For many of us, socks are big topic! We hear all kinds of questions about alpaca socks:
"What is alpaca?"
"What are the WARMEST alpaca socks?"
"What are the WARMEST socks on Earth?"
"What are the WARMEST socks ever?"
"What are the TOP 5 WARMEST socks?"
"What are the WARMEST socks for winter?"
"What are the warmest socks for extreme cold?"
"Do you have the ultimate thermal alpaca socks?"
"Best warmest socks for cold feet?"
"Is alpaca the absolutely WARMEST sock I can buy?"
"I really need a very warm sock for my mom, can alpaca be that warm?"
"I've been told the warmest socks on Earth are alpaca, is that true?"
We've heard all these and more! The core question is always the same. People are seeking WARM socks!
Developing the Warmest Alpaca Socks
In our many years in business we have tested a great number of alpaca socks. Everything from very thick to multiple layer to 100% alpaca and even FELT Socks. Back in 1996 we concluded we could do better!
Alpaca IS warm! Very warm, when made just right. After a few years of experimentation we found what has been proven to be a great and successful mix in the Superwarm Alpaca Sock. It took a while but we basically listed the best features of a number of socks which came close to what our customers wanted, then found the best way to bring in all the desired features into one key product!
Meet The Superwarm Heavy Extreme Alpaca Socks
Our Superwarm Heavy Extreme Alpaca Socks are our "flagship" product, the most popular item we sell. Yes, these alpaca socks are warm, very warm, but it's not just because of the alpaca! Sure, the superwarm heavy alpaca socks use A LOT of alpaca! Weighing nearly a pound, these socks give you more alpaca than any alpaca sock out there, but there's still more to it...
The socks are designed to take advantage of the natural hollow core insulating nature of alpaca. The warmth of the socks is further augmented by use of a soft yet hearty inner terry style loop construction. This feature guarantees a nice comfortable fit and a warm cushion of air to keep feet comfy warm. Lastly, the Superwarm Alpaca Socks are designed to wick away foot moisture and odor. So even if our socks get your feet BAKING, they'll be comfortable and dry!
The Superwarm Alpaca Socks have been in the Antarctic and the Arctic, and many other COLD PLACES with great success!
"I wore your Superwarm Alpaca socks and had some chemical toe-warmers in reserve, but didn't even have to use the toe-warmers! I was so delighted."
"The socks are warm, even after they got wet!"
"The Superwarms are amazingly comfortable!"
Since starting the PurelyAlpaca business in 2002 we have bought alpaca socks from many manufacturers. We have found, through long experience that alpaca sock quality varies TREMENDOUSLY. The usefulness of alpaca is also wide and varied. We have learned a number of lessons worth sharing with people shopping for the perfect alpaca socks.
How much alpaca is really needed to make a warm comfortable alpaca sock?
We also get this question a lot. There seems to be a feeling that the socks should be 100% alpaca. This is not actually true, though we do also sell some alpaca socks with high percentage of alpaca. Alpaca is a fantastic material, but in our research over many years we find a 35% alpaca yarn is more than adequate to get the benefits of alpaca in a blended sock. Our Choice Alpaca Socks use a 50% alpaca/50% Microfiber blend then build the sock using a strong nylon skeleton and elastic to support the sock on you. We have found this blend works very well for warmth, comfort and durability. It also affords easy regular washing and drying with regular laundry.
What is an alpaca sock anyway?
Alpaca socks come in many styles, weights and sizes with a vast array of differences depending on how they are to be used. Everything from super thin, slick and "shiny" to massive, bulky and very heavy. All of these alpaca socks have their place. Alpaca is a hollow fiber, naturally, which is a key wonderful advantage alpaca brings to clothing in general and socks in particular. Unlike sheep wool or synthetics, naturally hollow core alpaca works as a wonderful natural insulator. It protects you from outside cold using this inherent feature of the fiber. Alpaca is also naturally Lanolin free! What is lanolin? It's an oil which is excreted by many animals such as sheep. The lanolin has to be washed out of sheep wool using often quite harsh chemicals, yet for some people the oil, even in trace amounts leads to rashes and irritation.
People who are allergic to wool can enjoy lanolin free alpaca! We love it when a customer tells us, "I could never wear wool in my whole life. I'm so happy I found alpaca!"
Another excellent feature of the smooth hollow alpaca fiber is the lack of scales which exist on other popular natural fibers. The scales on the fiber can be irritating and uncomfortable for many people. Further, the scales tend to make the fiber less strong. Alpaca is therefore a great choice for something as worn prone as socks due to its strength, insulating core and smooth surface.
Alpaca blends well with other natural and synthetic fibers and blended alpaca socks actually offer a number of advantages over say, a 100% alpaca sock. Beyond the added cost of a 100% alpaca sock (quality alpaca fiber is pricey), blending alpaca allows for different desirable characteristics in feel and durability. For example, acrylic or microfiber is a very strong synthetic fiber. It works wonderfully blended with alpaca where alpaca brings added warmth, breath-ability, "warm as a hug" comfort and an excellent feel to the finished product.
Alpaca socks are created for a vast array of uses as covered in the various topics below.
What makes a great alpaca sock?
