Why Running Socks Are So Important
I learnt a valuable lesson over the weekend that whenever you run, wear socks!! I competed in the Shepparton 70.3 Ironman on Sunday which is a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and a 21.1km run. I decided to save some time I wouldn’t put socks on for the run and about 5km in to the run I realised this was an error. I began to feel a burning sensation in the arch of both feet behind my big toe joint which within 2km was very painful. It was at this point I seriously considered ducking back into transition to grab my socks which were sitting on my towel under my bike. I also seriously considered walking as each foot strike was getting more and more painful. At the 14km mark, my feet began to go numb and I could feel the blister expanding under my foot as if someone was holding a cigarette lighter to it, but the fact my feet started to go numb perhaps made it slightly more bearable. I pushed through and eventually finished but my pace was significantly reduced by this error in judgement in transition. Now obviously wearing socks would more than likely have prevented this, but it got me thinking; how many people spend the time to choose the right sock for them? Click here to find out more about how to prevent blisters!As a podiatrist I am very aware of looking after my feet and spend a lot of time finding the right shoe for me. However I don’t but should spend the same amount of time choosing the right type of sock. There are many running socks out there in the market these days that offer different features all designed to wick away the sweat, reduce friction and keep the feet cool. To make things easier when choosing a sock I have reviewed some of the best running socks on the market:
Lightfeet Evolution: Comfort and Performance
The Evolution sock is their high performance sock. Using COOLMAX® AND X-STATIC® materials that keeps the feet cool, dry and fresh. The anatomical fit snugs the foot with left and right contouring around the arch and padding under the heel and forefoot. RRP: $34.95. They’re not cheap but they do last a few years.
Wright Sock: Prevent Blisters
These socks have a double layer that prevents moisture build up, heat and friction to eliminate blisters. The normal friction is absorbed by the interaction between the inner and outer layers of the sock instead of being passed on to the outer layers of the skin. The result is less blistering. RRP $13.00
Thorlo Experia: Performance, Lightweight
This sock has cushioning under the ball and heel to protect against shear and impact forces, providing more protection and comfort than regular thin cushion socks. Experia features an ultra-lightweight mesh polyester frame to provide maximum breathability and an aerodynamic fit. It also provides a lightweight Achilles tendon pad that protects against rubbing and chafing while also functioning as a heel lock. Similar to Lightfeet, RRP: $35.00
Injinji Performance 2.0: Prevent Toe Blistering
These socks are primarily designed for people who get blisters between their toes (surprisingly common). The socks have individual toe compartments to separate the toes and prevent rubbing. They work very well and with COOLMAX® Xtralife and lightweight Merino wool technology are also a good performing sock under the heel and ball of the foot. RRP: $30.00
Andrew Maitland is a sports podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic. Having worked closely with many elite and amateur runners over the years he has helped many people in the prevention and treatment of running injuries.