Blisters are caused by heat, moisture, and friction. Foot care and boot sock choice are important factors in preventing issues with your feet. Taking the extra time to care for your feet is worth losing sleep or gaining the attention of the Sergeant Instructors. Two sock brands that are common at OCS are Thorlos and Fox River.
Personally, the Fox River socks are my go-to boot sock. I wore Fox River socks for the majority of OCS and only got a hot spot once. However, this was on the 9-mile hike with Thorlos.
When comparing socks, one major consideration is how you want boots to fit. The Fox River socks are a lower volume sock and a boot will have a looser fit. Thorlos, on the other hand, will make the boot feel tighter.
Thorlos Anti-fatigue socks ($17.50):
These are a thicker sock and the additional padding can add a comfort factor that the Fox River socks can’t rival. Further, some people claim that Thorlos are the longest lasting sock. Since they have extra padding, it’s our recommendation to skip the sock liner and simply apply moleskin to potential hotspots proactively. While thick, some feel Thorlos are still good socks for summer, because of their wicking properties.
Thorlos socks are a looser fit and this can cause socks to bunch up in the boot. These socks don’t dry as fast. Additionally, many candidates wear a sock liner with these, requiring extra time to dress. Warmer socks (pro or con).
Thorlos are a good match for your Bates Lights, which have less padding, whereas they’re less compelling for hot summers or when paired with plush Danner boots or sock liners. However, this blog’s author wore a half dozen Thorlos through an entire deployment in Afghanistan with excellent results.
Fox River Wick Dry Maximum ($14.00):
Fox River’s wick dry technology transfers moisture better and keeps the socks drier throughout the day. Additionally, these socks are designed to be anatomically correct. Built with memory fit, a flat toe seam and arch support help the sock stay in place. These socks also have an antimicrobial weave that helps to reduce odor and prolong the life of the sock.
Fox River socks are not compatible with a sock liner. They are too tight and will cause irritation with a liner. These socks are newer to the market and do not have the proven track record that Thorlos boasts.
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Ultimately, boot sock choice is a matter of personal preference. Note that only one sock is compared from either company. However, both companies offer a large number of Military style socks of varying colors, materials, and heights (calf height, for example).