Are socks the most underrated piece of outdoor gear? Chris Townsend assess the best for hillwalking. On test Falke TK1 socks

Unusually the Falke TK1 socks are shaped left and right and marked with red letters so you don’t get them wrong. Does it make any difference? I didn’t find so. I wore them on the ‘wrong’ feet and they felt just the same. The stretch in the fabric overcomes any shaping. In other respects these are good socks, faster drying than most due to the low wool content but also more odour prone due to the synthetics. Overall they are quite thick and better suited to cold conditions. Turn them inside out and a complex construction is revealed with different densities of cushioning in places – thicker at the toe, heel and ankle – and plain knit panels described by Falke as ‘anti-wrinkle zones’. The upper legs are rib-knit to keep the socks up. All this makes for a comfortable sock. They don’t feel as soft as wool-rich socks but I didn’t notice this in use. Nothing wrong with them then but at this price I’d rather have a much higher merino wool content.