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We created Thorlos clinically-tested padded socks (CTPS) over 30 years ago—in fact, they were our very first activity-specific padded socks, designed specifically for runners, based on their feedback about what sock characteristics could help them most. These Thorlos are for active runners whose feet hurt during or after a run or who want to help prevent foot conditions in the future. With maximum protection in the ball and heel, and lightweight cushioning in the arch for a better fit, these Thorlos are incredibly comfortable and provide added heel protection in your running shoe along with being exceptional moisture wicking socks.
Made of a proprietary blend of fibers and padding uniquely designed for runners, Thorlos padding:
- Helps reduce the pain and discomfort associated with sore feet, blisters, calluses, plantar fasciitis
- Wicks more moisture away from the foot, helping to protect against athlete’s foot and other fungal infections
- Provides a healthier, more comfortable foot environment
What’s more, Thorlos maintain their fit, shape and protective function over time, even after repeated washings.
“I finished my first half marathon with zero pain in my toes, no blisters. I was very sore in a lot of areas, but after 13.1 miles, my feet were happy!” Maggie H.
Best Running Socks for Every Type of Runner
Why do you run? At Thorlos, we hear great answers to this question. Many of our customers tell us they run simply because they love the sport, or the challenge of completing a marathon, no matter what the distance. Others run because of the health benefits—or because running gives them an opportunity to commune with nature and achieve a feeling of spiritual wellbeing. Still others tell us they enjoy the sense of community among runners, and value the opportunity to participate in an activity that is accessible to their friends and family.
“I have several issues with my feet--flat feet, bunions, sweat (to the point where my regular socks feel wet and I have to change them. These socks allow my feet to feel normal. Thanks for a great product.”
Regardless of why you run, Thorlos are designed to keep running for as long as you like by protecting your feet from blisters and other foot conditions.
Thorlos Clinically-Tested Padded Socks: Best Socks for Running
Even if you do not currently have a foot condition or feet that hurt during or after running, Thorlos uniquely designed engineered padding is recommended whenever running creates high foot stress, such as running on difficult terrain, and for frequent or intense participation. Thorlos CTPS increase your running comfort and reduce the chances of many foot problems, so you can run harder, longer and safer--and enjoy running for a lifetime.
“Best socks I have ever put on. Sixty miles a week and the feet feel great.” Charles S.
The Classic XJ: Comprehensive foot protection; maximum protection in ball and heel; lightweight cushioning in the arch with padding for a better fit.
84N Runner – a New Hybrid: Maximum foot protection on a lightweight sock frame. Men’s and women’s style; women’s style has a smaller heel pocket and a custom toe box for optimal fit. Also a great choice if you experience foot pain or discomfort during or after running.
Curious but not yet convinced whether Thorlos CTPS can help you address your foot pain? We invite you to try your first pair free…just paying shipping and handling.
Click this link to see our FIRST PAIR FREE OFFER.
Thorlos Lite Padded socks and the ultra lightweight Experia® are designed for active people without foot pain or other foot problems. Experia is excellent for competetive marathon running and triathalons where less weight and an aerodynamic fit are important. It features THOR•WICK®COOL extreme performance fiber.
Both Experia and Thorlos Lite Padded socks provide more protection and comfort than regular cushion-sole socks and are available as ankle socks and no show socks for men and no show socks for females.
“I love these ... My feet stay cool and comfortable and no blisters!” Robert C.
Brand Promise Guarantee
Try Now at No Risk to You
THORLO stands behind all its foot-protection products. Our brand promise: Your feet will feel better or your money back®!
“My daughter said the socks were the best gift ever. No more running problems!!” Cindy M.
“I have plantar fasciitis, meniscus problems, and no cartilage in my left knee, but I run in spite of all that. I have to find solutions for my issues that allow me to continue running. It all starts with Thorlos padded socks, plus the right shoes and inserts. My personal favorite is the 84N Runner. It’s the best of both worlds: maximum padding on a lightweight frame.” James Jesserer, Vice President, Sales
Reviews for Thorlos RUNNING
02/21/17 | By Stella C.
