Ski boots may well be the worst part in going skiing. Between the heaviness, awkward walks across pavement, near-death experiences on glare ice, long break in times, and general discomfort of wearing hard plastic in cold weather, they’re a necessary nuisance for going skiing. Not to mention that they look really, really sexy.
That anyone would willingly put up with all this is an ongoing testament to how much fun we have going skiing. Thankfully, we have socks to keep the horrors of ski boots at least a little removed from our skin. I’ve done a lot of sock wearing over the past few years, and I can recommend it thoroughly. Here’s a few hard-won tips to make your socking experience less likely to wear thin.
Pick a weight of sock that matches your body’s heat output, as well as the level of performance that you want from your fit. Thicker options will insulate more, so if you run cold or plan to spend a lot of time standing around or in colder climates, these are your ticket. I tend to use these for more extended trips and snow camping. Thinner socks offer a tighter fit that better transmits power from your body, through your feet, to your skis. Look to these for most lift-accessed skiing.
You’ll want a size that fits your foot properly: since socks stretch to cover a range of foot sizes, they don’t always fit with the precision you might find in a climbing shoe or ski boot. This can be worse if you’re on the fence between two sizes of sock. I found that, even though my size US 9 feet typically put me in the Large size Point6, I had extra material that made things a bit less fun on long touring days. So I tried sizing down to Medium, and immediately felt an important performance difference: there was no wrinkling, my boots toured better, and cherubs trumpeted every time I dropped in. Ok, maybe no cherubs. You get the picture. The point is to try on socks like you would a shoe and see what actually fits your foot. Also: different sock brands fit differently, so when you make a switch in brand, make sure to check out how the new option feels on your feet.
For the love of all that is hole-y, replace your socks when they get worn down. I have friends who will spend $1000 on new gear ski and still use their blown-out, foot-wrecked, viciously-windowed socks that don’t match from two years ago. This is silly. It’s stupid. We’re talking about foot warmth and comfort here. At $25 a pair. Replace two to three pairs per year and you’ll be fine. With your old socks, you can make puppets with your nieces, clean the dust off your dashboard, insulate your beverage at a concert, pad the feet of your kitchen furniture, wear them over your shoes—your imagination is the limit. Hell, have an old sock party and reward the owner of the worst pair with a tequila shot and a new set. Just be clean in the break: I threw out five pairs of wrecked socks earlier this winter, and it was cathartic moment par excellence. And remember, Point6 offers a lifetime guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied with your socks, send them back and they’ll get you another pair!
Take care of the socks you have. I tend to find that the dryer wrecks my socks more than I do, so keep an eye on that and try to air dry every other wash cycle to prolong the cushioning and comfort. If you get your socks super dirty like I do, wash them inside out so that the interior cushioning gets completely free of debris. You don’t want that stuff to stay there for when you pull out a fresh pair two days in and realize that you’ve brought another trip’s micro-pebbles along for the ride. If you’ve got wet socks, rig them tight on the outside of your pack and they’ll dry out while you walk (unless it’s raining; then they might get wetter).
Take an extra pair. I immediately come up with five instances where an extra pair of dry socks would have made both day and overnight trips infinitely better. They weigh almost nothing. They don’t take up much space. And for both of those, they can turn my spirits around almost as much as an unknown Snickers hiding in the bottom of my pack.
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