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Sock stories: Thinking underthings to keep us cozy

On Tuesday, I picked up two boxes filled with treasures beyond imagining from Portland Green Parenting's Rebecca Andersson: over a dozen pairs of Smartwool socks. It's been since Christmas last year that we've done any significant sock purchases for the kids, and we were majorly overdue; each morning, I'd frantically paw through the laundry basket full of clean socks searching for a not-too-holey match for each of my boys. (Why I haven't gotten to the all-important sock organization project is a story for another day.)

I brought the socks home and passed them out like oranges in the Ingalls' sisters stockings. Everett ran around, giddy, in his Outdoor Light Minis. "They're so cozy!" he shouted. Good thing, as I had six pairs. Truman said they were so wonderful "he couldn't feel the floor" and Monroe, in his Wintersport Stripes, joined the other two for a good game of slide-in-the-kitchen. It's a good thing we had them, as the rainstorm yesterday had us soaked through; one thing that wasn't freezing, however, was our collective toes.

As I thrilled over how cozy we all were, a debate ensued on Facebook: are Smartwool socks worth the price? Even with the 30% group buy discount, I spent over $200 for socks (though over half of that was my own socks; adult versions are at least twice the price of the kid sizes). Are they the best option for keeping little children's toes cozy? Another great (and locally-designed) option is Keen Sox; Truman got some for Christmas last year and they're possibly even more cozy than the Smartwool equivalents (although there are a lot fewer styles).

The biggest complaint among the commenting parents was the unfortunate holes that eventually develop; some reported holes in two years; Monroe has managed to get holey in a short nine months, though he's about the tippy-top of the hardwearing spectrum. We decided, in the end, that the price, comfort, warmth and prettiness of both Smartwool and Keen was worth the much-higher-than-Hanes price (ranging from $7 to $10 per pair for most kid versions).

Do you and your kids wear Smartwool, Keen, or another brand you love? Do you think it's worth the money?


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I love smartwool and buy them for myself, but I have to admit that due to how hard the kids are on socks I don't buy the kid versions. My adult socks wear out within the year and I can barely afford to buy them for myself let alone keeping two kids in them. But I wish I could as absolutely nothing beats wool socks. Haven't tried Keen socks but love smartwool, goodhew, etc.

I should add that I usually only buy what I can find on places like sierra trading post or on sale as the $20 per adult pair just is too high for me....

Sadly smartwool everything just gets too holey too fast. Longjohns, socks, shirts... I have worn them, loved them and cursed them as they shred after a single season. I stick with REI merino wool socks. They are tougher, cheaper and I don't really care if they are not as pretty they last and last!

I have worn smartwool socks since 1999. I have always loved my smartwools until recently. In my experience my old ones were much much better and lasted for years. It seems that my new ones get holey within months of light wear. Last year, I decided enough is enough and can no longer justify $21.95 for a pair of socks that don't even last through the winter. Smartwool socks definitely are not made like they once were. I have switched to REI wool socks which last longer and are much cheaper.

I agree with Rhonda - strangely, I still have the same pair I bought about four years ago but the ones I bought just a year or two ago have worn out in spots or developed holes. I'm thinking a decline in quality, bummer cause they're so cute! I just bought a couple pairs at Icebreaker, so far so good (early yet though). Also not cheap.

My husband swears by Darn Tough wool socks. Just as comfortable (more so?) and they come with a lifetime guarantee.

I love Smartwool socks and it is the one thing I tell my family to buy me for birthday and Christmas, but, I have been experiencing holey toes after not much use. A friend of mine recently told me, if you buy them at REI, you can return/exchange them, which I did and it was no problem. However, I don't feel like doing that every few months. I think I will try another brand that last longer. Just cannot waste money on items that don't last.

A good wool blend sock that lasts and lasts are the Wigwam brand, I got mine at Fred Myer, 2 for 1 on sale sometimes. You can also get them at next adventure. They are super warm, come in cute stripes and patterns. I used to have a pari of skiing socks from the same brand and have had them for many years without holes. I have also noticed that the smartwook get holes very fast. :(

Columbia Sportswear's wool socks are my very favorite! Mine have thin spots because they are always the first pair i pull out of the drawer (and are a couple years old) but no holes yet. They are a little better priced, too.

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