Staff gear review by Christian Spencer
Socks are awesome. They keep our feet happy and healthy when we are beating them to death on big days. The Smartwool PhD Pro Mountaineer is my favorite sock for almost all suffer fest activities. If I could fit them in my Nepal Cubes, I would wear them mountaineering and ice climbing too. I personally use these for any volcano route when I wear ski boots, big mountain suffer runs, and road runs (which I promise is rare). They are great for ski boots as they are thinly padded and won't reduce circulation from being too thick. These socks are a low profile, well-designed compression sock. They have flex zones that reduce pressure in certain boots making your days more comfortable.
Alright, now that you have digested my long winded intro, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Compression socks can make anyone scratch their heads in confusion so I will try my best to explain it. Compression socks have different ratings of compression, measured in mmHG. For you chemistry nerds out there, you know Hg is the periodic symbol for mercury. So mmHG stands for millimeters of mercury. The socks in question are rated for 20mmHg-30mmHg which is classified as a medical class 1. The great part of these being a medical class 1 compression is that they're a step above the “over the counter” which is typically used for travel. The medical class 1 is typically worn to prevent swelling when playing sports. If you find yourself wanting more compression with the medical class 2 and 3 socks, you have probably consulted your doctor and you know you need more compression. Now, what do compression socks really do? Well in short, they improve blood circulation out of the foot and up the legs. This is what prevents swelling and potential injuries, especially during physical activities.
So are these the right socks for you? Compression socks at first can be uncomfortable and these can be difficult to get your feet into. Personally I struggled putting them on when I first got them. It might sound funny but they did break in and are now not uncomfortable on my high instep (top of my foot). However, the medical class 1 socks are going to give you more blood flow than the "over the counter" class socks- so there's a big advantage with these socks! Finally, if you are looking for a sock with a bit more umph than a ski sock or something for long mountain runs, I would highly recommend them.