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The Traveling Ted Icebreaker Merino smell my socks challenge

On December 7, a day that will live in infamy now for two reasons, I began wearing a pair of Icebreaker Merino wool socks. I have not washed them since, nor have I worn another pair of socks during this time.

Icebreaker Merino wool socks

The Icebreaker Merino wool socks getting their well deserved shower

Do Not try this at home

Do not try this at home. In fact, do not try this anywhere. In the final stretch of the challenge I was mistaken by a neighbor for another neighbor’s Scottish terrier.

Scottish terrier

Did the smell my socks challenge have something to do with being mistaken for a Scottish terrier? – Wikimedia Commons

The label on the socks declare they are non-itch and odor resistance. It also asks users to wear them for 30 days, and if they do not like them they will get their money back. I took them up on the challenge and wore them for 30 days straight without washing.

Thank you Nature Shop

I was given a complimentary pair by the Nature Shop a cool carbon neutral online outdoor retailer. This winter there has not been much of a chance to try them out because the weather has not been very conducive to adventure travel, and I had no trips planned. I decided to put them to the test at home and simulate an outdoor adventure setting to see if the socks are what they say.

The socks produced

For those that do not think wearing socks test their durability and smell resistance while at home think again. In the past month I have worn these socks to work every day, I ran 70 miles in them, and I went downhill skiing with them twice.

The big question is, what are the results of the challenge? Well, the socks smell, but they held up quite well. I really did not notice any smell, itch, or discomfort for the first three weeks and a half weeks of the challenge.

It was not until the last week that I noticed a smell and was mistaken for my neighbor’s dog, Truvy. The smell that I noticed was not the horrendous funk one experiences when wearing cotton or regular wool socks on a hiking trip. Even a two day trip can produce some odors that could snap a football player out of a concussive hit.

The smell was there but not horrible

The smell was noticed when I was stretching to go running. The stretch calls for one leg extended and the second bent with your head leaning forward. This put my nose within inches of the socks. Even then, it was not enough to make my stomach turn, just a mild unpleasant smell, which is a real testament to the quality of the fabric. During the challenge there was also very little discomfort. Sometimes the socks itched a little, but nothing out of the ordinary.


After 31 days in Merino unwashed lambs wool it felt good to put the old clean cotton tube socks on


In conclusion, the test proves what Icebreaker Merino advertises. I am almost tempted to take a normal pair of socks and try the same test; however, some horrors do not need testing in order to know the result. I have worn regular socks on week long canoeing and hiking trips, Therefore I have experienced the overpowering smell and itch they induce. Next, I need to get a pair of merino underwear, but don’t worry, there will be no one month test there.

The Merino wool socks are only $19.95 through the Nature Shop website. I am hooked on the socks and the fabric. I definitely will include a pair or two on all my future adventure travel trips. Remember to get two. The Traveling Ted smell my socks challenge prove one pair will hold up a long time, but get two for a back up.


I received complimentary pair of socks from Nature Shop. This fact does not impact this post. The opinions, views, and photos are my own.

Adventure on!

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10 Responses to The Traveling Ted Icebreaker Merino smell my socks challenge

  1. Jeremy Branham January 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    So excited to hear the results of this challenge! Glad they held up and I would definitely like to try these. However a big question for me is how well did they keep your feet warm?
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Best of travel 2011: A photo journey through California

    • Traveling Ted January 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      I had no complaints about warmth Jeremy, but as you may know, this winter has been far from cold in Chicago. If I was going somewhere really cold I would want to wear a pair of these on my feet with another pair of wool or fleece socks over them.
      Traveling Ted recently posted..Golden Buddha inside the Marble Temple in Bangkok

  2. Maria @latinAbroad January 10, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Ok, when someone makes you enjoy such a sponsored/product blog post as much, you know the blogger is dang good. Woot man! I wanna buy them now! 😀
    Maria @latinAbroad recently posted..Eating iguana in Curacao: My culinary adventure

  3. Charles Higgins January 10, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Sounds like a manly pair of socks to me..sans the…

    Charles Higgins recently posted..Vegas downtown area named among top ten great urban neighborhoods

  4. Nomadic Samuel January 10, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Ted, I’m often accused of being foul – sometimes ‘even’ regarding my feet 😛 I’ll consider picking up a pair of these dandy socks.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Hello world!

  5. Leigh January 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    You made me smile with this post.
    I avoid socks if I can and am one of THOSE people who hike in their Tevas/Chacos most of the time – and suffer stares in silence.

  6. Vi January 12, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    😀 even with good pair of sock it is better not to try this while you are at home 😀
    Vi recently posted..Light daypack/backpack. Travel essentials

  7. Ryan April 7, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    I applaud your dedication in wearing the socks for 30 days straight. I’m a big fan of merino wool products, but not sure I would’ve been able to stay committed to them for 30 days like that.

    I am a really big fan of Icebreaker shirts, but for socks I prefer SmartWool. In my experience, SmartWool socks last longer than Icebreaker ones. I’ve had problems with Icebreaker socks getting holes worn in them more quickly.
    Ryan recently posted..Mount Kenya – Day 2, Burguret Route

    • Ted Nelson April 10, 2013 at 3:26 am #

      Even after 30 days straight and many other times wearing them, my merino wool socks are sans holes, so I am pretty impressed. I will check out the smart wool option. You can never have too many socks.


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