Fashion & Footwear October 19th, 2016

Calling All Runners: Let’s Talk About Socks

Now that you’ve all found the most perfect running shoe, it’s time to pause for a moment, reflect and think about what exactly we are putting in those shoes.

For a runner, the feet are perhaps the most important part of our bodies, which makes it essential to take care of them the best ways that we can. While shoes are of the upmost importance, there is something that is equally important and often overlooked: socks.

That’s right, something that is so tiny and elusive (I must have nine currently floating around somewhere in the fourth dimension of my laundry room) can make a world of difference in terms of comfort and relief.

When I first started running, I had no idea about all the various running socks. In fact, I’m pretty sure for a long while I ran in socks that were purchased in bulk next to the checkout register by the gum. Needless to say, halfway through training for my first half-marathon my blisters were out of control.

For me, the first round of blisters appeared under the arch of my foot, towards my heel. This was when I first discovered Thorlos’ lightweight Lite Running Micro-Mini. Similar ones, such as the Drymax Sport Running Lite, is also great at providing the correct amount of padding in just the right places. Soon after switching out of my tighty-whities, my arch blisters subsided. For those who are just starting out or for moderate runners, you may want to try Nike’s Running Anti Blister as they are a great value and do an amazing job at protecting the feet!

It wasn’t until training for my first full marathon that I started to get blisters in between my toes. That’s right. In. Between. My. Toes. Frankly, I am not sure how this even happened, but let me just say it was awful. At one point, one got so big and bad that I named him Hank and would give him a nice pep-talk before venturing out on a long run, hoping that he would comply and behave himself. Hank never listened and proceeded to just get larger and more unruly. This was when I found toe socks.

Sure, they may look funny but boy did they make a difference! Injinji's toe socks reduce the friction between the toes while running and tremendously helped reduce the size of my nasty blister (RIP Hank).

Finally, there are compression socks. Compression socks are a great way to keep the blood circulating in the lower part of the legs and feet. Zensah and CW-X compression socks not only enhance blood circulation, but they help regulate skin temperature and fight bacteria. Similarly, compression socks like 2XU’s Compression Recovery Sock can be worn after a run to help circulate blood flow and subsequently reduce inflammation.

While all of these socks can help reduce blisters, please note that blisters are inevitable — much like spilling red wine on a white tee shirt or the fact that every time I go to the bathroom at work a Maroon 5 song will be on the radio. Some things we just have to prepare for and not get upset at when they happen. Personally, I like to think of them as little badges of honor … and I must remind myself of that every time a new one inconveniently rears its ugly head.

Until next time, happy trails, roads and any other unchartered terrain.