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Leon's View

The best hiking/bicycling socks? We review the Showers Pass Torch Socks

The best hiking/bicycling socks? We review the Showers Pass Torch Socks

The importance of  taking care of your feet outdoors should be a no-brainer. These socks can help, and they also add a safety aspect. 

by Leon Pantenburg

I was not paid to write this review, and at the time of publication, Showers Pass has no advertising realationship with SurvivalCommonSense.com.

Bend, Oregon, my hometown, is a bicycling mecca.  Cycling is a way of life, according to the Bend, Oregon website. From world-class mountain biking trails and endless road biking routes, to the famous Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway and Urban Trail System, Bend is a bicyclist’s paradise.

torch socks 3

Showers Pass Torch socks feature a merino wool blend, re-enforced toes and heels and reflector sides and backs.

I like bikes, so I was interested in Showers Pass™ Torch socks. Showers Pass clothing is technically engineered cycling gear for racers, commuters and everyday cycling enthusiasts, according to the package. The clothing is designed in Portland, Oregon, for cyclists, by cyclists, the package claims, and is made in Taiwan.

Because I wear hiking boots a lot, it is natural to be very particular about the socks worn with them.

I don’t wear cotton socks when outdoors. Cotton gets wet from sweat and stay that way. Cotton socks will wick heat away from your feet in the winter, and retain moisture in the hot summer months. The result is a soggy sock, which keeps your foot wet and which will soften your feet. Next step (oh, the puns have already emerged) will be blisters and sore feet.

I wear merino wool socks year round. In the summer, the wool is not much hotter than other choices. It features a soft texture, while still being tough and durable.

But the material is not the only thing to look for in outdoor socks. I like a reinforced toe and heel, because those are the areas most likely to wear out first. The sock needs solid elastic around the arch and ankle, to prevent sliding.

Here are the specs on the socks, according to Showers Pass:

o   Highly reflective 3M 4-way stretch logo just above Achilles tendon for nighttime visibility

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The reflector logo is easily visible at night, even when dusty or muddy.

o   Anatomical design

o   Compression pattern at arch and Achilles tendon

o   Zone padded areas around the toe, heel, and ball of the foot for durability and comfort

o   Top bands add comfort and keep socks in place

o   Flexible tongue zone minimizes fabric at the top of the foot, for superior flexibility

o   Extra-flat toe seam eliminates pressure points and hot spots

o   Nylon components dry quickly, breathe well, and increase durability and longevity

o   Soft merino wool breathes well, helps regulate body temperature, and is naturally odor-resistant

o   Heat and moisture management keeps your feet cool, dry, and comfortable

o   Close-fitting padding provides stability and shock absorption for stop-and-go movements and protects against blisters

The Torch socks had everything I look for in a hiking/biking sock, so I pulled on a pair, laced up my trail runners and hiked the appropriately-named Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon. The day was hot, the air was thin, the trail was steep and dusty and the scenery was unbelievable. At the end of the several-mile hike, here’s what I discovered about the Torch socks.

Good stuff:

  • The elastic in the socks was just where it needed to be. I didn’t have to stop once to pull up the socks or adjust them for comfort despite steep climbs and descents.
  • No sore feet or blisters because the socks rubbed the wrong way.
  • Comfortable, even after getting sweaty and dusty.
  • Hi-Viz 3M™ Reflective logo is really bright.

So do you need a pair? Well, cost of a pair of reflective torch socks, crew height is $17.95 and they come in four colors. Anymore, that’s a reasonable cost for a pair of high end sport socks.

My favorite part –  and for me, the selling point – is the reflective logo. IMHO, you can’t have enough reflectorized stuff on your bike when riding at night. The continual up-down movement of your feet, combined with the reflectors, makes a constantly-moving light for motorists to see.

I like the Torch socks. I’ll be using these a lot.

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1 Comment

  1. Minnesota Concealed Carry

    06/25/2015 at 12:32

    Cyclists should look for socks in synthetic fabrics and non-slip cuffs to help their socks stay put. A sliding or bunching sock can cause serious foot blisters.

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Leon's View

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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