It started with a hint from mine Mountain guides, On a high tour we talked - of course - about various equipment. He tested new wool socks for himself and raved about it.
While browsing the net I stumbled over the very well-stocked shop of wohlgeraten.de, and zack, there they were: classic new wool socks by Steiner 1888, A few days later, they were already in my hands - or on my feet, in a beautiful green. When ice climbing in the Engadine they were then tried directly. For safety, I packed another pair of socks, which turned out to be unnecessary.
After a long, cold day in the snow and ice, I was really curious how the cabin climate develops as soon as I take off my boots ... Nothing! Ok, to be honest: minimal. Similar to merino wool (of course, it's pretty much the same material, namely sheep's wool), virgin wool hardly absorbs any odor. A natural odor suppressant, without the use of chemicals, silver ions or similar high-tech gadgets. All day long I had reasonably warm feet in the old-fashioned hiking socks, and in the evening at the hut they were still good as slippers.
The fit is comfortable, though they look as if they are somehow too big. Nice, thick wool surrounds the foot - that must be warm! The combination with winter boots, however, brought the benefits to their best advantage: a lot of worn wool means a lot of warmth and above all: a great climate in the shoe!
Natural fiber wool
Merino wool is a "new" natural fiber on everyone's lips and for good reason. The main difference between merino wool and new wool is the thickness of the individual fibers. Merino has a diameter of 15 to 25 microns, normal sheep wool is a good deal thicker with a good 30 to 50 microns. This is why Merino does not feel scratchy on the skin - although I did not have any problems with the new wool socks in this regard, which probably has something to do with the fact that they are slightly thumped. Wool walking makes the fabric denser, water- and wind-repellent and also hardwearing. By the way, wool, by the way, becomes matted since pre-Christian times.
The lightly woolen socks of Steiner 1888 are made of 100% mountain sheep wool in Austria at the foot of the Dachstein. Steiner is a traditional company that has been working with wool for 125 years and more nice woolen blankets, Loden and other wool products.
We mountain climbers are quite used to the meticulous care of our equipment. But virgin wool behaves in contrast to high-tech wonder materials but rather easy to maintain: good airing is enough! Due to the natural fat content wool acts as a dirt repellent, without any impregnation. If they eventually need a wash, hand washing is announced. Warm water, a small splash of wool detergent, briefly soaked, whipped and grated, well rinsed and dried on the heater to dry. The drying time is compared to synthetic fiber but much longer, one night you have to expect. For the first time, there are a few lintels hanging here and there, but that lasts over time.