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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Lorpen Expedition PLoft 1 Socks > Test Report by Josh Cormier
Lorpen Expedition Polartec / PLoft 1 Socks
Test series by Josh Cormier
Initial report: 5-Jan-2010
Field report: 16-Mar-2010
Long Term report: 18-May-2010
I joined the Boy Scouts when I was 11 and have been camping and backpacking ever since. I like to do challenging trips ranging from week long to weekend in mountainous areas. I would classify my gear as mid weight although now I am trying to move more toward lightweight. I now go backpacking at least once a year in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as monthly car camping trips with the Scouts.
- Item Description: Lorpen Expedition Polartec / PLoft 1 Socks,
- Size: X-Large (US 9.5-12.5, UK 8.5-11.5, Europe 44-46)
- Listed Weight: None Specified
- Measured Weight: 4.1 oz (116 g)
- Color: Black
- Contents: Polartec Powerstretch, PRIMALOFT YARN © 1 Insulation
- Composition: 40% Poliester, 30% Nylon, 10% Poliester antibacterial, 10% Primaloft, 10% Lycra
- Cushion: full super heavy
- Care instructions: Wash in warm water, tumble dry low, do not bleach, do not iron, and do not dry clean.
- Manufactures web site: http://www.lorpen.com
- Year of Manufacture: 2010
- MSRP: N/A
- Initial Condition: The product arrived in new condition complete with retail packaging
Initial Report - 5-Jan-2010
These socks are anatomically shaped and have been designed for cold weather performance. The socks are made of three layers: an outer layer of Polartec Power Stretch, a middle layer of Primaloft, and an inner layer of Polartec Power Stretch. Primaloft insulation is soft, lightweight, breathable, and has excellent water repellency.
I received the socks in new condition, packaged in a colorful cardboard sock wrapper. On the packaging there was lots of information on what the socks are made of and why they are special. The packaging also states the size of the socks and the protection level they qualify as. After looking at the website for colors, I expected the socks to look lighter grey than they do. The socks have fleece lining on the inside bottom which feels nice but somewhat slippery on my feet. This provides good cushioning for my entire foot.
I tried the socks on the same night I received them. However the packaging said that they were for shoe sizes US 9.5 12.5. The toe box on these socks is a little big. If I try to pull the socks on tighter, then the heel sits above my heel and makes a lump. If I dont pull them on tighter, the toe box bunches around my toes when I put my shoe on. I need to play with them more to determine if there is a workaround for this. I wore the socks around the house that night, they were comfortable. I could feel the extra padding on the sole as I walked on our tile and hardwood floors. The fabric on the bottom of the sock seems to be nice and thick, providing lots of padding.
The band at the top of the socks did a good job of holding the socks up on my initial walk around the house. It does not feel too tight or start to slip down. I did notice that if I did not pull the socks all the way over my calf, they would start to slip down.
All the seams on the socks are sewn in such a way as to be flat. When wearing the socks I could not feel any of the seams. I inspected the seams and they are all well sewn and do not provide any protrusions. There are seams in the heel, toe, ankle, and instep area.
These are some comfortable socks, my only concern at this point is the excess are in the toe box. I look forward to getting some testing done out on the trail.
Field Report - 16-Mar-10
I have worn these socks many places, around the house, snowboarding, and backpacking through the snow.
I got in two good long days of testing these socks snowboarding in Tahoe, California elevation 6,330 8,610 ft (1,929 to 2,624m). The climate was sunny but cold with a slight wind 28 53 F (-2.2 to 11.7 C). The terrain was mountainous with trees, lots of snow, and ice.
I got also used these socks on a 3 day 2 night backpacking trip in Ventana Wilderness area in Big Sur, California. The elevation ranged from 3,000 5,000 ft (914 1,524 m) and the temperature ranged from 31 60 F (0 15.6 C). It was overcast most of the time with nightly fog. It hailed and rained for several hours one night during this testing period. The area was mountainous with thick brush and few trees. Due to a fire that went through the area a couple of years ago, there were a lot of dead trees and brush.
The first thing about these socks that comes to mind when I grab them is to remember that they have a specific foot that each sock was created for. The toe box is cut in the direction of the toes, from largest to smallest. This seems to be less of an ergonomic thing and more for the reason that fleece does not stretch that much. Without a specific cut for each foot there would be a lot more material bunching up by my toes.
