Wednesday, March 3, 2010



January 2010

Words, Some Images Judith Ecochard
Product Images Courtesy of Companies

At our first OR Tradeshow (F/W 2009) ---we could not get over how many exhibitors were touting socks…as technical wear. HUH?

Well we got EDUCATED…not only with one on ones with the founders and sales/marketing agents of said companies…but by actually wearing different brands and types of ped coverings that are very use/gender specific.

And honestly, the difference in the quality of our comfort level was huge. Feet first indeed.


We cruised into this space bedecked in our BARÇA shirt…and lo and behold, this is a Spanish company…started up in 1985 at the base of the Pyrenees.

Our eyeballs immediately locked on the new TRI LAYER MIDWEIGHT and LIGHTWEIGHT hikers…that are gender specific…(gals get a wider instep arch band to support higher arches/less volume in the heel and forefoot). 


What’s neat about the LORPEN socks is the DNA--- three yarns knitted together - but really 4 materials in the hikers---including 50% PrimaLoft Eco Polyester Yarn (warmth, moisture wicking, eco yes!) and 25% Merino wool for warmth/moisture wicking, softness and washable, and 15% Nylon (durability where it’s needed) and Lycra for the fit that doesn’t quit.

(W/Light Blue, Charcoal Heather and Oatmeal Heather, M/Oatmeal Heater, Charcoal Heather, and Taupe MSRP $17.99.

The new Lightweight has different functionalities…as it’s a women’s crew sock without the bulk--- and with a narrower heel and toe box/higher arch. The multi density knit is 36% Tencel (soft, absorbant and strong), 35% CoolMax® (moisture management par excellence)  18% Nylon, 10% Lycra and 1% Modal (helps prevent color fading).

The colors---a snazzy two tone---Oatmeal/Taupe, Mauve/Pink, and Pale Blue/Light Blue. (MSRP $16.99)

LORPEN also has a rather extensive collection of new tri-layer multi-sports socks in short and ultralight styles…for men and women ---geared towards runners, bikers and tennis types.

New for Fall 2010 are men’s ski socks…made similarly from the aforementioned Primaloft Eco Polyester laden tri-layer knit…that's for the hardcore expert, racer type (“RACE”) and a light version … and lightweight and medium thickness (WARM) socks for gals.

And if outdoor enthusiasm is limited to a stroll around the block…there are women’s walking socks packed with breathable, odor resistant CoolMax.®…and a line of everyday use socks in the Comfort Life category.

Inspiration Boards




Talk about southern hospitality. Ensconced in the Ballroom…an area of this tradeshow that gathers newer companies…Swiftwick began it’s life in Tennessee as a sockmaker for Lance Armstrong’s Austin Tx bicycle shop.

At OR, it was clear they are bustin’ beyond the Lonestar state with socks aimed at the outdoor and snowsports market (Seven and Twelve ) joining  Zero-barely above the ankle, and One-an inch cuff…

And all sporting compression attributes in the footbed and arch support.

Made with 60% composition of 21 gauge Australian Merino wool (thermal insulation, moisture wicking)---plus nylon and lycra…


… or 15% of a  synthetic microfiber called Olefin (for a faster dry, repels water, lightweight sock big on abrasion resistance and durable)…

… the made in the USA socks are knitted on 200 needles---for a higher density that feels better (softer) and prevents the socks from bunching up (ugh).

What interests us is the mechanical underpinnings of Swiftwick’s offerings…

Like a compression cuff that keeps the socks up, Y-Heel contour so the socks moves with one’s foot, thin, channeled upper with arch support (less bulk too), cushioned footbed, and “window seam” design for frictionless strides.

ECO: Both Merino wool and Olefin are biodegradable.

We actually tried the Compression socks “Twelve” that are for those who want extra support via managed pressure on the lower part of legs/feet. We felt the difference more after a looonnnggg for us, 9 hour hike in the mountains on steep veriticals. As our calves barely ached after we hauled off those boots.

Swiftwick also has arm warmers made from the same knitting techniques and wristlets (below) that we think should come up to the elbows.

PICTURED DUDE: Brian Tolbert---holds the 24 hours long Grand Targhee Resort, Mountain Bike Race record.