Anyone who has come in to see me to get fit knows that I have a love of socks, and honestly, I don’t discriminate when it comes to socks. I love all socks. I have a favorite sock for each type of run. But you might be wondering what it is that I love so much about technical running socks, and that is a valid question. By the time you’re done reading this post, you too will understand all there is to love about running socks. So get comfy, grab a snack, and read on because we are about to open your eyes to the wonderful world of running socks.
Let’s start with some fun facts about the foot and sweating:
1. At rest, the foot releases 1/2 cup of sweat each day. Let me emphasize at rest.
2. On a 5 mile run, your feet produce enough sweat to fill an 8oz glass. About half of the sweat is evaporated through the upper of the shoe and is released into the environment. The other half, you guessed it, goes into the sock. If your sock does not have moisture wicking properties you can bet you will have some soggy feet at the end of that run!
3. 2 Trillion Bacteria reside on your feet. That’s A LOT of bacteria!
4.The naked foot temperature is 94 degrees. The non-active foot in a shoe has a temperature of 105-125 degrees. This temperature increases with activity level.
So now that we have some of the fun facts out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Comfort. Running puts our bodies through a lot of stressors that we don’t face on a daily basis, so we make sure we do all that we can to be comfortable on each run. We spend a great amount of time and energy to find the right running shoe for us, the right apparel, but then we go and we buy the value pack socks from Target (or Publix, I have worked with a handful of guests who have informed me they run in socks from Publix). But why don’t we put that degree of thought and consideration into our socks? It’s the first thing that our foot touches after all, so wouldn’t you want to wear the best sock for your foot? Well if you’re answer was yes, then you’re right. If your answer was no, come see me, we will try on some socks!
Comfort and fit in a sock can make all the difference on how you feel during a run. There are certain features of a good technical running sock that really helps to increase the comfort including: a high needle count (think of thread count in bed sheets), deep heel well to prevent slipping, a flat seam to minimize irritation at the toes, and the most important of all, no cotton!
Cotton is a serious point of conversation when it comes to running socks, or any running apparel in general. Cotton-free is the way to go. Cotton holds on to heat and moisture and poorly wicks away moisture. Not to mention can lead to blistering, callusing, and irritation. Runner’s are notorious for not having cute feet, so break the trend and take care of your feet.
Now, I find that every sock has it’s distance that works well for me. Some socks I prefer for long runs, others for speed work, and then there’s the almighty sock that I prefer for extreme temperatures.
Let’s first talk about long runs. With the amount of pounding I put my body through on a longer run, I try and put as much cushioning between the ground and myself as possible. For my long runs I really favor the Balega Hidden Comfort. Not only does the sock feel like heaven on my feet, but the extra cushioning on the bottom of the sock is unparalleled! So when I am finding I need some extra cushion, this is my go to!
When it comes to going to the gym or doing shorter runs, I fancy Feetures Ultra Light or the Balega Women’s Enduro socks. They tend to be a little thinner, which feels better when I am wanting a more minimal feel on my foot. I also happen to really enjoy the Feetures Elite sock. This sock has an anatomical fit, which I like because of the built in arch support, but it is also made with Merino wool, which allows for unbeatable thermoregulation in hot and cold temperatures.
Wearing the proper running sock really does make all the difference. I’ll admit that I used to be one of those people who went and bought the packs of the 6 or 10 “active dry” socks because I thought I was still getting a good running sock for the price. Little did I know how much of a disservice I was doing to my feet and my running. Education is key when it comes to running socks. If you haven’t tried on a good running sock, or you’re unsure about what sock might be best for you, I encourage you to try on a variety of socks. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have different socks for different runs and conditions.
If you have a favorite running sock, I’d love to hear about it and why you love it! If you are looking for a new sock or a recommendation, I encourage you to comment or stop by Fleet Feet Orlando and try some on with me!
The weather should be beautiful this weekend. Make sure to hit the road or the trails this weekend (and try out your new favorite sock on your run)!