High Tide takes it back to the 80s in Thorlo brand upgrade

Founded in the 1980s, Thorlo was the first to patent activity-specific socks. Now, High Tide returns to its history with a brand reminiscent of ad campaigns from the era.

16 March 2023

Brooklyn-based studio High Tide is behind the newest look for Thorlo – previously Thorlos. The decision to drop the ‘s’ actually says a lot about the new direction for the brand. The new name returns to an earlier iteration of the brand; it was also called Thorlo in the 80s. The design returns to this period too.

A punchy wordmark has been paired with narrative-driven taglines like “Moving you since 1980”. The brand is relatively text heavy, combining the sans Neue Montreal Bold and serif Office Times Sharp. The final brand looks like a bold update on an 80s ad campaign à la Nike, Apple or Thorlo itself.

High Tide also wanted to stress the brand’s history with engineering. After travelling to visit Thorlo’s family Mill, High Tide managing partner James Allan explains: “The stories we heard and the discovery process left us with the impression that Thorlo is actually an engineering company that happens to make socks.” A High Tide release points out the lack of attention brands like Thorlo receive when it comes to foot protection in comparison to, say, sneakers. Thus, High Tide wanted to highlight the work it has carried out on sock technology over the past 40 years, despite “the market boom in sneaker design and material innovation,” says James.


High Tide: Thorlo (Copyright © High Tide, 2023)

Photography combines archival shots, showing Thorlo’s ongoing focus on technology, with modern sports images. Thorlo’s previous categorisation system for products has also been updated, using colour to signify different sports – such as Tennis, Basketball or Running. According to a release from High Tide, this “energetic yet functional” tool, when paired with the brand’s primary hero blue, “clarifies a crowded shelf”.

It’s an interesting new direction for the American sock brand, but the impactful use of photography creates a commanding presence that manages to live up to the brand’s heritage.

GalleryHigh Tide: Thorlo (Copyright © High Tide, 2023)

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High Tide: Thorlo (Copyright © High Tide, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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