Six stars. Seriously.
Ill preface this review with my cut and paste statement that I work as a backcountry backpacking guide in Yosemite National Park. Nearly all of the products I take the time to review have seen at least a half a season, if not more, of use... and Im committed to not bothering to write a review until I feel like Ive really gotten to know a product. I never thought Id bother to write reviews, but Ive recently decided that since Ive spent so much time over these last many years reading reviews, and finding a tremendous amount of value in articulate and well-informed opinions, that I wanted to give back to the community. So, with that being said, here we go...
After trying myriad combinations of different socks, and different sock liner combinations... I finally came back to these. No liners. Granted... feet, socks, liners, boots... its so subjective. So, here's a little info. I have a very narrow, low-volume foot... about a 11.5 B or C. I wear Zamberlan Steeps, and was at first horribly concerned with filling such a high volume boot. I picked up some Ed Viesturs insoles (the greatest aftermarket insoles ever made), and those along with these socks are a match made in heaven. On very rare occasions I might use a Smartwool liner along with these, particularly if I'm going to be doing some grueling uphills where I might get some heel rub due to not being able to keep my heel seated in the heel cup all the time.
I really wanted to love the PhD version of these, which are incredible comfortable, bu there's one very serious issue with them - the way they are padded and stitched will create pressure points on one's foot. I wore them on a trip once and after one day I came back to these. These are so well designed, so durable, and so incredibly comfortable that I'm beginning to stock up on them.
These truly are the best backpacking socks I've ever used. Out of all my gear they are in the top three or four for most important to me.
PS. As for odor, I've worn one pair on a nine day trip and had absolutely zero funk. I had a backup pair that saw one day of use while I washed these and let them dry.
PPS. I'm very warm-blooded, and I wear these while backpacking in the Sierras in summer. On very rare occasions I'll find them a bit warm, but never so much so that they're troublesome.