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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Thorlo Experia Wool Silk Socks > Test Report by Andrew Buskov

Thorlo Experia Merino Wool Socks Front
Thorlo Experia
Merino Wool/Silk Socks
Thorlo's new venture into the wild outdoors, and newest Experia product.
Andrew Buskov
Initial Report: November 11, 2009
Field Report: January 26, 2010
Long Term Report: March 30, 2010

Tester Biographical Information:

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 223 lbs (101 kg)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for years now, and have slowly started developing my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to roughly 25 – 30 lbs (11.3 - 13.6 kg) before water, and am whittling it down every hike. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and enjoy the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Thorlo Experia Top.jpgProduct Information:

Item: Experia Merino Wool/Silk Socks
Manufacturer: Thorlo
Website http://www.thorlo.com
Year of Manufacture: 2009
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 1.6 oz (44 g)

Product Overview:
(From Manufacturer's documentation & Website)
Due to the fact that the Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks are not available to the general public yet, not much information could be obtained regarding them.

From the originator of the activity specific sock, the new Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks are designed to keep the feet warm while providing an extra level of cushioning. This makes them ideal for hiking, trail running, camping, fishing, or any other outdoor activity. By eliminating all but the most essential padding, the weight and thickness reduction contributes to a more strategically sculpted and contoured padding area that matches up better to the ball and heel strike pattern. This allows for more comfort in all range of boots and shoes. Pairing Merino Wool with Silk gives the sock a superior softness coupled with warmth.

According to the manufacturer, the sock will be available in oatmeal, pink, burnt orange, red, blue, charcoal, celery, green, and brown in February 2010 online and at athletic retailers.
Loose Threads A call to Becky at Thorlo's Consumer Inquiries number (888.THORLOS) gathered me a bit more information about the socks. They are a multitude of blended materials: 34% Polyester, 33% Merino Wool, 19% Nylon, 13% Silk, and 1% Elastic. They come with the standard unconditional 30 day no risk trial; "This means that within 30 days of purchasing Thorlos, if you decide that your feet do not feel better in Thorlos than in your ordinary socks, we will refund the full retail price of your Thorlos." However, there is no durability warranty as "the durability of Thorlos depends on the conditions in which you wear the product, how often you wear it, whether or not you have been properly fitted with a new pair of shoes, and whether or not you follow proper care and laundering instructions."

Becky also mentioned that the washing instructions are the same as all other Thorlo socks. Wash these socks wrong-side-out in warm water with like colors, adding fabric softener in during the rinse cycle. They may be tumble dried on a warm setting such as permanent press. The website mentions that high heat can cause shrinkage. Additional laundering directions are mentioned in the Thorlo FAQ on their website.

Initial Impressions:

These socks arrived to me in good condition, and complete. Upon opening the package I found a new pair of size 10.5-11.5 US socks. They were wrapped in a simple plastic bag with no display or hang tags. The only other information found was a press release with a bit of information about the new socks, and some company history.

I immediately examined the socks upon opening the plastic package and found them to be very soft and quite thick around the heel and ball area. They have different thickness regions throughout the entire sock along with various elastic sections. I did find a few hanging threads on both pairs of socks, mainly on the sides where the two different thicknesses meet. I plan on trimming these and seeing if this becomes more of a problem after wear and laundering. Wearing Thorlo ExperiaI found the fit to be quite heavenly. When I first tried them on I wore them around my house without shoes for a while. I immediately noticed the exceptional cushion that was provided to the heel, ball, and toe areas of my feet. Even on my hard wood flooring, it was comfortable to walk in these socks and not feel the pounding I usually feel with other socks, or while walking barefooted. I did notice that they felt a little funny around my arch section. Due to the way the material changes, it feels like I'm standing on a bit of a ledge or uneven floor. It's not uncomfortable and only feels this way when wearing the socks without shoes. After a couple of steps though, it's hardly noticeable.

Wearing these with shoes provides an equal level of joy. They are extremely soft and comforting against the insides of my running shoes. I felt no hint of tightness or pinching in the typical areas that my shoes tend to rub. There was an added cushioning that could be felt as well. It was like I was walking on padded carpeting wherever I was. This is definitely nice in contrast to the thin sport socks I wear on an everyday basis. I also noticed the warmth my feet received throughout the day while wearing these socks. They weren't too hot, but just felt more comfortable all around. I do have a rather bad tendency to sweat a lot in my shoes, but surprisingly I didn't feel as if my socks were wet or damp. I did notice a bit of odor coming from them after I removed them for the night. However, that odor had dissipated during the night and there was barely a hint after the socks were aired out while I slept.

