Being new to the world of running, I rolled my eyes big time when it came to the idea of “running socks”. Psht. If that’s not a scheme to get more money out of me, I don’t know what is. “Gee wiz, I spend over a hundred on these new shoes, and then you’re gonna shake me down for these ‘running’ socks. Give me a break.” In my mind, running socks were just socks that you can run in. And isn’t that all socks? Any pair of socks can do that, right? What makes these socks different? (Spoiler alert: running socks are SO MUCH MORE.)
As a skeptic, I began working here at Running Warehouse. I thought my socks were just fine, thank you very much. A few of my new coworkers asked me if I had ever worn running socks before (my newb was showing), and I replied with a sheepish “no”. It was then that I decided to investigate what all this hype was about.
I didn’t expect it to change my life. It made me question everything. Seriously, what are these things I’ve been wearing on my feet for 26 years?! Have I ever really known true sock comfort?! It was as if I had opened my eyes for the first time. Everything is so much brighter and so much more beautiful when I’m wearing my running socks. And let me tell you, my feet won’t stop thanking me. No longer do I come home from a run with drenched, blister-ridden, chafed, hot, uncomfortable feet.
In light of my running sock awakening, let’s go over a few basic “running sock” features together, and I’ll break it down in simple terms.
Moisture-management – Ventilated knit-in mesh panels and moisture-wicking materials are both essential elements that keep your feet cool and dry. Hold up… moisture what-ing? We throw the term moisture-wicking around a lot in our product descriptions, and it’s the way we describe synthetic fabrics which draw moisture away from your skin to the external part of the sock, so it evaporates quicker to help keep you cooler and drier. THIS IS WHY YOUR CUTE COTTON SOCKS GET SO DARN DRENCHED. Sorry for yelling, but it cannot be overstated! And not only that, because you will be cooler and drier thanks to this moisture-wicking material, your feet are less likely to chafe and blister. Wick it. Wick it real good.
Shaping – With proper shaping, your sock is bound to fit more securely, which means no slippage in the heel or painful rubbing under the arch that causes blisters and hot spots. The deep heel cup, y-shaped seams, and snug midfoot bands help to prevent movement and offers a secure feel, which in turn prevents the chafing that causes these issues. Some socks also come with an anatomical design, which means one sock is shaped to fit the left foot and the other is shaped for the right, to mimic the slight inward curvature of each foot shape.
Cushioning – Your feet are doing a lot of work while you run and they take quite a beating. That’s why wearing the correct shoes for your feet is so important. Cushioning in the right places, support in others. In the same way, socks can provide a little extra cushioning where you need it for a more comfortable ride. If you’re a distance runner or trail enthusiast, you may appreciate the extra padding and protection. However, some runners prefer an “invisible” feel and many brands offer an ultra-thin or hyper-thin model. It’s all a matter of preference!
Tab – Next to nails on a chalkboard, One Direction, and Kim Kardashian’s voice, the most annoying thing in the world is when your sock slips down into your shoe. It’s annoying enough when you’re walking along and your sock slips down, but when you’re running, it can really throw off your groove. And it can really tear up your foot. A tab design means that you still get a sleek look with discreet materials in the back to ensure that your foot won’t directly touch your shoe. Along with providing a barrier, tabs also provide some padding around the heel collar, giving you that plush comfort that feels oh-so-nice to your hardworking feet.
Bonus materials – Olefin, silver, and wool are all sock materials that have natural antimicrobial properties! And that means they help prevent bacteria from growing, which in turn helps prevent odors from building up. No, this is not an excuse to do less laundry, though some may use it as such. You know who you are [insert disapproving look here].
Unique features – Other features of running socks may include a seamless toe or encapsulated toes (to prevent chafing and irritation) and compression (for improved circulation during activity or recovery).
Now comes the part where you have to do something. I can go on and on about my running sock awakening, but you can’t possibly understand what I mean until you try them for yourself. So here’s my challenge: if you’ve never tried running socks, give them a chance. We are regularly offering great deals on socks, so you can take advantage of a great deal and get some quality running socks STAT. Be prepared for a life changing experience, and like I said, your feet will thank you.