With more than 30 years experience, Lorpen has dedicated themselves to making technically advanced socks with an emphasis on moisture and heat management. I’ve tested three different socks from them, and these are my thoughts.
Admittedly, it’s kind of hard to write an article about socks. You shove your feet into them, and you go. Generally, you don’t really notice the fuzzy little slipper ons until a problem comes up (blisters, holes, wet feet, etc). But, Lorpen has made that a bit easier for me with designs that look, feel and perform quite a bit different than I’m used to. Basically, they’re using dialed in blends to achieve certain profiles based around warmth, weight, fit and durability. Even specific zones are placed to emphasize certain characteristics where they’re needed the most. So, I’ve put three different models to the test, listed the pros and cons of each, put a quick description of what each material does, and described when they should or should not be used.
Designed to be light, nimble, and provide excellent ventilation, the T3 running (and light hiker for that matter) provides minimal protection, but emphasizes a snug fit for maximum control. They’re a blend of 16% Coolmax for heat regulation, 15% Tencel for blister resistance, 59% Nylon for form holding, and 10% Stretch Nylon and Lycra, meaning a lot of emphasis is put on elasticity. The socks absolutely hug my feet, staying in place when running, hiking or even biking, without bunching or moving around. I found them exceptionally cool, making them a great option for high temperatures o fast and light hikes. They’re not robust enough for heavy packs or prolonged rough terrain, but when it comes to speed and agility, I found these to be excellent options for trail running, short hikes, or even just wearing around the house and in town.
T2 Midweight Hiker
The T2s are aimed at general hiking, and their fabric blend reflects that. These are 72% MerinoDry, 18% Nylon, and 10% Strech Nylon with Lyrca. The MerinoDry keeps the feet dry while offering added protection, while the Nylon and Lyrca provide stretch and flexibility. These socks are thicker and stiffer than the lightweighter weight designs Lorpen offers, but provide far more protection, support and abrasion resistance. Blisters and holes are non-issues with these socks even on long trips, as boot seams and creases simply slide along the the surface, leaving the feet well protected. They also dry especially quick given their material choice and midweight construction. The fabric cut does bunch a little at my ankles and has a bit of extra fabric around the small toe, but they never felt uncomfortable and certainly never caused any blisters. These are great for long hikes over moderately rough terrain in cool to warm weather.
T3 Heavy Trekker
For the serious trekker or cold weather enthusiast, the T3 Heavy Trekkers are built accordingly. These are 50% primaloft for warmth, 25% Merino for abrasion resistance and dry time, 15% nylon to hold their shape, and 10% Lycra to provide stretch and elasticity. To me, the Heavy Trekkers felt more like a ski sock than a hiking sock, but it turns out that really works. The sock is somewhat stiff feeling on the foot, but also provides an excellent amount of abrasion resistance and does a solid job of trapping warmth, without becoming too hot. There was some bunching at the ankles and a bit of extra fabric at the toes, but it was never noticeable while trekking and the thinner than expected construction profile meant I didn’t have to size up my boots to wear them. They’re warm, comfortable, and provide excellent heat moderation, meaning they’re useful up to about 75 degrees F before they start getting sweaty (for me). The lower limits will depend on the boots they are paired with, but in my Thinsulate lined boots I found 20 degrees to be rather comfortable. These are also quite usable in hot weather if you are a tenderfoot prone to blisters like myself as the beefier build provides nice blister protection, assuming sweating isn’t an issue.
I really liked the Lorpen Socks, especially the T3 running and light hiking socks. They fit amazingly well and feel exceptionally comfortable against the skin. The blends Lorpen uses here are all exceptionally smooth to the touch, which in my experience translates to less blisters, less bunching, and the stiffer construction helped prevent the socks from sagging down along my shins. Each socks has a purpose, and each performed exceptionally well. I can definitely recommend all three, but a definite nod goes to the T3 running/light hiking variants for their supreme feel, weight and heat management.
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