has been making socks in Britain since 1882, and produces a range of quality, performance socks for hiking. There are ten different pairs of hiking socks in the ProTrek range – we took a look at three of them.
Challenger ProTrek walking socks are made from Merino wool, a natural and durable fibre that keeps feet warm and dry. They are exceptionally soft and comfortable. The cushioned feet protect against impact, while comfort toe seams and a high heel help prevent blisters.
I particularly liked the stretchy, supportive band at the mid-sole. This made my feet feel protected in this vulnerable area, as it offers extra support to arches – it also stops the sock from sliding around inside your boots. The socks have a stretchy – but not restrictive – comfort top which keeps the socks in place without slipping down. They are also very breathable: merino wool is well-known for its natural breathability and anti-bacterial properties.
These socks have TriSeal Technology – a unique, water repellant treatment that helps to manage moisture from inside and out, keeping your feet dry. Overall they felt very well designed and made – and I expect they will last to see a lot of action on the hills!
Extreme ProTrek includes all the features of the Challenger, but with extra ankle bracing to ensure the socks stay in place. Extreme also has a unique, flexible panel across the front of the foot and ankle – this allows greater freedom of movement, while avoiding any uncomfortable bunching of fabric. The ProTrek Extreme has a heat retention rating of 9.5. This was the warmest sock we tested, and would recommend it for day-long hikes in cold, wet winter weather.
Like the Challenger, the Extreme is a long sock that reaches almost to the knee. Not only does this keep the whole calf warm and cosy, but we also found there was no discomfort with bunching around the ankle – a problem with some shorter length socks.
The Explorer Softop ProTrek is another great-looking, warm, comfortable and durable sock from the ProTrek range. This design features HJ Hall's innovative Softop cuff – a non-elastic top that keeps the socks up but doesn't irritate or leave pressure marks. Also made from merino wool, and featuring the same comfort toe seams offered by Challenger and Extreme, Explorer socks also have a fully cushioned and ventilated foot for maximum comfort and moisture management.
Because the Softop keeps socks up without restricting blood flow, they're recommended for anyone with circulation problems – including diabetics – or people who suffer from swollen feet or ankles.