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I passed by the department store to buy a pair of socks when I realized how much more expensive running socks are compared to other types of socks. Then I thought to myself do running socks really make a difference”
Wearing running-specific socks when running can make a huge difference in your performance. They help prevent blisters, hot spots, and chafing which is a common cause of foot discomfort for runners. Running socks are also quick-drying and moisture-wicking making them the perfect socks for vigorous activities.
But you don’t always have to buy an expensive pair of running socks. There are some cases where regular cotton socks can do the job. Ahead, we will talk more about the benefits of wearing running socks versus other types of socks. Then, we will also discuss when it’s okay to stick with your regular socks.
The Benefits Of Wearing Running Socks
Prevents Blisters and Chafing
The most obvious advantage of wearing running socks is the prevention of blisters and chafing.
Blisters are painful watery lumps that happen due to friction or heat.
Runners commonly get them in one of three ways:
- Wrong shoe size
- No socks
- Improper socks
Runners who have run long distances know how annoying it is to develop blisters in the middle of a run. They’re painful, uncomfortable, and they mess up your running form.
They are commonly seen at the heel, side of the foot, and underfoot, where friction commonly happens.
The best way to prevent this from happening is by wearing good running socks. They wick away moisture which traps heat and increases friction in your foot. Plus, most running socks are equipped with strategically placed cushions or padding to help reduce friction in common blister spots.
If you’ve been having problems with blisters and chafing and you want to invest in running socks that would prevent them from happening, I made a list of the best anti-blister running socks that you can buy online. I highly recommend that you check it out.
We all know cotton socks are comfortable for casual wear. But if you wear them for vigorous activity, they get soaked in your sweat and trap heat, making them hot and uncomfortable for your feet.
Running socks, on the other hand, wicks away moisture keeping your feet feeling fresh. In addition, most running socks have mesh vents to allow air to pass through and keep your feet feeling cool.
If you’re wondering what’s the deal with cotton socks and why most runners recommend that you stay away from them, check out the article that I made about the 5 reasons why you shouldn’t wear cotton socks for running.
They Keep Your Feet Smelling Fresh
Moist and warm areas are the breeding ground for bacteria, which is why if you have sweaty feet, you usually end up with smelly feet.
Running socks draws out moisture from your feet and dry quicker than your average cotton socks. This will keep your feet feeling fresh and, therefore, away from being a breeding ground for bacteria.
Does Wearing Running Socks Make A Difference?
The magic of running socks usually happens in long distances where there is a long repetitive motion that could eventually lead to blistering.
For most people, running socks will make a huge difference for long-distance running in terms of comfort which could possibly lead to better running performance. This could be attributed to the three benefits of wearing running socks that we’ve discussed above.
Some people, however, don’t feel like it is necessary to wear running socks when running for shorter distances and recreational jogging.
That said, to answer the question of whether or not you need to invest in a pair of running socks, you need to determine what types of run do you usually engage in and if you’re feeling any discomfort with your current socks.
If yes, then you should invest in a pair of running socks. If not, then you can continue using the same socks and keep the extra buck.
Choosing Your Running Socks
When it comes to choosing running socks, the most important things that you should consider are comfort and weather.
There’s a bunch of types of socks that affect the sock’s comfort and breathability. SmartWool socks, for example, are very comfortable and are excellent at cold temperatures. However, they aren’t the best option for hot weather.
You want something thin and equipped with lots of mesh vents to allow as much airflow as possible like the Balega Silver.
Running socks also differ in length, cushion, padding, thickness, and technology. All of which affects how they feel when you wear them.
If you want the full guide on choosing the perfect running socks, check out this article that I made.
The bottom line is, running socks is more of a matter of preference. No one sock can serve every runner. You should try on a different pair of socks until you find the perfect one for you.
If you want to know my top picks for running socks, I made an article that includes 7 of the best running socks that I know of along with a short review for each one. I highly recommend that you check that out.