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Choosing Running Socks (Because it Matters!)

The majority of us put on our socks every morning without giving it too much thought – providing they match (each other, and your outfit!) and are clean, you are good to go!

However, when it comes to choosing socks for running, it pays to give some more thought to your options. Runners have specific requirements when it comes to socks, and this small detail can make or break your training session.

a view of a runners slender calf muscles

When you are reaching for a fitness goal – from completing your first mile run to winning a road race, the last thing on your mind should be your socks.

But if you slip on your standard socks, your may find that your feet become the focus of your workout. Running socks are built with features that are designed  to enhance your comfort and performance.

Lets take a look at common technical features of running socks and discover what you should be looking for when choosing them for yourself.

Moisture Control / Breathable

Your feet are one of the zones of your body which produces the most sweat and naturally, more so when your are running. Damp, sweaty feet are not pleasant at the best of times, but when you are pounding the miles they can become more than a simple annoyance.

In cold weather, moist feet will become cold, while chafing, which causes blisters, can happen in any climate. Running socks which are made from breathable fabric such as Coolmax, or which have ventilated sections will improve air-flow to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Odor Control

Foot perspiration has another unpleasant side-effect : odor. To minimize this problem, many running socks are now built with odor-control textiles which will help keep your feet feeling fresh even on long runs.



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Unlike your normal socks, running socks are often designed with padded zones. Padded sections are usually located at the heel and toe, which helps to reduce fatigue on rough terrain and longer runs. 

Some running socks also have padded sections on the ankle to prevent abrasion. While some runners enjoy the extra level of comfort that padding provides, others prefer a thinner sock for a more streamlined feel. 

Support & Fit

Socks which slip down, bunch up at the toe, or otherwise need to be adjusted are nuisance when you are training, which is why you need to choose running socks which are supportive and well-fitting so that they cradle your feet.

Running socks which offer support usually have tighter weave fabric or elasticated ribbing, positioned at the mid-foot, and at the ankle or calf. As well as improving your comfort level, this helps the sock stay put as you move.