Socks may be the last item of clothing you think about, but in most outdoor activities, they are of primary importance. One small issue with fit and you may develop painful blisters or hot spots. Poor moisture control may lead to an infection. On the trail, your feet are your primary mode of transportation, and their condition may mean the difference between making it back to the trailhead on time or making it back at all in more extreme conditions.
SmartWool is wool, pure and simple. This improved version uses fine micron fibers, rendering the wool soft and comfortable without the itchiness that high micron/traditional wool has. SmartWool is densely spun to create a highly durable fabric and will not shrink. Wool is breathable and odor free.
SmartWool provides temperature regulation in all seasons. Air pockets in the fiber help control temperature. Wool pulls moisture away from skin, absorbing it and wicking it away. The fiber is anti-microbial and hypoallergenic. Wool offers UV protection and is a product that is not only flame retardant, but won't melt and stick to skin.
The company treats its animals well, keeping sheep hormone free and free range, with animal welfare a principal guiding practice. Their products are recyclable and biodegradable, and wool is a renewable resource. It is also safe for washing machines and the dryer, so maintenance is simple.
Lorpen socks are made with technical fabrics, though the specific composition of each sock depends on its intended use. Primary blends may include nylon, Lycra, Merino wool, Italian wool, Modal or Polymide. Lycra is structured into the full sock to help preserve the shape. Modal (a beech tree product) is antibacterial and resists odor. It absorbs better than cotton but will not form pills like cotton. The fabric is also more resistant to shrinking and fading. Modal is used with Coolmax FX to pair moisture control with wicking action. Coolmax FX is also anti-microbial and odor resistant.
Lorpen socks are soft and durable, with construction intended to reduce the negative attributes that lead to common complaints about socks. The socks are made to hold their shape and fit. With no creasing, there are fewer causes of blisters and hot spots. Some Lorpen socks include cross bracing on the instep for support and fit and cushioning for comfort.
The company uses a mesh system for the toe cap to eliminate the seam line, further reducing friction. Two levels of fabric are used in high friction areas to increase durability and the life of the sock, and a tri-layer fabric combination system is used on some products to wick away and absorb moisture while resisting friction.
Article Written By Alice Moon
Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.