Next to puppeteers, runners are probably the next most obsessed population when it comes to being fascinated with socks.
Running socks come in all shapes and sizes. Single layer, dual layer, wicking, non-wicking, toe socks, anti-microbial…some even have a silver lining in them (nothing to do with running on clouds) but to help with odor control.
Selecting the correct sock for you is as important to your running success as your shoes and your training, and yet sometimes socks are the most neglected part of your running gear.
Unfortunately, the only way to find the right sock for you is to experiment, and it’s going to be an expensive experiment as most quality running socks range between $9.00 and $16.00 per pair. Your local running store and other runners are a great resource. Don’t be afraid to ask another runner what socks they run in and why they like them.
Once you find a pair of socks you like, stick with them…buy multiple pairs for the season. Having said that, you need to keep in mind that over the years your feet do change, so it’s normal to continue the experiment to keep your feet happy.
Make sure your socks fit properly, socks that bunch at the heal or are too large will cause blisters, and sock that are too tight will also cause blisters , some will even cut off circulation to your toes. You need to be able to wiggle your toes to keep your calf muscles relaxed during a run.
Personally, I have gone from running in dual layer to single layer padded for winter, and single layer thins for summer temperatures.
Here are some tips to keeping your socks in peak running condition…
Now, you’re going to think I’m crazy, ( technically the jury’s still out ), but I keep my socks in pairs, and have multiple pairs of the same sock…so the first thing I do is mark each pair with a permanent marker to keep the pairs exclusive. I use a different colour or pattern for each pair so when 10 pairs of identical socks come out of the dryer I know what sock goes with what sock. This keeps the pairs wearing evenly.
Never run in a pair of socks fresh out of the package without first washing them in a mild soap and cold water. You never know what might be lurking in the fabric waiting to surprise you a few km into your run.
Do not iron your socks or put them in the dryer…hang them to dry. If you must use the dryer, use the lowest setting… heat is the enemy here, it will break down the elastic in the socks, drastically shortening the life of the sock.
Keep your toenails trimmed “ya freak”, the last thing you want to do is ruin a brand new pair of socks by putting holes in the toes with your ultra-sharp / ultra-long toenails.
Inspect your socks for pilling, damage, or excessive wear. I usually will get about 6 months out of a pair of good quality socks. Don’t be afraid to make the call when the socks are no longer comfortable or suitable for running…the beauty here is that most sock relegated to “non-running status” still have a long useful life as your “everyday socks”.
Finally, you get what you pay for. I know socks are expensive, but they are the layer of comfort and protection your feet need to make it through your long runs. Don’t cheap out on your socks…your feet will thank you.