When I first received the socks I wore them around the house for the rest of the night and then to bed. The reason I wore them to bed was to see if the cuff would restrict my circulation while I was sleeping and if the cuff would stay up. They were comfortable and did not make my feet feel constricted or restrict the blood flow to my feet. The cuff also stayed up above my calf all night and did not slip down, in my opinion thats a pretty good balance between firmness and comfort.
I also wore the socks on two separate snowboarding trips. Snowboarding is a good test for socks since my feet would be cramped into my moist boots all day in the cold. This is a good indication of how the socks perform as insulators since I was not wearing any other socks. The fleece felt good to my feet and provided additional cushion and insulation. Initially when I put the socks on the toe box scrunched up in my boot, it required a little pulling and twisting in order to get the sock tight and comfortable. Even when I pull the socks tight, there is extra material in the toe box that needs to go somewhere.
I wore these socks while hiking through several inches of snow in the Ventana Wilderness area. I also wore a pair of thin nylon socks under these as a liner to keep from getting blisters. When pulling my boots on, I had to pull the socks tighter and reach into my hiking boot to adjust where the socks bunched. Once I got them situated and my boots laced up I did not have any discomfort while I was hiking. During some of the longer snowy stretches, my thighs started to get cold but from the knee down I was toasty warm.
Fit - I have size 10.5 (US) feet and the socks fit me somewhat loosely, I can pull them tighter but then the heel contour is above my heel and the toe box still has loose material in it. All the seams in the socks are well made and do not have any large lumps or extra material to rub into my foot. The outside of sock is not fleece but some other fabric that protects the sock from abrasion and picking. I am also hard on the heels of socks usually rubbing a hole in them eventually. These socks have held up well to use so far, I will continue to watch how these areas wear as the test continues.
Moisture - When hiking was over for the day I was getting ready to go to bed, I changed my socks for a new pair. The socks I took off were slightly moist but did not feel damp or cold. It looks like the socks are keeping the moisture in check.
Washing Washing the socks has not deteriorated the fleece, fabric, or the elastic in the cuffs. The socks are still as snug fitting and stay up over my calves just as when I got them out of the package. Thus far I have not found any runs, picks, or fuzzing after they get washed and dried. I have not tried washing them by hand and hanging them out to dry to see how easy they wash and dry in the field yet.
Long term Report - 18-May-10
I recently wore these sock on a 3 day 2 night car camping trip in Prunedale, California. The elevation was 92 - 150ft (28 - 46 m). The weather was overcast with some moisture in the air during the morning and night. The temperature fluctuated between 49 F (9.4 C) at night to 60 F (15.6 C) in the daytime.
In total I have worn these socks a total of 12 times during my testing period. I have found that wearing these socks hiking was comfortable and warm in cold weather. Wearing them to bed was also comfortable. But wearing them snowboarding turned out to be a problem because the fleece is slick and would allow my heel to slip up and down in the back of my boot. So other than activities where I need my feet anchored in place, these socks do a good job.
Below you will find a list of questions that I planned to answer after my test was complete and my answers to them.
Does the elastic in the socks lose its elasticity over a short time?
Do the socks resist snagging?
- Yes, I did not have any issues with snags on the sock material
Is the heel reinforced well enough to keep the material from wearing thin?
- I hiked for a couple of days in these socks and the heels still look good
If the socks get wet will they start to degrade?
- I did not get these socks completely soaked but my feet did sweat in them, the extra moisture did not cause any issues
Do the socks help keep me from getting blisters?
- Yes they provided good cushioning and moisture wicking for my feet
Do the socks provide some level of cushioning for my feet?
- Yes the fleece did provide a good cushion for my feet
Will the socks still keep my feet warm even if they get wet?
- Yes, even when moist and hiking in the snow my feet did not get cold
Do the socks provide enough air circulation to keep my feet dry during hard hot hikes?
- Yes, the socks are breathable
Do the socks keep the foot odor down?
- Always a tough one, but I did not notice an odorous smell even after snowboarding all day.
Ease of Use:
Are the socks easy to pull on and adjust?
- Easy to pull on, yes. Are they easy to adjust? Not so much. The large toe box makes stuffing my foot into my shoe without the sock bunching somewhat of a challenge
This concludes my report series. Thank you to Lorpen and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test these socks.
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