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Tested: Thorlos Running Socks

thorlo padded socks for foot protection

Last year I had my first experience with socks from Thorlo. You may remember that I reviewed the Thorlo Experia, which is a lightly cushioned multi-sport sock, likely similar to hiking and running socks you’ve used before.

Their comfort was exceptional! But did you know that Thorlo is known for making socks with even more comfort and cushioning?!

This year I tested some of Thorlo’s running socks: the Thorlo 84N Runner Sock (for my road running) and the Thorlo TRMX Trail Running Sock (for my off-road running.)

I can tell you right now, huge difference!

These socks include Thorlo’s CTP technology. CTP stands for “Clinically-Tested Padded” and essentially means that these socks have some serious cushioning under the heel and ball of the foot. The padding might even be more than what’s in your shoes!

This one-minute video gives you a general idea of what the company is about:

As you can see, the socks aren’t really designed for young endurance athletes running ultramarathons. But, after wearing these myself, I can’t understand why these socks aren’t widely used by marathoners, backpackers, and other adventurers!

Despite being a huge fan of pure barefoot running and minimalist shoes, I’ve become a huge fan of these socks, so don’t write them off so fast!

The Thorlos 84N Running Sock

The 84N has the features you’d look for in a typical running sock – moisture-wicking fabric, low-profile toe seam, front cushioning to prevent “runner’s toe”, and Lycra for support – with the addition of the super thick cushions underneath.

This is THICK cushioning if I’ve ever seen felt it! I put these on and thought I was wearing slippers around the house!

If you have foot problems, these socks might be cushy enough that you can get active again. (Just talk to your doctor about that, not me!)

I also like how the cushioning extends all the way up behind the heel, because that’s a common blister spot.

If you don’t have foot problems, these may allow you to enjoy a serious distance run, pain-free, even on pavement.

This sock retails for $13.99, is made of 75% acrylic, 19% nylon, 4% spandex, and 2% polyester, and comes in two color options – white/navy and black/red.

The Thorlos TRMX Trail Running Sock

The TRMX is also designed for feet that hurt, but it’s made for running on somewhat softer surfaces. It uses unique padding specifically engineered for trail running, CoolMax fabric for moisture-wicking and ventilation, and provides the durability you need when going running through the woods.

It also looks about the same whether it’s clean or dirty, which is one of my requirements for a good trail running sock!

Holding both socks in my hands, it’s obvious the TRMX is lighter and contains less padding than the 84N. This is still thicker than any other trail running sock I have, but definitely don’t think these two socks are the same thing in different colors!

This sock retails for $14.99, is made of 56% Coolmax fiber, 26% Thorlon acrylic, 14% nylon, and 4% spandex, and comes in two dirt-friendly color options – charcoal heather and walnut heather.

thorlo padding for running

Putting These Socks To The Test!

You know what they say about people who wear big socks?

… They also wear big shoes.

It’s especially true in the case of these Thorlos socks, which are super thick. If I didn’t wear my running shoes on the loose side, I wouldn’t have been able to test these socks!

If your running shoes are tight as is, there’s a good chance you won’t even be able to wear Thorlos socks in them. You might have to buy some shoes a half size up to get the right fit. It’s going to depend on your foot shape and shoe, but it’s something to keep in mind before purchasing!

I actually can’t wear the 84N runner with my Saucony XC shoes. The sock is just too thick for this narrow style of shoe. For a moment, I thought I’d only be wearing the 84N’s as slippers! Fortunately, my Keen A86 trail running shoes are very roomy, and they are a perfect match for the 84N. It just means that the socks aren’t going to stay white for very long!

How is the fit and feel?

Both pairs of socks slide on nicely and seem to be just the right size.

They feel totally different though.

The 84N feels like a thin, breathable running sock on top, with ridiculous padding added underneath your foot. Almost like two different socks spliced together. Unique, but comfortable.

