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How to Choose the Right Running Sock

April 15th, 2013

Ah, the mighty sock. Some underestimate the power of a good sock, but the right sock can really make the difference between a good run and a great run. Here’s what to look for when shopping for running socks.

Fabric

First off, just say no to cotton. Cotton will absorb moisture instead of wicking it away from your skin, which can cause blisters when you’re running. Instead, reach for a pair made out of a synthetic fabric, like nylon or polyester, or try some merino wool socks.

The choice between synthetic fabric and wool is a matter of personal preference, so try out both types to see which you prefer. Don’t be afraid to try a pair of wool socks. The merino wool used by brands like SmartWool and Feetures! is nothing like the itchy sweater your mom used to make you wear on cold days. This wool is soft and sleek against the skin, and merino wool even has antimicrobial properties that help keep the foot funk at bay.

Height

Everybody seems to have a favorite sock style. Some people swear by their crew socks, while others won’t leave the house for a run in anything but no-shows. Finding the perfect cut for you has to do with how much coverage you want from your sock. Running socks are typically available in four lengths: low/no-show, quartercrew and knee high. Many no-show socks have ankle tabs to help prevent blisters on the backs of your heels when you’re running. Taller socks are often a better choice for running in colder conditions. Try out a few styles to find the sock length that works best for you.

Cushioning

Socks also come in a range of cushioning thicknesses, from super thin socks that serve as a liner to thicker, heavily cushioned socks that give you plenty of underfoot padding. If you want a supremely thin sock, try the Feetures Elite Ultra Light No Show Socks or the Swiftwick Pulse Zero Socks. If you’d like to try a more cushioned sock, a few nice options are the Drymax Max Protection Socks, Thorlo Experia Socks and Balega Hidden Comfort Socks.

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