Who thought that there could be so much involved in choosing the best running socks? But, it is your feet that get most impact from running so it’s important that you do everything you can to look after them.
Technically you could go running in any old sock. There isn’t a specific requirement to have the right running socks but, like your choice of trainers, the right pair come with many benefits while the wrong ones will cause many issues including blisters, sore feet and an uncomfortable run.
With running socks it’s important to get the right fit, something that’s comfortable. Not too thick in summer and not too thin in winter. If you do a lot of wet trail running, we take a look at the socks that afford the best protection. You also don’t want socks that slip inside your trainers or socks that you are stopping to pull up. Now, rather than review specific pairs of socks, we are going to take a look at the different types of socks including:
- Compressions socks
- Waterproof socks
- Odour repellent socks
- Blister free socks
We love a good pair of compressions socks, especially when the weather is colder (for reasons we will explain below). In fact, it was less than six months ago that we all started favouring them over our previous preferred ankle socks. Now, we wear them for pretty much every run (except when its a hot long run)
Compressions socks are great for a number of reasons
- Boosting your circulation
- Stopping your legs from getting tired Aiding recovery
- Ladies – great if you don’t have time to shave your legs 😉
Conversely, the wrong pair can irritate if they aren’t the right fit and sometimes, on longer runs, they can get a bit annoying. Also consider that during the summer months, you are going to catch the sun on your legs. Ladies, if you want to look good in that skirt – consider how your Drumstick squashie type legs might look after a long run!
Performance (Wicking) Socks are the way forward when it rains! Forget cotton which will stick to your feet and cause all sorts of issues! Wet feet are no fun, especially if they get wet early in a run and you have some distance to travel. There are some people who swear by waterproof socks. They don’t come cheap though but they may just prevent you getting blisters and protect your feet from the worst of the water.
If you are considering waterproof trail shoes, here’s a word to the wise! Water goes both ways. Now, while the water won’t get in at a low level. once you start splashing around in deep puddles, the water could enter the shoe over the top. Once it’s in, it’s hard to get out. From Autumn to Spring in the UK, we often find ourselves calf deep in water sometimes. If your shoe is holding water, even the most waterproof socks are going to struggle.
Odour Repellent Socks
Now, we haven’t used these yet so can’t really review them however, from reading the reviews of others and general information, it would seem that odour repellent socks are ideal for those who suffer from stinky feet after a run. Thanks to anti-bacterial technology, they help your feet to remain cool and dry thus reducing the stink factor.
We can speak from experience when it comes to socks designed to prevent blisters. Blister socks come with a two layer system, reducing the amount they rub against your skin as the layers of the stock rub together instead. We are a particular fan of Hilly Twin Skins and have worn them for many years.
Golden Rules for Choosing the Best Running Socks
Hot, cold, road, off road, length of run… it may be that you choose a variety of socks so that you have something for all occasions. A bit like you have shoes for trail, shoes for road, marathon shoes, ultra shoes… you also want to consider different types of socks to suit the weather, type of run, length of run etc. You also need to consider the following;
Choose a pair that have breathable, quick drying fabric. Even in the summer, those early morning runs mean the grass is dewy – conversely, you may sweat a lot and end up with wet feet.
Choose the Right Size
When choosing the size of your sock – choose the same size as your running shoes. You may not be able to do this with all running socks as some come in a 4-8 for example. Try and get as close a fit as possible though. Too loose and they will rub, too tight and they will feel uncomfortable.
Go seam free – less bits to annoy and cause rubbing. The seams can indent into your feet and cause uncomfortable chafing.
Get the Right Thickness
Consider the thickness – thin for that barely there feel or cushioned for extra support? This may depend on the type of run you are doing or the time of year. We tend to opt for thicker socks in the winter.
No New Socks on Race Day
Try them before race day!!! Do not open up a brand new packet of socks before a big race! Recipe for disaster and the golden rule is nothing new on race day.
Washing Your Running Socks
Running socks don’t come cheap and so it is important to look after them. Wash them inside out on a cool wash and avoid fabric softener. Do not tumble dry! Especially with compression socks – they shrink! If, like us, you come home with mud right through to your skin, you want to consider rinsing them off first. You really don’t want that mud going round your washing machine.
There are so many great brands of socks out there to try. We like Twin Skins for ankle socks, Injinji socks for winter and Danish Endurance compressions socks. You will also find that they cover a range of budgets too. You don’t have to spend a fortune but as you discover more, you will find those that you prefer or get recommended by a friend. Take look at sites like Sportsshoes.com or Amazon as they tend to have an extensive range of many popular socks.
What’s your favourite running socks? We’d love to hear.