If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that foot odor is gross. All of us can likely also agree that wearing socks underneath our shoes or boots is a good idea. If you’ll permit a pseudo-syllogism, I posit, therefore, that socks that eliminate foot odor are a good thing.
Fortunately for all of us, ScentLok makes socks that destroy odor molecules. They also happen to be comfortable and even rather stylish. Believe me, I know: I’m wearing a pair right now.
ScentLok was founded in 1992 and caters primarily to outdoorsmen and hunters. The brand offers everything from jackets to pants to headgear, all of it imbued with technology (I’ll get to specifics, don’t worry) that reduce odors. This is of particular importance for game hunters, as the whiff of an approaching human can send a potential kill scurrying deep into the forest. But reducing body odor is also a plus when it comes to human-to-human interactions, I’ve noticed. And it’s in this capacity that I was thrilled to get acquainted with a few ScentLok products.
Whenever I can, I go for hikes, and the longer the trail, the better. The best parts of a trek include reaching a mountain summit, stopping in a shady hollow, or swapping stories with your companions as you slog along, mile after mile. One of the worst parts of a hike is that moment when you pull off your boots and unleash the godforsaken stink amassed around your feet during the aforementioned slog. This experience is made all the worse when it comes within the confines of tent. Add in the effects of a downpour or a misstep into a creek or puddle and it just gets worse.
Your feet smell because of the bacteria that thrive in the moist, warm environment created by a shoe, a foot, and most socks. ScentLok socks shift the paradigm, prohibiting the growth and proliferation of bacteria thanks to the Silver Alloy technology woven into the fibers. What is this sorcery of which I speak? Well, take it directly from ScentLok: They say their Silver Alloy technology uses “a co-extruded, silver particle-based technology combined with a synthetic fiber that prohibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, even in the harshest environments. [The] process permanently fuses Silver Alloy into the fibers so it will never wash out like most other topical treatments.”
I took the time to discuss ScentLok socks with a few folks who work for the company, including Nick Andrews, the Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for ScentLok. One of my main concerns was the longevity of the odor-blocking technology. Nick assured me that a ScentLok sock’s ability to fight odor would outlast the sock itself. “We ask people to send the socks back to us when they eventually wear out, in fact, so we can reclaim the silver and use it in future products,” he explained. So OK, that sounded pretty good.
But odor issues aside, are these socks comfortable? Yes. In fact, they are as comfortable as any socks I own, and that includes casual, dress, and hiking socks. The Everyday Sock, arguably a flagship product, features added cushioning in the sole and compression zones over the bridge and around the cap (the part that’s highest up on your calf) that help to keep your foot supported and keep the sock in place, respectively. The fabric is moisture-wicking and helps to keep your foot dry, a good thing for comfort and to even further reduce stink problems. I also tried out ScentLok’s Merino Thermal Crewmax sock which is also infused with carbon fiber for even more odor control. These tall, snug socks are ideal for hiking or for all-day use in any sort of physical pursuit, from construction work to field research and beyond. At around $30 a pair, they’re not cheap, but they are high quality.
ScentLok also offers a number of socks that look less like work and/or hiking apparel and that will blend in with almost any ensemble, from a business suit to casual clothing. I took their striped socks called The Professional for a spin (or… a walk) and was left with feet feeling great and smelling like… nothing at all.