Why We Chose It: Use of sustainable materials and very comfortable
Royal Robbins was a real legend of American climbing. Not only was he one of the best climbers in the world back in the 1960s but he was also one of the first pioneers of the concept of ‘clean climbing’, basically a set of practices and techniques for climbing big walls with little or no damage to the rock. It’s fair to say that you can see those environmental ethics reflected in his clothing brand as well. In fact, these socks, the Venture Crew, are just one example across a long line of sustainably made travel products.
I’ve been testing the Venture Crew out over a series of days out in the hills throughout September and October and I’ve been impressed. It’s the first time I’ve tried a pair of socks made from hemp and I’m pretty sold by the qualities it brings.
Hemp is now regarded as one of the most sustainable textile crops available. Unlike cotton, it’s grown primarily with rainwater, so no water wastage is involved, and without the need for pesticides as well. It’s also been found to improve soil health and prevent erosion.
On top of those eco credentials, hemp yarns are naturally odour resistant, temperature regulating, moisture managing and perhaps most importantly, comfortable. All the right qualities for a sock then.
It’s a hemp blend by the way. 57% is recycled polyester and 7% is elastane with hemp making up the remaining 37%. It seems the right mix though. The Venture has that softness, cushioning and also that durability and support that you want from a walking sock.
Construction-wise, there’s the Y heel that’s always good to have with a sock for the outdoors, plus a seamless toe box so you’re not going to feel anything niggling down there. There’s also variation in the weave design and thickness right throughout the sock to bring the right balance of cushioning, warmth and ventilation.
I’ve worn these through a mix of cold days and warm days this autumn and I’ve found them very comfortable – I wouldn’t say I’ve had any issues with my feet feeling clammy or too cold in them. Considering their thickness I’d say they’re best suited to average temperatures during spring, summer or autumn. On those super hot summer days, the the mid cut length I tested will be a little too warm and you’d be better off with one of the lower cut options in the Hemp collection. Conversely, on those very cold winter days I’d say you’d need something thicker.
I can see them lasting well. They certainly seem to have better durability than socks with a high cotton content.
It’s worth noting that you can also get a version of these with Royal Robbins’ Bug Barrier tech. This is a permanent treatment that, as you can probably guess, repels biting insects, including mosquitos and ticks, without the need for toxic spray.
More info: royalrobbins.com