Socks, in my opinion, are one of the most underrated pieces of snowshoeing gear. Even though they protect our feet from cold and hypothermia, as well as from blisters and other mishaps on our adventure, many of us take little time to find the right sock for us. But, as someone whose feet are always cold and thus, tend to shrink and slip in my boots during winter, I’ve learned over the years, sometimes the hard way, that not all winter socks are the same.
As sock technology expands though (yes, socks are evolving!), the chance of finding that “right sock” is closer than ever. An innovative sock technology, SynchroKnit, powered by Wigwam, provides an optimal sock fit by tailoring the number of knit stitches. The technology eliminates stitches in areas of the sock where large amounts of fabric are not needed, such as the instep and ankle, which allows the sock to conform to our foot.
But, what does this mean for snowshoers? Well, luckily, I had the opportunity to test the new SynchroKnit technology through the Snow Junkie Lightweight, a long over-the-calf winter sock. Throughout the last snowshoe season, I’ve compiled the advantages and drawbacks of this particular sock to help in your “right sock” choice.
Advantages of the SynchroKnit Snow Junkie
There are quite a few advantages of SynchroKnit technology and using the Snow Junkie Lightweight on snowshoeing adventures. Some benefits include the incredible foot conformity, comfort, and moisture-wicking properties of the fabric.
The Snow Junkie’s conformity to the foot and the calf almost feels as if you are wearing an individually designed compression sock (which Wigwam also makes). The Snow Junkie sock was much tighter than I expected it to be, but not in an uncomfortable way. It felt as I had slipped a warm, protective layer over my entire foot.
As I put the Snow Junkie on, my heel naturally slid into the heel pocket, which nestled my foot completely. On my snowshoe outings, even purposefully giggling by boot, there was no slippage in my heel at all. But, my toes still had room to safely move around, thanks to the Freedom Toe Box design and seamless toe-seam.
Another area that I was pleasantly surprised about was the instep. Usually, my socks bunch up on the top of my foot, especially if I’m layering multiple socks in frigid temperatures. The Snow Junkie does not bunch up at all on the top of the foot, even when flexing. Instead, it contours to your instep because it’s one of the areas of the sock with a reduced stitch count.
In addition to the contoured fit being no-slip for my journeys on the trail, I also enjoy wearing these socks at home. Since the contoured fit resembles a compression sock, it’s helpful for periods of elongated sitting when working at home, since I also suffer from chronic leg pain.
The Snow Junkie is crafted with a blend of merino wool (46%), stretch nylon (36%), polyester (12%), and spandex (6%). This blend makes it soft and comfortable.
I’ve heard before that if you forget you’re wearing your gear, that’s a positive sign that your gear is doing its job correctly. In this case of the Snow Junkie, it is easy to forget I’m wearing them because of their fabric makeup.
Also, the seamless toe seam makes the sock more comfortable than others I have worn since you don’t have your toe seams awkwardly sticking out against your shoe or boot.
Wool and wool blends are the way to go when it comes to what to wear on your extremities. On one of my snowshoeing adventures, despite wearing my gaiters (from this review), I had a misstep, my gaiters slipped and I got snow in my boots. Wet socks typically lead to cold feet, which could lead to disaster.
But, in this case, I was wearing my SynchroKnit Snow Junkie socks. Luckily, my feet did not get cold, thanks to the moisture-wicking properties of the merino wool in the socks. I didn’t even realize how wet my socks were until taking off my boots for the day—case and point of why wool or wool-blend socks are ideal for venturing out in the snow.
To Keep In Mind About the SynchroKnit Snow Junkie
The Snow Junkie sock has many advantages, but something to keep in mind is that it is only available as a lightweight or ultralightweight sock. Thus, it’s not recommended as a stand-alone sock in colder temperatures. The blend of fabrics will keep your foot warm, but up to a certain point.
Especially for those with annoyingly cold feet such as I, you may need to layer your socks or choose a thicker sock for colder temperatures. For me, I was able to wear the Snow Junkie as a solo sock with my Merrell hiking boots to about 45 degrees F. The fact that these socks can keep my feet warm to those temperatures is saying something in and of itself though.
Also, the beauty of the contoured fit and fabric makeup is that the Snow Junkie does pretty well as an initial sock layer if you do need to layer your socks. I know my cold feet seem to appreciate them as an extra layer on frigid days.
The SynchroKnit Snow Junkie is perfect for those snowshoers who struggle with sock slippage. The SynchroKnit technology offers a superior fit compared to traditional socks with equal stitching. Since the sock is a merino wool blend, the Snow Junkie is moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, and temperature regulating. A wool sock or wool blend sock is what you need to protect those extremities.
If your feet run on the colder side, I would recommend the Snow Junkie for temperatures of 45 degrees F or higher. Alternatively, if your feet are naturally warmer, the Snow Junkie is available is an ultra-lightweight version.
For those interested in warmer sports or if looking for a shorter sock, SynchroKnit technology is present in several other socks, including the Trail Junkie for hiking, Axiom for everyday use, and Catalyst and Surpass for running.
Both the lightweight and ultra-lightweight Snow Junkie socks are available at synchroknit.com, starting Oct 1, 2020.
Would you try the SynchroKnit Snow Junkie by Wigwam? What are the aspects you look for when choosing a sock for your snowshoeing adventures? Let us know in the comments below!
My pair of SynchroKnit Snow Junkie Lightweight socks were provided to me by Wigwam. However, as always, the views and opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own.