Gear box: Lorpen socks

Posted Dec. 08, 2010, at 6:03 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:21 p.m.
Lorpen downhill sock. FOR STROUT
Lorpen downhill sock. FOR STROUT

Price: about $20

The Lorpen company, which began business in the early 1980s in the Basque region of Spain, makes socks — all types of socks. It has since grown into a company with manufacturing facilities on two continents and sells its socks in 56 countries worldwide. And I’m just getting an introduction; go figure.

Chances are you don’t think too much about socks. After all, you pull them on your feet in the morning and pull them off at night. That is unless you spend time in the outdoors. Then your feet and what you put on them command some degree of planning, especially when the thermometer dips below freezing.

Lorpen has done a lot of thinking about your feet, and you wouldn’t believe the technology that can be incorporated into something as seemingly simple as a pair of socks.

Take the Ski Medium model, for example. It’s one of the newer ones in the company’s Tri-Layer Technology line that melds three different yarns into one sock. (There’s a Ski Light model for cross-country skiing.)

This is how company explains its product: “The first layer, closest to the skin, is made of PrimaLoft Eco-Polyester, a synthetic fiber that is designed for performance and comfort. It combines 50 percent recycled material with PrimaLoft virgin fibers to create a high loft, thermally efficient insulation. PrimaLoft is also lightweight and water resistant.

“The second layer, or middle layer, is made of merino wool, a natural fiber that can wick moisture away from the foot while providing softness. Merino wool also features anti-microbial/anti-odor properties and is machine washable.

“The third layer, made of nylon, is highly durable making the sock resilient and long lasting. The nylon fibers are concentrated in the toe, heal and shin where the sock gets the most abrasion.

“Multi-density weaving adds cushioning in the shin and heel areas while the instep area is a tad lighter for less binding during foot flex.

“The seamless toe of the sock is designed to make your toes happy.”

And Lorpen says that if you’re not completely satisfied, return the socks to the place of purchase for a complete refund.

After giving a pair some rigorous testing during the past month, I can report there’s no exaggeration in the company’s claims. This pair is over-the-calf in length and provides great lower leg support. Whether walking through newly fallen snow, spending a day outside hanging Christmas decorations or just taking a hike, my feet were happy. Since these socks were designed with the downhill skier in mind and not the hiker, I can only imagine skiers’ feet will be in heaven.

Lorpen socks are available on line at Amazon.com, REI.com, SierraTradingPost.com, Zappos.com and Backcountry.com for about $20.

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