I only wear Thorlo when I go jogging. As I age, I need more cushion for my feet when I jog. Experia is a little lighter weight than the other Thorlos I have and it is perfect for warmer weather.
02/18/17 | By Sandra C.
I love love love these socks! It is like walking on padding. Between the Thorlos and the Brooks shoes, my achy brakey feet feel sooooo much better by the end of the day. I have plantar fascitis, a cracked right heel bone and Achilles tendonitis on my right foot, so these socks and shoes are the reasons I still am able to walk.
02/18/17 | By Molly A.
02/16/17 | By Fred W.
I am an older active person. As such, I no longer have the fat pads in my feet to protect bones from trauma. These socks protect my feet and greatly deminished the need for pain relief following an active day.
02/14/17 | By Daniel K.
Great fit. They do tend to slip down the heels. That can be annoying.
02/12/17 | By Richard G.
They feel good but I don't like the fact they are so thin on the top
02/12/17 | By Patricia H.
02/11/17 | By Sylvia M.
Thorlos are comfortable. I feel like I'm walking on air.
02/11/17 | By Robert B.
No makes a better running sock!
02/11/17 | By Deborah A.
These socks give great cushioning! I am not a runner, but am a teacher on my feet all day with Plantar Fasciitis. These are the only socks I wear!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I tend to get blisters, what I am doing wrong?A: Just because you get blisters does not mean you are doing something wrong. Blisters most frequently occur in runners when the feet are exposed to excessive moisture. Therefore, it’s very important to wear socks that wick moisture (research shows that acrylic outperforms natural fibers in helping prevent blisters). Another important factor is proper shoe fit. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can promote blistering. IPFH recommends using the integrated approach to selecting and fitting footwear, including padded socks. If there are areas where blistering occurs persistently, you can use over-the-counter products such as moleskin or other adhesive protection on those areas of the feet that are prominent and prone to blistering. Lastly, if your feet are not acclimated to longer distances, you will be more likely to get blisters. Be careful when increasing distances and don’t increase by more than about 10% per week over your current or typical distance.
Q: I get side aches when I run sometime, how can I prevent this?A: Sometimes eating too much or eating just before a run can produce these. Avoid heavy meals or snacks before a run. If you want to generate some energy, some small pieces of fruit are best. Remember to breathe regularly and deeply, in sync with your stride. If you get a stitch, slow your pace and focus on your breathing. Also, I have found core strength training to be of help in avoiding side stitches and lower back issues. Also, warming up properly (starting out walking or at a slow pace and building up to your normal pace) can help you avoid this.
Q: I’m getting older, for the longevity of my knees and other joints, when should I think about slowing down or quitting?A: I am a big advocate of avoiding concrete and asphalt if possible. Staying on natural surfaces can help mitigate or avoid the impact forces that take their toll on the joints. I advise younger runners to avoid hard surfaces altogether if they can, because it can prolong their running. Older runners should also try to avoid the hard surfaces for the same obvious reason. Your body will tell you when it’s time to slow down. As you reach your late 50’s and 60’s you can slow your pace a bit, and lessen your distance. Also, taking every other day off will be beneficial. But if you keep in good shape and take care of yourself, theoretically, you can run into your 80’s. My father didn’t quit running until he was 86. And padded socks and padded running shoes with good soles can help the body they enclose perform better and longer. I might also suggest using pain as your guide. If your joints becomes too painful and you have tried running on softer surfaces, decreasing distances and taking days off in between running, it may be time to consult a healthcare professional to make sure that there aren’t other issues causing the pain. If not, it may be time to slow down or supplement with another less load bearing exercise.
Q: I think I may have plantar fasciitis, how do I make sure it doesn't get worse?A: PF is onerous. It can be very difficult to get rid of. But AS SOON AS you feel your heel starting to hurt, it is best to do two things: (1) cut your distance and/or the frequency of your runs) and (2) ensure that you have good arch support. Try to avoid concrete and asphalt in favor of softer surfaces like running trails or synthetic tracks. If these things don’t help, you may have to take a break from running. Using an elliptical trainer can help emulate the running stride and give you a good cardio workout without making the PF worse because your foot does not move on the machine like it does in the running stride. The more aggressive (i.e., high arched) and hard plastic an arch support you can tolerate the better your chance of pain reduction while still participating in activities.
