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Outdoor Retailer/SLC, SIA-Denver


words/images Judith Ecochard

Novelty socks-boldened with bright colors and punchy prints-are becoming a 'yes' on the must buy bucket list of many fashion retailers' trooping through all the tradeshows-these past few weeks. The warm winter seems irrelevant -as shoe/bootie styles are welcoming footwear to show off these stylish styles- for year round wear.

Why not then, opt for the best fitting, technically innovative (moisture wicking, anti-odor etc), durable...and comfy knit socks out there---like the brands we recently previewed at Outdoor Retailer and SnowSports Industries Association trade shows.

Made faaarrrrrrr better than the designer label licensed socks we see for sale at  better department stores...and just, if not better looking...with btw nice packaging too in some cases.

Baselayers/performance leg wear combos-just seemed like a no-brainer,  but this was our first time seeing anything quite like this... Pyour Performance 2 in 1 sock and tights that are ergonomically crafted.

Hailing from Italy---Pyour Performance is sport specific for active activities like technical and 'regular' skiing  and snowboarding (running/hiking too)....made from special merino wool or acrylic wool blends (with Lycra® Spandex), plus breathable Thermocool...
Pyour Performance-

...and are smartly designed to provide extra cushioned padding  in high impact zones (the rear and hip flexors for snowboarders, shins for skiers) and thoughtful details like extra venting in the calfs for snowboarders that works better with snowboard boots.

Other attributes- a non-irritating seamless construction, power band heel control combined with the Y heel to keep the heels in place, a soft touch waist that doesn't cinch or roll, over and elastometric support band that keeps the sock part in place.

Heat regulating and Isofil® for foot cushioning-Advanced Skiing Technology(l) and women's Ski 
We tried a pair of the women's technical ski leg wear- (that we later tossed in the washing machine-no prob)--and found them as billed, warm, supportive without a feeling of being compressed---and a perfect fit too. Underneath our snowboard pants-we didn't need any other layers---though we can see how if it was arctic freezing out, we might add another base layer. Really nice-we could see why retailers responded well to this company's debut at both trade shows.
supportive foot to leg knits...not constricting

arch support and extra padding under the buckles part of the boot
Men/Women-sizes are by height- S. M, and L-prices range from $58-$89 for the running tights made with highly functioning durable Profilen Lenzing®,Tactel® and Resistex Silver (anti-heat loss). Plus kids sizes.

DARN TOUGH -one of the most fashion-y lines of socks that spans the globe, IMHO---has a talented designer- Poppy Gall (co-founder of women's apparel company ISIS)---who magically conjured up even more fab prints and colors for this made in the USA, Vermont based company.

Guaranteed for Life !!!! 

Stripes, dots and flowers----these versatile performance/lifestyle hybrid socks are as well made as the non-itch, moisture wicking/ hard working hiking/ski options-all made on special knitting machines capable of True Seamless™construction. Naturally breathing merino wool is used...and actually, we interchangeable use these fancy looking socks to trail run in....they are that good.

New too-the knee high lengths.

Also new-are the fine gauge merino wool / nylon/Lycra® Spandex Over-The-Calf Women's/Men's Fang Ultra-Light Ski/Ride socks...that deliver for Fall 2012.

loved the laundry line of socks....

perfect for urban dwellers who wear head to ankle black-nice pop of color!
We wonder-if DT could ever do a lace knit out of merino wool...

Vibrams Five Fingers® barefoot sport shoes -on display for all to see...and try on-always draws a crowd-though we have yet to see anyone actually run a race in these! They are def. lookers though and immensely popular for retailers to stock-and casual wear seems to be what most wearers we see, wear them for anyway. Like a recovery shoe.

Set to deliver boldly for Fall 2012 colors-as seen at OR.

Vibram Five Fingers® Fall 2012

Water friendly? Not triathlon friendly unless transitions times are leisure times too.

mid weight performance-w/a bit of padding

Poppy Pink, Gulf Blue, Green Tea, Aqua Cool and Tidal Teal

Coveniently nearby-INJINJI® right/left specific toesocks have continued to convert the masses to the individual toe construction benefits-originally designed for Ultra Marathoners in a quest for a blister/hot spot free experience.

Ideal for the aforementioned kickers-the Performance Series Lightweight/no-show toesocks...($10), made with moisture wicking CoolMax®...

WHAT ELSE- Outdoor Series-light and original weight toesocks made with moisture wicking nüwool™, a Yoga series made with freshFX®, and ---original and mid weight performance socks that we run in when it gets a bit nippy out. Cool color combos too---that we wear with sandals.

Thorlo Experia socks -like Darn Tough-are made in the USA. A runners fav in many stores in NYC-the "Natural Fit"-protection without the weight, gets heavy rotation with our running attire-we have actually worn out some pairs over the past two years.

NICE-the new colors-and length options including trail run ready crews (with merino wool/silk for added durability), and ankle length micro-minis. 

FITS® SOCK CO.  is busting out of its socks-sort of speak-with an expansion of great feeling-next to skin,  merino wool offerings for gals: a rainbow's worth of colors and patterns with the exacting fit, Fits is known for-courtesy of a Heel Lock ™heel pocket with unique Y shape stitching...and a three point negative toe seam-Dynamic Toe Cup™=no hotspot/rubbing-a SculptureKnit™ design that perfectly conforms to feet and legs.

We know-as we immediately tried out the pretty lilac/snowflake medium women's ski socks ($24.99) they gave out  at OR Demo Day...and felt supported, warm and not clammy-for hours in and the knit construction from the ankle up-is so well done as to be non-constricitng up at the top "Full Contact Cuff™" part-but without slippage either. THANKS. We now wear in urban settings, with boots.

new length-no shows for runners ultra-light
Runners get their own-in great colors...

toe cup

superior arch support too-no slippage

rugged crew-high enough for boots

casual business
We checked out a few hiker specific socks-including the new Rugged Crew (pictured above)-with a nylon reinforced exterior and yet still keeping the super-fine merino wool against the skin for comfort. Tightly woven too-to keep the rock and debris from getting in (so annoying when that happens). Impressive 2 layer thing going on-something we always see in techy fabrics.
Performance Trail-trail running/mountain biking-vented upper and instep for added breathability

LORPEN -made in Spain...this company has a sock series that incorporates what is called Engineered Sock Technology-with a previously launched Trekking Expedition foot covering getting major love from consumers.

Trekking Expedition

Here's why-heavily insulated, made of two layers of the breakthrough fabric Polartec® PowerStretch® (4 way stretch without the weight) sandwiching the warm when wet even---Primaloft® Footwear Insulation---in a left/right anatomical shape.

New for Fall 2012 -and "made by four ladies who sew these socks"----that's right, hand cut and stitched!

...the Polartec® Ski Light (light cushion), and Polartec® Ski ultralight (no cushion)-without the Primaloft ®Insulation---BUT WITH added Nylon EA, and Lycra®..and in the case of the ultralight-with Polartec® Power Dry-a patented bi-componet knit-that wicks away moisture-then dries quickly. we were told these will retail for $59.00

Very impressive-these are a breakthrough socks we feel, and no doubt the performance aspects are outstanding, given the accolades anything POLARTEC® that company supplies textiles, knits, fabrics to some of the top names in outdoor performance wear...for people who's lives depend on their attire holding up -even in the harshest conditions. Actually, especially in the harshest conditions.