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Beware: Wear The Right Socks or (Your Feet Will) Suffer

No matter the latest fashion trends, socks have become a vital component of an outfit. Whether or not it’s a night out in town or on the treadmill, socks can and do make a bold or subtle fashion statement. Most folks wear socks that look cool, but end up getting blisters on their toes. Picking the right sock for the given occasion is as important as the shoes themselves. Continue reading for some simple, but often neglected tips regarding the proper way to wear socks.

Typically, we deviate our sock drawer into two categories: workout and going out. When doing physical activities such as running, its best to wear running socks. What constitutes a running sock? Well, moisture wicking fibers are helpful. Moisture and friction are the two biggest enemies for your feet, because they cause friction – a vital component of blisters. Instead, avoid cotton socks and wear synthetic fibers, because they are moisture wicking. Try on the socks before making a purchase. Make sure the socks fit your shoes correctly – you don’t want a fit that’s too tight because it won’t allow for the extra blood flow that occurs in your feet when running, nor do you want extra wiggle room that will give you blisters.

When being in the outdoors (by outdoors, we mean activities such as hiking or camping), its best to protect your tootsies from moisture and extreme temperature fluctuations by double layering. As we all know, laying is useful for the outdoors because thin layers are efficient at insulating your body to the cold, but is also convenient to shed when it gets warm. The outdoors can see frigid temperatures in the evenings and scorching days. Wearing merino wool or smart wool is great for the outdoors, as they are breathable and warm. In fact, they retain their heat insulation properties even when wet.

Double socking it is a useful tactic in most sports. For sports that require a lot of start-stop footwork and movement such as basketball, our feet often slide within the shoes. Even with the purchase of proper fitting shoes, it’s still possible to have wiggle room. Basketball players often wear two layers of socks to ensure a proper snug fit, to avoid blisters and to ensure more precise footwork. As Bill Bowerman of a famous athletic company once said, the best shoes for running or sports would be to put some nails at the bottom of your foot. Since we are light years from that happening unless you’re the bionic man, a snug fit in many ways is a bond to your shoes, allowing for you to perform quick and precise footwork.

Lastly, thin socks that are moisture wicking are appropriate for low-impact sports, such as cycling. But when doing high impact sports or workouts such as calf exercises to increase your vertical, thicker socks can aid to absorb the impact and ease the burden on your knees and other joints. But for cycling, thin moisture wicking socks are allowable.

To summarize, pick the right sock that ensure the right fit and amount of breathability and moisture wicking to the activity you are engaging in. Generally, moisture is a friend of blisters, open wounds, and foot fungus. Pick a sock that ensures a good fit, but will not hinder your performance. Don’t buy a sock just because it’s got the latest and greatest technology and think it will translate over to whatever you are doing. Shoes are engineered for specific activities, and so are socks.

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