At Outdoor Retailer, I was given a few pairs of Dahlgren alpaca socks to test out. I had not tried Dahlgren socks before so I was excited to give them a go as well as pass on a couple of pairs to my product testers for use in their various outdoor pursuits.
Alpaca is one of the softest and most durable fibers in the world, supposedly 3 times stronger than wool. Alpaca is also 10 times more insulative than wool, meaning it will do a better job at keeping your feet cool in the heat and warm in the cold.
Since alpaca is extremely absorbent, it works well at pulling moisture away from your foot. Dahlgren's Dri-Stride Technology uses zones of alpaca and merino wool to absorb moisture, provide cushion and regulate temperature. Separate zones of hydrophobic ECO-Dri, made from 100% post consumer poly, grabs this absorbed moisture and moves it up and out of the sock.
Dahlgren makes alpaca socks for every activity from walking to full on expedition. Each style features a reinforced toe and heel for added durability, flat knit toe seams to prevent blisters, and Y shaped heel cups for better fit.
I wore my Dahlgren Light Hiking socks everyday at ISPO- three days of walking the concrete halls for up to 7 hours a day. Even with all the walking, the socks kept my feet from overheating and they felt less tired than usual at the end of the day.
I am normally a cotton sock hiker, if temperature is not an issue, as my feet need the absorbency. The Dahlgren alpaca socks are the first to offer the moisture management I need but also extra comfort and supportive fit as a bonus.
One of my product testers routinely wore his Dahlgren Hikers for cold weather cycling. He felt they were extremely comfortable and almost functioned as compression socks with the supportive fit. He also appreciated that the top band kept the socks up without actually digging into his leg.
Even though the tester felt they weren't any better at keeping his feet warm than merino, they were way better at wicking sweat and dissipating heat. He would love to see the alpaca socks come in more vibrant colors as well!
Bottom Line: The Dahlgren socks are some of the most comfortable we have worn. As the alpaca socks are great at wicking sweat, those of you who are blister prone should give them a try.
The Dahlgren alpaca socks retail for roughly $18-$22 and can be purchased from the company website or retailers such as Sierra Trading Post.