I don’t intend this as a review of any specific sock, though I’ve already come to rely on Stance Socks. I only want to highlight a key feature of knee height wool socks.
While it’s only an extra few inches of wool, knee-height adds significant warmth. It’s a magic-bullet layer of insulation that boosts overall warmth, while adding zero bulk to your torso.
Though each sock covers only an additional five inches of skin, it’s special skin. It’s your extremities. So, in covering 20% more of each leg, you’re shutting down 20% of lower-extremity body-heat radiation. Stated in the inverse, you are increasing heat retention. Think of the difference a turtleneck makes. Same difference, even more so.
Really, it’s like adding a Capilene 2 long-sleeved thermal top — but adding neither bulk nor fabric-on-fabric friction to your torso. Magic!
[Animation credit: Jeremy Thompson; Snowboarder.com]
[Photo credit: Stance Socks]
I’ve recently blogged about my newfound love of woolen activewear (the flipside of which is my move away from synthetic fabrics). Here’s an update to that post.
As a winter cyclist I’m amazed at the high-performance qualities of wool. But my attention has been drawn to the question of wool as an ethical product. Can one choose wool ethically?
Yes. Or at least wool can be relatively ethical, compared with the wool fiber industry of only a few years ago. Back then it was impossible for apparel manufacturers to fully trace the supply chain of raw wool. In other words, even if manufacturers wanted to offer garments made of ethical wool, the info did not exist for them to avoid “mulesed” wool. Mulesing is the horribly inhumane animal farming practice defined here.
Nowadays an industry initiative called Zque guarantees the supply of certified, non-mulesed wool. Patagonia, Ibex, and Smartwool now use Zque suppliers, exclusively. The manufacturer Icebreaker Merino has mounted a similar effort called BaaCode.
None of this completely resolves the question of wool as an ethical choice. There’s still the issue of animal cruelty in shearing operations, not to mention the bigger question mark of humane animal treatment in mass production, in general. But it is progress.
[Image credit: Pixabay]