Buying Alpaca Socks
100% Pure Alpaca Socks?!
We get asked all the time for 100% Pure Alpaca socks. People believe that if there is more alpaca in a pair of socks they are a higher quality... Is that in fact the case?
The highest quality alpaca socks are made up of three components and vary greatly depending on the end use...
1) The right quality of Alpaca must be chosen respectful of the final product.
Alpaca comes in five grades from Royal Baby – the finest, to coarse- the roughest. Royal baby is buttery soft and coarse is just that, coarse and unpleasing to the skin. Some makers use this coarse fiber in their socks, it is after all alpaca. Inexperienced makers don't take into consideration the use by the wearer. Using grades 1 or 2 Alpaca in say a Hiking Sock would cause it to pill and wear through, it’s just too soft; yet using grade 4 or 5 would cause foot irritation, while using the same alpaca grade in a dress sock would make it itchy because of the weight. We research and choose the right alpaca for the proper use.
2) The blend.
Alpaca socks need to be blended with other fibers such as acrylic, nylon, spandex and Lycra. Why? These fibers create durability and longevity to the socks allowing for longer wear, machine-washing as well as imparting qualities needed for the optimum performance for the wearer. 100% Pure Alpaca socks would wear through, shrink, beard and be a waist of money. These synthetic products vary as well, and finding the perfect balance is a core commitment we take seriously. Often more than one of these extra fibers is added. The needs and performance for a running sock for a runner is different than the needs and performance of a daily wear sock for a businessman. We protect our percentages, but US law mandates that to call a product like Alpaca socks, Alpaca, there needs to be more Alpaca in it than other components. We respect that and adhere to the program!
3) The manufacturing process.
Not all socks are created equal. The knitting of socks has evolved over time and through innovation, manufacturing has changed. It takes a knowledge base as well as skill to knit alpaca socks. Additionally, the fabrication must take into consideration the grade of alpaca that is being used. Alpaca is more slippery than wool, the same fittings just don’t work, and fittings change based between grades of alpaca too. Taking the time to make the tweaks and crafting socks using the proper technical processes are paramount in creating socks that are comfortable, fit the foot appropriately, and have the proper density for the need. Manufacturing affects so many aspects, including the warmth, performance and durability of the sock.
We have been creating alpaca socks for more than 15 years and have worked to obtain the best blend particular to the specific use of each and every sock we make. We use only the finest quality materials, the proper blends of alpaca and synthetics, the finest knitting and finishing processes based on the needs of you, the wearer.
We at Warrior Alpaca Socks want you to love your socks, not just when you first put them on, but months later, after they have been worn and laundered over and over. We want you to swear by your running socks, be zen in your yoga socks, happy hiking, warm sleeping, or comfortable sitting on the sidelines watching your team, player, or favorite sport. From motorcycling to dog walking, to couch potato-ing ... we want your alpaca socks to fit your lifestyle.
We want to remove at least one-thing… uncomfortable, cold, damp, sore feet, from your list of worries... rest assured, we have your back, and your feet!
We want your feet to win the battle of the daily grind!
Buying Alpaca Socks
Deciding what kind of sock to buy can often be difficult when faced with so many choices in the marketplace. Locating a proper sock, one that works best for you, your activity, the time of year as well as weather conditions, makes all the difference in your personal comfort. Most of the time we buy new shoes after new shoes, looking for an improved comfort level, but come up lacking. Better yet we blame the shoes we have, for being uncomfortable, when in most cases it’s the sock! To find out why, please read our Critical Comfort, socks and feet, a step in the right direction.
Did you know?
With 26 bones and many joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, the human foot is very complex. In a lifetime, each person logs an average 70,000 miles on their feet. With all that use on such a small percentage of our body it’s a wonder we get around at all! Kind of gives you a new respect for your feet, doesn’t it? That’s why proper foot care, and wearing the right socks and shoes is essential. If you treat your feet right, they will treat you in kind!
Feet perspire about 20-30 gallons in total, per year, even per foot that’s a lot of sweat! Where does it go? Well 5-8 gallons of that perspiration gets absorbed by each sock, and shoes get their fare share as well. Fiber content does make a difference in your socks! Avoid 100% cotton socks. Cotton is a great absorbing material, but then where does the moisture go? Nowhere! It stays right there against the foot. This moisture softens the skin, increases friction and, in turn, causes blisters. Avoid Wool socks! Wool is a coarse fiber, about as thick as a human hair (80-100 microns or so) and can cause itch and irritation. It too absorbs moisture, as much as 30 percent of its weight! This moisture in wool has an odor all its own. Additionally, wool contains lanolin which is a fairly popular allergen. Many people are allergic to this old world staple.
