Not Taken Lightly - Redesigning the Light Hiker Sock

Hiker with feet on rock in darn tough light hiker socks

Redesigning the Light Hiker, one of the most popular hiking socks in the line, was a challenge, for sure. How do you "fix" something that wasn't necessarily broken?

For us, it started with data we receive through our warranty process. There are enough thru-hikers out there giving us solid intel.

What Changed (in a Nutshell)

The new Light Hiker sock in Micro Crew height

Increased breathability with mesh panels on top of the foot, a new low profile, smooth upper that stays put forever, and extended cushion over the Achilles – just a few heavy additions to one of the lightest hike socks out there. And well worth the effort.

31 Prototypes

The magic number was 31. Thirty one different prototypes were knit to update the Light Hiker. The Light Hiker that no one was really asking for us to update. Hence the whole, "not taken lightly" business.

True, a number of those prototypes were color alterations and some yarn sampling. However, it all matters.

Data Driven Features

In an effort to bring more than just a new design, we looked into our warranty data to find the most common issues and patterns and went from there. The cushion running over the Achilles adds comfort in all kinds of boots and trail shoes, but it also increased the durability.

The mesh panels on the forefoot lightened things up and improved breathability. All wrapped in Merino Wool that is the only choice for ... well ... socks. 

Hiker on trail wearing new Light Hiker hiking socks

The new smooth, low profile 1x1 (knitting lingo) ribbing never drops and slips perfectly into the less-is-more thru-hike mentality.

New Heights

We didn't stop there either. After nailing down the updates we wanted to make to our Light Hiker, a micro crew sock, we decided to expand the one hiking sock into a whole line by applying the Light Hiker formula to a no show and quarter sock heights.

The Light Hiker must be a good sock - we make it in three heights

At the end of the day, this is a sock our testing family hits us back with "this is the only sock I want to wear" lyric. Truth is, it might just be the only one you have to.


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