Bamboo! That’s certainly different from the rest! I actually own a number of bamboo fibre socks and I absolutely love them. Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypoallergenic so will be friendly to those sensitive types and should reduce sweaty odours. I’ve always found that I get hot, sweaty feet and the bamboo socks kept them cool, dry and comfortable. These also feel cool to the touch so, I’m intrigued about their supposed insulating properties. However, they could be handy if you’re often overheating when on the move.
To test the insulative properties of each garment, we measured the cooling rate of a bladder of warm water placed inside the base layer’s top. We filled plastic bags with 500 millimetres of water at 50ºC and used aquarium thermometers to take in-situ temperature measurements of the water in 15-minute intervals, over a two-hour period. The wicking test was performed by dripping a 0.5ml bubble of water onto the material’s surface. We then measured the time taken for the water bubble to be absorbed, become damp and then completely dry.
Test Results In general these didn’t perform too well with regard to insulation or wicking properties. They lost heat quickly and stayed damp for ages – not great for deep winter use. We are, however, still interested in their ability to keep you cool when you are walking round; if you never get too hot then you won’t sweat in the first place. Perhaps they’d be better suited to spring and autumn use when its not quite so arctic.
PROS Very flexible and comfortable all round. Even the zip-up collar fits snuggly without constricting too much.
CONS Very slow wicking and low heat retention.
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