Balega is a Zulu word that means "move with speed." I'm happy to move with comfort, blister-free and in a spectacular array of colors.
gear blog

Balega socks review

Balega is a Zulu word that means "move with speed." I'm happy to move with comfort, blister-free and in a spectacular array of colors.
Balega is a Zulu word that means “move with speed.” I’m happy to move with comfort, blister-free and in a spectacular array of colors.

Recently, a pal from the PCT named “Toast” asked me how my socks held up I did not lie, I still use a few of my Balagas from the hike, they’re practically indestructible! So, I’m republishing this review and offering a chance for you to win Balega socks as a kind of post Christmas bonus present. Just LIKE and SHARE The Pee Rag on Facebook and you’ll be automatically entered to win!


Sometimes it’s safer to read maps with your feet.

Kelly Link
Blissful gives Balega Socks the highest rating, five Anitas.

September, 2018 – If you want to hike with the ease, agility and the fleet-footedness of a seasoned ultra trail runner, and keep your feet cool and blister-free, Balega socks are for you. Balega means to move with speed and while that is not my ultimate goal as a backpacker, I appreciate that whatever is protecting my foot is indeed the ultimate arbiter of success in any walk.

Balega scores high for me because of a moisture wicking fabric they call “Drynamix” that is soft and breathable and just as advertised keeps my foot dry. I chose the slightly heavier Blister Resist sock that combines mohair with Drynamix. These socks are soft and cozy – and may prove to be a bit much for the beaches and rain forests of New Zealand’s Northland, which is why I am taking pairs of Enduro V-Tecs in my bounce box. They are synthetic and contain a compression band for the mid-foot, supporting just so without feeling too tight.

Both socks are made without seams, which help prevent blistering, but fit like a dream with a snug heel cup and elastic grippers that prevent slippage. And each have strategically placed ventilation panels that aid the wicking process which will be key as I walk in and out of rivers and find my feet caked in mud throughout my five-month sojourn. Sounds fun, eh?

But maybe more than just feeling thrilled that I have found the best sock for my long distance thru-hiking, I also have some real warm fuzzies when I think that the additional pairs of Balega socks I buy will help support Balega’s outreach programs in their home country of South Africa. There was even a little sticker on each pair with a picture of the person who inspected – and washed – my socks before they were sent out. Just like that beautiful Zulu word Ubuntu, meaning “shared humanity,” I feel there is a bit of this wonderful company’s energy walking each step with me on the Te Araroa.

Blissful gives Balega Socks the highest rating, five Anitas.

Specs at a glance

  • seamless
  • “drynamix” mohair and synthetic available
  • V-tech arch support
  • anti-microbial silver-infused

Disclosure

Balega supplied alison young with socks.

Gear

Care Remote boot sock review

Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.

Anne Lamott 
Blissful gives Care Remote boot socks three Anitas (will use as a backup)
Comfortable, therapeutic and colorful, Care Remote boot socks worked well on the Kekekabic, but sprung a leak on day four.

Everything starts at the feet.

If you want to have a pleasant hiking experience, it’s imperative that you wear the right hiking shoes – whether boots or trail runners – ones that fit well, have good support, and are built to handle uneven surfaces. But even the best footwear will let you down if you’re not wearing the right sock.

I have been wearing Balega socks for the past two years, but became curious about compression socks after suffering a minor bout with shin splints on the Pacific Crest Trail.

So it was one of those “the trail will provide” sort of moments when Victor Phillips, founder of Care Remote, contacted me to ask if I might give their socks a try.

What are Care Remote socks?

The branding comes from Phillips’ origins working in the healthcare and technology fields. Traveling the world, he worked with people in textiles and design as well as the medical professionals to come up with a solution to the problems of socks – namely, that they fit badly, get soggy and smell.

Through a proprietary weave of an anti-microbial mix of nylon, polyester and lycra, the intention is to check all the boxes for a sock’s use whether in the outdoors, as therapy or to just to look snazzy in a casual setting.

In addition, these socks are meant to stay consistent even after multiple washes, reduce blisters with fibers placed in strategic “hot spots,” and slip in and out of boots easily.

So, how did it go?

Victor sent me a variety of socks to try – no show, ankle-length and full-length. I started using them by simply walking around my neighborhood, but it was when I got on trail, walking the Kekekabic in Northern Minnesota, that I put them through their paces, choosing the 12-inch, mid knit compression sock for this remote 41 miles in the Boundary Waters Wilderness

pros:

  1. I had very damp conditions last October and the socks wicked moisture, staying surprisingly dry and keeping their shape.
  2. I wore the same pair for four days and the odor was well managed.
  3. My calf felt comfortably swaddled in the soft, form-fitting and massaging fabric which still managed to breathe.

cons:

  1. The sock did not fit well. I recommend choosing a smaller size than your shoe size since the heel will stretch and ride up.
  2. The toe-box did not offer enough protection for an all-day hiker and I suffered wear on the skin as well as the loss of toenails. To be fair, the sock is much thinner than my Balegas and my foot may have slipped more.
  3. The sock sprung a leak on Day 4.
  4. Other notes: they’re expensive. These socks were given to me for review, but they seem a bit on the high side.
  5. and there are just too many choices on the website and I found it all a bit confusing.

Conclusion…

For the most part, I liked the socks I wore and will find uses for them on day hikes, when climbing, skiing (especially since they feel like a second skin and will be very easy to slip in and out of boots) and when biking.

Since I got a hole after only three days of backpacking, I think these socks might not have the durability required of a thru-hike, though they may act as a nice second when I need the compression or will be walking in a lot of wet terrain.

Blissful gives Care Remote boot socks three Anitas (will use as a backup)

Specs at a glance

  • available in hidden, mid or full-length (3, 6, 9 and 12-inches)
  • regular sock – 5% Lycra, 45% Nylon, 50% Polyester mix
  • compression sock – PTFE 8%, 2% Lycra, 40% Wool, 17% Nylon, 33% Polyester mix in two gradients
  • seamless with padded heel
  • antimicrobial and free of metals
  • colors: pink, blue and green camo, black/gray and off-white
  • mid and heavy knit available
  • machine washable

Disclosure

alison young was given socks for testing from Care Remote