David Varsik, THORLO's senior design engineer, shows what goes into designing, producing and testing Thorlos activity-specific, clinically-tested padded tennis socks.
Design of Thorlos Padded Tennis Socks
THORLO’s Design Matrix
We designed our Thorlos tennis socks based on a five-element design matrix. These elements assure your feet are properly protected and will feel better, particularly when you play on hard courts, which can be very hard on your feet. Our design matrix includes:
- Shoe construction;
- Foot kinetics – the way your feet move;
- Surfaces tennis is played on;
- Climate; and
- Consumer testing.
Together, these ensure Thorlos clinically-tested padded tennis socks will deliver the guaranteed benefits and provide you with all the foot protection you need to enjoy your time on the courts.
The Shoe & The Last
Thorlos are designed to work within your tennis shoe. By design, the outer sole of a tennis shoe is flatter to make it easier for you to make quick short moves, and the stops and starts that are required for the game. We take this, as well as these other elements, into consideration:
- Materials the shoes are made of;
- Breathability of those materials;
- Hardness of the soles; and
- The taper to the toe box.
A hard fought tennis match creates incredible stress on your feet. As you know, unlike other sports, during tennis your feet are required to suddenly move forward and backward, and just as suddenly from side-to-side. Those movements generate incredible shearing forces inside your shoes that can increase the risk of blisters and other foot conditions, if the feet aren’t properly protected. That’s why we put extra padding in the heel and forefoot of our padded tennis socks. The padding, made from our exclusive THORLON yarn, is designed to absorb impact similar to the way a catcher’s mitt absorbs a fastball.
We add also add padding over the toes to protect against “tennis toe”—sometimes called “black toe.”
The climate inside your shoe is actually more important than the climate you’re playing in. Whether you’re playing outdoors in the cold or indoors or outdoors in the heat, you’re going to be sweating because of all the physical exertion. The demands placed on your feet create a high-moisture environment in your shoe. You need a protective sock specially designed to move that moisture away from your foot. Thorlos exclusive THORLON yarns are designed to wick that moisture away to the outside of the shoe where it can evaporate.
With the design matrix in place, we then create a prototype. We’ll have a small group of in-house tennis players put the initial prototype to the test. When the results come in, typically there’s some tweaking, and then a larger test. We continue to test the prototype over and over again, until we’re absolutely sure that it’s going to deliver the benefits that we promise. That’s how we guarantee your feet will feel better or your money back!
Importance of Proper Fitting
Now remember, your tennis shoe, the Thorlos padded tennis sock, and your foot work together as a system. It’s absolutely critical that you get the right fit. So, I encourage you to watch our fitting video.