Merino wool appears to be in the noughties what polarfleece was to the eighties: The whole world seems to be discovering what a versatile fabric this is - from outer layer jackets right through to socks. Smartwool is an American Company now devoted to the task of creating fantastic socks after having been frustrated by the range of ski socks on the market. Their promotional information appears misleading as they quote getting the wool from New Zealand on their packaging but after watching an informative video on their website, they say they get the wool from Australia. Not being one to split hairs, I will let this pass. Just be aware New Zealanders are very protective over their sheep.

We have now been wearing three different varieties of socks for six months and this is what we think.

RBX Ultralight

Smartwoolrbxultralight

It is obviously a summer sock however, and in slightly colder conditions I could feel the wind coming through my shoes and directly to my feet.

RRP £9.95

The breakdown: 58% wool, 33% nylon and 9% elastic. You can even tumble dry these puppies.

Verdict: Highly recommended.

Adrenaline Mini Crew

smartwooladrenalineminicrew

They did run a little warm though (but only a little) and I tended to avoid them in the hottest conditions.

RRP: £12.95

The breakdown: 72% wool, 26% nylon, 2% elastic. You can tumble dry these too.

Verdict: Highly recommended

RBX Racer

SmartwoolRBXracer

I didn't actually test these as much as the other two mainly as the sample I was provided with was a lovely pimpy cream colour. When wearing them I rather felt I should actually be wearing sandals and a trench coat wandering around the park. That said they were were a great do-it-all sock. Any time, any weather, these were perfect for the task at hand.

RRP: £10.95

The breakdown: 61% Smartwool, 29% nylon, 10% elastic. (yes.... you can even tumble dry these too).

Verdict: Like a broken record - highly recommended.

I have been impressed with the comfort and features of the Smartwool socks. As always when it comes to items as seemingly basic as socks it can be easy to overlook the benefits of some of the more specialist offerings. These can make your day, if even only slightly, more enjoyable and will last longer than most standard market choices. So even if you can't see yourself stretching your budget to pair, it could be a good idea to recommend them to a grey-haired in your life before they buy you another pack of triple sports socks for Christmas.

Check out full details at the slightly funky Smartwool website (you need flash though) at www.smartwool.com