Smartwool partnered with top climber Conrad Anker last year to introduce the PhD® Socks line.

As Smartwool says, “The PhD® Socks represent the highest degree of performance. We pack these wool socks chock full of smart features, advanced technologies and dialed fit systems.”

The Smartwool Men’s PhD® Outdoor Approach Crew is designed for hiking, approaches and everday wear.

We took the Outdoor Approach Crew out to Toronto’s local outdoor crag fr some new routing. We also wore them in the city to and from the climbing gyms.

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Approach Crew


These lightly cushioned socks dry quicker than thicker socks while providing the comfort and warmth you need.

The toe is nearly completely seamless and the socks are made of 54 per cent merino wool, 43 per cent Nylon and three per cent elastane.

Merino is one of the softest fabrics on the market. There’s never any itch.

“Cushioning lulls you into thinking you can slam your foot down,” said Dr. Irene Davis. Likewise. And that’s why less cushioning is sometimes better.

There’s an Achilles strap that provides extra protection from friction between your shoes and skin.

The socks also uses two elastics for greater stretch and recovery to keep the sock in place. It really does feel like the socks are one with your foot through a huge range of movement.

No blisters, no rubbing, no bunching and no stretching.


The Smartwool PhD Socks have unmatched moisture control, which means your feel don’t get soggy, which means less blisters.

As Smartwool said, “both synthetics and wool have the ability to wick, but only wool has the ability to wick away moisture in its vapor state.”

New routing near Toronto in spring 2018


The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Approach is a top sock for pretty much anything. We found they were fantastic for wearing to the crag and for the run across the city

Merino wool can hold up to 30 per cent of its weight in moisture, but still feel very dry.

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Approach is a versatile sock that maintains warmth and keeps it shape after long days on your feet.

Best For

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Approach is best used for approaches to the crag, hiking and trail running.

Due to them being thin, we wouldn’t sleep in them or wear them in extremely cold temperatures. But for spring, summer and fall, we highly recommend them.

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