With our travels to Europe and involvement in the trade show scene over there, we've long known that Spanish sock maker Lorpen is a major player in the European market. However, when we hear that the company was making a foray into the seemingly over-crowded and hyper-competitive U.S. outdoor and ski sock market, we were left wondering what the Lorpen team was thinking.
Still, never one to jump to conclusions without a bit of firsthand knowledge, we ordered up a pair of the company's Ski Lite socks for testing. And from all appearances, if the company can garner the right mix of marketing and sales, it already has the most essential ingredients nailed -- quality and comfort.
As a bit of historical background, Lorpen socks come from the Navarra region of Spain, in the small community of Etxalar. Lorpen is a Basque word for innovation.
Thankfully, with the first early November snows in a decade and a chance to make turns in the backcountry, our tester started making tours to find the powder stashes. A pair of calf-high Lorpen Ski Lite merino wool socks were the only new items in his backcountry gear and apparel set-up.
According to our tester, the minute he put the socks on he began smiling. Thanks to a 10-percent Lycra construction, the socks fit snuggly, but they weren't overly tight. Most noticeably, the socks felt soft to the skin, thanks to another 75 percent of the construction coming from cushy merino wool woven into the sock and placed next to the skin.Â
The other well thought out design features of these socks became apparent the more our tester carved up the backcountry in them. They included two layers of nylon (the other 15 percent of the sock's fabric blend) at the shin, a more open weave at the top of the foot to allow for rapid perspiration vapor transfer, and an extra flat sewn seam across the toe area to eliminate bunching and friction.
Our tester, who refuses to give up his socks (we're going to have to revisit his testing contract) wrote, "A typical backcountry day for me might include a two-mile ski into a peak, an ascent and descent, and at no time was there any downward creep of the socks. There was plenty of cushioning of the shin area against boot top pressure while turning, and I had relatively dry socks at the end of the day. Overall comfort is superb."
SNEWSÂ® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $20
For more information:www.lorpen.com or call 888-224-9781