Cody Townsend knows a thing or two about backcountry skiing. We’re used to seeing him entrenched in deep pow and flying down big lines, but getting to those stashes typically requires long ski tours, steep boot packs or both, which often comes with gear failures that wreak havoc on his body. The worst of which – his feet. Cold, wet feet and painful blisters that could make a grown man cry, caused by socks that weren’t designed specifically for this type of exertion. It was on one of those agonizing tours that he decided, ‘F%@# this. I’m Cody @#$&ing Townsend. I need to make some better socks.’
So he got to it, and together with le bent, Australia’s beloved makers of high-performance and ultra-comfortable base layers and socks, started designing the first sock engineered specifically for ski touring, with the overall goals to keep your feet warmer, drier, and more secure in the boot.
To keep feet warmer, the first detail was to double up the thickness of the toe box in the sock and change the approach to compression. Since ski touring boots have wider toe boxes, utilizing that space to add more warmth was a simple solution for warming the coldest part of your foot. Then, because vascular constriction creates the feeling of cold, they removed the typical compression element in the forefoot and applied a subtle compression in the calf for muscle support.
Next, they created an innovative weave on the upper forefoot to let your feet breathe when heating up from touring and hiking. Combined with le bent’s proven signature blend of merino wool + rayon from bamboo, the sock will naturally move moisture away from your feet. “As former boot fitters, we knew the material was key to developing the ultimate ski sock and spent years in R&D developing our fabric. It’s everything you need in a winter-sports performance fabric: soft, warm, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying,” says le bent co-founder, Simon Blondel.
The last feature that is truly the most game-changing element of this sock may also be the most “le duh.” Welded silicone strips were placed on the heel to lock down your foot from any sort of upward slippage while touring, boot packing and skiing. Says Townsend, “It’s the simplest solution to a problem that caused blisters, inefficiencies in hiking, less downhill performance and generally drove me crazy.” This silicone strip is also placed on the inner edge of the upper cuff to solve the ever-annoying downward slippage of your sock.
And there you have it – the ultimate ski touring sock, appropriately named Le Send: the first sock ever created specifically for comfort and efficiency on the uphill, combining material blends and ingenious technical features that result in warmer, drier, and more secure feet.
Le Send will be at Outdoor Retailer (booth 39140-UL) and will be available at retail in fall ’19. MSRP $31.95.
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About le bent
At le bent, we believe good times in the great outdoors is nature’s gift for everyone to enjoy. Focused on achieving the greatest comfort and performance, we provide unique “first on skin” socks, base layers and accessories for snow sports, trail running and hiking. These all combine the performance of merino wool with the softness of rayon from bamboo, resulting in 100% itch-free, irritation free, all-day comfort. Feel the difference. www.lebent.com/en
About Cody Townsend
From his first ski run at Squaw Valley at the age of 2, Cody Townsend knew he had found his passion. He spent his early years chasing legends like Shane McConkey and Kent Kreitler around his home mountain before being recognized in his own right as an up-and-coming big-mountain skier. Since becoming a professional skier, a decade ago, Cody has constantly pushed the limits of fun and adventure. From skiing what some have called “the most insane ski line ever” to adventuring in the Arctic and hanging in the backcountry with his buds, Cody embodies what skiing was meant to be: a journey of exploration and relentless passion in the company of friends. www.codytownsend.com.