Made In The USA: Thorlo Socks

Socks are an often overlooked but important piece of kit.  The importance of high quality and application specific socks cannot be overstated, whether you are military, LE, hiker, hunter, urban walker, runner/jogger, competition shooter, or stand protective post or at a workbench for extended periods.  I have been trying different socks for some 30 years.

The name THORLOs® is synonymous with good Made in The USA socks.  Made in Statesville, North Carolina, since, well, forever (and they “always will”).  They have a video history explained by the owner and founder.  I tried several other brands for daily and use-specific wear from time to time over the years, but I always came back to THORLOs®.  I find they last longer than no-name or store brand socks, have features which are activity specific, and some are designed for special needs (fatigue, military boots, neuropathy, diabetes, other painful foot conditions).

I am partial to padded/cushioned cotton socks.  The THORLOs® styles I regularly wear are pictured above.  If you need cold weather wool or waterproof, or like hi-tech blends, you might take a look at these brands as well: SmartWool (mostly knitted in the USA);  Darn Tough Vermont; SealSkinz (oops, made in the UK).

When someone tells me how old they are or how long they have been doing something, I often give a smart aleck answer: “I have socks that old.”  Actually, I just might.  The companies mentioned make socks that last for many years, and have good replacement policies.  They are all a bit pricey, but well worth it.

Keep your feet warm and dry while you have happy and safe new year.

This entry was posted in Competition, Fitness, Gear by Steven Harris. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Harris

Steve Harris is an experienced attorney (member of Florida Bar, 1979) who has represented federal agents and local LEOs in duty related matters. He has written and lectured about officer involved shootings, self-defense, and use of force law, including "Stand Your Ground." Steve has been a seasoned and active competitive handgun shooter for over 20 years.

14 thoughts on “Made In The USA: Thorlo Socks

  1. Great read, I have back issues and im always up for trying new things when it cones to foot wear to help out with my problem. Thank you for your help
    Robert. ..

  2. I have been wearing their padded boot socks in my duty boots for years. They are comfortable and keep the stink down.

    • Tood…

      Stink can be classified in 2 ways…

      Normal stink… GTG

      Repulsive stink…after removing your boots, you clear out the bunk room. Might be best to see the Doc!

      The former all of us have enjoyed/experienced.

      The latter could be a sign of a more serious problem. Perhaps a skin or toe nail fungus eating away at your flesh and nail. Not good!!!

      Similar to having a proximity close conversation with a buddy who has rampant Gingivitis! The odor is pungent and can be repulsive. And, both health problems dump toxins into the blood stream can cause serious health issues if left unresolved.

      Very few surgeons will perform any kind of elective surgery in the chest cavity area until mouth decay is resolved. While perhaps not as serious, foot fungus and similar maladies can possibly lead to serious health complications in the future if not resolved.

  3. Just ordered 5 pairs, they better be good ;). I’ve been in the need for some socks for use on duty, these should compliment my Bellville Minimils nicely.

  4. Steve, I certainly respect your opinion on this subject.

    However, cushioned socks and heavy soled shoes/boots are about the worse thing one can wear during any kind of physical activity. Wearing such footwear restricts the use of foot muscles and limits the range of motion of the foot.

    Power lifters have worn thin, non-padded soled, no arch support shoes for decades in order to enhance foot muscle range of motion and action in the lift/movement. Same goes for walking, hiking, even carrying a 70# ruck.

    Nordic event participants have gone sans socks in boots for many, many decades. Perhaps a polypropylene sock liner, but, that’s about it.

    Relatively new “minimalist” style shoes and boots have found a place on the feet of “combat athletes”. I even see quite a few Vibram FiveFingers at CrossFit and the boxing gym these days. Though, I’d refer simply to go barefooted, but, rules prevent such. I guess the gals don’t like my grape toe jam!

    In the 70’s, I discovered my feet stayed warmer and dryer while duck hunting if I wore my dad’s Merino wool dress socks inside my waders rather than those thick wool offerings.

    If I gotta wear socks, I prefer Darn Tough Vermont (USA made), Standard Issue Crew Light. Available at GovX for those able to purchase on the site.
    http://darntough.com/
    My lab can get 3 socks in her mouth without any material visible!

    Happy New Year and here’s to happy feet!

