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What you need to know about running socks

Running Socks
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Socks

Are they really that important? Yes, absolutely! Now you may think that I am being a little dramatic, but tell that to your toes, and the rest of your feet after a hard workout or running in less-than-ideal conditions.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned runner, you already know that comfortable shoes are crucial for a good run. But what about socks? Running socks may not get the same attention as shoes, but they are just as important. In fact, in some ways, they are just as important. That is because the right pair of socks can help to prevent blisters, protect your feet from the elements, and wick away sweat to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Running socks are a type of sock that is designed to be worn while running. They are typically made from synthetic materials, such as acrylic or nylon, and wool. They are designed to provide cushioning and insulation for the feet and legs during your run.

With the different options of material and length of socks available, it can be tough to know which ones to choose. But do not worry, I am here to help. In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about running socks so that you can make the best decision for your feet.

Materials

The material of a sock is a crucial factor to consider when purchasing a new pair of socks. Some materials are better than others in different situations, and it is important to know the differences between them. Several types of materials that are used for making socks include wool, cotton, acrylic, nylon, polyester, and spandex.

Cotton

Cotton socks are a great choice for people who want to keep their feet warm and dry. The cotton material is lightweight and breathable, however, it’s down fall as a running sock is it’s ability to absorb water. Cotton is a natural fiber that absorbs water and doesn’t allow it to evaporate, making it the perfect material for socks, just not running socks!

Wet socks that do not evaporate and get rid of that moisture are great for one thing. Softening up your skin and enabling the perfect conditions for BLISTERS, OUCH!

Wool (Smartwool)

Wool is a natural fiber that has been used for hundreds of years. It is one of the most renewable and sustainable materials on the planet.

Merino wool is a type of wool that comes from a sheep breed in Australia. It has finer fibers than other types of wool, making it softer and warmer than other types while still being breathable.

Wool socks are great for running because they keep your feet warm in winter and cool in summer. They also reduce friction, which can help prevent blisters on your feet when you’re running.

Length

No Show

Hence the name of the style no show socks do not even show. They tuck into the back of your shoe so that no one knows you are wearing them (until you take your shoes off). These are great for warmer weather or if you want a minimalist look. The main downside to no show socks is that they offer even less protection than ankle socks.

Ankle

Ankle socks sit at, you guessed it, your ankles. They are low profile and good for hot weather or races where every millisecond counts. The downside is that they offer less protection from debris and blisters.

Quarter

Quarter Socks are a right between Ankle & Crew, meaning that they cover your ankle but are not long enough to cover the muscles of your calf.

Crew

Crew socks tend to have a little more variability in overall length (inches or centimeters) but typically come up to the mid-calf. They offer more coverage and protection than ankle socks but depending on your sense of fashion these might not be the ideal choice.

Compression Socks

Compression socks are a unique type of sock, that tangentially can be considered a running sock. While the performance and injury prevention and or improvement properties of these socks, as it relates to running are still unclear, excluding sales pitches, I wanted to provide a little information on them.

They are designed to be at least crew length and cover your calves. The compression name comes from the fact that they are tighter, more compression, around your ankles and as you go up closer to the top the amount of pressure decreases. These socks were originally designed more for medical issues, Deep Vein Thrombosis, or other conditions and not necessarily sports. However, they concept and functionality is to help increase circulation in your legs.

Conclusion

Ultimately when you are looking for running socks you need to find ones that will wick the moisture away, something like a smart wool material. Additionally, regardless of the length you choose, you need to make sure the socks fit your feet. I can’t tell you how many times I have used nice socks that were part of a race give away, but that were just a little too large and became a little awkward to wear. However, the opposite is also true, please do NOT try to wear sock that you even think “might” be too small.  They will end up scrunching your toes, which will on a best-case scenario cause your feet to be uncomfortable on your run, or worse and injury.

Good luck with selecting your socks, and if you are a little adventurous, sock companies do have creative and color socks you can select from.

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