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Let’s talk about the poor, overworked hiking boot for a moment. Our boots are the primary instrument with which we contact the trail. Well, except for me, that is. I fall down so often my butt is on the trail as often as my boots are, but for most of you, boots provide traction, foot protection, warmth, ankle stability, not to mention waterproofness and moisture wicking properties… all at the same time.

We owe a lot to our boots, and yet, for some reason, some of us carelessly insult our boots by wearing cheap socks. Putting a cheap tube sock in a nice boot is like landing a hot date and then asking that person to wear a paper bag over his or her face. It just doesn’t make any sense. At least get them a really nice moisture-wicking bag.

I was lucky enough to visit the Lorpen booth at Outdoor Retailer, where I learned about their dedication to close-ended sweater sleeves intended to be worn on the foot:

Founded in 1985, Lorpen is based in Etxalar, Spain, located at the base of the Pyrenees, and has been selling performance socks in the U.S. since 2004 and Canada since 2001.

Me, I’m crazy about socks. Foot comfort is of huge importance to me, ever since that one time I played basketball barefoot in a driveway with my friends. What can I say? I was a dumb kid. I hobbled around for days with huge blisters on the bottoms of my feet.

Maybe you haven’t had that particular problem, but as hikers we can all agree that blisters are just plain no fun. I do everything I can to keep my feet dry and comfortable, and a huge part of that effort is nice socks.

When I laid eyes on Lorpen’s socks, I immediately began begging for a sample pair. I got lucky, and they let me have some (I told them I write for the New Yorker).

Here’s my review pair of socks:

The packing opens up like so, which is pretty cool:

If you’re thinking “Jim, you idiot, those are way too short for a hiking boot,” don’t worry. I wear specialized hiking shoes and they fit perfectly.

Seriously though, I do wear trail runners or tennis shoes often on summer hikes. Even light hikers are pretty heavy unless you’re walking somewhere super rocky and you need the extra protection, I think.

Whatever footwear you prefer, if you’re looking for a nice pair of socks to slip over your “other hands” before you hit the trail, check out what Lorpen’s got to offer.

They’re even currently (as of 2/6/2014) running a Valentine’s 20% off special!

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