Three months ago, I received the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks and since then I’ve been regularly wearing them for hiking and other sports. I was very excited to test these socks because I was really curious about the performance of Alpaca wool in sportswear. Alpaca wool is not (yet) as popular as Merino wool, but according to various online sources it has similar qualities such as good breathability, moisture management and odor resistance. The Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks are according to the manufacturer suitable for all-season. I tested them on relatively mild autumn days as well as in sub-zero temperatures in winter. Below is what I learned about them.
The Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks are suitable for:
- Running in cold conditions
- Everyday use
The Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks are mainly made of Alpaca Wool (56%) while the rest are synthetic fibers. That’s no surprise. Woolen sports socks are never made solely of wool because pure wool with thin non-itchy fibers does not provide sufficient durability for a garment that is subject to as high abrasion as socks. Furthermore, synthetic fibers also add stretch to the sock material which is indeed important. When I unpacked the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks, I quickly noticed that the fabric doesn’t feel synthetic at all. At many Merino socks I have I can feel the synthetic fibers but that’s not the case with these socks. The fabric is in general very soft and pleasant to the touch which is crucial for a piece of apparel worn directly on the skin.
The Alpaca socks are somewhat thicker than most of my hiking socks (a bit thicker than Falke TK2 but thinner than the CimAlp Merino socks) and thus I think they are best for cold and moderate conditions. Nevertheless, they could also come in handy for summer adventures if you need a bit of extra cushioning. I unfortunately haven’t had a chance to test them in warm weather yet, but I will of course update this review when I do.
Hiking socks should be breathable, moisture-wicking, quick drying, odor resistant and durable. These are also the qualities on which I focused while I was testing the Arms of Andes socks. I started wearing them in October when the temperatures were still relatively mild, and I was very satisfied with their performance. What surprised me the most is how moisture-wicking they are. The fabric pulls the moisture from the skin extremely efficiently, keeping your feet dry. The socks also provide great breathability and dry very fast although they are a bit thicker.
I was curious whether Alpaca wool is also naturally antimicrobial like Merino wool (it is supposed to be) and so far, it seems that it really is. The socks provide great odor resistance. They didn’t become particularly smelly even when I wore them for several activities before washing them. Now, hiking socks must be also durable as nobody wants socks that tear after a few months. So far, I haven’t noticed any signs of wear and tear although I’ve worn them really a lot for the last three months.
Functionality fit and sizing
The Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks are best for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountaineering and backpacking in moderate and cold conditions. Nevertheless, I also wore them for running several times in sub-zero temperatures and I was very satisfied with them. The socks are also great for everyday use. Since they provide good cushioning, they are suitable for more robust hiking boots and backpacking with a heavy backpack. I mostly wore them with my Salewa Mountain Trainer hiking boots and Lowa Innox trekking shoes. I haven’t experienced any chafing or other discomfort, no matter the footwear.
The socks are only available in one size and I was a bit sceptic whether they’ll fit me or not. However, the socks fit me great because they are very stretchy. My EU shoes size is 44. Now, if you have a lot smaller or a lot larger foot, the fit might not be so perfect. Nevertheless, I think that the socks should fit well everyone with shoe size from 40 – 46.
Washing and drying
The Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks can be washed in a machine at 30° C with a mild detergent. I always wash them with wool detergent and other wool clothes. The socks also shouldn’t be tumble-dried (like most other sports socks). Nevertheless, they dry so fast that tumble drying is simply not required. Due to their good antimicrobial properties, you also don’t have to wash them as regularly as synthetic socks. I typically wear them for at least two sports activities before washing them.
I’m really happy with the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks because they are not only breathable, quick-drying, moisture-wicking and odor-resistant but also super comfy. The fabric is soft and feels very nice against the skin. I would be very surprised if these socks caused discomfort to anyone. I found the socks great for hiking in moderate and cold conditions. I was also very satisfied with them while running in sub-zero temperatures. Since they are very comfortable, I also often wear them for everyday use. So, if you need a pair of comfortable sports socks and you are not afraid to try something new (Alpaca wool!), look no further than the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool socks. I hope to try more apparel made of Alpaca wool soon because the material seems to be a great option for sportswear.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.