What then to you use to keep your feet happy and healthy? Alpaca! Alpaca is a natural fiber, free from lanolin and naturally hypoallergenic. It is hollow and wonderfully thermal. It does not absorb moisture, rather it wicks it away. It is a super fine fiber with a far better fineness compared to wool; in fact it is so fine that four or five strands equal the width of a single human hair! In other words, it is 25% the size (or 18-25 microns) of wool while being just as warm! So ideally, it is lighter and far less irritating! Just try one pair of Alpaca Socks and you’ll be a believer!
The best thing you can do to prevent foot problems is wear a great-fitting pair of socks made from fibers that wick moisture away from feet. Moisture can breed bacteria which causes odor and can contribute to foot fungus and other unhealthy issues. Look for micro fiber acrylics, combined with natural organic fibers; avoid 100% cotton and wool based fibers. Oh, and don’t wear shoes again until they dry completely! Would you get all dressed and then sit in a sauna? I don’t think so! Don’t to it to your feet!
Critical Comfort, socks and feet, a step in the right direction
Wearing the proper sock is critical to the enjoyment of athletic activities, your favorite sports or just the great out doors. Every action from walking and jogging to golf and tennis or even skiing creates different stress points on the body. You take precautions with your body, are you taking the same care of your feet? In order to prevent injury, feet and sensitive spots on your foot should be protected. The occurrence of blisters and other foot problems while exercising or performing your favorite sports can be reduced by wearing socks that fit exceptionally well and that wick moisture. Warrior Alpaca Socks are designed to help keep feet dry and comfortable, no matter what the temperature. It all bgins with alpaca and other micro fibers that wick moisture away from feet. Filled with a soft cushion of terry loops these socks will protect the tender areas of the foot from irritation and provide you with the best foundation for an outstanding performance.
High-performance socks protect feet against cold or excessive heat and assist the foot’s own temperature regulating function. Under varying climatic conditions, socks help balance the body’s temperature and manage perspiration creating a pleasant feel next to the skin.
A humans' core temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). The two main holding facilities of this heat are the head and torso. The body works to keep these areas at this static temperature continually and to do so it is necessary that heat be dissipated at the same rate it is produced. With activity and increased physical exertion, not to mention climate, more heat is generated through the body which causes perspiration. The body’s mechanism for cooling is evaporation, so clothing, especially socks must have good moisture evaporation capacity, or be able to breathe, to help the skin remain dry, aid in evaporation and ultimately be the most comfortable.
Warrior Alpaca socks use a combination of natural and synthetic micro fibers to help keep feet breathing, and to aid the body in cooling. Feet that are dry and comfortable, naturally minimize friction and creates an environment that promotes healthier feet and better performance for the rest of the body.
Getting the right fit is essential to comfortable feet. After all, if your feet aren’t comfortable the rest of you won’t be either. And you won’t want to start let alone finish that hike, workout or walk. Here are some things to look for when buying socks.
- Sock toe seams should be flush and smooth against the skin with no bulkiness or irritation may occur.
- Socks should fit the foot perfectly. If they are too tight, they’ll restrict circulation; if they are too loose, they’ll increase friction which leads to blisters. Comfortable fitting socks are critical to good foot health and athletic performance.
- No crowded toes! Toes need room to wiggle and be happy, but not so much room that there’s constant rubbing against the sock or foot slipping in the shoe which will also cause blisters.
- Kids need great-fitting, high-performance socks too. Keeping kids’ feet dry and healthy is important, and excellent fit is part of that. Most socks made for children are simply shortened adult socks or little, uncomfortable tube socks. Our socks are designed to fit munchkins!
High-performance socks are all about performance! In order to perform, however you need construction materials that will provide this structure. Here are the fibers we use in Warrior Alpaca Socks. We base our socks on the strengths of these wonderful natural and man made fibers.
Cotton is a soft, natural fiber that absorbs moisture very well. Cotton dries slowly and cause wet feet by holding moisture if layered next to the skin. It can help pull moisture away from the foot if layered away from the skin with a natural fiber between it and the foot. The addition of cotton also allows for a light weight thread to make a thin sock.
