The Ultimate Guide To Buying Running Socks
Not all socks are made the same, and when it comes to running socks, a good pair of technical ones will make all the difference, so we've put together a guide on how to choose the best running socks so you can keep your feet dry and comfortable and continue running confidently.
Why are running socks important?
The right pair of running socks are vital for good performance, comfort and support because they have been designed specifically to increase ventilation, wick moisture and offer support in all the right places. The importance of socks is often overshadowed by the quest to find the perfect pair of running shoes, however, without the support of some high-quality running socks, problems such as blisters, overheating and discomfort can sometimes persist.
Does fabric matter?
Generally, it is best to avoid cotton because it holds moisture and traps it against your skin, which causes blisters in the summer and coldness in the winter. Using technical synthetic materials instead will help to transport the sweat away from your skin.
The best fabrics
Using superior natural fibres such as merino wool are ideal for running socks. Not only are they naturally breathable and sweat-wicking, but they're also anti-bacterial too leaving you without the stink.
Polyester and nylon are popular synthetic fibres for running socks as they're both sweat-wicking, breathable, and more durable than cotton.
Fabrics to avoid
Try to avoid 100% cotton socks because it holds moisture so if your feet get wet through sweating or rain, they will stay wet and cause problems such as chaffing and blisters.
Key features to look out for
Running socks are designed to keep the feet dry and comfortable, therefore a seamless construction is ideal because it reduces the risk of chafing.
Whether you choose thick or thin socks depends on personal preference as both have their advantages and disadvantages. Remember that the thickness of your sock can affect the responsiveness of your running shoes so make sure you try them on together before buying.
Many running socks are designed to gently compress your muscles to improve blood circulation, reducing tiredness, and boost recovery time to keep you running further, for longer. Compression running socks can range from knee length to cover your calves to shorter, ankle length, just for your feet.
Look out for extra padding across the toes, heel, and ball of your foot to help minimise shock and protect high impact areas from blisters.
Elasticated material such as Lycra is often used to keep the sock in place when running as well as support the arch of the foot.
The same material is also used to grip the ankle, providing extra support for a comfortable run.
Blistering can be a runner’s worst nightmare, especially out on a long run. Some technical running socks use a two-layer system to help prevent blisters as the potential for friction is reduced by the two layers of material moving against each other, rather than against your skin.
The only downside is that anti-blister running socks can be less ventilating and breathable than regular running socks causing your feet to overheat.
Running in the rain can be a relaxing way to run for many people, as long as you have the right running gear on to keep you from slipping or getting cold, including socks that are designed specifically to keep you as dry and warm as possible.
Odour-repellent running socks are designed to help keep your feet cool and dry.
Whether you are just starting out, training for your first 5K or running technical trails, don't underestimate the importance of running socks for your performance and comfort, including better ventilation and compression.
Road running shoes are the most common type of trainers and are usually what most people think of as 'running shoes'. They're designed to be highly shock-absorbant to help protect your joints against the impact of harder surfaces, reducing the risk of injury and giving you a more comfortable ride.