The Thorlo Experia XCCU offers top-notch performance in all categories, making it our favorite unisex sock for running. When it comes to fit and padding, no other sock is better. We love how it comes in a small size range that seems custom tailored to our particular foot. The sock is snug and supportive and seems to fit perfectly. We also think that the light cushioning is exactly as advertised — targeted perfectly to only the areas that need it most. The looped fibers did a great job of wicking moisture away from the foot. Overall, we don't think there is a sock that did a better job of meeting all of the needs of a trail or road runner, so we can easily call this the best overall running sock.
Thorlos Experia XCCU Review
Cons: Not as grippy within the shoe as some socks, low cut is a bit of a ‘tweener
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Thorlo Experia XCCU is a very thin sock highlighted by its targeted use of Thorlo Pads made with their Thor-wick Cool fibers. It offers an awesome blend of comfort and breathability that will have you logging the miles on either the trails or on the road.
The Experia XCCU is a very comfortable sock with no instances of tightness or pinching anywhere. We love the fact that the targeted pads cover all of the areas of potential rubbing, including under the forefoot, over the toes, on the sides of the feet from the arch forward, and around the entire heel cup. There is a thinner grey padding that covers the small area of exposed Achilles tendon above the heel adding support for long days out. We love that the padding is specific to the right areas, without any additional and unnecessary cushion, for example, under the arch.
The Thor-wick Cool fabric in the pads, as well as the polyester and nylon blend throughout the rest of the sock, is super smooth and comfortable against the skin, right up there with the Feetures Merino 10, our Top Pick for Comfort. If we had to be really nit-picky and complain about something (which we do, because all of these socks are top quality), we would say that we wish the end of the toe seam did not come to rest against the outside of our big toe.
While our callused feet were plenty resistant to this small protrusion, we could identify this as a spot of potential rubbing. The Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-light Cushion has a seamless construction that we wish this sock fully emulated. Overall, this sock is super comfortable because of its super cozy interior fabrics and targetted areas of cushioning.
When considering the fit, we think it's pretty true to fit. We were thrilled with the very small target range of sizes, and especially with the fact that our foot fell right in the middle of the range. A small range like this ensures that no matter what your size, you are likely to get a better fit.
This sock fits very nicely and was perfectly shaped for a foot. The Lycra and nylon fibers in the arch and on top of the foot stretched nicely to fit over our feet, and then successfully hugged and cradled them without feeling tight or constrictive. The arch offers a nice thick compressive elastic band of material that holds the sock in place. The fabric itself is pretty stretchy, but not compressive. Over time, we noticed the fit did seem to stretch out a little bit, but with every wash, it bounced back. Overall, we are pretty happy with the fit of this sock.
Wicking & Breathability
In our two separate wicking and breathing tests, we determined that the Thorlo Experia XCCU is indeed effective at wicking away moisture from next to the foot. In our 15 minute on-the-foot test, we noticed that the sock was quite damp all over the outside, while on the inside we found that the Thorlo pads made of Thor-wick Cool fiber were by far the driest parts, almost completely dry.
On the other hand, the polyester and nylon fibers in the arch and top of the foot remained wet. This led us to believe that the sock is doing an effective job of moving moisture from the pads to the outside of the sock. In our simple one-hour drying test, we found that this sock was a quick wicking and a quite breathable sock.
In addition to our tests, we look at the architecture which tells us how this sock actually breaths. The only real areas of cushioning are the heel and forefoot, meaning the rest of the sock is capable of breathing. More specifically, the fabric is woven loosely to allow appropriate ventilation. During hot days on the trail, our feet stayed dry. On cold days, they felt insulating. Overall, this sock is magical when it comes to moisture management.
If there was one scoring metric where the Thorlo sock under-performed, it would be slip prevention. In very loose shoes the smooth outside of this sock was able to slip a bit when running up and down steep hills, although this was not an issue in tight shoes.
The low cut was a bit of an odd fit, as it rested right across our ankle, rather than above or below it, and we found was ever so slightly prone to slipping downward, depending on the shoes we were wearing. We wish it had a padded tab feature or thicker elastic band to help it stay up. We will concede that these criticisms are a bit harsh for something that really wasn't much of a factor, but in comparison to the performance of the other socks, this one wasn't the best for once.
After running 30+ miles, this sock looks surprisingly new and unused. That materials seem to be holding up after our testing period, and we are pretty impressed! The only issues we've really seen is some seriously minor pilling and a few thread fly-aways. Aside from that, we are pretty happy! We only wish that Thorlos could offer a lifetime guarantee, but it does offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Overall, it does well in this metric.
The Thorlo Experia XCCU is a fantastic all-around sock that would be applicable in many situations. Marketed as a workout sock, we think it would be great for all sorts of activities besides just running. Due to the low cut, it must be worn with a low cut shoe to not slip down annoyingly, so wouldn't be great as a sock worn in a hiking boot. It works great for both warm temps and cold weather.
This sock retails for $16, which is about average for the socks in this review. As the highest scorer and one of our favorite socks that we ran in, we think this presents a great value, and highly recommend it to our readers.
The Thorlo Experia XCCU is a lightweight running sock that packs a lot of soft cushioning in a very targeted manner. It gives you everything you need for running comfort with the least amount of superfluous fabric. As the highest scorer in our testing, we are happy to name it our Best Overall Running Sock, and recommend it to anyone in need of the best performance that they can get while running.
— Andy Wellman