Lycra® or elastic provides the stretch and memory fit in socks and it is a construction technology so that the sock is sure to surround the foot in comfort.
Micro fiber acrylics are exceptionally soft, high-wicking, low-bulk synthetic fibers. These acrylics help to wick moisture way from the skin and help eliminate blistering.
Nylon fiber was the first synthetic fiber to be made entirely from coal, water and air. Nylon is stronger than wool, silk, rayon, or cotton. It will not mildew or harbor any bacterial growth; it is abrasion resitant, lustrous and easy to wash. It is a filament yarn which proides smooth, soft, long lasting fabrics that are light weight and warm.
Alpaca fiber, with its hollow-core, traps air for greater insulation in any weather. Alpaca is very soft and luxurious yet is incredibly strong, providing heavy-duty performance Alpaca can be processed organically, is sustainable, being shorn off the gentle alpaca annually and alpacas are the green alternative to sheep, causing no destruction to the environment. Alpaca is a lightweight natural fiber, and therefore alpaca socks weigh less than other socks, so wearers carry a lighter load. Alpaca is hypoallergenic, does not absorb water and thus alpaca socks do not foster bacterial growth in the sock, so there is less chance of foot odor. Alpaca socks are machine washable or easily hand washable on the trail in cold water and quick to dry.
Baby Alpaca Fiber is the exact same fiber as alpaca however it is shorn from younger animals, usually alpacas that are 12-18 months old (shearing is a needed and natural process for alpacas!) or animals that have a low micron count. Because of it's fineness it is softer, more luxurious and more expensive than standard super fine alpaca. Baby alpaca socks are very popular!
Staying cool during the summer – Thermal is the answer!
It’s a myth that your feet will stay cooler if you skip wearing socks in your shoes, unless you wear flip flops or skimpy sandals. In fact, in the summer the natural heat and humidity aggravate perspiration which causes friction between the foot and the shoe, and that can cause hot spots and blisters.
Sweating is the way our body temperature stays regulated in the heat. Drinking enough water to keep the body perspiring is key. Your sweat will evaporate from your skin, but when feet sweat, that perspiration can cause foot problems unless you wear a high performance sock that will wick the moisture away from your feet.
Socks with an inner layer of micro fiber knit against the skin transfer moisture away from the foot to keep it dry. Alpaca, some think is an unsuitable fiber for summer use, but because of the huge thermal capacity it is in fact very comfortable. It does a wonderful job wicking moisture away from the foot in the heat!
Keeping warm in the winter – Thermal is the answer!
Keeping warm as the temperature drops is critical to staying comfortable, healthy and safe. Wind-chill, frostbite, and ultimately hypothermia are the biggest dangers the cold brings, but just being cold is uncomfortable. Any outdoor activity and depending on the climate, inside winter activities too, require extra measures.
Many people know that dressing in layers and wearing a hat, are key ways to stay warm. However, some overlook the importance of keeping feet equally protected. Remember when Mom told you over and over to go put on socks? Believe it ~ Mom was right In fact, because blood goes to protect vital organs first, blood vessels in the feet constrict. This reduces circulation and increases the likelihood of frostbite. The basic concept you should look for in cold weather clothing applies to socks too. The best high quality fibers and fabrics offer insulation from the cold and allow the body to release perspiration. The body needs to do just as much of this in the cold as in the heat, in order to regulate its temperature.
Cotton is a poor choice because its absorbency of winter perspiration causes the fibers to collapse against the skin, drawing heat away from the body. Trapped perspiration is a major cause of cold weather health problems. Even in doors, have you ever felt the bite of cold when you take off your shoes? If you’re wet, your risk of hypothermia increases dramatically. Studies have shown that the rate of heat loss through wet clothing can be 240 times that lost while wearing dry clothing. High-quality alpaca socks help retain warmth, and absorb and transfer moisture away from the skin and keep you warm and healthy.
Alpaca is the best natural fiber for warmth. Even in damp conditions, alpaca provides warmth because its hollow fibers trap air in their core continuing to provide insulation. Synthetic fibers, such as micro fiber acrylics, provide superior moisture transfer as well and when combined with alpaca it is a sure fire winner! Thicker socks are generally warmer because their large loop (terry knit) construction traps more air which provides warmth and insulation from the cold. Warrior Alpaca socks with a combination of these natural and man made fibers and thick terry knit construction offer the greatest protection from the cold.