Tim’s taken Ororo’s heated socks for a spot of winter camping to see if technology can finally keep frosty toes at bay.
We’ve got WiFi in our lightbulbs and bluetooth in our… toothbrushes, so why are we still kicking around in socks we stole from a sheep’s back? That’s what Ororo reckons anyway. The company, (pronounced Oh ROAR oh) specialises in heated gear, from jackets and gloves to the humble sock, to fend off the elements.
Cold feet are a bummer, so I was pretty psyched to try out Ororo’s heated sock on a recent snow trip.
Fun fact: the name Ororo comes from Ororo Munroe or ‘Storm’ from Marvel Comics. Storm can control the weather, geddit?
Sitting ‘round the fire after a pretty rough day of icy backcountry called for all of the creature comforts. As the temperature approached freezing and the crew battled to start flames on a soggy log, I slipped on the Ororo ‘Sequoia’ Heated Socks. They come up to just below the knee and the midweight fabric instantly gave me a bit of warmth. The compression is nice too and the fit is snug – first impressions looking good.
I chucked on my slides (pretty confident), dialled them up to the highest of three settings, and cracked a tinnie. I then promptly forgot about them for an hour or so. Not what I was expecting. I’d roughly correlated level three to the fever-dream inducing throes of leaving an electric blanket on high and nodding off, but instead, my feet were just comfy. They weren’t cold, but I wouldn’t say they were ‘warm’.
I chucked my hiking boots on, reasoning that I’d gone a bit Icarus on the whole thing and that they probably weren’t designed to directly contact the freezing breeze that was sucking the heat away. Now we were getting somewhere, warmth was building up on the bottom of my feet near the toes, where the heating elements are located. It never reached ‘too warm’, but I got comfy enough to chuck them down to the middle setting while sitting around in the cold. Time to crack another tinnie.
Ororo’s heated socks are powered through two 3350 mAh batteries that sit up on the outside of your calf. There’s a little pocket that holds the battery, and a cable runs down to the heating element that’s located under the ball of your foot.
Operation is simple, plug it in and press a single button to cycle through modes (coloured lights indicate temp setting). It’s all pretty easy to use, but changing the temp on the fly is a bit of a faff, best to set and forget.
Dreams of using the socks in my ski boots were quickly dashed when I felt the thickness of the material. The blend (60% Cotton, 30% COOLMAX, 8% Polyester, 2% Spandex) is probably asking for blisters in hiking boots too. I actually think this is ok, if you’re getting cold feet while hiking you probably need to level up your footwear, not rely on batteries to ward off frostbite.
When would I use these socks then? Outdoor photography in cold environments, winter camping, après, and under my cold-ass desk while working from home. The Ororo heated socks will have your back for a night of cold weather ‘chillin’, with 5 hours on high (or up to 10 hours on ‘low’, but I’ll be honest, I couldn’t feel it on this setting). Charge them up along with your phone, watch and headphones, it’s 2020 baby!
I was sent the orange colour, which has a bit of a tiger-stripe vibe going on. They look awesome – the battery packs are subtle, there’s no gross branding and they fit super well.
Everything in the pack felt high quality, including the charging cable and charger. The socks themselves felt nice against the skin, no scratching or stifling. The addition of COOLMAX (love how fabrics are always screaming in all caps) to the sock means that they breathe pretty nicely and never got sweaty. A blessing, because washing requires a wash bag that I, as a millennial, do not own, yet the socks have been tested for over a week. Luckily, this ain’t my first rodeo.
You’ve gotta rate gear on what it was designed for, and the Ororo heated socks aren’t claiming they can do it all. They’re a sock for when your feet really get cold – the end of the day when you’re not moving as much, or situations where you have to stand around in the elements without getting the heart-rate up.
The retail price of $155 is quite a lot for socks, but it’s a well-made bit of kit with modern materials – right now they’re down to $99 too! A quick heads up though, the USB adaptor they ship with has a US configuration – I charged them by plugging the USB into my phone charger.
Ororo’s heated socks kept my feet warm but I wouldn’t say they ever got ‘toasty’, which could be a blessing in disguise because they stayed dry.
If you want to bring a mate winter camping, but they keep getting ‘cold feet’, Ororo’s heated socks might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Tim was given the Ororo Heated Socks for testing and was allowed to keep them afterwards. He was allowed to say whatever the heck he wanted about them in this review.