There are two main things to look for:
In the vast number of alpaca socks we've seen from sources all over the world we have seen socks with very little actual alpaca in them and some with pretty poor quality alpaca fiber. We swear some must of used BURLAP or who knows what?! In getting IDEAL alpaca for a top quality sock there are many things that have to be done right:
And there is more... each step has a lot of details. There are alpaca socks that frankly just don't measure up! When we review a new sock, or work on a new prototype of our own sock creation, we're VERY picky! The feel, weight, construction and many other details have to be just right.
What makes a great winter alpaca sock?
We get asked this a lot too! A quality, thick and well constructed alpaca sock not only feels wonderful, the construction uses purposeful spacing to form a warm insulating pocket around your feet so that the insulation keeps you toasty! A truly warm alpaca sock needs room to work! Your shoe or boot should not be too tight. Do not compress the sock or you'll loose a lot of the warmth potential. As an example, our Superwarm socks are BIG, yes, but fit very well in boots. For smaller shoes, or if you don't need all that heat, try our OutdoorAdventure or ankle height SlipperBooties. These socks are nicely warm for most conditions, breath well and feel wonderful!
Watch out for socks that claim warmth yet have no inner terry loop construction or means of creating that critically important added insulation "gap" that adds so very much.
What about a summer alpaca sock?
Alpaca is truly also great for the summer, really! Alpaca has a well deserved reputation for warmth, but a thin blend of alpaca and a sport friendly fiber like Microfiber or acrylic gives you a comfortable, sweat wicking sock that is durable and highly odor resistant. We do a lot of running and wear alpaca blend running socks exclusively! They feel much better and perform wonderfully.
How about a sport alpaca sock?
More on what was said above, from super lightweight running socks to hiking, motorcycling, hunting, snowmobiling, skiing and a whole host of other physical activities, alpaca rules as a wonderful natural fiber alternative to 100% cotton or synthetics. Sweat wicking, dry, odor resistant and durable is provided with proper alpaca sock!
What makes a wonderfully soft and comfortable alpaca sock?
Each year we get many phone calls of folk looking for a soft, comfortable and non-constricting sock for a family elder. Alpaca has established itself as a luxuriously soft and comfortable sock for those who are looking for that special soft feel. A number of therapeutic or diabetic alpaca socks can be found in our store. Give one as a gift and you'll make someone very happy!
Speaking of comfort, try out the 100% alpaca foot warmers! Also called alpaca shoe inserts or alpaca insoles, these feel great. In the winter they act as a barrier from the cold which tries to come UP into your feet from below. All year round, they provide a nice lift in your step, reducing foot fatigue and breathing away foot moisture. Alpaca inserts are naturally anti-microbial which reduces embarrassing foot odor too! If you haven't tried them you're overdue.
How much should I pay for a quality alpaca sock?
Alpaca can be expensive. It's a relatively rare natural fiber which involves a lot of labor over many steps to make the finished product you buy. That said,there are affordable alpaca socks out there. Classic crew socks for everyday abound and are a good start for getting into alpaca footwear. Still, prices typically range in the teens ($12+) and can go much higher, depending on the size, weight and overall work put into the sock. Our store offers many options in alpaca socks. Pick the ones that "fit" you best in terms of function, luxury, look and cost.
One word of warming... recently we have seen some "alpaca" socks advertised in the industry which actually have almost NO alpaca in them! This is a shame, dishonest and not good for the industry. If these are the first pair of socks you wear we fear you won't become one of the "raving fans" most people become when they experience alpaca! Always look to see how much alpaca is in the socks you are buying. If its not disclosed...
How to I best wash my alpaca socks so they last a long time?
Our socks are designed to be care free. Using a technical blend, you can wash and dry them in regular laundry. We suggest turning the socks inside out for the best long term look but its not entirely necessary. But we feel it will keep the sock looking new and fresh longer, even after many washings.
For the ultimate in long lived socks you could skip the washing and drying machines in favor or a hand wash in room temperature water using baby shampoo. This is not needed but it would reduce the wear and tear of machine washing or tumble drying. Again, we DON'T do this with the socks we wear, but if you're of a mind to, give it a try. Alpaca is a fiber, very much like a hair... so using an unscented baby shampoo is actually ideal. No need for harsh detergents or even Woolite. After hand washing in luke warm water, rinse in the same temperature water, roll in an absorbing towel to get most of the water then air dry. Alpaca does not absorb water so you will be surprised just how quickly they will dry. We'd love a video of you doing this and if you make it fun and we post it on our YouTube site we'll send you a Free pair!
Where can I find great alpaca socks?
Well, that's pretty obvious! :) We go through extreme effort to find or make great quality alpaca socks and have done it for many years. Socks are our best sellers! Shop our list of socks for excellent examples are good prices. If you see a better sock elsewhere, tell us! We'll add it to our line and send you some!
We refer to the alpaca socks as "ambassadors of alpaca". More than any other alpaca product, the sock is typically the first alpaca product a new fan of alpaca experiences. We hope you will give alpaca a try then share the many wonderful aspects of this wonderful animal to everyone!
Do you have any comments? We'd love to hear them! Send us an email or chat with us online, post on our Facebook page, Twitter or send us a LETTER! We love to chat alpaca and welcome your feedback!
President and Customer Service Rep #1