In all, I was very pleased with the quality of these socks. I understand that a few loose threads may be expected due to the construction methods of variable thickness socks. They definitely met any expectations I had when applying for this test series. I look forward to wearing these frequently and testing them in out with my hiking shoes and boots.

I'd like to thank Thorlo and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in testing the Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks.

Field Report: January 26, 2010

Field Conditions:

I was able to wear these socks on a number of occasions over the testing period. My primary use was around town and while exercising, but I was also able to get an additional 3 days worth of trail use. Due to the weather all three uses were on day hikes in 2 different recreational areas in Western Kentucky.  Elevation here is roughly 400 ft (120 m) with little change in terrain, some rocky sections, but mostly a lot of mud and muck this time. Temperatures that I experienced during the outings ranged from 35 - 55 F (2 - 13 C). All three trips were during overcast skies, but there was no precipitation at all. In total, I've worn these socks about 12 times throughout the testing period.

Performance:

Wow! These Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks are so comfortable. They hug my feet in just the right spots and provide that extra bit of warmth and padding that I've come to love in the past few months, and have thus become the one pair of socks that I go to the most. Unfortunately, they spend more time in the dirty laundry than they do in my sock drawer due to the fact that I'm always wearing them.

I can feel the difference between these socks and my other specialty socks starting right from the top. With other socks I've tried, I tend to lose a bit of circulation in my feet during my exercise periods for some reason. I wouldn't think that the elastic was cutting off the blood supply, but I can't explain it any differently. While the elastic band at the top of these socks does feel snug, I have not lost circulation during my jogging sessions at all. This is definitely something that is easily noticeable for me and something that I greatly appreciate in the socks.

The heel and toe area continue to have a high loft throughout most of the day providing a wonderful sensation of floating in my shoes. I honestly do feel that little extra spring in my step and have noticed how less often my feet tend to hurt at the end of the day. As I'm getting older, I am starting to feel those aches and pains more and more so each little slice of relief I can get is definitely appreciated.

I have noticed one negative thing though. These socks tend to absorb odor rather easily, hence the reason they are in the dirty clothes a lot. While I wouldn't have a problem wearing these multiple days on the trail and dipping them in a stream or whatever to rinse them a bit, wearing them multiple days around town just wasn't possible. My feet felt sticky and dirty, and it just wasn't a feeling that I was comfortable with when I had other socks that I could wear.

The loose threads remain as they were when I received them. They haven't gotten any worse which is a good thing, but they haven't gotten any better either. To me this means that the sewing is sound and that I don't have to worry about the socks falling apart on the trail, as I was worried when I saw the dangling threads after opening the package. I also don't have to worry about the thread issues becoming worse during wash cycles. A plus due to all the washing that these have seen. However, I was hoping that the threads might shrink up a bit during washes.

Other than the odor issue, I have nothing but praises for the Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks. I look forward to the next testing phase and the opportunity for additional testing.

Long Term Report: March 30, 2010

Field Conditions:

Once again, during this testing phase I found myself wearing these socks a lot. I did however find their use tapering off as the season went on. Most of my use was around town but I did get a couple of hikes in where they received longer use. Average milage on the dayhikes were in the neighborhood of 6 mi (9 km). The weather that these were worn in ranged from 30 -75 F (-1 - 24 C) with mostly clear dry conditions, but they did receive a good soaking on a few occasions. In total, over the life of the test, I've probably worn these socks 20 times.

Performance:

As the hiking season goes from cold to warm, one of the things that jumps out in my mind was how toasty my feet continue to get. These socks are great during colder weather, but I found that I was getting quite hot during the hikes that I had here recently. The Experia socks really hold the heat in. While this is great for my fall - spring hikes, I don't foresee me wearing these in the summer at all.

As with the rest of the testing phase, I continued to feel exceptionally comfortable in these socks. The cushion that I felt was still as soft as the day I received them, and while they took a beating on my feet and in the washer numerous times, they remained intact and durable. The concerns that I had about the pulled threads remain unfounded. The threads are still there, intact, and there continues to be zero holes in the socks anywhere.  The elastic is still stretchy, but still not too loose. In all, they're very durable socks.

They are getting more stinky now as my feet tend to sweat more and more. While they don't retain an odor after a good washing, they are exceptionally stinky after any extended wear. I even found that wearing them around the house without shoes will generate a stink that cannot be overcome. They just seem to soak up odor. While this is not something that I needed to worry about during the winter season it is definitely something that will come to mind in the upcoming months.

In closing, I would definitely recommend these socks to anyone who wants a comfortable pair of cushioning socks. The Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks will definitely keep their place in my sock drawer for use in the future.

I'd like to thank Thorlo and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in testing the Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk socks.


Read more reviews of Thorlo gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Thorlo Experia Wool Silk Socks > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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