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  • Matt Scholes

DIY Synthetic Socks

While climbing Changabang we had many cold damp bivvys and little to no chance of drying anything out. Normally on an alpine climb you would rotate your socks around by drying the wet pair you climbed in that day on your body at night and then swapping them back in the morning ready for another day of climbing.

Unfortunately it was so cold and damp that they didn't dry overnight and so I resorted to sleeping with my liner boots on in order to keep my feet warm enough at night, it worked, but because the liners don't breath they stayed damp. by the end of the climb I had cold damage to my toes and the stayed numb for about a month after returning home.

I thought about how I could have managed this better and came up with the idea of making some synthetic insulated socks.

Most people would say oh, you mean synthetic booties?

Well no, and there are a few key differences to the ones that I have made and anything that you can buy off the shelf.

These are a bare minimum construction , no reinforced soles, no footbed, no toggles and cords. They are made from a super light weight outer fabric is highly breathable 1.8 oz airwave ripstop and a Primaloft gold 6oz fill as insulation, as synthetic fill works better for wet or damp environments.

The breathable outer fabric is a key difference as it allows moisture to escape faster than regular shell fabrics but is also another reason it not really a "bootie" as the fabric would allow moisture to enter easily if you were to walk around in them.

After making them I weighed them, to my amazement they weighed exactly the same as a regular pair of warm wool socks despite being much warmer at 52 grams a foot! So absolutely no weight penalty, which is the main reason why I wouldn’t carry a regular pair of booties.

I think its now possible to arrive at your bivvy and put these right over your damp socks and dry them on your feet very quickly. Also anyone that has poor circulation or just suffers from cold feet would appreciate these as they keep your feet toasty warm even on the coldest of bivvys.

If you are interested in making yourself some you can purchase fabric from or for a fee they can make some for you.

Good luck and please share your own home made outdoor equipment gear with us.

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