Monday, September 6, 2010


Outdoor Retailer S/S 2011 SLC

Words/Tradeshow Images Judith Ecochard

Anyone who has spent a day outdoors, hiking a skiing/snowboarding down a mountain in the freezing cold, knows all too well the importance of an excellent pair of socks that fit and function. Without’em slapped on one’s feet---it can really ruin the whole outing.

All made in the USA THORLOS® Snow Line addresses the issue of how to deliver the mantra “a dry foot is a warn foot.” Even better, the cushioning requirements of different levels of skiers and boarders are all dealt with… depending on the terrain from easy/varied (maximum cushioning for warmth, shin/shear protection, comfort) to difficult/challenging for maximum edge…and in between too.

WE LOVE: the eco use of natural materials such as Merino wool in the moderate cushion ski sock (with silk blend…

AND Thorlos® “Green Journey” making some of the aforementioned socks with Thor-Wick®…a moisture wicking yarn that’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled Poly Ethylene Terephtalate material…like plastic water bottles.

A win-win ---sparing landfills and requiring less energy AND emitting fewer emissions in the fiber production process.

In assorted colors –neutrals (black, white camel) and bold and pastels…we tried on a pair of the Thin Cushion Snowboard Performance Fit Snowboard socks on a summery day. And strolled around a bit.

We really appreciated the ventilation panel on the foot part…and the excellent fit, particularly around the ankles and arches. And though not technically a wicking sock, we could tell that when we wear these shredding the mountain on a cold day, the wicking abilities of the sock will keep us dry and warm…when we need it.

ALSO coming out for the Holidays…is new color waves, aka “flavors” for the “Taste of Chocolate” Experia® high performance socks with CoolMax®…in new colors ($13.99)—in addition to the 14 currently available.

New Spring 2011 colors for the Experia® Coolmax® are Carolina Blue, Purple and Navy. Amazing the matchy matchy possibilities.

There’s also a merino wool/ silk blend of Experia® socks (crew $19.99 and micro-mini crew $16.99 lengths) that’s ideal for athletes out and about when the mercury dips. Softer and durable, these sock also adhere to the Thorlos® guarantee of performance without the weight---and padding where you need it. And very cool color waves.



Well, talk about explosive growth---with the major sales success of Vibram’s Five Fingers® running shoes and recent collaborations with other outdoor companies (like Merrell®)…Injinji Performance Toesocks ---have really captured the spotlight.

Developed for ultra marathoners---with Left/Right anatomical precision and a lot of proprietary technology in it to insure proper fit (like seamless construction to prevent toe blisters, precisely stitched Vector Heel prevents bunching, 3-ply flex construction to prevent sock movement while increasing wicking/circulation…)--- Injini has been on our radar for several seasons. But this August, the booth at the Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow was positively buzzing with action.

What are new for Spring 2011 are customized Performance Series socks catering to runners with different running styles---therefore different cushioning needs.

SO along with the original weight performance toesocks (the black performance mini-crew ($12) is the best-selling), there are lightweight and midweight versions… the later with cushioning in the heels and sole for shock absorption and mesh uppers to breath.

We try to put on our Ex-Celerator/Compression Injinji toesocks after a long workout ($38).

NOTE: Injinji come in full length too---and are made from assorted materials like the CoolMax/Ecomade™ with 95% recycled post consumer materials, 

Fresh Fx™ (silver fibers for odor control), and Injinji’s exclusive moisture wicking NuWool made from Australian merino wool.

PLUS: Yoga enthusiasts Alert---there’s a split toe sock…and Performance Liners in assorted thicknesses---made with CoolMax® ($10)

DARN TOUGH VERMONT is adding to its assortment of “unconditional lifetime guarantee” offerings with the delivery of a new very fine, ultra dense undetectable “seamless” sock via an Italian high tech knitting machine. Aimed at runners/bikers/skiers, the three models are knitted in such a way---and rendered smooth via a special linking process. The uber thin, lightweight socks are aimed at serious athletes who want a precise fit---and are expected to deliver in January 2011 priced from $14-$22.

What also grabbed our attention at OR…are the colorful and wonderfully patterned, 22 gauge needle made, high density, non itching (really) lifestyles socks--- for women.

Designed by Poppy Gall (Design Studio), the founder of the women’s clothing line ISIS ---these ped coverings are functional and loaded with feminine appeal. Very pretty.



A family-run business out of Portland, Oregon, Dahlgren’s has a wide assortment of socks for everyday casual and dress, and athletic endeavors.

What is truly unique about this collection is the Dri-Stride™ System, “…a system designed from the inside out to be the first of its kind” using different, task specific yarns in different zones of the socks (like high moisture zones and moisture transfer zones) for the ultimate in comfort.

Think of it as a sock temperature/climate control system.

One that is patented to absorb the moisture form the heel part brings it up through the body of the sock…and dispenses it…to keep wearers warm and blister free.

Dahlgren’s extensive use of Alpaca wool is because of the softness, ability to absorb moisture, cushioning and fit retention, and durability of the material---enduring wash and wear very, very well.

As we were told:

“Our name is on every pair of socks so it means something to us…we’re really committed to quality.”

There are a wide assortment of performance driven socks available, blended with merino wool…as in the heavy weight Expedition socks for men---with extra alpaca in the toe and heel for insulating warmth.

For causal days…there’s a women’s stylish medium weight Walking collection with extra bottom cushioning and a single cable on the side (pictured atop).

New---are the lightweight Metro collection with a pretty flower design for women…and in argyles for men.

Stylish, functional and able to feet comfortable from day to night…and MADE IN THE USA

We found them online sold in two or three Pair Pack starting at $49.00…$62.50

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