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Smartwool phD running sock reviews

Written by George Fisher

Image for article Smartwool phD running sock reviews

We have 6 short reviews from staff members and ambassadors who have all been able to test out the Smartwool phD running socks over the past month. From muddy runs here in the Lakes to the highlands of Scotland, we've put them through their paces!

As many athletes will know, the difference between winning or losing can be down to the smallest of margins. Every piece of equipment matters, including socks. Having the correct support, cushioning and breathability can be advantageous, so it’s an obvious answer to choose high-performance socks such as these Smartwool PhD run socks. But for the non-elite, fitness and fun runner, do they actually make any difference?

I’m currently rehabilitating my knee after an ACL reconstruction earlier this year. My running is currently a slow jog/plod and I’ve been testing out the Smartwool PhD socks to see what all the hype is about. The socks claim to have “women’s specific fit”, providing “extraordinary comfort” and “exceptional fit”. It’s fair to say that they do NOT disappoint one bit. From the second I tried them on, I could tell the difference between all my other sport socks. These socks supported my foot incredibly well, it was like putting on the perfect ‘foot hug’. I’m not too sure why foot hugs feel so good, but it almost took away any dullness in my feet instantly, giving my feet another burst of life.

Another factor that really impressed me was the amount of cushioning that these socks provide. The cushioning is located under the heel and ball of the foot and is substantially thicker than my other sport socks. It acts like a little pad between you and the ground so the impact hitting the ground is slightly reduced. Despite the thicker soles of the socks, the top part is a lot thinner and breathable, helping your feet to stay a nice temperature for the whole run, regardless of how sweaty you get!

Irrespective of how smart these socks are, they have stayed at the top of my sock drawer since I got them, simply because they are so comfy. I look forward to every opportunity I get to use them, and it actually motivates me to go for my plod/runs when I see them ready, waiting for me in my draw. So, if you are looking for a little extra motivation, to treat your feet, and keep your feet happy whilst you’re running or working out, I think a little extra money for a pair of socks is worth it, don’t you?

George Fisher ambassador - Francesca Lee 

My fantastic friends at George Fisher have sent me a very special package, my new Smartwool PhD RUN socks in grey / Capri.

Straight out of the packing and on to my feet, to be tested out on the iconic Great North Run, half marathon. Now I much prefer the trails so road running is a big test for me. I was over the moon with how comfortable they were and how they kept my feet cool with no rubbing.

These socks are super soft with merino wool and in a variety of colour options. Get yours!

George Fisher ambassador - Morven Walsh  

I love running, it’s my thing, comfy feet are as important as strong lungs.

I came across these socks a few years ago, in black they are my go to sock. Black has the benefit of they don’t show the brown bog when I’ve run through it! Running in the Lakes there’s every chance my feet will be wet. With these socks I never get rubbed and rarely cold, plus this summer running in the heat of the Dolomites they never overheated either. Love these socks in grey and turquoise as they match my shoes, always satisfying. 

George Fisher apparel and footwear buyer - Lisa Bergerud 

After journeying up numerous mountains together in all sorts of weather my Smartwool socks and I have become very good friends! Soft, cushioned, cosy but not too warm... great in the wet and the heat! After 5 runs I had to wash them out of principle; they still didn’t smell! What better foot friends to have!

George Fisher ambassador - Jen Grange 

Running long distances means I have to look after my feet and I have always chosen socks and trainers carefully. I have been trialing the SmartWool run socks and I am a convert.

The socks are soft, comfortable, ultra-light, cushioned and a very good fit for my size 5 foot. The premium wool keeps Smartwool socks soft to the touch against the skin making them feel very luxurious. They also come in a great range of fun colours and patterns leaving me with very happy feet.

The socks breathe, which means that during my long run they allow moisture to escape and keep my feet dry, which in turn keeps them odour free. No more stinky running socks lying around.

The socks performed well on both my road runs and trail runs. There are virtually no seams so there was No rubbing and therefore no blisters.

As well as for running the socks are great for lounging around the house, especially during colder weather as they are wool so keep your feet warm too.

The socks have washed well. I have been able to add them to a normal wash and when they came out of the wash perfect. They dried quickly too ready for another run.

George Fisher ambassador - Carmen Norman


Those that know me will understand when I say I’m a kit nerd; every marginal gain counts. I have a rule that any item of kit must have been used for at least 50 miles before I’ll race with it – not with these socks; one 6 mile training run and they were straight on my feet for a 75 mile ultra. Snug enough around the heel yet more pliant in the forefoot to allow toe spread, cushioning where it’s needed but not overdone so there is a good degree of breathability and robust enough to take on and survive the horrors of that mudbath of a climb up to Lingy Hut! Happy feet.

George Fisher ambassador - Dave Troman

Back in the day, there wasn’t much to say about socks. I only remember three things about socks from my childhood (i) Mother darned a hole – whether once or frequently, I can’t be sure; (ii) On a residential outdoor activity course, the instructor imparted the advice that we should protect our expedition ration eggs by placing them in our spare socks, deep inside our rucksacks. Hmmm, eggy socks. The other notable thing about socks from that era, is that they were traumatically uncomfortable: shapeless, baggy, soggy in the wet, and seam-ridden.

Moving on many, many years, the Smartwool PhD Run sock is truly a thing of wonder. Starting with the ooooh, aaaahhhh sensation when pulling them on, they smoothly and seamlessly follow the contours of one’s feet. In trail and fell running shoes, where fit and control is of the essence, the PhD’s fabric mix, thickness and texture provide the prefect interface between skin and the shoe lining. Running in varied conditions – hot, cold, puddles and bogs - no problem, the PhD’s keep their shape throughout; mile after mile.

Ensconced in the office, glancing down, I muse that my everyday Smartwool PhD Runs are the only socks I’ll ever need.
George Fisher himself instructed at the centre that invented eggy socks.

George Fisher buying department - Richard 

During the months of October, November and December, anyone who completes our Abraham's Tea Round will get a free pair of Smartwool phD run socks. Read about it on our blog here.

Smartwool have also launched "Socktober” - a charitable project that raises funds to help Friends of the Lake District Fell Care Days.

Read all about it here.