Bridgedale X-Hale TrailBlazes
Sam Ring, August 1, 2011
The X-Hale TrailBlazes are a trail running specific sock found within Bridgedale’s recently developed ‘Fast and Light’ range. Designed with warm conditions and quick movement in mind, the TrailBlazes were just the product I was looking for on a long walk/run through the Langdale Pikes in the Lake District. Now that ultrabreathable, odor-free socks have become the norm, I was testing the X-Hale to see whether it offered any other performance qualities that you might expect from a ‘Fast and Light’ product.
Sure enough my X-Hales breathed well while I worked hard during an hour of climbing at the start of my route, keeping my feet feeling fresh for the trickier terrain to follow. Yet I was more pleased to discover the impressive support that the socks provided on a thousand foot scree fall that I rook on to the valley floor.
During this stretch my feet were exposed to a nonstop dusty barrage from the slipping rocks under me, yet by the end it was my legs not the soles of my feet that were in discomfort. Added to the fact that I was working hard and putting lateral stress through the shoe on the uneven terrain, the breathability of the sock really helped maintain a close interaction between the shoe and foot.
This combination of breathability and support can be attributed to the clever hybrid construction of the TrailBlaze that mixes merino wool padding and lighter mesh side and underfoot panels. I personally find the additional ventilation that comes with wearing ankle socks preferable to the lengthier TrailBlaze, meaning that the Bridgedale Speed Demon X-Hale would be my personal recommendation for summertime runners. However if your personal preference is for long socks the TrailBlaze is a sure winner.