What we like:
- No blisters after a 900 km thru-hike.
- Superb fit and comfort.
- Lifetime warranty.
What we don’t:
- Stitching is coming loose on the ankle (short) model.
- Pricier than most other hiking socks.
- No color options.
- Materials53% Merino Wool / 40% Nylon / 5% Silver Yarn / 2% Spandex
- WarrantyLifetime warranty
- Manuactured inChina
Detailed In-Depth Review
I recently finished thru-hiking 900 km (560 miles) on the GR11 trail through the Spanish Pyrenees. As my main choice of socks, I went with the Silverlight merino wool socks. I purchased both of them in size XL (my feet are 44 EU). As of right now, they offer only two models – the crew (long) and the ankle (short), and I decided to get one pair of each.
This was my first real thru-hike and I knew that I needed to get a good pair of socks, otherwise I’m risking getting blisters, which would affect my overall pace and comfort. I had read a ton of good reviews about these socks, so I decided to try them out, instead of getting a more popular pair, such as Darn Tough or SmartWool.
And I’m glad to say, that I didn’t get a single blister during the whole 900km thru-hike! Even when I was breaking in my Decathlon Evadic Mt2 trail runners for this hike, I didn’t end up with any blisters. I was truly shocked because, before this, I used to get blisters on longer hikes from other Merino wool socks.
Materials & Durability
The Silverlight socks are made from a pretty common blend of materials, usually used in premium hiking socks – Merino Wool, Nylon, and Spandex/Elastane/Lycra. Essentially, merino wool gives the sock anti-microbial properties, nylon gives it the strength and moisture-wicking, and Elastane (other called Spandex or Lycra) gives it, you guessed it, its elastic properties. But what makes them different, is that they’ve also weaved in 5% silver-coated yarn.
Overall, this sock is very durable, with one exception. The longer (Crew) model still holds up incredibly well. It’s basically in an identical condition to what I received it in. There are no holes, no places where it looks like a hole might form, no loose threads, and no loose stitching. Overall, a really impressive result after finishing a 900 km (560-mile) thru-hike.
However, on the shorter model (ankle), which I wore about 60% of the time, the stitching is coming apart on both socks at the back of the heel. On this model, there’s a thicker flap at the back of the heel, which is meant to keep the sock from sliding down (and it worked). It looks like they’ve used too weak stitching for this flap, which starts falling apart too early. This could probably be fixed with reinforced stitching in future models.
But other than that, the shorter pair is still in an ideal condition, just like the longer model. The flap is still holding up, even though the stitching is coming loose.
What Makes Them So Good
The Silverlight hiking socks are my new favorites when it comes to hiking socks and here’s why.
Lately, many brands have started infusing their fabrics with silver yarns in various different products, such as pillowcases, socks, and t-shirts. The silver-treated fabrics offer antifungal, odor-resistant effects, which result from silver killing off bacteria.
This is super-important in hiking socks because bacteria and sweat is the main reason why you’re getting blisters. At first, I was pretty hesitant to believe that adding a bit of silver to the fabric would do anything, but it seems to work because I’m not getting blisters anymore. The 5% silver-coated yarns, weaved in the fabric of the Silverlight socks, seem to do the trick.
Obviously, silver is really expensive. The people behind Silverlight say that’s the main reason why this sock is so expensive – its production cost is about 2x of their competitors.
Another thing that contributed to blister resistance is compression. In order to avoid blisters, your feet can’t be constantly brushing against your socks or your shoes. In order to do this, you need to have shoes that fit, they need to be properly laced, and your socks need to have a snug fit. Sometimes, this can also be achieved by wearing two pairs of socks (tight liner socks underneath and comfy wool socks on the outside), but Silverlight does this with a single sock.
As opposed to other hiking socks that I’ve used, Silverlight socks seem to have a very tight fit. If your feet are wet, they’re a bit hard to put on, but once you do, they don’t keep on compressing your feet. Instead of being elastic, they’re a bit more rigid, and they feel very comfortable – like they were made for my feet specifically. I’d say that they’ve nailed the compression just right.
Different Fit for Each Sock
I hate socks that aren’t made for each foot individually. If they aren’t, there’s too much fabric around your pinky and too little around your toe. The Silverlight socks are made for each foot individually, and you can differentiate between them by checking the writing on the inside of the sock – “Venture” on the left sock and “out” on the right one.
Padding in the Right Places
Another factor, which contributed to the comfort and blister resistance is that they’ve used some padding around the heel, the toebox, and the ankle. It isn’t too thick or too thin, and overall, they felt comfortable during the whole hike.
In terms of moisture resistance, I’d say that Silverlight is on par with all the other merino wool socks that I’ve tested. On my thru-hike, I spent a few days hiking in rain, but most days it was too hot and I had to deal with sweat instead of water.
The Silverlight socks kept my feet dry for the most part but I did notice that the moisture-wicking properties started to deteriorate when the sock became too dirty. I felt that once I had been walking for 2-3 days straight, they would start sweating a bit more. I did wash them once every 2-5 days with biodegradable soap (in rivers, mostly), and dried them by attaching them to my backpack. They usually were completely dry within a few hours.
I’m glad to say that even after hiking for 36 days straight and not washing my trail runners even once, they didn’t stink. I think that this can be mostly attributed to the Silverlight hiking socks, which have superb antimicrobial properties.
I did wash the socks though, usually every 2-5 days. And I noticed, that towards the end of the hike the odor resistance started to wear off. It still worked, but after 3-4 days I would start smelling some of the bad odors once I took my shoes off. I think this could be either because the silver coating was slowly coming off or my biodegradable soap wasn’t strong enough to wash out all the sweat. That said, they’re still way, way more odor-resistant than any other sock I’ve worn.
I have still yet to test this but Silverlight does offer an unconditional lifetime warranty. I couldn’t find the warranty terms on their website, but in the product description, they state “We receive and replace ANY pair of Silverlight socks for any or NO reason at all.“
I’ll probably test this statement out soon because the stitching is starting to come apart on the shorter model. Theoretically, they should send a replacement once I send the broken pair.
Silverlight Socks vs Other Hiking Socks
In terms of hiking socks, the two main leading brands are Smartwool and Darn Tough. Both of them are priced somewhat similarly to Silverlight, or a bit less. The main difference between them and Silverlight is that Silverlight uses silver yarn.
Another one is compression – usually, other merino wool socks feel somewhat loose or they achieve compression just by being elastic. Silverlight, on the other hand, doesn’t feel elastic. Instead, it’s perfectly shaped for your feet and it feels very rigid. I don’t know which one is better, but the Silverlight socks feel very comfortable. In fact, I’m wearing them right now – when writing this in an office.
I’ve hiked with cheaper merino wool socks, and the difference between them is black to white. The blister resistance, comfort, temperature-regulation, odor resistance, and fit are just way, way better. Although you could get about 5 pairs of cheaper merino wool socks for the price of a single pair of Silverlight socks, I would choose the latter every time.
I’ve found my new favorite pair of hiking socks – the Silverlight hiking socks. I hiked over 900km (560 miles) with them and didn’t get a single blister, the odor resistance was on point, and they felt extremely comfortable during the whole trip. In fact, I’ll still continue using them for my next thru-hikes because they’re still in ideal shape. (not counting the loose stitching on the smaller “ankle” model). I cannot recommend them enough – they’re simply perfect.