Thorlos Men's CoolMax® - LIGHT HIKER Crew Socks Long Term Report
April 19, 2005
37 years old
5 feet 11 inches tall (1.8 meters)
170 lb (77 kg)
Southeast Texas, Houston Area
I grew up in the piney woods of Southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip
into the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. My style has evolved and
over the last 4 or 5 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight approach
to hiking gear (I still use sleeping bags and tents, just lighter versions).
While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I am more of a
mid-weight hiker now. My philosophy is one of comfort, while carrying the
lightest load possible
Details from Manufacturer:
Sizes available: 11, 13, 15 ( US Shoe size: 5.5 -15/ EU shoe sizes: 38.5-50)
Colors available: Walnut Heather, Black heather, Everglade Heather, Navy
Fiber content: 52% CoolMax®, 26% THOR·LON® Acrylic, 14% stretch nylon, 5%
spandex, 3% cotton
Thorlo protection level: 2
Lightweight padding in the heel and ball protect the foot from shear and
impact forces and helps to prevent painful blisters.
Lace pad protects the top of foot against boot lace pressure.
Spandex and low density padding in the arch create a snug fit.
Ventilation panel to improve fit and wicking.
Details According to Tester:
Sock size: 13 (Large)
Sock color: Black Heather
Shoe size: US 10.5
Single sock weight: 1.85 oz (52 g)
Pair of socks weight: 3.70 oz (105 g)
South East Texas
Humidity - A minimum of approximately 60% humidity so far.
Rain - Everything from mist to pouring rain, including snow.
Wind - Dead calm to breezy.
Temperatures: 28 F to 80 F (-2 C to 21 C)
Day hikes and weekend hiking/camping trips
To line or not to line:
I ran into some bad news when I decided to finally try a liner sock with the
Thorlos Men's CoolMax Light Hiker Crew socks. I used a full fledged Thorlos
liner (100% CoolMax with padding in the heel and football areas) for this
part of the test. I was going to spend a long morning geocaching and I
figured this was a safe thing to do. The temperatures were around 80 F (21
C) and I can report that the 'sweaty foot' syndrome didn't happened when I
used a liner sock. I was also happy that the Light Hiker fit over this
particular liner since I had convinced myself that it was going to fit too
tightly to accommodate a liner of this weight. Boy was I wrong. The sock
went on over the liner and felt comfy. It fit my feet and boots very well.
The problem cropped up after walking about 2 miles (3 km) while searching
for several caches and it was a nasty hotspot underneath my right heel. It
was smack dab in the middle of the bottom of my heel and it was not nice. I
returned home and yanked the socks and liners off. I haven't had a blister
in several years and I was not happy about this event. I have worn these
boots with these socks and footbeds with no problems. I have also worn these
boots, footbeds and liners with other hiking socks with no problems.
The next step I took was to put both the socks and liners on and try a
different shoe. I had my daily run coming up ( 2 miles (3 km)), so I put the
liners on over the socks, inserted the footbeds into my athletic shoes and
headed off. The hotspot was gone and the socks performed very well during my
The good news is that it appeared to be user error rather than a problem
with the sock and liner combo. Once the liner and sock was put on again and
pulled up properly I encountered no further problems with hotspots no matter
what activity I was participating in.
Final test issues:
I have worn these socks with a wide variety of shoes and boots while
participating in a lot of different activities. They are comfortable and
provide my foot with the padding that I require, but I have decided that I m
uch prefer them while wearing a liner sock of some sort. Without the liner
sock, I tend to suffer from sweaty feet as the temperatures rise. This
makes any sock/shoe combination uncomfortable for me, but I find it
especially noticeable with the Thorlo Light Hikers. With a liner sock
though, there is no sweaty feet problem and I really like these socks. I
originally thought that they were going to be too tight on my feet to allow
the use of a liner, but I managed to use several thicknesses of liner socks
with the Thorlo Light Hikers with equal success.
The Thorlo Light Hikers have proven durable over the test period despite
what I consider above average use for a pair of my hiking socks. No snags,
tears, broken elastic or permanent odors have appeared so far. As with any
sock, they get stinky from prolonged wear, but washing takes care of this
issue. Since the washing instructions include directions to use fabric
soften on the socks, I think this helps keep any permanent stink at bay with
One last test item that I finally got to check on was how well the Thorlo
Light Hikers air dry. If wet from washing or puddle hopping the Light
Hikers can be wrung out by hand and they get almost dry over night. The
"almost" dry is not a problem for me since I have never owned a pair of
hiking socks that dry completely overnight. The important part is that
they are dry enough to wear in the morning with liner socks without
irritating my feet.
As far as hiking socks go, I really like the Thorlo Light Hikers for low
impact hiking. Things like day hiking and geocaching where I am not carrying
a heavy pack seem like the perfect match for these socks. For heavier loads
and longer trips I still prefer a heavier sock, but for what I do in the
spring, summer, and fall in Texas, this a great hiking sock. Without a
liner I would recommend this sock for cooler temperatures (75 F or lower (24
C)), but with a liner I like this sock all the way up to the mid 80's F (mid
They hold up well, fit well, and do just what I would expect of Thorlo
socks. There were no surprises good or bad with this test. The Thorlo
Light Hikers are dependable and well constructed which is just what I have
always expected from Thorlos. Last, but not least I do like the rating
system which Thorlo uses with the Light Hikers. It makes it much more clear
about just what activities a sock is designed for, especially in the case of
the Light Hikers, and makes choosing the right sock easier.
I would recommend this sock to anyone who needs a well constructed sock for
light hiking activities in any season.