Friday, January 13, 2012

Gear Review: Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock

Socks are one of those things that a lot of people, myself included, don't give a whole lot of thought to. For the first eight years of my running, I just ran in whatever cheap cotton socks I could find at Walmart in a 12-pack for $5 bag. The summer after my senior year of college, I worked at a running camp, and one of the guest speakers was a guy from The National Running Center, who gave each of the counselors a pair of technical running socks. Oh my God, my eyes were opened. Socks make a difference after all! Since running socks are kind of expensive, I still wear cheap cotton socks for a lot of my runs. However, there are some days that warrant decent socks. Today, with its roads that were a combination of ice and slush, its 30 mph winds, and its long run on the calendar, was one of those days. For a day like today, the best sock in my sock drawer is the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock.

Mizuno's website describes the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock as such:
  • 93% Polyester / 5% Polyurethane / 2% Spandex
  • Breath Thermo® fabric removes moisture from skin to then generate heat for additional warmth
  • Reduces temperature loss
  • Superior moisture absorption reduces friction and abrasions
  • Anti-bacterial and deodorizing properties
  • Arch band and y-heel for a snug fit that won't slide
  • Quarter height for additional protection
You may recall, in a previous post, I mentioned using Burton snowboard socks for super cold days. And for the coldest of cold days, those are still my pick. However, the problem with snowboard socks is that they're on the thick side. Plus, I kind of wanted to wear my Brooks Launch today, which I bought a little bit snugger, and Launch + Burton socks + feet swelling from long run makes for a tight fit. One of the awesome things about the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock is that, despite its warmth, it still manages to be a medium weight sock, and isn't nearly as thick as a snowboard (or even cold weather hiking) sock would be. Obviously it's thicker than those ultra-thin socks that people wear with their racing flats, but it is a cold weather sock, after all.

Of course, the big selling point of the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock is its warmth. These are the warmest running socks that I own, by far. I actually wore a pair last week to go snowboarding since I couldn't find my actual snowboard socks (responsible of me, huh?). While my feet got a little cold snowboarding (emphasis on "a little"), this doesn't seem to be a problem with running, since you're actually moving the entire time and not sitting on a lift. I haven't even had to employ the duct tape over the mesh on the shoe trick since getting these socks (to be fair, it hasn't dipped into single digit temperatures yet this year). Unlike cheaper socks, they do a fine job of wicking sweat away, so your feet don't get wet and freeze. I did manage to crack through ice and get one of my shoes soaked today, and while that foot did get a little cold, it still wasn't horribly uncomfortable like I've sometimes dealt with in the past with other socks. Whatever material Mizuno is using to make these socks (perhaps the Polyurethane? Seems like a weird material to put in socks) works, and it works well. The material is also pretty soft and comfortable too.

The Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock uses an arch band an y-heel for a snug fit. I really appreciate the arch band (I have no idea what a y-heel is), because it keeps the sock in place, and IMO, adds comfort. They're also quarter height. Generally, I prefer a low sock (no-show or tab), but when the weather gets cold, it's nice to have that little bit of extra ankle coverage. They are not left/right specific. Personally, I'm not sure left/right specific socks have any actual difference between socks other than the coloring, but some people do seem to like them and notice a difference. They do have a Mizuno Runbird logo on one side of the ankle cuff that is probably meant to be on the outside, but there's no actual difference between socks.

Please remember that the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock is that it is very much a cold weather sock. If you wear these in warm weather, your feet are going to get hot. Save them for the cold days.

The one downside to the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock is its price. Running socks aren't cheap to begin with, and at $15, the Breath Thermo Sock is definitely up there. However, when compared to other cold weather socks (particularly the Merino wool ones), it's really not that terrible, so my advice is to watch for sales, because they do sometimes go on sale (like right now, at Running Warehouse, where they're $12!), and then buy one or two pairs for those really cold days, because they are worth it when it gets really cold.

The Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock retails for $15 and is available at many retailers that carry Mizuno products. Sizing is as follows:

Sock SizeMen's Shoe SizeWomen's Shoe Size

Full disclosure: I got these socks on sale at The National Running Center. The opinions expressed in this review are mine and based on my experience, and do not reflect the opinions of Mizuno or The National Running Center.


  1. Great review (as always) - I'll have to check these out! I'm always on the lookout for good cold-weather socks that are warm, but not too heavy or uncomfortable, to use on long runs.

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