    • I am aware of the trend away from bulky. You make good points. (Notice I mentioned other brands, including yours, as well). The younger and more athletic can tolerate less in socks/soles better than I can. I have found padded/cushioned eliminates heel pain for me and the bulk adds stability in the shoe. In my tropical climate, wool only works about two weeks per year.

      Thanks for the comments. I am not affiliated with THORLO, I just buy them direct — buy three get one free, no shipping.

      • Steve…

        I don’t know if you are further south than Mile Marker 1 on I95, just off Brickell, but, I find the thinnest Merino wool blend, dress style sock, to be my year round go to sock, for work related shoes. Assuming I can’t wear flip flops or go barefooted and MUST wear socks. I find the Merino wool blend (~60%) keep my feet dry and comfortable all day/night. And I have sweaty feet!

        As far as heel issues, I have felt similar pain. I am 60yo and in the best shape of my life. Knee issues are gone, prolonged ankle discomfort due to an old ankle injury has been eliminated, lower back pain is gone…all because I lost 15#, reduced BMI to <16, and strengthen my longitudinal and oblique core muscles in addition to overall strength conditioning. I no longer roll out of bone in agony. I still get aches and pains, but, I strive to reduce ALL inflammation in my body. Inflammation, be it in the heel, leg, torso, arms destroys muscle tissue throughout the body, especially the heart.

        I guess what I'm trying to say is a well rounded PT program that enhances cardio conditioning, overall strength in addition to core, and balance will go a long well in reducing, if not eliminating the aches and pain we try to make bearable with heavily cushioned socks, shoes or other apparatus. And you're never too old to start.

        I regularly visit Asia. One of my favorite early morning runs takes me along a series of dikes in rice patties. Interestingly, every time I have done this run, there are about 30 very senior citizens on the dike performing Tai Chi self healing exercises, barefooted. All appear to be in good health, save a few that gravity and a long life of manual labor has bent the back. But, they outside PT'ing. I don't think I have ever witnessed a group of western seniors, anywhere, PT'ing other than walking…in their thick soled walking shoes!

  5. I’ve been wearing Darn Tough socks since I discovered them about a year ago. As comfortable as any sock on the market and probably the toughest. 100% USA made. Unconditional lifetime guarantee –

    “If our socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, return them for another pair, or your money back.

    No strings. No conditions. For life.”

    So, basically, every pair you buy is a pair for life. I’ve slowly been phasing out my standard cotton socks and other wool socks. For a couple weeks, I wore my first two pairs, on alternating days, washing them only once a week or once every 10 days. They dry out quickly and have no smell. Those original two pairs are indistinguishable from the newest pairs I’ve purchased.

    I really can’t recommend them enough.

  6. I was introduced to ThorLo when I was marathon training. Never looked back.

    To reduce friction, wear them inside out. Smooth sock to smooth foot. Velcro sock to velcro inside of shoe. Holds socks in place.

  7. Oh…

    Since Hilton just attended one of Mac’s classes, I throw a plug Mac’s way as well…

    Why not a shootin’ or tactical mindset class, I would encourage anyone interested in a slightly different approach to fitness to sign up for Mac’s Combat Strength Training class.

    About 10 years ago, I ventured off the weight room path in search of a strength training that would work for me. I spend a lot of time in Asia and learned how to strengthen muscles without the use of weights and machines, through various forms of martial arts. An element of the “arts” I failed to grasp in my teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s.

    Mac’s class goes in a similar direction. It really not about “combat” strength as it is about conditioning the body to perform everyday tasks without pain and discomfort and minimizing the risk of injury. IT IS NOT about how much you can bench press!

    And see wear an thought provoking article about socks has led us… And it is all related IMO. Good stuff!

    • Sorry for the incorrect word usage. Speech to text apps still aren’t there…yet!

  8. Great topic. I have found that wool socks keep the little pigs warm in cold weather as well as cool in hot weather. As with all things your mileage may vary.

    In the southeast cotton tends to get moist and stay moist.

    Happy New Year.

  9. I have used Thorlo socks for so long that I do “have socks older than that”.

    When my son was deployed to Iraq I sent him some Thorlo socks and he wrote Thorlo telling them how much he like the socks. Thorlo sent his entire unit free socks.

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