Woods Monkey takes a couple of pairs of Thorlos new socks out for a spin. Come inside and get Taylor's thoughts on the ones he tried out on the trail!
I received two new pairs of Thorlos socks to review during a backpacking trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. One pair of thick cushion Hiking socks, and a pair of Warm Weather Hunting socks in moderate cushion. I wear hiking and hunting socks regularly to work so in the weeks before the trip I wore the socks to work to evaluate their performance. I’ve worn Thorlos military boot socks during my active duty times in the Army. I always loved the thick cushion, and moisture wicking properties that kept my feet dry and happy. All you veterans or veteran hikers--you know the value of happy feet!
Thorlos has recently begun manufacturing their socks with their exclusive Thor-Lon acrylic threads. According to Thorlos, trapped perspiration in the shoe environment tends to flatten and crush the common acrylic yarns. Thor-Lon acrylics are specially spun to maintain both softness and resilience, which maximizes foot comfort, blister protection, and durability. They have also begun manufacturing a moderate weight sock for activities that place less stress on the foot, and recommend these lighter socks for short distance activities. And they mean that, but we will return to that later.
I wear all leather boots to work, and my feet sweat a lot in them. I normally wear a light pair of cotton and acrylic socks in the summer, and heaver weight wool hiking socks in the winter. So, I slipped my feet in the Warm Weather Hunting moderate cushion socks. They are almost knee high on me with my size 10 foot, and were slightly tight on my calves. I normally don’t like tightness on my calves, but I wore them throughout the day in that manner. With tighter socks, you run the risk of cutting off circulation, and at the minimum having cold feet, and possibly passing out or worse. These socks were just right! Enough give to keep them from hurting, but tight enough to keep the tops from falling down and bunching up under your heel giving you a nasty blister. The thick cushion Hiking socks I wore to work as well, switching back and forth between the hunting socks and the hiking socks. I admit to liking the Hiking socks more than the Hunting socks. The amount of cushioning seems to be more comfortable to my abused feet. The tops were tight enough to keep them from falling down, but they were not restrictive in the least. I also wore these socks several days in a row to simulate long-term use on the trail. I’d rinse them out in cool water, and hang them to dry overnight, and then wear the other pair the next day. It took them almost a week to get truly funky, and need a real washing. I washed them in my trail soap, Dr. Bonners, and after a quick shake up in a plastic bag and a rinse, were good as new.
Finally, the backpacking trip was upon me, and I packed the Thorlos socks as my main socks, with a pair of spares tucked away for sleeping socks. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known to be a very rainy location, so quick drying and wicking socks are a must. We had planned to hike for three days starting with a nine mile leg the first day up the Appalachian Trail to the Boulevard Trail to Mount Leconte. From there, we’d head back down to the Ice Water Springs shelter near the junction of the Boulevard Trail and the Appalachian Trail, totaling close to eighteen miles. A gorgeous hike normally, a freak weather front moved through the area dousing us most of the trip. It proved to be a mighty test for the Thor-Lon acrylic. The first few miles passed easily by with the Thorlos hiking socks wicking away the sweat effortlessly. It wasn’t until six or seven miles had passed by and a hard rain had started falling before I felt the need to change socks. The Thorlos were fairly soaked. I wrung them out and slipped on the hunting socks. This proved to be a small mistake, due to the lighter cushioning of the hunting socks. By the time we had traveled the last hard uphill mile my feet were in agony. They just didn’t have enough cushioning for the pack weight, and terrain.
Our shelter on Mount Leconte didn’t allow fires, so the only way to dry the socks was to slip them inside my sleeping bag sack and let my body heat dry them out. Due to some stories being told by a hiker about bears from the previous night, I didn’t sleep well at all. Actually, I probably didn’t sleep more than thirty minutes at a stretch the whole night, and was up constantly looking around for the bears that didn’t materialize. The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find the socks almost completely dry. Due to some circumstances, we cut the trip a day short, and hiked back out to the cars. My feet were hurting, but after slipping back into the hiking socks from the hunting socks, they felt quite a bit better and I was able to continue hiking. We made much better time going out than hiking in, and even though we were hurting, we were in good spirits, right up until the downpour started!
The great thing about the Thorlos socks is they kept my feet warm the whole trip, and when wearing the actual hiking socks were quite comfortable until they finally got extremely sweaty. The hunting socks were comfortable and warm, but with their moderate cushion design they weren’t up to the challenge of an extended hike. When Thorlos says shorter and lighter activities they mean it. All in all, I was pleased with the Thorlos Heavy Cushion Hiking socks. They will become a part of my regular rotation of socks for work and such. The Warm Weather Hunting socks will be a more specialized part of my wardrobe, probably where I wont be walking long distances in heavy boots. Thorlos offers a 30-day no risk trial too, stating that their socks will feel better than your ordinary socks or your money back! I can vouch for the policy from first hand experience. I purchased a pair of lighter weight socks, but needed more cushioning for what I was doing. Thorlos was extremely easy to work with and refunded my money, which I promptly used to buy a thicker cushioned pair of their socks. With Thorlos 30 day risk free trial, it’s a cinch to find a pair that will meet any and all of your needs. Your feet just might thank you!
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