Let’s face it: Socks are technical. Sure, they’re not as complicated as shoes or boots, but these days you can spend upwards of $60 on a pair that cushions, squeezes, breathes, wicks, warms, cools, whatever, you name it.
So where do you start? Well, DahlgrenFootwear.com is a good place. The Portland-based company offers quite the collection of colorful and cozy socks, all of which are patented with Dri-Stride technology. (What’s that, you ask? According to Dahlgren’s website, the concept of Dri-Stride is to “absorb moisture as it is created, then transfer the moisture away from the foot and out of the sock to keep feet drier and more comfortable in any environment.”)
Dahlgren uses superfine alpaca fibers, which are soft, warm and absorbent. Alpaca, when combined with merino wool, creates tough, durable socks (doubly durable in the high-wear areas, such as the toe and heel, where they are reinforced). Toes seams are flat knit and the Y-heel contours well to the foot, so blisters won’t be a problem. Neither will shrinkage (and speaking of laundry, wash ’em in cold water and air dry or tumble dry in low heat).
Dahlgren, which was founded in 1978 by Ray and Diane Dahlgren, offers socks for pretty much every outdoor activity, but for snowshoeing, consider the best-selling hiking line. These taller socks will keep you dry and warm in most conditions. They’re thick but not bulky, with just enough cushion underfoot to keep you stable and comfortable. The legs stretch while staying up and maintaining their shape.
Après snowshoe, slip into knee-high compression socks, which help circulation and energy in the legs (this line is also good for traveling or standing for long periods of time). These socks, which deliver 15-20 mm Hg compression (the maximum allowed without a prescription), facilitate the delivery of oxygen to the legs, improve the removal of lactic acid and help prevent muscle soreness and swelling.
In addition to the technical capabilities of Dahlgren products, they also come in a variety of bright colors. You’ll feel fun and fashionable, even if socks are hidden beneath layers of outdoor apparel.
So, start your New Year off on the right foot — or at least on dry, warm feet. Your toes will be snug and stylish, wherever your snowshoes take you.