Socks – Some Dos & Donts For Runners
Some advice from Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe
When it comes to an activity like walking or running, choosing good socks is every bit as important as having good shoes or boots. While the specifics of what you may need will probably vary depending upon the conditions (e.g. extreme heat or cold, wet weather etc) socks with a “cool max” / “dry max” type fibre are usually a very good choice. Don’t skimp on choosing good socks. Most people are prepared to pay considerable amounts for good quality running shoes (often far more than is really necessary) and yet a lot of the same people just wear whatever socks they happen to find in the drawer that day; the best shoes in the world won’t help much if your socks aren’t at least as good (if not better) than your shoes or boots.
Basic points to remember include :
1) Make sure that your socks are a proper fit.
“Near enough” may be fine for wearing around the house or office but for running and walking you really need to make sure that your socks fit properly – “One size fits all” usually means “One size fits nobody very well”…
2) Never put your socks on in too great a hurry.
Make sure that you ease your foot into your sock carefully and that the sock covers your foot properly e.g. that the heel is in exactly the right place, that there is no bagginess around the toes and that you have no wrinkles in the fabric. A rucked-up sock is a near perfect way of causing a blister – so avoid this at all costs!
3) Make sure your feet are clean before you put your socks on
By this I don’t mean give them a wash but rather make sure that they haven’t picked up any sand, fluff or general grot (especially if you have just put something like vaseline on them). This is especially important if you are changing your socks and footwear outdoors, in the middle of an event, in windy conditions, in low light etc. Even a little bit of dirt stuck to the bottom of your foot or between the toes can lead to blisters etc after a few miles so while it may be frustrating to “waste” a minute making sure your feet are properly prepared before donning your socks, remember that this could end up saving you a lot of pain and lost time later.
4) Put your shoes on carefully
It would be a great shame to go to all the trouble of applying a lubricant, silicon or vaseline to your feet, making sure they are free from debris, carefully rolling your socks into place etc – only to then ruck up your socks by shoving your feet carelessly into your shoes. Make sure you ease your feet into your footwear in such a way that you don’t disturb your socks. Taking a few extra seconds over this could make all the difference between finishing a race with no foot problems and hobbling for miles with blisters.
5) Practice this in training
Don’t treat footcare advice as being something to practice in a race only. Get into the habbit in training so that it becomes automatic. This will speed up any sock-change (or shoe-change) during an event and help to ensure you don’t forget the basics if running under pressure.Tweet this!