LT Dan Taylor: "There is one item of G.I. gear that can be the difference between a live grunt and a dead grunt. Socks. Cushioned sole, O.D. green. Try and keep your feet dry. When we're out humpin', I want you boys remember to change your socks whenever we stop. The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs. . . Two standing orders in this platoon: One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed."I bring up LT Dan because the other day a friend of mine and I were doing the thrift store thing when we had a stunning turn of good luck. Normally, I don't check the sock bin, most of them being badly used and holed. But God took us down that aisle looking for the hat bin (boonie hats usually $1.49 each when you can find them) and there was a worker dumping pairs of brand-new socks into the sock bin -- OD USGI's in sizes M through XL and Thorlos.
PVT Forrest Gump: "I sure hope I don't let him down."
My friend ran to get a cart and we took the whole load -- 110 pairs -- at FIFTY NINE CENTS A PAIR. So, boys and girls, be sure and check the sock bin. You can never know what the Lord may provide you as pay-off for your persistence -- or blind, dumb luck.
If you haven't done so already, take steps to toughen your feet up. Wear boots with progressively thinner socks over the course of weeks and months. I knew guys in the Army who went without socks during the duty day.
Otherwise, if you can't find cheap Thor-Lo's, go for Smartwool.
WigWam 40 Below socks are great too, winter and summer. I love'em.
A bit pricey maybe for some, but what are your feet worth?
I wear them with Danner Ft. Lewis boots and my feet stay comfortable all day.
I agree with Witchwood. Smartwool are definitely high quality socks for the money. I used to use them Backpacking and Snowboarding when I could get them. And as a plus they come in earth tones!
Thorlos is the only brand I wear anymore. They make a world of difference.
OD wool cushion soles, the best in the land. We'd carry one pair inside our shirt to dry when the temp was well below zero. I've saved two good pairs from 58 years ago, just in case.
That is a heckuva good deal. I check the sock bin at the thrift stores periodically but never see anything but the cotton stuff that will kill your feet on a long hike. Maybe I just don't live right :-)
I've found the Redhead brand hunting socks from Bass Pro work pretty well and try to buy a couple of pairs every time they go on sale.
Well I read this and went on the hunt for a Goodwill store which I did find. I had never been in one before. Uh...thanks, Mike. :(
I noticed the new G.I. socks aren't anywhere near as nice as the socks, cushioned sole, O.D. we had 35+ yrs ago. Softer and thicker is what I remember too.
I have bought Smartwool hunting and hiking socks for yrs now, but at $19.95/pr they just got too spendy. Walmart carries a Rocky 85% merino wool Hiker sock for around $6.95 that I much prefer over the Smartwool hiker.(for the price difference) And believe me, I hunt and hike HARD in the rocky mtns. Try to keep good merino wool on your feet and stay away from thin cotton or nylon socks. Your feet will thank you for it, especially when the going turns to shit and there is no resupply. Tube socks just won't cut it.
Semper Fi, 0321
Wool socks are not much use in the South or for those who have a problem with synthetics. I would rather suggest investing in the cotton-terry tube socks sold at your local RedWing shoe store. I have worn these in shoes from the high artic to the middle east desert. They wear forever - I have some that are going on six years old that I am still wearing.
Still a seriously good score there. Salvation Army and thrift stores are good place to find clothes.
Change your socks.
(How many of you have heard those words before?)
What else do you need?
Thorlos, if it's not insanely hot out, and Belleville 310's are my favorites.
OK, I will redact my comment on thin cotton socks. Having been away from the low countries for over 30 yrs, I forgot how hot wool socks can be for you swamp dwellers.
My AO resembles upper Afghanistan and even in the summer our temps are in the 40's at night. So wool socks are like flannel sheets, we use them all year long. I just wear thinner wool socks with hiking shoes. Cotton wads up and doesn't dry like wool either. But, whatever works for you is fine.
Like Justin said, drink water and change your socks. Hang the wet ones on your pack. Keep dry ones to sleep in, warm feet make a huge difference in how well you spend the night.
Last time I looked in the sock bins, I found some worn ones with Bill Clinton's monograms on them, and a pair of Hillary's undies.
There was a ten foot pole next to the bin, for anyone who wanted to touch them.
I'm allergic to wool. Socks are a serious point of contention for me, as the colder it gets the more I sweat. Especially the feet.
What I had to do was wear a pair of cotton socks under the Army issue wool socks and 1 half size larger boots to go with it.
So yeah, I have to parrot:
Change your socks early and often.
Now then, Hillary's undies took one look and ran away!
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