This past weekend I had the opportunity to try out a new pair of socks from Dahlgren, just in time to run off a few of my Thanksgiving calories! I received a pair of women’s Dri-Stride Alpaca socks in the Ultra Light Trail weight in size medium (7 ½ to 10 ½) and took them for a preemptive jog Thursday morning and another on Saturday morning.
First thing’s first, the claims they make regarding their socks include the wicking, temperature regulation, and durability of both the alpaca and Merino wool fibers used in the socks. The package itself says “softer. drier. blister-free.” The toe and heel are a total of 72% wool and alpaca blend, the arch/instep are 22% of the natural fibers. Much of the rest of the fiber content of the socks are Eco-Dri, a recycled polyester (100% post consumer waste for those of you keeping track) designed to maximize evaporation. Additionally, the socks have patented wicking channels and rings in the arch/instep area to move up to 40% more moisture from the absorption zones in the toe and heel to the evaporative zone in and just below the leg cuff.
Now when I first put these on, I have to admit, I was not impressed. The toe and heel felt stiff and the toe in particular looked and felt boxy and strange. I was worried that their “blister free” claim would prove false in my case. While definitely not itchy or anything close to that, they just felt stiff, big and not as snug or supportive around the arch as I generally prefer in an active sock. My first run in them was, thankfully, uneventful. No blisters, not even any slippage that worried me during the run, and by the time I got back and took my shoes off and they felt and looked like they were made for my feet. I also have to admit, my socks were not as soggy as I generally find them at the end of the run, but it was exceptionally cold out and I wasn’t sure if it was the wicking channels doing their magic, or just the weather. I decided to treat them as though they were all natural fiber content, or maybe I was just lazy, and didn’t wash them before my next run. When I pulled them on, I again found myself thinking what a bad idea this was, they felt boxy and stiff, but again, no problems, and they molded to my feet perfectly. It was quite a bit warmer for my second run, and still, the socks were not as soggy as I have experienced with any of my purely synthetic socks.
Overall, I’d say their claims hold up. Their Dri-Stride Alpaca socks kept my feet drier, were quite comfortable and really do fit well despite my initial reservations. The only thing I would change would be to add a bit more arch support for higher activity levels. They offer many different styles and lengths with different levels of padding and alpaca content for skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities as well as casual socks. www.dahlgrenfootwear.com is the place to see them all. Starting under $20 with free shipping through December 20th, they just might be the thing you need to fill someone’s stocking perfectly this Christmas.