New runners may sometimes feel that they’re doomed to a life time of blisters, calluses, and pain. After all, those initial runs are often done in ill-fitting shoes, cotton socks, and whatever clothes you can find that slightly resemble athletic apparel. It’s understandable, since most people don’t want to spend money on a sport or fitness program that they might not stick with. Unfortunately, even with the right shoes, the wrong pair of socks can quickly ruin your running experience!
Cotton socks are great for many things, but running is not one of them.
Cotton absorbs moisture, meaning that all the sweat from your feet is going to be soaked up by the socks and stay there – gross! As the socks become more and more saturated, they become more abrasive. When combined with the heat generated from exertion plus friction from your feet moving within your shoes, this is a recipe for disaster. The combination of moisture, heat, and friction is the cause of the blisters, calluses, and sores that plague many runners!
To avoid these discomforts, choose a running sock made from synthetic or natural moisture-wicking materials. These materials absorb sweat from your feet and then physically transfer it to the outside of the sock and ultimately, the outside of the shoe, keeping your feet as dry as possible. Because the sweat is then able to evaporate, you’ll be keeping your feet as cool and comfortable as you can, even on the warmest days of summer. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester blends or natural fibers such as wool and bamboo have moisture-wicking properties and do not become more abrasive as they get wet, helping to eliminate hot spots and rubs.
No matter what kind of running shoes you wear, blisters will happen on long runs in the summer heat if you’re wearing cotton socks. Although running socks may seem expensive at first glance, it is one of the most worthwhile gear investments you can make.