Sunday, May 09, 2010

Knowing of what they speak

On Socks.
"There is one item of G.I. gear that can be the difference between a live grunt and a dead grunt.


Cushion sole, O.D. green. Try to keep your feet dry when we're out there humpin'. I want you boys to remember to change your socks whenever we stop. The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs." - Lt. Dan Taylor, from Forrest Gump

Was doing the rounds today and found this at Sipsey Street.

Note also, a link to the source piece, at War on Guns.

Being a former competitive runner, I know a few things about taking care of my feet. Slogging 60 or 70 miles a week at six minutes or better per mile will make you do that, you simply have no choice.

I'd been wearing some course wool socks with a separate liner for at least 3 or 4 years whilst at college, since they were the only system I'd found that truly helped stave off the cold while walking Mount Oread, and the fucking wind up there is just horrendous. The current pick had its problems, as they shrunk at a crossed-eye glance, were itchy as a pox with no liners, and those liners were yet another pair that must be procured and washed, sorted and kept track of.

I was never truly pleased with them.

Then I ran across some socks I'd never seen before. I picked them off the display center and gave them a look. Merino wool. "Does not itch," or something similar was printed on the package. I thought, "Who are they kidding?" then I noticed how soft they were. Hmmm. Looked at the price and they seemed expensive too, at something like fifteen bucks, but I had cash on me from the generosity of grandparents, post holidays, and the quality seemed more than good. So I bought a pair.

Then took them home I put them on.

May have just as well been hitting the crack pipe; I was hooked.

I would eventually find that they made many different kinds for different applications, and I tried those too. I've never thought any of them as too expensive after that first pair, which I think lasted for at least five years of weekly wearing and washing.

Seriously, I know I have at least thirty pair of SmartWool™ brand socks in my dresser, of all types, from mountaineering to lifestyle to running. That good.

A couple of years ago, I found another brand that looked promising, of similar construction, touting high wear and warmth (and a rather overt admission of how fucking GREEN they are, too, if that makes a shit difference for you) right on the package, and gave them a shot, despite my reservations about the tree-hugging, sanctimonious horseshit advertisements.

They are, without question, extraordinary.

When I wear out a few more pair of my light hiker-type socks, the Icebreaker™ brand will be given some consideration on replacements.

Oh, and pay attention to what David Codrea says in his praxis piece at WoG, and, "cram a couple pair of socks in with your gear," even if it's just part of your every day carry bag in your car. Extra, quality, dry socks will keep your feet going, so that you can keep going, in the event that you have to get somewhere on foot, in extremis.

You won't be sorry you did.

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