Different styles of running require different gear. After all, you wouldn’t wear bulky sneakers for a sprint, just as you wouldn’t strap on spikes for a 10-mile run. Choosing the right apparel for short or long distance is critical — and that includes your socks. Selecting the proper sock goes a long way in maximizing performance while minimizing pain and problems along the way. Read on to learn which type of sock most benefits your preferred workout.
Start With the Right Material
Keeping your feet comfortable, cool, and blister-free is crucial no matter what type of running you do. So, let’s start with a quick word on material.
If comfort is at the top of your list, your first instinct may be 100% cotton socks. While they are certainly soft, they are one of the worst choices you can make for running. Once cotton gets wet, it stays wet. That means sweat, sudden rain, or unavoidable puddles become much bigger problems. Your feet remain locked in moisture for the duration of your run, which can lead to blisters, odor, and major discomfort.
The best running socks are made with synthetic materials, not cotton, because they keep wetness at bay. Feetures takes this a step further with our unique blend of synthetic fibers for ultimate moisture-wicking. And we even offer a variety of cushioning levels from ultra-light to max cushion, so you won’t miss out on the comfort factor. (Try our Sock Finder Quiz for your best match!)
Socks for Long-Distance Running
Now that we know what our socks should be made of, let’s focus on style and cut. This is especially important for long-distance (generally anything over 2 miles) runners whose feet are constantly exposed to repetitive pounding.
Compression socks are an optimal choice in this case. They have become quite popular in the distance running community, and you’d be hard-pressed to miss them at any marathon. That’s because compression running socks are designed to increase circulation, which delivers blood flow up toward your heart and oxygen to your muscles (and lungs!). This helps you breathe more effectively, increasing your distance capacity. They can even diminish the pounding vibrations of running on a hard surface, which means less pain during and after your run.
Of course, compression socks should also be breathable and moisture-wicking for maximum comfort during long runs. Feetures uses a strategic knit in our compression socks to do just that while promoting proper circulation for enhanced performance and faster recovery. Our popular Knee High Compression Socks are fully graduated, meaning they start out with a greater amount of compression at the ankle and gradually get looser up the calf. However, you can also find compression socks in a variety of heights.
Socks for Sprinting
When speed is your primary focus, you want as little as possible weighing your body down. That includes your socks. Thicker options may offer support but also run the risk of fabric bunching in your shoes. This irritating rubbing can cause blisters, and nothing slows your feet down faster than those.
So, should sprinters even wear socks?
- Some sprinters will avoid wearing socks altogether to get the tightest fit possible in their shoes.
- The drawback here is there’s nothing to wick away moisture or protect skin from scratchy inner-shoe seams.
If you wear socks for sprinting events, what type is best?
A good way to go is a thin sock that is lightweight and breathable but still hugs the contours of your feet. Thin socks are quick-drying, making them a smart choice for outdoor racing. This style often includes a mesh top for heat to escape through, as well as additional material over high-use areas like heels and toes to further prevent blisters. In terms of cut, no-show or ankle socks are most common for thin socks.
What it all comes down to is fit. Look for socks designed to stay in place, like Feetures’ line of Elite socks for men and women. Their anatomical design includes right and left specific socks that provide a custom-like fit and won’t bunch. That is the type of performance gear sprinters require!
Socks All Runners Can Rely On
Feetures has been proud to support the feet of all runners for nearly 20 years. We make it our mission to engineer products that help you perform your best. Fit is our number one priority so you can rely on a comfortable run every time.
We stand behind every product we make, and our lifetime guarantee makes it easy to find your perfect sock risk-free. Whether it’s 50 meters or 50 miles, make your next run in a pair of Feetures!