By Mizuno Shoe Guy
I don’t about you, but there aren’t too many of us who spend much time thinking about which running socks to wear. That is, we don’t pay much attention to our socks until we get a nasty blister while on a long run or in a race. But when that happens, all we want to know is what the heck went wrong?
While nobody is suggesting that picking proper running socks is as important as choosing the right running shoes, wearing the wrong socks, can ruin your favorite pair of running shoes faster than you can say fartlek.
As every runner knows, Public Enemy Number One is blisters. And those little devious things are most frequently caused by heat, moisture and friction within our socks.
The cure is wearing the proper technical running sock which can create the right internal atmosphere for your feet. Socks, especially designed for running, will keep your feet mostly dry and comfortable, but good socks can also add a little support, rearfoot padding and even a touch of cushioning.
There are plenty of different types and brands to choose from (Mizuno has a complete line of running socks), but the most important aspect of buying the best running socks is—not surprisingly—fit.
Just like when you buy running shoes, fit is absolutely essential. If the socks are too big, they will bunch in your shoes. Too small and your toes will get squished and eventually poke through, ruining the socks. Too loose and the socks will slip on your heels.
The socks should also fit your shoes well. If your shoes are a little narrow, you don’t want to buy an especially thick pair of socks that will take up more room. Conversely, if your shoes are slightly on the wide side or a touch too long, you don’t want to wear ultra-thin socks. But a thick pair of socks can take up extra room and provide a better all around fit.
What you absolutely don’t want in your running socks are the types that are 100 percent cotton. While running, you generate so much heat and sweat and that moisture is absorbed by cotton socks. Not only is running in damp, moisture-laden socks uncomfortable because of the rubbing between shoe and wet sock, this is also the ideal breeding ground for blisters and bacteria.
Let me say it again to be perfectly clear: Steer clear of running in cotton socks.
Instead, you need technical running socks—socks specifically designed for running–that wick moisture away from the foot to keep it relatively dry. If you can keep your feet dry, there’s a good chance you can eliminate the friction between socks, shoes and your feet that creates blisters.
Good technical running socks are made from either synthetic fibers such as acrylic, nylon or Coolmax or a blend of natural fibers (wool and cotton) and synthetics. Mizuno Drylite running socks are made of a composition of polypropylene, polyester, polymide and a small amount of Lycra.
Running socks are either usually very thin or considerably thicker. The thicker socks generally have extra padding in the heel and toe which provides a little extra cushioning and good blister protection. If you prefer a thicker sock, especially in the winter when thick socks can add some warmth, you must make sure it fits your shoes well. Socks that are too thick can make your perfectly sized shoes feel too small.
Many experienced runners prefer thin socks because they are lighter and tend to have a better road feel. But it’s just a personal preference. You need to experiment to find the thickness of sock that work best for you in different conditions.
There are plenty of good running socks from a variety of brands, including Mizuno which offers a complete line of technical running socks that work well with its line of running shoes.
The Mizuno Drylite sock choices all have a “Y” shaped heel construction to eliminate heel slip and are made with a special anti-abrasion element. There are three different models to choose from all based on ankle height. There’s the Comfort Mid and two low cut models—one for racing and another for training. All Mizuno socks are made in unisex sizing: small to extra large.
- Stay away from 100 percent cotton socks. Instead, choose socks with a blend a blend of synthetic fibers.
- Be on the alert for toe seams. A poorly placed seam can cause blisters, especially in a long, hot race or run. All Mizuno socks have seamless toes.
- Decide whether you prefer thin or thicker socks.
- Look for socks that have a tighter weave in the midfoot area. This prevents the socks from slipping in the running shoes.
- Fit the socks to your shoes.
- Don’t skimp. A good pair of running socks are essential to healthy running.