Running socks worth taking a look at
As the running season starts to heat up and we start to pile on the miles and races, having a few pairs of dependable socks can make the season that much more enjoyable. When I think of running, socks are one of the last things I think about unless I wear a pair that give me blisters or I wear a pair that totally rock. It’s hard to tell that running socks have become a big deal over the past few years if you’re the average consumer, but as I’m in constant contact with all the running brands, I can tell you first hand there are a lot of companies vying for space on your feet. I’ve been testing out a number of socks over the past 6 months and in this article we’ll be talking about some of the latest and greatest running socks on the market.
Balega Ultralight No Show $12
This running sock has cushioning in all the right places while taking out any extra material where it’s not necessary. The Balega Ultralight No Show socks come in a left / right version where you get more fabric and arch support on the inside of the foot while leaving the top and outside of your foot with just enough fabric. To protect the back of your heel from blisters, there is a small ribbed section above the heel of the sock to give you a little padding that wraps half way around the bottom of the ankle. The sock has held it’s form over the past 6 months and there are no evident wear spots to speak of. Definitely worth trying on a pair. http://www.balega.com/
Smartwool PhD Run Ultralight Micro $15.95
Gone are the days where Smartwool uses 100% merino wool, and in with the days where Smartwool starts to incorporate nylon into some of its products. The Smartwool phD Run Ultralight Micro is made of 54% merino wool, 44% nylon, and 2% elastane. This sock has what is noticeably two large sections on the toe and heel of the sock where a more durable fabric is used for these high wear areas. There are 3 bands within the forefoot of the sock that provide a tighter fit around key areas including your arch and upper and lower instep. The socks fits nice and tight around the foot without any slippage on the bottom of the foot which helps keep your foot in place in the shoe. Smartwool socks are popular for a reason, their awesome! http://www.smartwool.com/
Injinji Performance Lightweight No Show $10
Toe socks look funny, yes that is what I thought when I first saw them too. You might ask yourself, why in the world would someone want little compartments for each individual toe? Great question! and I have the answer… As someone who likes to log a lot of miles in spring, summer, and fall, longer distances can reek havoc on your feet and toes depending how tough your feet have become over time. Typically if I am running 17 miles or more, I switch from a traditional running sock to a toe running sock. The reason is, is because I have what is called hammer toes. This is where your toes cross over each other a little bit and can be a nightmare towards the end of a long run. By having each toe wrapped, your skin doesn’t rub against itself but the smooth fabric goes against itself saving the skin in between your toes. After running multiple stages at the Trans Rockies Run over the past few years, I knew that I didn’t want to run long distances for consecutive days with blisters. That said, I only wore my Injinji toe socks. And to go one step further, an elite runner in the Trans Rockies Run that was running for cash borrowed a pair of my used dirty Injinji socks to finish the 6th day of the run because her blisters were so bad. It was a little odd to be giving a girl my used dirty socks to run in, but she thanked me over and over after the run was done and swore by the socks from then on. Injinji socks are the looser fitting socks out of the bunch and they don’t have a lot of crazy design technology outside the toes, but I have never run into a problem with them over the past 5 years I have been running in them. This sock above in specific is one of Injinji’s lighter socks and is 75% Coolmax 22% Nylon and 3% Lycra. Good for the warmer summer days or if your feet get hot easily. http://www.injinji.com/
Swiftwick Sustain and Aspire Zero $11.99-$12.99
For the runner that wants to reduce their footprint on mother nature, Swiftwick has come out with a sock that is made from recycled nylon. Now if you haven’t tried a Swiftwick sock in the past, you MUST give them a try. They have a level of compression in their socks that is like no other sock on the market. All their socks fit a little tighter giving the socks a truly unique feel. If you’re looking for a more performance oriented sock, Swiftwick has a sock named the Aspire Zero that has more compression and more focus on breathability and wicking away sweat. http://www.swiftwick.com/
What socks should you run in?
Out of all the socks mentioned in this article, there isn’t a bad sock in the bunch. I keep all these socks in my rotation and would recommend treating yourself and giving at least one of the socks a try this coming season. After all, who doesn’t love new socks?!