Don’t you dare say socks are just socks anywhere within earshot of Bridgedale. The Northern Ireland-based sock specialist has been practicing its craft since the 1980s. Its technical outdoor socks are extraordinarily popular, and one that has bagged our Sock of the Year award for 2023 is the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew.
It goes beyond that. This year’s award means the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew has achieved a hattrick: three consecutive Trail Running awards – 2021, 2022, and now 2023. But what makes this such an awesome running sock?
Design and features
There is an impressive, obsessive amount of thought and design that has gone into the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew.
It uses Bridgedale’s signature Fusion Tech, which knits the sock in a way that blends natural and synthetic yarns to produce the best performance and comfort. Fusion Tech isn’t something you visually identify when inspecting the sock and say, ‘Ah, yes, that’s Fusion Tech’. It’s something you feel the results of.
The fibre composition of the Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew is 62% nylon, 18% polypropylene, 18% merino wool, and 2% Lycra/elastane. With this blend, Bridgedale has made the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew light and breathable, while still providing good padding.
In terms of cushioning, the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew has something called T2 AntiShock. It’s a ‘loop within a loop’ knit, placed specifically where extra padding is needed.
There are other neat features too. The best of these include ThermoFit, which ensures the sock retains its shape; zero debris cuff; Y-heel to prevent slippage; and overfoot ventilation.
Loaded with all their clever design and sock tech, the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew performs exactly as a running sock should: you don’t notice it.
All that ingeniousness to achieve imperceptibility. It seems sad but that’s exactly what a running sock should do.
For any type of running at any time of year, the Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew is superb. But you notice its comfort and breathability on longer and harder runs in particular. So, if you’re a fan of long distance running, mountain running, and races, this is a great sock for you.
Bridgedale makes its socks in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. It also produces some of its socks in South Africa too. The Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew is made in the UK. It’s great to know that for British customers, their socks have been made locally.
Bridgedale has a big focus on quality. That translates into durability and longevity. It means their socks last a long time and that’s always a good thing for sustainability.
The Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew is mostly nylon, which isn’t recycled unfortunately. But the wool Bridgedale sources is always from non-mulesed sheep. And Bridgedale’s wool suppliers all abide by the International Wool Textile Organisation welfare guidelines.
Price and competition
Bridgedale is synonymous with technical outdoor socks in the UK. There are, however, other brands that produce fantastic high-performance running socks, such as Lorpen and Darn Tough. They tend to retail for similar prices as the Bridgedale socks.
If you’re a merino fan, Icebreaker and Smartwool make some excellent merino sports socks. But merino being merino, it comes with a higher price tag than synthetic or synthetic-wool blend socks.
1000 Mile is another popular sock brand, and it makes some very good running socks that are more budget friendly.
The Bridgedale Trail RUN Lightweight T2 Merino Sport 3/4 Crew is a brilliant sock for running because you don’t notice you’re wearing them.
Why spend a premium on socks you don’t notice, you ask? For running, that’s exactly why you spend the premium, certainly in this case. One of the most irritating things on a run is an uncomfortable sock.