wears off and you’re just washing socks to wear ’em, they get buried (figuratively and literally) at the bottom of the dirty laundry, waiting to be washed just so they can be worn and washed again.

I’ve only worn my brown and black socks once in the last month.  And with adding my Darn Toughs to the sock rotation, Smartwools aren’t being worn as often as normal.

An interesting aside: On colder days, I revert to my worn and tattered classic trekkers because they make me feel warmer and somehow more hardcore.

Win a free pair of socks.

Darn Tough sent me two large and two medium sized socks.  I took the mediums, you get the larges.  This will be the first of two contests.  Simply comment on this post if you would like to be entered into a drawing for a brand new pair of Darn Tough size large In Country socks.  Your comment should contain your prediction of whether or not you think my four pairs of Smartwools will last one year without developing a hole or becoming threadbare.  The winner will be selected on Friday at 5pm EST.

Written by Beck Tench

February 3, 2009 at 11:30 am

Episode 8: Mystery Package

with one comment

[ ?posts_id=1629651&dest=-1]

Today there was a special delivery at the Treehaus: a small, but sort of heavy cardboard box filled with goodies from Darn Tough.

The socks I received are the In-Country Series seen here. Depending on which size fits me, I’ll have a giveaway for the other two pair at some point in the near future.  And if you want a Darn Tough sticker I have plenty, so email me at with your mailing addy and I’ll send one out.

I’ve never worn Darn Tough socks before and am very excited to see how tough they really are and especially if they are as comfortable as Smartwools.  More soon.

Written by Beck Tench

December 29, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Posted in The Show

Tagged with , , , ,

Fan Mail

with 2 comments

Fan Mail

Fan Mail

I discovered this postcard in my mailbox at work this morning.  Awesome.

Written by Beck Tench

December 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

No discount, no Smartwools.

leave a comment »

Screengrab from my FlickrMail

A screengrab from my FlickrMail.

Today’s installment of Readers Write In is from Lindsey (a.k.a. zinco ninco) who wrote to me about her Smartwool experience after I cross-posted my video of The Smartwool Song on Flickr.

When I first got hooked on Smartwool’s, I worked for an outdoor gear store and got an employee discount on them. I loved them enough to recommended them to every customer who walked in our doors. After I discovered how fast they wore out, I was still able to personally justify the price because of my employee discount. But when I stopped working there, I also stopped buying Smartwools. I expect to pay good money for good products, dammit!

I can’t even imagine how many Smartwools I’d have in my drawer if I’d at anytime received more than a 20% off coupon on them.  Thanks for sharing your story with me/us Lindsey (and thanks again for StumblingUpon the site earlier this week)!

Calling all Smartwool Sock Wearers
If you have a Smartwool success or failure story to share (pictures or videos are most welcome, but not necessary), leave a comment below or send me a note at and I’ll follow up with you so that we can feature it on the blog.

Written by Beck Tench

December 10, 2008 at 9:42 am

Posted in Readers Write In

Tagged with , , ,