Socks Advice For The Kokoda Trail
Socks advice for the kokoda trail explained
Socks and your backpack will be the next most important investments. Socks you will find over the next several days your feet will be exposed to rain water, creek water, mud and sweat. You will hear me say this a lot but your feet are liken to tyres to a car, tyres need to operate in both wet and dry conditions and at varying temperatures, as do your feet.
Lesson one: if your feet fail you on the Trail then your trek is over. It is concerning to read that some Operators say you can buy socks at Target for $8. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Target but $8 for socks to trek in? You are moving in jungle terrain for extended periods carrying a pack therefore you require highly durable and performance socks. Why spend thousands of dollars on a trek and scrimp on a pair of socks which can lead to disaster on the Trail if your feet breakdown. Similarly you buy a new car you don’t put a set of retreads on.
Lesson two: what type of socks I hear you ask. There are so many brands and varieties to chose out there that I really go by price as an indicator (of course I appreciate everyone has to work to their budget, buying bulk is good way to save dollars), with socks what you get though is what you pay for and that’s a no brainer. At the lower end of the scale a good pair of the old Explorers are an entry level sock for hiking then you get into your mid to top range about $30 mark for a pair of Source socks (these are used by the military and contain copper or cupron fibers, copper prevents fungal and bacteria issues). + $30 into the $50 (real technical) range you will find the high end of socks and these will come in actual left foot and right foot fits for a snugger fit and have elasticine strategically placed to better mold the sock to your feet. There are specialist or hybrid type socks out their like the five toe type variety, leech and even waterproof, however I have yet to test this type so at present this article talks about socks as we know them today. Best places to purchase socks are of course any commercial camping type store will sell different and various brands, from Mountain Designs to Paddy Pallin, Adventure 195 sell Mund (Andes model) socks and I have found these to be reliable and hard wearing. Disposals stores are great too; they will sell the general-purpose military socks. On line stores especially those in the USA like Extreme Outfitters, US Cavalry etc. will sell brand names like Wigwam and Bridgedale, light and thick socks of high quality synthetic fibers with a merino blend, order these in bulk and you will find the price half the cost to buying from a retail outlet. Saying that Costco now sell a trail blend sock as a 6 pack for under $30. But remember what you pay is what you get so when making your purchase look at the qualities around:
- The design of the sock and weight (mid, heavy or light) and components some will contain coolmax or similar names for wicking and breathability.
- The top and sides, will it stay up it should have some form elasticine to hold it at ankle height and prevent it from falling down. Does it have moisture wicking capabilities?
- The Instep and how much cushioning
- The Sole and panels will it wear out quickly are the seams flat to prevent blisters so no pressure points can be created on your foot.
Lesson three: blend; go for a synthetic mixture, wool is fantastic because it does keep your feet warm in the cold and cool in the heat; however, once they are wet in the jungle they stay wet. Smart wool socks these days have brought this material back into the high tech era and now one of my preferred socks to wear. Blisters; we all know they occur from friction but they also happened from weight load and hot ground which heats the base of your boot up. Another factor is boot heel lift, which is common in the higher style military type boot; the more lift the more rubbing on the sides above the ball of your heel.
Sock liners are great if you are prone to blisters some trekkers have tried these with surprisingly good reports (most of these are made from products like nylon and at the more expensive end silk also termed the two-sock system which wicks away moisture with the liner acting as a second skin). Although some hikers have found the sock liner to cause rubbing or additional heat which can lead to trench foot or overheating issues, so trail out your make up well before your trip to find what works for you.
Some final pointers use Anti fungal foot powder this prevents foot infections don a clean dry pair of socks at night with powder in them to treat your feet. Before going on a trek make sure you test trial your socks out (like you drive your car in the wet so you need to do the same with your feet), soak your socks in water and wear them wet on an hour hill walk, see how they fair in the wet testing for crinkling or scrunching up inside the boot. I am amazed each time I see trekkers unwrap new socks that they have never tried in the wet until they come to Kokoda.