Running socks – are they worth it?
When we think of equipment needed for running we typically only think of the shoes. In fact, though, you could argue socks are equally as important. Running socks can be a huge difference-maker in both comfort and injury prevention. But what makes a running sock so different from a regular dress sock?
Running sock technology has been developing in huge strides more recently. Running is more popular than ever and runners are making use of whatever advantage they can to make themselves safer and more comfortable. Running sock companies have taken the time to listen to their customer base and tailor their designs to the most common needs and complaints from people running in regular socks. Making their socks more comfortable, more hygienic and safer has been their number one priority.
If you’re still on the fence about whether running socks are worth the cost and are the right choice for you, this article will hopefully provide all the answers.
Running socks vs normal socks:
- Padding: Running socks are designed to be much more comfortable when running, they are designed with extra padding for the most heavily impacted parts of the foot. Extra padding for both the heel and balls of your feet can make running long distances far more comfortable for you.
- Flatlock seams: Flatlock seams are when a fabric is machined to be smooth on both sides. If you imagine a regular pair of socks, the inside and outside is very clearly differentiated by the seams being visible and sometimes very thick. This isn’t an issue in everyday life, but when running it can be a real drawback. When you run those seams are rubbing on your feet and creating uncomfortable friction. This can actually be a leading reason why runners end up with so many blisters, by using flatlock seams this unnecessary friction is removed and running is far more comfortable.
- More elasticity: Most normal socks are not made with high elasticity to save money and to make them more generic fitting. This can lead to ill-fitting socks which is another leading factor for causing blisters and general soreness whilst running. Running socks have much more elasticity so conform to your feet much more accurately. This means their shape retention is much better and will fit your feet more snugly and comfortably over time.
- More accurate sizes: Running socks are sized more accurately to fit the runner’s feet better. When you go to the store normally socks are in very vague sizes “Men’s Large” or “Women’s Small”. These sizes are intended to be as generic as possible both in name and shape. It’s in the dress sock companies’ best interest to make their product fit as many people as possible so they don’t have to produce as many sizes. Running socks are much more specific in size so they best fit each individual runner’s feet.
- Sweat: When you run you are going to end up with sweaty feet. There is no way to avoid that. You can, however, do something to make your feet more comfortable. When running in normal dress socks your feet sweat and the sweat pools in your socks. Aside from how unpleasant that sounds, it can actually cause your skin on your feet to rub away. This can lead to blisters or worse, athletes foot. Running socks have considered this and have been designed to transfer the sweat from the sock to shoe to make it easier on your feet.
- Breathability: Whilst dress socks trap sweat and smell, running socks are much more breathable allowing air to permeate the material. This can keep your feet more comfortable and improve the smell dramatically. This is more of a pro for after the running is over and done with, but still something to consider.
- Injury prevention: Even though running shoe design has improved greatly even over as short a time as the past 20 years, injury is still a common occurrence. Runners tend to get some of the worst injuries to their feet (naturally) and part of the reason is many people still run in regular socks. I’m not claiming that by wearing running socks you will prevent all injuries to your feet, but they can greatly improve your chances of avoiding them. Tighter fitting compression running socks can help secure your feet and ankles to help prevent sprains and strains. Similar to wearing sports tape, it can be a big difference-maker in injury prevention and also recovery.
- Cost: Running socks can be far more expensive than regular socks. If cost is a big factor for you dress socks might be the way to go. Running socks have been becoming more affordable than what they once were so you may find they are more worth the cost than you realized.
- Size: Because the sizes are so much more specific, it might be harder to find the correct fitting socks for you. Many online sites have instructions to help you find the right exact size for your feet, so this will be easier to determine online.
- Fitting: Although the more accurate fitting is good for your feet and more comfortable fitting for most people, its not always the case. Occasionally people don’t like tighter fitting socks and can prefer dress socks. Usually, there is an adjustment period and once you’re used to them they become more comfortable.
- Availability: It can be hard to find running socks, especially good quality ones, in many stores. You aren’t as likely to find them stocked in a physical store because there are so many sizes that they would need to stock. Online stores are your best bet for finding great quality and great fitting socks.
There are lots of huge advantages to wearing specially made running socks over regular ones. Not only are they better for your feet and more likely to prevent injury they are more comfortable. The only real drawbacks are cost and availability, finding the right socks for you might take some time online but it will be well worth it in the end. Only you know what’s right for you, hopefully, this article has given you enough insight to make an informed decision.