Alpaca Direct Blog

Partner Spotlight: What Makes a Dahlgren Sock so Special?

"I'll see your merino wool & raise you some alpaca!" From colorful poker metaphors to colorful polka-dot knee-highs, our conversation yesterday with Kris Dahlgren, President of Dahlgren Footwear certainly stoked my curiosity! Anyone who's seen (or, better yet, worn) a pair of Dahlgren socks knows they need a bit of introduction & explanation. Why?

Crazy sockBecause they look a bit like socks that took fashion advice from microchips.

What I learned from Kris, however, is that not one square centimeter of a Dahlgren sock is arbitrary; every piece is carefully crafted to serve a very specific purpose. Ultimately, each type of sock represents an interlocking web of mechanisms engineered to provide two things: comfort & dryness.

Of the two, it sounds like comfort is much simpler to achieve. As a knitter, I feel like most of this fight can be won with the right fiber & some strategic construction choices. Dryness, on the other hand, takes a little fancier footwork (to use a particularly germane turn of phrase). Think of a soggy bath towel. If you are my neat, tidy husband, your wet bath towel is returned to the towel bar not long after you've finished drying off. Yet, even a few hours later (or, for those in moister climates, perhaps the next day), you can still feel residual moisture hovering inside the towel, even with air actively circulating around. (Worse still, if you are me, your towel tends to land in a dishevelled heap somewhere near the dresser & takes even longer to dry.)

Now imagine how much harder the dryness equation gets when we talk about socks, which are, more often than not, trying to dry off while inside shoes. This conundrum is what much of Dahlgren's construction seeks to remedy.

Dahlgren diagram For example, a Dahlgren sock uses strips of merino/alpaca to absorb moisture around the foot, in tandem with rings of ECO-Dri to transfer that moisture up the sock & out of your shoe. The funky maze pattern maximizes the surface area of each section, boosting the wicking effect by 40% over a traditional build. Our intestines absorb nutrients using a similar principle-- they're long & snaky because that makes for a bigger surface than a more blobby organ like the stomach.

All in all, this extremely thoughtful construction process results in a superior performance sock that outshines even the highest quality straight-merino, which absorbs until it's saturated but no further. Good moisture control improves comfort, prevents blisters, & protects against frostbite. So, if you're ready to sink your tootsies into some gorgeous little portable Rube Goldberg machines for your feet (and if you don't recall what a Rube Goldberg machine is, or even if you secretly do, trust me & brush up with the video below), pay us a visit! Here at Alpaca Direct, we carry a huge assortment of Dahlgren socks for every occasion: Casual Dress for the businessman on the go, the heavy duty Backpacking line for men or women, the fabulously popular Ultra Light Trail collection for men or women, & many, many more! Sno Pictured above: Dahlgren Sno Sports Socks for Men or Women. These & many more available at Alpaca Direct!

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