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.
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.
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, quarter, crew 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.
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.
Blisters suck. They make training painful, and if they get really gnarly they might even prevent you from heading out on a run, or cause you to cut your training time short. We don’t want anything to disrupt our blissful relationship with running, so we keep a few tricks up our sleeves (or down our socks) to prevent blisters. If the ol’ fashioned Band-Aids or moleskin aren’t cutting it for you, it’s time to crank up some new anti-blister strategies. Here are some things to think about as you chase your chafe-free dreams.
Properly fitting socks go a long way for blister prevention. Too-loose socks can cause bunching, which can lead to hot spots or blisters. If you are between sock sizes, then you might try sizing down to ensure a good fit. The fabric content of your socks is also particularly important if you are blister prone. A synthetic sock (as opposed to a cotton version) will help prevent chafing by wicking moisture away from your skin. You can browse our Men’s running socks or Women’s running socks to find the right fit for you.
We’ve all tried on a shoe, fallen in love, but then come back from that first long run in the shoe with a big painful blister or two. The love affair isn’t necessarily over – often your foot just needs a little time to adjust to a new shoe – but if you find this happening long after your shoe purchase, or every time you get a new pair of shoes, you may need to rethink how you’re picking shoes.
Blisters can happen because running shoes are too tight or too loose. If your foot wiggles around in a shoe, the constant friction is a breeding ground for blisters. In these cases, you may need a narrower shoe, or you may want to play around with lacing your shoes tighter. Shoes that fit too tight will often cause blisters on the sides or tops of the toes, or around the arch area. In this case, try out a shoe with a higher volume fit, consider sizing up a half size, or maybe even look into a wider width.
Advanced Blister Protection
For even more help keeping blisters in check, keep these products handy:
- Bodyglide Liquified Powder 1.6oz: This anti-chafe warrior rubs on as a cream, then turns into a dry ‘shield’ to protect your feet from blisters on the run.
- 2Toms BlisterShield Powder: Designed primarily for use on the feet, this powder repels moisture instead of absorbing it, to help keep you going without developing hot spots.
- Pro-Tec Liquicell Blister Protectors 8-Pack: If you want to try powder-free blister protection, then these little enclosed liquid bandages might be just the ticket. The liquid inside each bandage freely circulates in response to pressure to protect your skin from irritation.
Take a look at all of the blister prevention products we carry to find just the right solution to maximize your comfort.