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Why, after your shoes, socks are your most important piece of kit!

Wearing the right kind of socks can be the difference between a great run or an uncomfortable, painful one. There are numerous benefits of finding the right pair of socks that suit you, not just funky fashion accessories but socks that actually function as an essential part of your equipment to help improve comfort and help prevent injury.

For something, which is sometimes overlooked by a lot of runners, socks actually play an important role during our runs. Here we make 5 simple reasons why, when you next go to the sports shop, you may need to spend a little more time considering what the best choice is for you and why.

1: Quality running socks should help prevent blisters
Foot blisters are caused by skin rubbing against a static surface like the inside of a shoe, boot or trainer. This friction causes the skin layers to separate and fill with fluid. A good quality light weight well-fitted sock with moisture wicking and cushioning will reduce friction by allowing your foot to move around your show without the skin being rubbed.

2: A good sock will keep your feet dry
No one wants sweaty sticky feet and wet feet can be so uncomfortable to run in. A good running sock will wick the sweat away but please stay away from cotton, as this will hold moisture.
A tight fitting ankle or calf length sock will help stop water splashing over your shoe.

3: Add extra comfort and cushioning
Extra padding in the toe, heel or ball area of the foot provides an extra bit of impact absorption, making your run a more comfortable experience and will also help keep your feet warmer in winter.

4: Help prevent injury
A good pair of socks helps keep your feet stable in your shoes and when there is reduced slipping and sliding your shoe can do what it is designed to do… support your feet as they hit the road.

5: Quality socks will prevent smelly feet!
If you don’t wear socks your shoes will start to smell very quickly and it’s much easier to wash a pair of socks than a running shoe.
Properly designed running shoes will provide ventilation and natural fabrics such as Merino wool contain anti-microbial qualities which prevents smelly feet.

Long, short or no-show?
There is a standard range of length of sock and the one for you is down to personal choice but you should also consider the extra support socks can give ankles and calves.

No-show or ankle tends to be the most popular length for women and the benefit is that it keeps your legs cool but they can fall down inside the shoe and can cause discomfort and even blisters. If on a trail run they offer very little protection from brambles and muddy puddles.

Compression socks
A number of running socks are designed to gently compress your muscles which in turn improves blood flow, reducing tiredness and improve recovery time after a run. These differ from other running socks and are much more technical in design. More information about compression socks can be found here.

Taking care of your running socks
1: Only wear them for running
2: Always wash your sock after each run
It is important to follow the manufacturers recommendations but always turn socks inside out when washing.
In general, wash socks in cold water on gentle cycle using a gentle detergent. Lanolin components of wool socks can be stripped away with some detergents.
Never use bleach or harsh chemicals.
3: Drying your socks:
Always follow the manufacturers recommendations.
If in doubt, hang them to dry and do not wring them out out, especially wool socks, as the fibres could stretch.
Some socks benefit from using a dryer on low heat to fluff them up.

If you are still a little unsure about what sock is best for you, talk to the experts at RunFit Expo 23&24 October 2020 at Exhibition Centre Liverpool.

Images courtesy of:
Hilly Socks
Grumpy Monkey Socks
2XU