Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sock It To Me

Monday: Rest--2 miles (easy)

I mentioned in my Facebook Fit Tip (yesterday) about the importance of quality socks. I get running questions all the time, however, the question I hear most often is, What kind of running shoes should I wear? Well, something equally important are the socks that you put on those feet, that go into those great shoes. I just read a great quote, 
"When runners don't pay attention to their socks, it is like purchasing a sports car with cheap tires. It doesn't matter how great the engine is, if it can't stay on the road." 
I loved this quote.
It is SO true! I run in cushioned socks but even then, I still find myself pulling off my socks and shoes after a long run with a large blister in the same spot every time! I had a pair of anti-blister socks that I loved. They were my go-to race socks--always dependable, comfortable and never left me with blisters. They consisted of two thin layers, a band that wrapped around the arch of the foot and a higher fit around the ankle and heel. However, on a very, very sad day, I lost one sock of the pair. This anti-blister sock is now a lonesome fellow. Reflecting on the importance of good-quality socks is reminding me that I too, need to get new socks! So how do you know what to look for in "good" running socks? 

....Preference: Yes, this is the answer to ALL running questions. It is always about personal preference. Think about what your personal needs are. Do you need extra cushion? How about blister prevention? Are you a minimalist runner? Consider your priorities in purchasing new socks.  Also consider:

  • Fabric/Material--Cotton and wool used to be the most common materials found in socks.  Now, there are a variety of moisture-wicking materials that can provide your foot with the best protection. Steer clear from 100% cotton socks, this will absorb moisture, which in turn = bad and painful things (BLISTERS). Look for materials that list: wool, nylon, spandex for best protection. (ask your local representative from a running specialty store for sock that can meet your personal needs). 
  • Breathability--Look for the areas that allow your feet to breathe. Is it where you need it most?
  • Weight--Thicker socks Do you want a lighter sock for a more minimalist approach or are you looking for a thicker, supportive sock?
  • Cushioning--Thicker socks may provide comfort but do they fit well in your running shoes? Make sure you take your shoes with you when trying on socks to ensure that you are purchasing what is right for you. You may find that a thicker sock restrict your foot instead. Thinner socks with multiple layers are again, helpful in wicking away sweat and moisture. One layer allows absorption while the upper layer provides breathability. Pay attention to cushion in the heel and the pads of the foot. This may be comforting when hitting the ground with force repeatedly. 
  • Size-- Ugh! This is the hardest part for me. I have small feet. Like baby-sized. Finding perfectly fitted socks are near impossible. I am notorious for folding my socks in the toe area (BIG NO, NO PEOPLE). Just as important as it is to find a shoe that fits properly, the same goes for your socks. Get sized! 
  • Care--These socks are not going to be cheap, be prepared to spend a little ca-sheesh! It is important to pay attention to the directions on how to care for your socks properly. Again, something I wish I had paid more attention to. Do not wash with bleach because it could break down the fabric from which it is composed of. (Shoot! I've done that...) Let them air dry as opposed to tossing them in the dryer (again...I've failed.) and only wear these socks when running or walking. They will not last forever, but you can stretch your money for quite some time if you take proper care of them. 
  • Style--What is comfortable to you? Mid ankle, below the ankle, mid calf? Think about these things prior to stepping into a specialty store. It's important to know what you are looking for before jumping in and just purchasing the cutest pair on the rack (so guilty of this). 
Moral of the story, get sized and purchase GOOD socks--don't cheat yourself with cheap socks!

Do you wear well-fitted socks? Do you have a brand preference? 

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1 comment:

  1. I TOTALLY agree... the other thing that I realized was that I used to always buy a nice pair for race day... but I need them for the training too. So now I just always make sure that I have the good stuff. I've gotten away with runs 5 miles and under in crappy socks - even my work socks... but when I am running long I have to have good socks! That last time I found a favorite pair I bought 7 of them!