Sock technology continues to go wild. But I continue to reach for the same Kirkland wool sock — every damn time.
It started with a gag Christmas gift. Since my sister and I were kids, my mom would pack socks in an un-sock-like package. This usually stoked our excitement about some gift we thought we’d be getting, and then … socks. It was the ultimate letdown for us, the ultimate heist for my sly and character-building genius of a mother.
But then we made our way into adulthood, and socks became a treasured part of the Christmas experience. And a few years ago, I received a four-pack of Kirkland Signature Women’s Trail Socks. The sock game had leveled up.
In my time as an outdoorswoman, I’ve amassed a collection of high-class wool socks, both breathable and extra cushioned, uber-technical socks specific to the many activities I dabble in. And yet, the sock I reach for is this humble Costco gem. Here’s the lowdown.
By the Numbers
The Kirkland Signature Women’s Trail Sock is a blend of 76 percent merino and 18 percent poly, with some nylon and spandex thrown in there. Each package comes with four pairs, and four pairs of socks at your local Costco costs $13.
There’s nothing insanely technical about them. The sock itself is a midweight crew with some arch support and a lowkey toe seam. The footbed is “lightly cushioned,” and both toe and heel are reinforced.
Other than that, well, it’s a sock. You put it on your foot. And hopefully, it serves you well.
In the Field
Or I guess, more accurately, they’re inside my boots.
I live in Montana. And according to my own anecdotal evidence, our winters are approximately 9 months long. Owning good socks wasn’t a priority before moving here 7 years ago. These days, good socks are a lifeline.
I’ve field-tested the Kirkland Signature Trail Socks in every imaginable situation, including hiking many miles into high alpine wilderness areas, hunting the eastern Montana sage country, wearing them every day beneath my necessary winter boots, riding my horse in 10-degree weather, and sitting in the duck blind on cold December mornings — among other things.
They’ve run the gamut, and I’m not sure I’ve ever worn a hole in them in the years that I’ve owned the brand. Mostly because with so many pairs of high-quality socks at my disposal, I never have to depend on that one pair.
These socks are lightweight enough to wear throughout my “9-month” winters. It’s rare that I adjust my sock to the temperature of what I’m doing, as my footwear usually takes care of it. And what I find with insulated boots is that a midweight sock lets my feet breathe, preventing the dreaded situation where your feet are too warm, sweat profusely, and then go cold because your feet have basically wet themselves.
But How Do They Compare?
I think sometimes sock manufacturers forget that your shoe is really your support system, and the sock should be an unnoticeable complement. Thankfully, the Kirkland sock doesn’t take its technicality too seriously. And it somehow manages to always fit correctly, with zero slippage or points of bulk.
To be fair, I do use different socks for different pursuits. In the summertime, I grab my DarnTough Vertex No Show Running Sock or my Farm To Feet Cascade Lock socks when I hit the trails, and I love the Nike Everyday Lightweight Footies for, you guessed it, everyday wear. On super-cold days when I know I’ll need something a bit warmer but with the same midweight feel that I prefer, I wear Kora Upside Down Socks. They’re worth the $22, team. Yak wool is the business.
But if I paid $22 for every sock in my sock drawer, I’d be financially hosed. And the reality is that the Kirkland sock lives up to nearly every situation. I prefer it for hiking, I stick a pair in my backpack for summer nights outside, and I carry an extra pair in my car’s winter emergency kit. The affordable four-pack lasts a long time, and I can lose one of the socks (which I do often) without kicking my sockless foot out in financial frustration.
Dang It, Costco
Pizza samples aside, I’m really not a giant fan of doing my personal shopping at Costco. My blood pressure immediately rises upon entry. It’s overwhelming, and the amount of conspicuous consumption that happens within the Texas-sized box stores is moderately alarming.
But gosh dang it, Costco has really nailed it with this Kirkland sock. It’s a ridiculously affordable, high-percentage-merino blend designed for the everyday Jill and Joe. For the price of one high-tech pair of socks, you can buy two packs of these things. My Midwestern sense of practical frugality is served, and my Montana necessity for technical quality is appeased.
You do, however, have to have a Costco membership — or an inside connection with someone who has a Costco membership — to get your hands on these bad boys.
The Kirkland Signature Trail Sock is simply the best sock for the value. Wear a hole in one $3.25 pair, then turn to the other three you bought alongside it. No feelings hurt, no wallets busted, and no blisters expected.