Why Are SmartWool Socks Great For Winter Running?

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Smartwool Running Socks


Who says winter has to be about cocooning at the gym or at home most of time?    If you love being outdoors and running (like I do), there’s no reason why you can’t take your cardio on the road, sidewalk or trail—even in the winter time.  Winter running can be addictive, and to satisfy this addiction, you need to properly wear the best winter running gear.   You need to wear the warmest gear such as running tights, tops, hats, gloves, and one of the most important - your running socks.

Over the past few decades, sports performance wear has seen new development advances and their product sales has been increasing and accelerating every year.  Each year there are more and more people running, riding, and competing in sports such as running, biking, and triathlons.  One of the most critical components of running is the sock.   The best sock for winter running is made up of Merino Wool.  SmartWool designs and produces one of the best Merino Wool socks around.

Let’s take a look at the history and benefits behind the Merino Wool socks.



The history of SmartWool began about 20 years ago.  SmartWool is an American company founded by New England ski instructors Peter and Patty Duke in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 1994 and was acquired by the Timberland Company in 2005.

SmartWool has been combining the latest in innovative design, technology and construction with the best wool nature has to offer.   The company makes eponymous products primarily from treated merino wool.  They have the engineering expertise and experience combined with their passion for mountain sports that makes their products so unique.


Benefits of SmartWool Socks
1.  Layered Up System


More wool is more comfortable.   Two wool pieces work together as one to manage moisture, improve breathability, regulate temperature and, happily, control odor.


Instead of looking at layers individually, SmartWool took a "system" approach — designing pieces that not only work independently, but together as well - fitting together.    Made for each other.   Smart layers are more efficient, with less bulk. The result?

Layered together, they don't bunch or restrict your movement, so you can focus on the trail ahead and not your clothing.


2.  Fiber Strength and Resilience

A wool fiber is a complex structure that, believe it or not, behaves remarkably similar to our skin; naturally cooling and heating as the body needs.

Merino Wool Running Sock FibersPredominantly made of interlocking protein molecules known as keratin, the same protein present in our own skin and hair, individual wool fibers have the ability to be bent, flexed and stretched in any direction 30,000 times or more without damage.   Now that's one strong fiber!

In addition, wool fibers have a natural curl called the "fiber crimp" which improves the elasticity and over all resilience of the fiber.

Image:   The engineered SmartWool fiber is shown on the right next to a normal sized fiber.


3.  Wicks Away Moisture

Merino wool has hygroscopic characteristics that allow it to absorb and release moisture from the air. The movement of moisture through wool fabrics is controlled by the difference in the moisture content of the air between the skin and the fabric and the moisture content of the fabric itself.

Wool "breathes" by maintaining the equilibrium of moisture between itself and the surrounding environment.   It's fibers constantly absorb or release moisture from one environment to another.

Merino Wool ‘wicks’ away sweat and water away from your skin.   Also since wool does not absorb the water they will dry faster than cotton and be more resistant to bacteria and bad smells.

If your feet sweat alot, then you may think about switching to wool socks.


4.  Water Resistant

The quality that distinguishes wool fibers from hair or fur is the presence of a hard, water-repellent outer layer that surrounds each hollow fiber, overlapping like shingles on a roof.    The fiber's core absorbs up to 30% of its weight in moisture vapor without becoming damp or clammy, while the hard outer layer protects against outside liquid moisture.   Thus water is repelled, but humidity is absorbed, and that helps with the thermal regulation.


5.  Keeps Your Feet Warm

As wool absorbs moisture, a bond is established between the atoms, and as a result, energy is released in the form of heat. This is one reason wool does such a good job keeping you warm while you're exerting yourself in cold weather.   The crimp of the wool produces insulating air spaces that retain body heat.   These warm air pockets next to the skin are kept dry while the hollow wool fibers absorb moisture vapors and the hard outer surface moves liquid moisture away from the body.


6.  Lasts Longer

Having experience in wearing out cotton socks a lot faster than merino wool socks, I switched over in buying merino wool socks for running.   The extra money I spent goes a lot more in a quality product.   The wool material feels better, is more comfortable, and feels much more durable.

Spending a little more money up front actually saved me money over the long term because I won’t be constantly replacing them.   Overall, you spend for what you get in a good quality product.


7.  Provides More Padding

I noticed merino wool socks provide more padding than normal cotton socks.   By having a good layer of padding on the bottom of your feet is important since it helps provide a foot strike shock absorption.

There are several types of Merino Wool socks.  There are thick and thin wool socks which offer the best protection and padding for your runs.


8.  Is Biodegradable

Wool as a natural fiber is a renewable resource and at the end of its life will biodegrade in soil, releasing valuable nutrients.  Wool is a natural and renewable fiber. It is made from keratin.  A tough, insoluble protein with a unique structure that gives it a natural resistance to sunlight, water, acids, rot and mildew under most normal conditions.   




There are many benefits of SmartWool running socks, especially for the use in the winter time.

The benefits of wearing SmartWool running socks are the following:

  • 1)    Layered Up System
  • 2)   Fiber Strength and Resilience
  • 3)   Wicks Away Moisture
  • 4)   Water Resistant
  • 5)   Keeps Your Feet Warm
  • 6)   Lasts Longer
  • 7)   Provides More Padding
  • 8)   Is Biodegradable





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