“Free” and “Made in U.S.A.” were the buzz words.
NORTH CAROLINA HAS ALWAYS been one of my favorite vacation destinations, particularly the Great Smoky Mountains. I love the states’ abundance of flowering trees, especially fruit trees, like peach, pear, apple, & cherry. The Garden of Eden, indeed, along with its rich history of furniture manufacturers and knitting mills.
But sadly, much of the knitting has been outsourced overseas. In the early 1980s, Jim Throneburg set out to change that, and invented the Thorlos brand, vowing Thorlos will always be made in Statesville, North Carolina.
I hadn’t remembered hearing the name Thorlos, but when an acquaintance posted Free socks offer* on a sportsmen’s chat forum, I tuned in PDQ. A little research revealed Thorlos makes purpose-designed socks for outdoors people, tradesmen, medical conditions [diabetes], and leisure. Their core is developing relationships with people who want/need “engineered padded socks” which reduce blisters, pain, pressures, and moisture. Their mission is to be the very best padded sock manufacturing company in America.
The DeFeet Aireator® blog posting remains one of the most popular on AmericanToolbox. DeFeets, however, are different from Thorlos. DeFeets started out making a light, breathable sock, and Thorlos makes a heavily padded sock. Both great American companies, but with different focus.
My free pair came today. I chose the hiking, crew length. My feet will be loving these socks, from an easy start through springtime meadows to the hottest August hill-climb. And the bonus, I’ll be absolutely stylin’ on the trails in these sage-colored socks, with my Danner Boots. Turns out, I do have Thorlos experience, as the knitting is recognizable. I inherited several pairs of Thorlos when my brother passed, but never knew the brand. His collection is pushing 15- to 20- years old, and still serviceable.
Survival With Clean Socks
A FEW years back, when a hundred miles riding bicycle through the open country *on an empty stomach, without water* was a lark, I was given my first set of DeFeet cycling socks from the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. Snazzy white socks, open mesh across the top of the foot, low to the ankles, with a bright yellow stripe at the top. So began my stylin’ bike gear collection.
Despite care and hand-washing, these socks began to fall apart after about ten years. The horror! But since The Internet had by now been invented, I was able to track down the manufacturer. Interesting story here, but the short copy is that a cycling guy wanted a better sock, invented it, and used his family background to open a knitting facility. It was the first open mesh weave airflow design sock, totally customizable. DeFeet was born. The year was 1992. –DeFeet
The Grab Bag is recommended. A dozen pair of seconds or over-runs, delivered, works out to about $3 per pair. Significant savings over standard per-pair price. You get an eclectic mix, possibly including logo’d socks from Triathlons in far-off lands as well as Benefit Runs for well-deserving causes.
Editor’s note: The Grab Bag apparently comes and goes. At the time of this edit, Web Deals appear to be the only “special”.