Why did I dedicate a whole post on socks?
Because I think they are often overlooked. Socks are important if you want to become the best snowboarder on the mountain. It opens doors to a whole part of yourself you haven’t discovered yet. You know, this part that dreams about green tea ice cream and secretly hopes that Asians one day might feel comfortable having tanned skin.
When you see Hailey Langland land a double cork ten in the big air’s finals, this is only possible because of the socks she was wearing.
And this, my dear readers, is the key to becoming a successful snowboarder. You start from the bottom up, with amazing underwear, quality thermals and socks fit for a queen.
Your feet will love you and you will love your feet. A happy foot, is a foot you’re generally not aware of. This means you don’t want them to get cold or hurt. When your feet emerge from your boot at the end of the day, you should be happy to see them.
Merino wool comes from Merino sheep. These fuzzy animals produce the softest wool on this planet but more important than that, it keeps you warm. On the other hand, on a warm, late season day, a merino wool sock will wick away your sweat so you don’t feel clammy.
This is also why merino wool clothing doesn’t smell. If you are a stinky person, like most of us, synthetic socks will enhance your smelliness. Maybe you don’t care about spreading your aromas but it’s not very nice for the people around you. Merino wool, actually any type of wool will help you with your smelly problem. It’s the same with any natural material like leather and silk.
Personally, all of my thermals and socks are merino wool. And even when I am not in mountain gear, I wear merino clothing.
Shrek the Sheep
Shrek the sheep was an ordinary New Zealand merino wool sheep, just like his 39 million brothers and sisters. He liked eating grass, sun bathing and chasing the ladies. It was a happy life for him. One day though he found out that his furry coat was about to be taken away from him. He didn’t like this idea because he was a bit shy to show himself naked. Shrek ran away and hid in a cave.
For six years.
New Zealand’s most famous sheep was found in 2004. When he was shorn, his fleece weighed 27 kg. That’s the equivalent of forty pairs of socks. He then went on meet the prime minister.
Years later he was dropped by helicopter on an iceberg, floating around Dunedin, so he could be shorn again.
The right Sock for the right Conditions
Socks come in every size and shape, most outdoor shops sell them in ski/ride version. I personally wear my riding socks all the time during winter and I even go jogging in them. The best thing is that they have extra cushioning where pressure on your foot is the highest.
If you go out to buy socks, I suggest you buy the ones that have these cushions. They make your day so much prettier.
A good quality sock will also last you several seasons and won’t suffer from heavy duty washing.
Here are some of the brands I have traveling with me in my snowboard bag.
Darn Tough, Vermont
I honestly haven’t found any sock more comfortable than these merino wool socks, made by Darn Tough, a company in Vermont, USA. My snowboard bag contains two pairs: the Peace Love Snow and Yeti. Both socks are from their ski/ride collection.
With cushions and flash designs, say goodbye to losing your ride buddies while you’re sitting at the top of the slope, trying to flatten out your sock inside your boot.
I have owned and used these socks for two years since I bought them in Japan. They haven’t stretched either so after four seasons my feet are still snug and warm.
Another merino wool sock company from the USA. They have amazing tech socks that smother your feet in extreme comfort. Their designs are a bit boring to my taste though. Nevertheless they make really amazing stuff and I am the proud owner of a pair of pink Wild Child snowboard socks.
They have lasted me three seasons and are still in mint condition. I also use them when I go jogging in winter as they are very comfy.
New Zealand’s number one brand for buying merino wool clothing. I have several of their thermals in my wardrobe. Icebreaker makes a big variety of outdoor clothing with a snow sport collection. Their socks fit perfect if you like to soften your outfit with plain colors like grey and black.
They also make amazing dresses that will keep you cool during summer. Their hoodies are so soft, you’ll feel like you’re permanently getting hugged by panda bears.
For this season Smartwool made socks in collaboration with Vans and Jeremy Jones’ Protect our Winters, an organization raising awareness on global warming. This means that if you buy the PhD Protect Our Winters snowboard sock, you’ll be saving polar bears.
Besides socks, they also make sweaters and jackets that bore me to death by a lack of color. Perfect if you feel like you want to blend in with the crowd and stay unseen. You also probably drive a Mitsubishi Lancer and buy underwear in a supermarket.
Hey, no judging here. I was you four years ago.
Kathmandu makes outdoor gear. This means if you plan a camping trip, you can buy anything you need from them. Their stores stock anything from inflatable mattresses to shampoo paper.
Their Merino Snow Sock is comfy and snug, just like a and combine it with their thermals you’re all set for slaying the dragons.