Do running socks help?

2 February 2016

If you're serious about your running, you'll want to explore every avenue for improvement. Shaving even seconds off your time is significant, so if your socks can make a difference then it makes sense to try something new on your feet. Running socks come in many different shapes and sizes, but what they have in common is usually a more advanced construction than your standard sock, intended to provide comfort and support on the road or the track. But do running socks help?

Banish Blisters

Blisters can be the bane of any runner's life. If you're even a casual exerciser you'll no doubt have some experience with blisters, and the discomfort they can cause. Blisters occur as a result of friction, and this friction can be exacerbated in moist conditions, for instance when you're sweating. Constant rubbing and chafing can put anyone off their run, and while not the most dangerous injury blisters can still become infected if you're not careful.

Running socks have been designed to help prevent the formation of blisters, so you can get on with your run unhindered. Regular cotton socks absorb moisture, making them poorly suited to running. Specialist running socks, however, are made of fabrics such as nylon, spandex, even rayon (made from bamboo!). These materials have been constructed in a way that makes them breathable and moisture-wicking, so your feet will stay comfortable and dry, one example of this being the Balega Enduro V-tech Quarter Socks.

Compression Socks

One option many runners consider, and many swear by, is compression socks. Compression garments started out life as hosiery designed to improve blood flow and prevent venous disorders such as thrombosis. People quickly realised that improved circulation could be of great benefit to runners too - improved blood flow means more oxygen to the muscles and a faster recovery with fewer aches and pains the morning after! They can also help reduce lactic acid build-up, thereby keeping cramp at bay.

A great example of this is the Feetures Elite Compression Socks, which provide compression to the most high risk areas of the foot with their patented "Sock-lock" technology. Produced with a higher thread count than most running socks, they give excellent cushioning without bulk. 

Something for all conditions

Not all running is the same, so naturally it follows that not all running socks are the same, and vary based on the conditions you're running in, and the terrain. For instance, if you're running cross-country, you'll want a more durable, thicker sock such as the Feetures Elite Merino+ Heavy Cushion Crew Socks, whereas if you want something for sprinting on a track a slim, lightweight model is best such as the Balega Enduro Hidden Comfort Socks.

Do running socks help?

Based on the facts, running socks can definitely assist you and are a great choice for your running needs. They're not suddenly going to turn you into an Olympic athlete, but what they will do is keep your feet comfortable, dry and prevent irritating conditions such as blisters. They can even help with blood flow and recovery, so what are you waiting for? Click here to shop the whole range of socks on Think Sport.