Maybe you already knew that Merino sheep are reputed to produce the softest and finest wool of any breed. Maybe you already knew that the breed originated in Spain. But did you know that before the 18th century, the export of Merino sheep from Spain was a crime punishable by death? Valuable stuff, those sheep.
Today, Merino wool is highly prized for articles of outdoor clothing. Now that it’s no longer illegal to export the sheep, market competition helps those of us who like to wear clothing made of Merino wool.
Speaking of which, I want to tell you about my choice in Merino wool socks. They are made by Point6 (www.point6.com). The company makes socks for several applications: Outdoor, Active, Lifestyle, Cycling, Running, Skiing, and Snowboarding.
I have socks from two of those categories: Lifestyle and Outdoor — Lifestyle Light Crew ($16.95), ideal for everyday wear; and from the Outdoor category I have Hiking Tech Medium Crew ($18.95); and Trekking Tech Heavy Crew ($18.95). The Outdoor socks feature 2-layer construction for increased cushion for serious backcountry footwork.
My Lifestyle socks work well with dress shoes, making life comfortable at the office, school, church…wherever. The Hiking Tech Medium Crew are ideal for wandering mountain trails while wearing lightweight trail shoes. And the Trekking Tech Heavy Crew socks protect my feet when I'm wearing my serious hiking boots.
I love these socks. They are exceptionally comfortable. Points6 takes the inherent advantage of Merino wool’s natural fine fiber crimp and soft texture, and works it into an even greater advantage through their special yarn-spinning process that results in fine, compact, soft and durable yarn. The yarn is then knit together using fine-gauge needles that produce a dense count of stitches-per-inch to create increased durability and softness. The socks come in both men’s and women’s sizes ranging from small through medium, large and XL; covering sizes from US women’s size 4 to US men’s size 14.5. They can be machine washed and dried (on warm) without damage to the wool.
One of the natural characteristics of Merino wool is that it does not irritate the skin, causing an itchy sensation as other types of wool does. Merino fibers feature a complex moisture management system that wicks moisture away from the skin to keep feet comfortable, dry and blister-free.
Point6 named their company to reflect part of the human body temperature (98.6) for a reason that I came to understand as I tested these socks. In spite of the cold, rainy weather, my feet remained comfy. And oddly enough, even on warm days, these socks keep my feet at a comfortable temperature.
I am not exaggerating when I say that these are by far the most comfortable and durable outdoor socks I have ever put on my feet. They are more expensive than cheap cotton socks, but trust me, there is absolutely no comparison. And because my feet are my fundamental mode of transportation (especially in a survival situation), they deserve to be well cared for.