I wrote recently about cycling socks after realizing that I really do not think about them much at all (a seemingly wonderful thing) but was wondering why they exist at all. In that post I mentioned that I have had more trouble with running socks, so here is a brief recap of my experience.
When I started running longer distances I experienced regular blisters. Nothing too bad or debilitating during the run, but just regular hot spots or blisters. It didn’t occur to me at the time that my sock choice had anything to do with it, but in hindsight it used to be worse with prior socks. The socks I use currently don’t seem to cause any problems besides generally having kind of icky feet from spending many hours training, sometimes in wet and soggy conditions as I spoke about earlier this week.
There are many more styles of running socks on the market than cycling socks. One of the variations is the amount of padding – with some socks offering considerable padding and others offering none at all. There are also variations in the fibers used and the height (as with cycling socks). And each brand will have a slightly different fit, and wear differently (if they stretch after use then they are likely to cause blisters).
While costly, I think the only way to truly find your best sock is to try out different options. Though if you have no problems, then no need to worry about something that is working. But if you do get any kinds of blisters or rubbing, then consider trying different socks. Try different brands and different thicknesses, maybe even different heights, to see what’s best for you. Also be mindful that different socks may work better in different conditions – including both temperature, whether it is raining, and trail vs. road.
Through my own experimentation, I know that I like ankle height so that the sock protects me from any rubbing from my shoe. Generally I like a very cushioned sock — though I used a pair in a VERY hot race, and realized after getting heat rash on my feet that I probably should have chosen a thinner sock for those conditions. Recently I discovered the Balega brand and have found these to fit my foot wonderfully. (This is the sock I tried first and have loved for over a year). I have worn out the elastic in a pair after about a year (around the ankle only so they are still useable for now). I do put them in the dryer which I am realizing (after reading more about socks and actually thinking about the materials in them) that this is probably a bad idea for sock longevity.