Q: What sock works best for plantar fasciitis? How will Thorlos help?, and which are the best to address this issue?A: Typically doctors recommend inserts or orthotics (off the shelf or custom molded). Whatever type of insert you might choose or your doctor may recommend, be sure to get fitted using the integrated approach. CT Padded socks can help cushion the impact from the typical heel-toe motion of the feet, and sufficient padding is important. Thinner socks do not provide sufficient padding to help reduce pain from impact. But to directly answer the question about a Thorlo sock’s role in mitigating PF I think we need to honestly say that no sock has a curative benefit in and of itself in the treatment of PF. Should we speak about CTPS here? I agree that socks are not the answer but they are an important part of the total approach.
Q: What sock works best for metarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma?A: See question above. CTPS are best. Be sure to get them fitted properly with running shoes using the IA.
Q: What’s the best sock for marathon running?A: Many prefer a thinner sock for races, although they train in a more protective padded sock. This to me is a matter of trial and error and personal preference.
Q: What sock do you recommend when running on a treadmill?A: A treadmill is a rather nice surface – much different than concrete or asphalt. Despite some contention that biomechanics on a treadmill are different than they are on outdoor surfaces, there is no conclusive research that such is the case. Therefore, there shouldn't be any major issues in using the same socks when running on a treadmill as when running outdoors or on a track. Padded socks are the most protective, and are especially recommended for people who are in their early to mid-40’s and older because their fat pads are likely to have diminished in protective capability. However, if you do notice any significant differences between running on a treadmill vs running on a track or other outdoor surfaces, you may want to get a gait analysis or a physical assessment from a biomechanics expert.
Q: I’m in my late 20’s, what are your top 3 Do’s and 3 Don'ts as I get back into running?A: Although research is not definitive on this, I prefer to stretch at least a little before AND after a run. It gives me the sense that I am “loose” and ready to go. DO: (1) warm up properly and sufficiently (including light stretching if you choose); (2) stretch after your run; and (3) focus on avoiding hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete. If you can’t avoid them altogether, at least vary the surfaces you run on and don’t run on asphalt or concrete more than once or twice a week. I like to recommend dynamic stretching as well as static stretching. I explain to patients that it’s like the oil in your car on a cold day. You need to warm it up so that your joints are lubricated properly. The static stretching is like salt water taffy. As you slowly stretch your muscles and lengthen them, they will less likely get injured and won’t tighten as quickly. DON’T: (1) increase distance more than 10% per week, assuming you run at least 4 times a week; (2) “run through” any pain you may notice. Pain is not natural, and “no pain no gain” is totally incorrect; (3) start out too aggressively in terms of distance and pace. It’s better to start slowly and easily and work up to longer distances and quicker paces.
Q: What’s the trick to have a properly fitting running shoe?A: Two things: (1) Get measured every time you purchase new footwear, because your feet change as you age, often getting longer and wider; and (2) Integrate the two key components – sock and shoe ( and the third component- an insert or orthotic if you use one) when purchasing shoes. The best fit is achieved when these components are fitted and purchased together as a “system.” This can be achieved at a good specialty retailer, or you can do it yourself if you follow the Thorlos or IPFH protocols.
Q: Experiencing pain in toes during and after a run. Am I wearing the right size shoe and Thorlos?A: Could be that fit is not good. But it could be other issues as well. See number 16 to get a proper fit, and if the pain is still there, see a physician or foot care specialist. Yes, this is tricky. Could be CNS/neuropathy issues that definitely need to be professionally assessed. I think this is a place that we could speak to the need for padded socks in the toe area and ensuring a proper shoe fit. If pain persists, then a professional assessment is definitely needed.