The TRMX is similar to the Experia I tested, with just a bit more padding. It’s a uniform material all around, and doesn’t seem much different than a standard trail sock. When walking, though, you can definitely feel the padding underfoot.

As running socks…

Since I rarely run on pavement anymore, most of my testing involved using the trail socks on trails.

First, they’re super comfy. They didn’t change the fit of my shoe, but they sure changed the feel. I was in my superlight XC racing shoes, but it felt like I was in big cushiony shoes!

And not necessarily in a bad way, because it was comfy without altering my stride (that I could tell.) I definitely lost some proprioception of the trail obstacles, though.

I would literally be running and think, “hey, what shoes did I put on today?” I was thinking I must have my bigger trail running shoes on, or I bought new shoes, or something. Because with these socks, my XC flats feel like an entirely different shoe! It’s unreal. I’d look down at my feet and realize, “oh yeah, it’s the socks.”

That actually happened at least twice over the course of a 30 minute run!!

For short trail runs, I don’t think I’d want the extra padding. Some thin running socks would be fine. For medium runs, the Thorlo Experia is ideal. For longer trail runs, when I get to 10+ miles and my stride isn’t as crisp as I’d like, these come in handy!

The only downside was once I got warmed up, my shoes felt stuffy. Even if my body was cool (most of my testing was in lower temps of 60-78 degrees,) my feet felt warm. Not hot and sweaty, but certainly warm. It makes me skeptical of how comfy they will be when it’s 90+ degrees.

As hiking and backpacking socks…

For my big hikes where I’m doing 10+ miles per day while carrying a loaded Osprey Volt 75 liter pack on my back, these socks are worth their weight in gold!

Typically I hike in my Keen shoes which have room for the supremely cushioned 84N, and it’s wonderful! I’m eyeing up the wool Thorlos trekking and mountaineering socks now!

As rock climbing socks…

Wait, what?

That’s right. See, I accidentally bought a pair of rock climbing shoes that’s two sizes too big. These TRMX socks just happened to be the perfect thickness to give me the best fit.

As casual socks…

After discovering the 84N did not fit my main pair of running shoes, I actually tried them in my casual shoes next, and the fit was perfect! My first ever outdoor test of the socks ended up being a 3-5 mile walk on city sidewalks, and they performed flawlessly.

Normally I hate walking on pavement, but my feet felt great during and after all the walking, thanks to these socks. It was such a big help that if I ever buy more of these super thick Thorlos, I’ll be getting them primarily for walking!

I mean, my feet don’t typically hurt from trail running. But lots of walking on pavement, in casual shoes… that will eventually lead to discomfort. Not when I wear these socks though!

As slippers…

These 84N socks are better than slippers!!

No joke. Occasionally my feet do get sore from running and riding, if I do it a ton. Add in ice hockey, XC skiing, and/or bouldering, and my feet are going to ache.

So I come home and wear these around the house. It saves my feet from any more punishment. The socks are cheaper than most slippers and probably more padded!

They do start to stink!

I love wool socks because they never stink, but I have plenty of synthetic socks that go for years without stinking too bad. It seems these Thorlos socks, at least the trail running ones, start to hold an odor sooner than usual.

Yeah, trail running and rock climbing are both stinky sports, but even after a fresh laundering, the TRMX are not pleasant!

On the bright side, when my only real complaint is that the socks start to smell, you know they are a pretty good sock!

My final verdict is…

These socks might not be right for everyone, and I’d prefer wool, but Thorlos socks have the best, thickest padding I’ve ever experienced! I highly suggest these socks for long distance running, backpacking, and any time you’ll be walking on pavement.

Try them sometime. The worst that can happen is you end up with a new pair of slippers!

Official website: www.Thorlo.com

Product Review Details
Company: Thorlo
Product: Thorlo CTP Running Socks
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2014-08-07
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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1 Comment
  1. I wear the calf-height socks indoors as house slippers too. The cushioning is fantastic for those of us with severe foot problems.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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