I’m a Merino wool fan, so it didn’t take much convincing to give the new Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five Socks a try. Built for hiking and trail running, these Merino-blend socks have a few other nifty features to keep your feet comfortably-cradled in your boots or shoes.
Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five Socks Features:
- AnkleLock™ Technology for added ankle support
- GripDry™ Fiber in the heel and forefoot locks your feet in place
- Natural Merino wool blend
- Arch band support
- Olefin footbed moves moisture away from your feet
- Y-shaped heel
- Seamless toe box
- MSRP: $26.99
Comfortable all-around running/hiking socks
I’m going to get something out of the way right off the bat. While these socks are fantastic, you can write them off if you ever have plans to impersonate Tom Cruise’s Risky Business dance. With that out of the way, let’s talk about why that’s the case. It’s called GripDry Fiber and it’s located in the heel and forefoot of the Flite XT Trail socks. This grippy fiber is made to not only lock your feet in place inside your shoes, but as an added feature, you can’t slide around your kitchen in your underwear (thank you, Swiftwick). Where it actually counts, I’ll say that GripDry really does lock my feet in place, but it does have a tendency to stick to my feet when putting them on. It’s not a huge deal, but does take a couple extra seconds to situate these socks before sliding them into my Topo Runventure 4 trail running shoes.
Overall foot support is excellent as my arches are cradled well. That heel cup is perfect and compression is just right. I appreciate the 5″ height for added ankle protection while trail running and added coverage should I wear them with a lightweight pair of hiking boots, like the Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX.
My left big toenail likes to tear through most socks. I’ve been pretty religious about maintaining my toenails, but there’s no guarantees. I’m happy to report that the Flite XT’s have held up so far without a hole. Swiftwick says the toe box is “seamless” and if you look at it, you’ll see a thin line across the top, just where your toes attach to your forefoot. It sure does look like a seam, but it doesn’t feel or behave like a seam that’s present on most socks. It stretches and moves like the rest of the material and it’s absolutely flat. Seamless it is.
The Flite XT’s are wearing well — in spite of repeated uses without washing. And, they remain stink-free for extended periods. On the trail, the 5″ cuff never slides downward.
For trail running, I appreciate the locked-in feel these socks provide, but it does feel interesting to have the socks gripping my insoles and feet. It’s not a bad thing, but just different than normal socks as the socks don’t necessarily slide with your feet. The thickness is good for most days, but I wouldn’t choose to wear these when temperatures soar as they can feel a little warm.
- Merino wool is for winners
- Support and compression you can feel
- Grippy soles lock you in your shoes (and prevent slippage on hardwoods)
- Durable so far
- Blister-free goodness
- A little warm on hot summer days
- Do have a slight tendency to bunch your toes together
- GripDry Fiber is mostly good, but it’s also kind of a different feel
The Bottom Line: Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five Socks
A brand new sock from one of the top Merino wool sock makers is always something to take a look at. The Flite XT Trail Five Socks offer excellent compression and fit for trail running and hiking alike. And, that GripDry stuff is quite unique — providing in-shoe and out-of-shoe grip.
Buy Now: Available from Swiftwick