Question “Are these socks seconds? Why?”
Answer Yes. They are seconds. Barely perceptible blemishes.
Answer The only detectable problem I found on the three different pairs I ordered was that on one sock the front cushioning section was skewed to one side and not set squarely on the shin as in the picture. Another friend mentioned that the "SmartWool" lettering was a bit messed up on the pair of seconds he ordered.