Image Courtesy of kokoda.commemoration.gov.au
Are you thinking about walking the Kokoda Track, but not quite sure what socks to wear? Here are some tips to help you choose the right pair of socks.
Think about the type of walking you will be doing on the Kokoda Track. It is a tough track, which makes its way through mountainous jungle terrain in hot and humid conditions. This means you should be looking for a hiking sock, which will provide you with:
Choosing the right socks will not only result in you being more comfortable, but importantly will minimize any nasty blisters.
Although I love socks containing wool, for the Kokoda Track I believe choosing a hiking sock made with a mix of modern technical fibres is preferred. My view might be somewhat simplistic, but ask yourself this:
"When was the last time you saw a sheep in Papua New Guinea".
I think you will find the answer is "not too often" and this is for good reason. PNG is a hot and humid country and although sheep (wool) cope well in hot conditions, it is the humidity that poses problems when wearing wool socks. Look for socks containing the following fibres:
Avoid all cotton socks!
Although cotton is a popular and cheap material, it isn't great at managing moisture. Think about a time when you've worn a cotton t-shirt and perspired. Chances are you've found that t-shirt stays wet. Given your feet sweat more than most other parts of your body, this means if you wear an all cotton sock your feet will stay wet. Your skin will then soften (like when you've been swimming for too long) and so your skin will be more prone to blisters.
Excessive Moisture = Softened Skin
Softened Skin + Friction = High Probability of Blisters
Blisters though can be significantly reduced by choosing a sock containing a good moisture management system e.g. a sock containing Thor-lon, Coolmax or even a mix of technical fibers.
Buy a specific hiking/walking sock. Socks these days are made for specific activities and have come a long way, both in design, use of materials and how they are manufactured. Think of it like this, hiking socks are made for hiking, tennis socks are made for tennis and so on. The differences between socks may appear, at times subtle, but the differences are in fact very real. Hiking socks generally have much more cushioning underfoot to provide that additional comfort and protection needed when out on the trail. Furthermore, hiking socks contain superior moisture management systems, are calf height to provide additional protection and will avoid pinching and bunching. Finally, hiking socks are usually seam free or have seams designed to avoid digging into your foot when walking.
Thick or thin socks?
This is really is a personal choice, but you have to keep in mind the disadvantages associated with wearing thin socks on a tough and challenging walk like the Kokoda Track. Thin socks may feel really nice on, but remember they won't provide any cushioning and after 4-10 days on your feet walking over hilly and uneven terrain your feet will be sore!!! If you simply don't have the room in your boot to accomodate a thick sock, a nice comprismise is to select a moderate or medium cushioned sock.
If you still need help choosing a sock for the Kokoda Track we are here to provide you with that advice. Feel free to reach out to us via our Contact Us, Facebook, Twitter or our Live Chat and we'll put you on the right path.