Trail Runner’s Gear Review: Swiftwick Flite XT Zero Sock

Swiftwick Flite XT Zero socks reviewed by trail runner Laura Clark. Laura is an avid mountain, trail and snowshoe runner who lives in Saratoga Springs, NY, where she is a children’s librarian. Socks provided free of charge by Swiftwick.

Possessing a Swiftwick Flite XT Zero sock is akin to acquiring a foot covering with its own impeccable pedigree. For a mere $19.99, a pittance in today’s performance market, you can purchase a sock whose credentials read more like shoe specs.

When testing a product, my primary concern is to give an unbiased opinion, not influenced by product propaganda or previous user reviews. Directly opposite the approach I would take on a shopping expedition. So I went cold turkey without any prior knowledge. Initially, I was a bit hesitant about the apparent thinness of the material, and more so about the zero cuff. The sock does also come in the typical crew length (Swiftwick Flite XT Five), but the crew length was not the product that was shipped. Still, free is free and I was more than willing. My last experience with anklet length was many moons ago, when that concept was first introduced. Invariably, the motion of the foot would prompt the cuff to sink lower and lower towards the heel, creating a highly uncomfortable ridge. I have not gotten over that feeling and until this sock have not revisited the concept.

I was pleasantly surprised. The sock did not fade into oblivion, but remained firmly anchored. Remember those bulky parkas we used to wear before someone invented lightweight, slimming puffy versions? Well, that flashback immediately came to mind. Yes, the material is so thin it seems barely there, but it packs a huge presence. I have been ignoring a mild case of Plantar Fasciitis, brought about by thinking that favorite shoes that were barely hanging on into the fall would somehow revive after a restorative winter’s sleep. You already know the answer to that one! But the Swiftwick Flites are like the modern parkas—less bulk and more form. My aching foot swooned into a supportive hug of a sock and forgot to hurt.

Once home, I pulled up the specs and explored the reason for this miracle. This tool is all about stability and support, with AnkleLock ™ technology designed to firmly wrap your ankle and heel, preventing lateral movement. Heel and forefoot are treated to Swiftwick’s GripDry ™ nanofibers which increase frictional force to allow for more gripping power. This is why my feet felt stable and secure despite navigating shifting trail formations. Even though my test run was undertaken on the first warm day of spring, the addition of Olefin to the fabric compound insured a dry, blister-free finish.

To sum up, these Swiftwick socks are full of pleasant surprises and I look forward to wearing them during the hottest weather summer throws at me!


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