Experience From - Jeff Wold, Jay Hodde, Mary Gorski, Milt Scholl, Jane ?, John Davis , Pat Wellington , Mike ,

Jeff Wold

Geraldine Wales (Lady G.) wrote:

"All I want is socks and I never knew there were so many choices. Thorlo, Coolmax, Wigwam - all claim to be the ones I should put on my feet. What do you wear and why?"
I like a light, thin sock year round (significant cuz I'm in MN). I've been bying coolmax irregular's (seconds) at a Nike factory outlet store for around $3 a pair. Lately, I've replaced all of my dreary grey sox with new black ones from Pearl Izumi.

I think the coolmax and other lightweight spaceage materials are useful because they dry out quickly. I've never had chronic blister problems (well ok once) so I haven't had to experiment wit other types, cuz these work for me.

Jay Hodde

I wear the Thor-Lo JMX or JLM, depending on the thickness of the sock I want. I swear by them because the double layering adds cushioning and seems to have kept me blister-free.

The Coolmax socks are OK, but they are thin. That's the reason I don't care for them.

Wigwam makes a good sock, too, but again they are thinner than the Thor-Lo. For wool socks and hiking socks, Wigwam is the way to go!

Even though the Thor-Lo is significantly more expensive than the others, it is also the most popular. You might want to give the Thor-Lo a try, and this time of the year is the time to do it. The company usually runs a buy-2-get-1-free offer during November and December.

Mary Gorski

My favorites come from Wigwam. They are the Ultimax "Ironman" version -- thin but not transparent, with a high enough top to keep your achilles warm in the winter (I hate getting that little red frozen mark around my ankle where the tights stop and the really short socks don't quite reach. The thicker ultimax is nice if you are wearing shoes that need a bigger sock (or if you like to wear a thicker sock). Both seem to last a long time (actually, I think they come with a 2-year guarantee). All cotton sounds nice and natural, but always gives me blisters.

Milt Scholl

My 2 cents: I wear thick thorlo's over a thin poly pro socks. No, my feet don't get hot. The extra cushioning is nice and I rarely get a blister, even when my feet are repeatly wet by stream crossings.

Jane ?

I love the cushioning of the Thorlos, but with my difficulty in finding shoes wide enough for my toes, they are sometimes too thick. Then I went to double-layer socks made I think of Coolmax, but the double layers sometimes bunch up under my feet, and give me blisters.

Then I fell in love with the Wigwam ultimax "Ironman" which are cushioned like the Thorlos but thinner. The worst thing about them is that I haven't found anywhere but RRS that sells them in my size (small)--all the local stores seem to have only medium and large.

I've also got some really thin socks, like the ones that the RaceReady people sell, which are good for short races. When I wore them for a 100K, they gave my feet a rash.

I've still got some of all of those, and I wear all of them some of the time. Generally the Thorlos (if I'm wearing roomy enough shoes) or the Wigwams for long trail runs.

John Davis

"Thorlo, Coolmax, Wigwam - all claim to be the ones I should put on my feet. What do you wear and why?

I have three of the four types that I know exist. Each has a different thickness. They have enough variation that you could have different shoe sizes with different socks. This is not funny in that blisters can form from too thick as well as too thin socks. The right one depends on the distance you are running, the terrain, the hydration (salt) levels, and the relative size of the shoe to the foot. This may not ba a constant. I tend toward the Thorlo for the long runs due to the match of thickness to shoe. Coolmax is the intermediate one and I can do a good 50 miler with little trouble in these. The double layer ones (thinner) alow me to let the feet get lost in the shoe and that is a problem after 30 miles. The toe nails can get jammed in the toe box, etc.

Pat Wellington

I just thought I'd mention that Road Runner Sports, the mail order catalog that came to my bra burn and bounce factor rescue with the colorful Support Top for C&D Cups, solved my keeping my always cold hands dry in the rain.

dilemma with the lightweight Dry Road waterproof glove covers, now has the Wigwam Ultimax Mini-Crew socks (which I've had excellent blisterfree success wearing) available in colors! Color choices include: black/gray; red/black; royal/navy.

My order came in time for me to test run them slippin? and slidden? in the mud at the Quad Dipsea this past Saturday (and if you fast guys think it was slick coming down that long stretch to Muir Woods, you should have seen it by the time I passed through after 189 people ahead of me. It was not pretty.

Amazingly, when I took my shoes off, my socks were completely dry with no mud stains at all! ( I was also surprised how dry they were since some of us WERE out there long enough to get caught in the real rain). And for this I will give credit to the O'Brien Gators I was wearing. However, I did manage to wear through the duct tape on the strap! How can this happen on a 28-mile run? Especially since I spend a lot of time on the stone steps out of Stinson Beach hoisting myself up with my hands AND feet because the distance between each step is so steep (If you?re 5 ft and under, you know what I'm talking about), so I'm not stressing the strap when I?m on my hands and knees! Also, I didn't wear through the duct tape on my gator straps while shuffling along for 12 and 13+ hours at Firetrails Fifty and Sierra Nevada 52! Go figure...

As happy as I am with the colored socks, however, a bit of nostalgia did hit me as I looked in my sock drawer filled with brown streaked white socks and realized that my socks have memories written all over them, i.e., I can clearly tell which socks I wore in the red mud at Cool and I remember the particular brown design on my socks from the dusty roads at Quicksilver this year, etc. etc. No more sock memories with colored socks...

Please note: I have no personal interest in Road Runner Sports; they just always seem to have the absolute necessities that I can?t find in local running stores. If you're interested in Road Runner Sports, following is their address and info:

Road Runner Sports
6150 Nancy Ridge Drive
San Diego, CA 92121


For the last six months or so I've been running in three pair of socks from LLBean that are a combination of merino wool, lycra, and I believe olefin (a fakey but very effective form of artificial wool. It used to be THE artificial fiber of choice for hightech underware prior to the polypro/capiline/MTS/blablabla took us all by storm). In any case, these are wonderfully comfortable, durable socks. Available in various heights and a variety of cool *colors* (Be BRAVE, take your running club by storm, dare to wear BLACK socks!). They're thicker than my worn out ultimax socks but much thinner than Thorlos. Run in comfort!