You Know What’s Getting Me Through the Pandemic? Socks.
How warm, cozy performance footwear helps me handle the apocalypse
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The past two months have been full of worry. Or really, since I tend to worry all the time anyway, more full of worry than usual. Nearly 24/7 worry. Worry punctuated by tragically brief moments when I forget my worries (thank you, whiskey!). I worry about food: Do we have enough flour, olive oil, kimchi? I worry about work. I worry about the health of my family and friends, of course. If it can be worried about, I worry about it.
There’s one thing I don’t worry about, though: socks. That’s because a little while back, I went on a crazy sock-buying spree, stocking (!) up enough that no matter how long I go without doing laundry, my feet will remain warm, dry, and protected.
The socks I acquired aren’t just boring dress socks, or those flashy, crazy-patterned designs that were a Silicon Valley trend last year. My socks are all hiking socks, and if you’ve ever perused the sock aisle at an outdoor retailer, you’ll recognize the brands: Darn Tough, Smartwool, Wigwam, REI Co-op. They are all, I have to inform you, equally good—relatively thick, warm, moisture-wicking, and tough enough to take me miles and miles, even if, lately, I barely take 100 steps a day. Is there a difference between the synthetic materials and the merino wool? Not that I can tell!
Nor do the prices vary much outside of the $11–$25 range, which at the high end could maybe seem like a lot, except that: a) shops like REI often give discounts if you buy three pairs; and b) these are damn good socks. Because you’re not just paying for high-tech, high-comfort footwear—you’re paying for peace of mind. Need to flee a wildfire? Stand in line at Trader Joe’s? Roam the hills foraging wild greens? Keep your toes toasty during the seventh Zoom meeting on a Tuesday? March down a deserted, post-apocalyptic highway siphoning gasoline from wrecked cars? Can you imagine doing all that in brightly patterned, threadbare, non-wicking, blister-prone socks? I certainly can’t. The end of the world requires a certain level of sustained seriousness—put enough good hiking socks in your drawers, and you’ll feel like you’re ready for anything at any time. Then you can worry about the things that really matter. Like what to do with that 50-pound bag of flour I just bought.