We tested several types of vapor barrier socks for our project on Lightweight Systems for Snow Travel (to be published soon), including the Integral Designs VB Socks. These lightweight minimalist socks were one of our favorites for snow hiking, snowshoeing, and winter camping in frigid temperatures.
The Integral Designs VB Sock (the right one is turned inside out) is made of urethane-coated 70 denier taffeta nylon and weighs 2.4 ounces/pair for size Large. They are calf height, seam-taped on the inside, elasticized at the ankle, and have an elastic cord and cordlock closure at the top.
Vapor barrier socks work best against the skin, but feel very clammy that way, so we normally wear (left to right) a liner sock, then the vapor barrier sock, then a wool sock. For more information on vapor barrier principles and techniques, read our article on Lightweight Footwear for Snow Travel (to be published soon).
The Integral Designs VB Sock has a baggy fit. Wearing an insulating sock over it compresses it to the foot. We did not have any problems with the folds causing a foot irritation.
We wore the Integral Designs VB Socks in insulated boots on several snowshoeing and snow camping trips in frigid temperatures (daytime temperatures below 25 F, nighttime temperatures below 0 F).
These socks are simple and lightweight, and that’s why we like them. There is no inside or outside linings to absorb moisture and resist drying. Our feet stayed warm as long as we kept moving. When we stopped for the day we promptly removed the VB Socks and damp socks within and put on dry socks and insulated booties. The VB Socks were easy to dry by letting the moisture freeze and wiping it off.
These socks could definitely benefit from a little tailoring, and the top hem could be simplified to an elasticized binding rather than a drawcord and cordlock closure. Overall, they perform their function very well and are very durable, so it’s hard to ask for more.
Features and Specifications
- Manufacturer: Integral Designs (www. integraldesigns.com)
- Sizes: Small 6-7, Medium 8-9, Large 10-11, X Large 12-13
- Fabric: 70d nylon taffeta, polyurethane-coated on the inside
- Features: Seam taped, elasticized ankle, elastic drawcord/cordlock closure
- Included: Socks, silnylon stuff sack
- Weight: Measured weight size Small 2.3 oz (65 g), size Large 2.4 oz (68 g); manufacturer specification size Small 2.5 – oz/pair, size XL 3.25 oz/pair (70g – 90g)
- MSRP: $20 US