My Mum buys me socks for Christmas. This year, instead of the pack of 5 from Marks and Spencer, I asked for some running socks and in particular the Crosby Merino socks from Howies.
I’ve used an array of running socks over the years and recently I’ve particularly used Nike Dry-Fit and a couple of pairs from Balenga that I still love. Socks can make or break your run, and after your shoes are the next most important piece of kit.
The bold colours of the Crosby socks caught my eye, as I decided to inject some colour into my running wardrobe. I’ve had several merino related washing/shrinkage incidents that ended up with many of my merino garments going to my wife, so I was a little wary about merino socks.
Composition and Properties
The Howies Crosby Merino socks are made up of 70% Merino Wool, 28% Polyamide, 2% elastane. You’ll know the properties of merino that make it warm, breathable, sweat-wicking, antibacterial and odour resistant, all things you want in a sock, and not just a running sock. The Polyamide is a nylon, similar to polyester (found in much running gear) that provides durability and abrasion resistance and aids in wicking moisture away from the body.
How they feel
The Crosby is crew length so sits just above the ankle, but not too high. The socks are thin, but I’ve worn them through the UK winter and they were perfectly warm. As the weather has warmed up, they have kept my feet cool and dry. The seamless toe box reduces friction and the risk of blisters making them very comfortable. There very little cushioning in the sock, but I don’t see that as an issue, as it’s your running shoe that does that job.
The socks were a little slippy in the shoe on the first wear as they were shiny and smooth, but that disappeared after the first wash and held my foot in the shoe much better. The sock works better with a sock/bootie style shoe, such as Nike Flyknit that give a tight-fitting. My trail shoes that are a little bit roomier still suffer from a little slippage in the heel.
Wear, Washing and Sizing
I’ve been using the Crosby socks for over 4 months and they’ve held up very well. Wool can wear quickly, but these socks seem hardwearing. My fears about them shrinking when washed has been unfounded (I wash them at 40 °C). Stretching them a little once out of the washing machine and still wet helps stretch them back into shape. I’m a size 10 and got the 9-12 size in the sock. The fit is snug, and if you are in doubt about which size to go for, I would err on the side of caution and go a size range up. The socks are unisex and will fit a narrower female foot.
The colours are bright and bring well-needed colour to my standard black kit. £29 for the pack of 3 is good value as you can pay between £10-15 for a single pair of running socks. Howies offer a 15% saving if you buy 2 or more packs of socks. The socks have proved to be well made and durable, keeping their size and shape after washing. All the merino benefits are there, keeping your feet dry and comfortable and allow the socks to be used all year. These are now my go-to socks and are highly recommend.