Q: Why might a more thicker padded sock be best for me as I age into my 40’s and 50’s and beyond? Which Thorlos should I try?A: We know that, as we age, our feet often get longer and wider. In addition, the protective fat pads on the bottom of our feet tend to diminish in thickness and protective capability. Padded socks can help protect the bones and underlying structures of the feet, serving to help offset the loss of fat pad protection.
Q: My feet sweat a lot. What causes this? And what is the best Thorlos to move the moisture away so it doesn’t cause problems?A: Each foot has about 125,000 sweat glands. IPFH hypothesizes that the moisture secreted by these glands not only helps cool the feet, but serves to help create friction when the “fight or flight” response happens due to a perceived threat. This is the same phenomenon that occurs when the hands become sweaty when you’re anxious or perceive a threat. It helps to create more friction between the feet and the natural surface of the ground and helped early humans get away from potential danger in the days before civilization (see IPFH white paper “New Treatment Modalities for the Human Foot:” http://www.ipfh.org/resources/white-papers/new-treatment-modalities-for-the-human-foot). But inside a shoe this moisture can have an unfavorable effect: maceration of the skin and increased probability of blistering. Most people’s feet sweat. A condition called hyperhidrosis can cause much more than the normal sweating. Under any circumstances, most people will benefit from socks that wick moisture away from the feet. The best Thorlos product to address this for runners is the one that produces the most comfort for them (Channel wicking polyester tends to wick better overall; but acrylic provides the best combination of wicking and protection).
Q: My feet tingle or go numb when I run. What causes/cures this issue? (need answer for a diabetic and a non-diabetic)A: For non-diabetic: Numbness in the foot during running is usually caused by compression or encroachment on one or more of the nerves in the feet. The most common area for this to happen is in the toes. Numbness often occurs because of the constant impact on the feet from running on hard surfaces. It can also come from too narrow or tight a shoe, especially one that is not wide enough in the forefoot. Simple ways to reduce the pressure and impact include making sure to select a shoe with sufficiently large toe box, and the use of a metatarsal arch pad under the forefoot. Numbness on the bottom of the foot or a portion of the bottom of the foot can happen when a nerve is compressed at the ankle. This is often called “tarsal tunnel syndrome,” and typical causes are trauma-related injury to the tibial nerve; flat feet, which exert pressure on the nerve for an extended period; or pressure on the nerve from nearby structures such as cysts, enlarged blood vessels, or bone spurs. Treatment depends on the cause of the syndrome and the severity of symptoms. Sometimes the nerve recovers on its own. Conservative strategies--rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, immobilization, orthotics, physical therapy--can be tried in mild or moderate cases. For severe cases, surgery may be required to enlarge the tarsal tunnel and reduce pressure on the tibial nerve. In any event, if numbness or tingling does not resolve in a day or two, you should consult your physician or a foot care practitioner. For diabetic: In people with diabetes, numbness or tingling often indicates neuropathy, or damage to the nerves due to elevated blood sugar levels. The greatest danger of numbness or lack of sensation is unrecognized trauma to the feet. Damage goes unrecognized because you don’t feel pain (or any sensation) in the affected area. This is especially dangerous, and can lead to ulceration, infection, and possibly even amputation in severe cases for people with diabetes. Runners with diabetes should see their primary care physician regularly (along with an endocrinologist if necessary) in order to be sure that they are on a program of proper blood sugar management. They should also be under the regular care of a podiatrist or other foot care medical professional. In addition, they should do at least daily (IPFH recommends twice daily) inspections of their own feet to make sure there are not present any cuts, blisters, or other skin lesions on the feet that could become infected and ulcerate. Protecting the feet with padded socks and properly fitted shoes using the integrated approach is a highly recommended aspect of regular and conscientious foot care for people with diabetes. Link to IPFH diabetic foot care recommendations: http://www.ipfh.org/foot-conditions/diabetes:-foot-concerns/daily-foot-care-for-people-with-diabetes
The content on this page has been reviewed by Dr. Kevin Soden MD, THORLO’s Chief Medical Officer, and Jerome Gallenstein, THORLO’s Staff Certified & Licensed Pedorthist