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Thorlos Experia Coolmax

November 1, 2011

Today’s post is my experience and thoughts on Thorlos’s product the Expreia Coolmax sock. I am not a professional runner, nor even a long time runner so my experience is slight when compared to someone with years and years under their belt.

My current situation:

  • Nike Lunarglide+ 2 with ~600+ miles on them.
  • Terrain: Road courses, rolling hills, flat, short steep climbs.
  • Average weekly mileage: ~18-22 miles
  • Weight/Build: 143 lbs / slender.
  • Age: 40

It should be known, that I understand my shoes are in need of replacement. However, new shoes are not in the cards for the immediate future. The problem was that I had a half marathon rapidly approaching and I knew that running the 13 miles in my usual shoes and socks would hold up but the quality of my feet would be questionable. Getting foot sore and tired out on the course would just not do.

The week before the marathon I came across an article in Runner’s World magazine for the Thorlos Experia Coolmax. I decided on a whim to check it out. The technical details and composition of the sock impressed me enough. I hopped over to my favorite online running retailer Running Warehouse and put a pair of the socks in my basket. The benefits there? Free shipping 2nd day air, and save $1.00 on the list price (yeah, I’m livin’ large.)

How did it go? Awesome. Excellent. Fantastic. The sock has plush cushioning at the ball and heel giving the foot more protection where it is needed. The rest of the sock body is made from a mesh design which reduces weight and increases breathability. A nylon and lycra frame starts at the ankle cuff and extends down the instep and around the arch giving extra support and tight fit. Lastly, there is a Achilles Tendon pad to help prevent chaffing and act as a heel lock.

The sock feels incredible on the foot. I may have ordered a pair that is just one size larger than what I should have. It depends on who you believe. The order form on the website indicated that I was getting the proper size, and I checked the Thorlos site which agreed. The card that came attached to the socks however showed the next size up. I may have inadvertently received the wrong size. Honestly, if I did, it did not matter in the least bit. The fit was tight and comfortable all the way around. I did not feel like my foot was slipping around inside it during either of the runs I did with them.

I used the sock for a 5 mile tempo run and the 13.1 mile half marathon. In both cases my feet felt great. The sock performed so well, that I no longer noticed the shoes and their lack of adequate cushioning. Moisture was wicked efficiently from my foot, the thicker pads kept my feet feeling fresh the whole time. The half marathon was in my opinion a challenge. The course climbed for the first half in a series of long inclines, with a few short steep climbs. The second half started level but miles 10-12 were downhill. At no point was I concerned about pain in my feet.

I felt like I flew over the course, each step a wonder. The next day there was some minor pain in my left foot toes (index and middle) and right hip. I am attributing that to the downhill portion and last mile. I put a lot of effort into the last four miles and I am positive the downhill jarred my right hip. I suppose that is something I will need to work on. I mentioned the tempo run for this reason: I did not lace my shoes very well. It felt like a gap between heel and toe and that rubbed my instep. I adjusted my laces and took better care to lace up on the half marathon, which removed the problem.

The sock itself comes in a huge variety of colors. So matching it to your shoes or outfits (if that is what you like to do) is easy. The price is $13.99 for one pair. Which is $1.00 more than I paid for a pair of Nike socks that were supposed to help prevent blistering and wick moisture. Which they did to a limited extent. The price is a bit steep when compared to the $2.00 for three pair I spent last holiday season on a set of “athletic” socks made by Gold Toe. Yes, from a department store. The funny thing is that they performed quite well throughout the winter, spring and summer. It is just that as I increased miles and wore out the shoes the deficiency in padding back evident.

How do I feel about spending $13.99 for one pair? Really good. Even if I just pitched them now that I am done with half marathons this season. Which I won’t. Because they feel too good, and I still need them for long slow distance runs.

To recap:

  1. Plush cushioning on the heel, ball of foot and Achilles Tendon.
  2. Moisture wicking mesh, lightweight.
  3. Nylon / Lycra framework to fit the foot.
  4. Awesome product to extend the life of your foot, even in really worn shoes.

I intend on picking up a couple more sets of these socks as budget permits. They are well worth the price. The only thing I cannot address here is durability. How long will they last before getting worn out. I shall endeavor to find out!

Need more help picking out socks? Try this page from Runner’s World.

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