Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thorlos - A Sock Review

As runners we agonize over so many different aspect of our gear. We spend hundreds on our shoes and clothing and sunglasses and hydration packs.  But we often forget to pay attention to the layer between our
feet and those oh-so-important shoes: the socks.

I was sent a variety of socks from Thorlos, a company whose socks I have worn for quite some time, in order to review them for you.  That's what I am going to do.

Thorlos Trail Running Socks 

First up are these socks meant for trail running.  I am a road runner and trail run very infrequently.  So my chances for wearing them are less than most. Fortunately, for testing purposes, I had a couple of great opportunities in a short period of time.  First, I ran a Rim2Rim in the Grand Canyon. Second, I ran the entire length of the Wildwood Trail in Portland's Forest Park.  Finally, I took on the quad busting and treacherous Dipsea Race in Marin County north of San Francisco. There was more than enough terrain change and trail running in those 60 plus miles of racing to let me know if a sock works or not.  That's how I can say this trail sock works. Now let me describe it tad more for you.

Like many trail socks, the top of the sock goes higher than an ankle sock (or even a crew sock) to protect your foot from getting debris in it. In addition, this extra height keeps your ankles from brushes with sharp sticks and rocks. The instep and arch have extra cushioning. You can really feel it when you are running. The sock is snug and comfortable all-around. Because of the extra padding and thickness I thought the socks might retain water from sweat and streams.  Fortunately, they wick very well.

I even wore these on a few runs out on the streets of Portland. They performed just as well there as well.  Good sock.

Thorlos Experia Socks

Virtually anyone who has had a pair of Thorlos seems to have had had a pair of Experia.  They come in the Experias are primarily made of a Coolmax which almost looks mesh-like.  In fact, they are so thin, I thought I had worn though the sock as they are almost see-through in places
most eye-catching colors and are much more prevalent in the running community. 

They are very no-frills. Easy to get on and get off.  The padding is still there but no where near as much in the other socks I wore.  The thicker, engineered pads of the other socks make way for a lighter pad here. While I am unsure if any sock is going to completely help with any foot problem, I can see these being placed in a category of "not even attempting to help". I mean that as a compliment in that they don't try to be anything other than what they are.  Efficient, low-profile, effective. Solid stuff.

Thorlos 84N Runner

Initially I did not know what to make of the 84N Runner. They are said to be made for "feet that hurt" and the comfort of the sock makes you see why. Thick padding, soft to the touch, they feel almost more like a sitting around the house sock then one to run in.  I was skeptical how they would perform.

I tested them solely on roads and while they felt a touch heavy, and definitely held more wetness than the Experia, true-to-their-claim, they wicked the sweat away from the foot. When you think about it, who cares if they are wet?  You want your foot to be dry.

The 84N did make my feet a little warmer but that could be because Portland is in the middle of record-breaking heat and everything feels warmer now.  I do know that simply wearing the socks made my feet feel cozy.  I ended up wearing the socks around the house more than I did out on my runs and was just as happy. In fact, I am wearing them as I write this review.  (Seriously. Putting them on is what reminded me I needed to review the socks!)

Three socks, three types, all good. Your feet will thank you when you put them on.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I have many pairs of Thorlos, though I now race more in lighter socks. The one thing I can definitely say about them is that they last forever while other socks wear out.