Performance or Comfort socks? I want both

Sock supremos Bridgedale have two “fit families” in their ranges – Performance and Comfort. What is the difference and which one is best for you? Here’s everything you need to know.

Walkers in Bridgedale socks

by James Forrest |
Updated on

A sock is just a sock, right? Any old sock will do, surely? Wrong. The humble sock might seem like a simple item of kit, but it’s an absolutely vital piece of the puzzle – something that can make the difference between all-day comfort and excruciating blisters.

A poor-performing, badly-fitting pair of socks will cause you a myriad of problems. Your feet will be too hot and sweaty, inadequately cushioned and protected, and ultimately uncomfortable and unhappy. Conversely a good pair of hiking socks will cushion and protect your feet, fit comfortably and wick away moisture quickly, leaving you joyously free to enjoy the scenery.

tying shoes in bridgedale socks
©Ed Smith

Sock supremos Bridgedale are well-known for making the most comfortable and durable socks on the market. To offer their customers greater choice and versatility, the brand has also created two “fit families” within its extensive ranges: Performance and Comfort. But what is the difference, what are the pros and cons, and which is the best option for you?

Bridgedale's Performance and Comfort fit families

It should be stressed that both Performance and Comfort are equally as high-performing and comfortable, but there are some subtle differences. Each has different yarn types and cuffs, tailored to the end user’s requirements.

Performance has a contoured knit with a close, supportive fit from foot to calf. The cuff of the sock does not move, thanks to its close yet comfortable fit around the ankle and calf, while the yarn is slightly tougher in its build quality.

Comfort has a more casual knit that fits the calf and ankle more loosely yet comfortably, and can be worn up or down. Performance is better for multi-day treks and big mountain outings, while Comfort is favoured by day hikers who prefer the cuff’s softness and versatility.

runner in bridgedale socks, focus on feet

Bridgedale also have a selection of non-wool socks which are also available in the Performance and Comfort fit. But in this article we’d like to focus on the differences between Bridgedale’s Merino Performance and Merino Comfort socks. Merino wool is one of nature’s magic materials, offering unrivalled qualities and properties. It is warm when wet, odour-resistant, comfy and moisture-wicking, making it the perfect choice for hiking adventures.

Bridgedale’s Merino Performance socks feature a high-tech blend of different materials, bringing the best of both worlds. Made from a mix of merino wool, ‘New Wool’ and synthetic yarns, these socks provide a close and supportive fit, resilient padding, balanced insulation, fast-wicking moisture management, and outstanding durability for all-day comfort. Each fabric brings benefits into the mix: merino wool provides anti-bacterial properties, ‘New Wool’ adds soft and resilient fibres, and the synthetic nylon/polyester ensures breathability and rapid sweat-wicking. Merino Performance socks are ideal for long-distance trekking, with a fit that contours the foot and calf excellently for mile after mile.

Bridgedale socks

With a slightly different approach, Bridgedale’s Merino Comfort socks blend merino wool with technical synthetic fibres (but no ‘New Wool’) in a knit that has a faster drying time and longer lasting durability than that of merino wool alone. Merino provides anti-bacterial properties and unrivalled fineness, while the synthetic yarns improve breathability and moisture management. The end result is a loose, unrestrictive knit with high levels of softness and superb wicking performance, ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable wherever the adventure.

4 of the best Bridgedale merino socks for hiking

Men's Midweight Merino Performance Boot - £24

Made from 26% New Wool, 18% merino, 38% nylon, 17% polypropylene and 1% elastane, this high-tech, boot-length sock will keep your feet dry, warm and comfy all-year round – a Bridgedale classic.

Women's Ultra Light Merino Performance 3/4 Crew - £23

For hotter spring days and summer hikes, this ultra-light and cushioned women’s-specific sock will keep your feet cool, comfortable and dry, as well as cushioned via zonal padding.

Men's Heavyweight Merino Comfort Boot - £28

Providing the support and warmth you need for cold weather adventures, this sock features thick cushioning, a comfy soft-knit cuff and double density underfoot pads for all-day impact resistance.

Women's Midweight Merino Comfort Boot - £24

This boot-length, women’s-specific, four-season sock provides all day protection and next-to-the-skin comfort, with a design that creates a “dry environment for comfortable and healthy feet”.

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