In late spring I received three pairs of Thorlos hiking socks for testing. Thorlos is a family-owned American performance socks company. Their socks are designed to reduce foot aches and pain with strategically placed padding. They have a huge selection of hiking socks which differ by insulation, level of cushioning and length. I received the Thorlos Moderate Cushion Crew – LTH socks, Maximum Cushion Crew – KX socks and Extreme Cold Maximum Cushion socks. During our active summer holidays, I thoroughly tested the LTH and KX socks on various hikes and alpine ascents. I have yet to test the Extreme Cold socks because they are, as the name suggests, way too insulated to be worn for hiking in summer. Below is what I learned about the Thorlos hiking socks in general.
The Thorlos hiking socks are suitable for:
- Everyday use
The Basics and Materials
When I unwrapped the three pairs of socks, I first spent some time investigating the materials and figuring out how they differ from one another. The Moderate Cushion Crew – LTH and Maximum Cushion Crew – KX socks seemed quite similar at first glance, but soon I figured out that they are made of different materials. The Moderate Cushion Crew – LTH sock is made of Thor Wick Cool polyester (65%), nylon (16%), Thor Lon acrylic (14%) and elastane (5%) while the Maximum Cushion Crew – KX sock uses mostly Thor Lon acrylic (87%) with a bit of nylon and elastane fibers.
Both socks are suitable for 3-season use but the LTH sock is made of a denser material, except for the toes and the heel where the KX sock has more padding. I wore both socks throughout our summer holidays and at the end I found the Maximum Cushion Crew – KX sock slightly better for summer hiking. Due to the relatively porous material, it provides better breathability and dries faster.
I was very satisfied with the moisture-wicking performance and odor control of both pairs of socks. One thing that did bother me a bit is that the padding on the toes and heel of the KX sock is very thick, even for a maximum cushioning sock. I simply found the padding too thick when I was wearing these socks with lighter footwear such as my Danner Trail hiking shoes. Nevertheless, the padding didn’t bother me as much when I wore the socks with my Salewa Mountain Trainer boots. So, in general I recommend the KX socks for heavier footwear (hiking and backpacking boots) and the LTH socks for hiking shoes and trail runners.
The Extreme Cold sock is much thicker that the LTH and KX sock. It’s made of worsted wool (60%) acrylic (26%), nylon (12%) and elastane (2%). Now, I haven’t been able to test these socks yet, but I expect them to be very warm and perfect for subzero temperatures. They also have a lot of padding in the ball and heel and thus I think they too are best for use with heavier hiking and backpacking boots. The socks are designed so they cover your calf and on the rear side of the calf they have a ventilation panel for extra breathability. I’m looking forward to testing these socks more thoroughly in winter.
Functionality fit and sizing
All Thorlos socks feature strategically placed padding which is made of low-friction materials to prevent blisters and increase comfort. I found the padding material super comfy on all three pairs of socks. The socks also have minimal stitching. There are no seams in the toe area and all other seams are either hidden or super smooth. So far, I haven’t experienced any chafing or other discomfort with any of the Thorlos socks. I’m also very satisfied with the fit although the three socks differ a bit in this aspect. The Extreme Cold and LTH socks fit a bit tighter than the KX socks.
Socks from Thorlos are available in three sizes: M, L and XL. I decided to get the socks in size L that fits US shoe sizes 10.5-13 for women and 9-12.5 for men, which converts to EU shoe sizes 43 to 47. The socks in size L fit me perfectly, and I usually wear EU size 43-44. Therefore, the socks seem to be true to size.
Washing and drying
The socks can be machine washed at 40 C, but you should steer clear of softener or bleach as such concoctions can mess with the properties of the fibers. Like most other activewear, they shouldn’t be tumble-dried. Since the socks are odor resistant, they can be washed less frequently than other apparel which will help them last longer.
All in all, I’m very happy with the Thorlos socks. They are comfortable, moisture-wicking, quick drying and odor resistant. All three pairs of socks that I tested, have very soft padding in the ball and heel which feels nice against the skin. Therefore, I would be surprised if these Thorlos socks caused discomfort, skin irritation or blisters to anyone. The socks also provide great fit and cushioning. I found the cushioning a bit too thick for my personal preferebces, at least for summer hiking, but luckily Thorlos also offers socks with light and ultralight cushioning. So, if you are looking for a pair of new hiking socks, do check out the Thorlos socks. They offer great value for the money.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Quick drying
- Strategically placed padding for cushioning
- Maximum cushion models are too thick in the toes and heel