By: Jenny Hendrickson
My most recent New Years Resolution was to rid myself of the pile of running socks I don't like and fill my drawers with socks that I love. While that hasn't quite happened for me yet (I know, it's lame), I thought I might help those of you that are weeding out the yucks from your running sock drawer.
While we know a couple of things about running socks, like cotton is bad, and that a synthetic or wool sock is best, there are so many things that are subjective. Height, weight, material and how snug fitting a sock is can all contribute to how much you love (or hate) a sock. While much of this is just a trial and error thing, we can give you some general guidelines from runners past to help demystify the process!
Light Weight socks- These socks are NOT padded. They are merely just there as a liner of sorts to help with moisture transfer. They also work well for the snugger fitting shoe (think racing flat) where space is limited.
Medium Weight Socks- These socks are padded. They either have zonal padding, like in the heel and the toe, or through the bottom of the sock. Generally speaking, people who need to fill a little more space in a shoe would enjoy using a medium weight sock.
Heavy Weight Socks- These socks are very cushioned. Typically in an all-over fashion instead of in just specific areas.
Arch Support- These socks are built with a band around the arch to give the arch a snugger fit.
Snug fitting socks- A hug for the foot, these socks fit snuggly throughout the entire foot instead of in a few key areas.
Micro/Hidden/Ankle height socks- These socks come just to the top of the shoe, sometimes with a tab built in the back.
Quarter Socks- These socks come about 4 inches up the leg, providing some protection from debris and/or snow.
Crew Socks- 6-8" in height- these were the tallest sock on the market until the knee high.
Knee High Socks- Most commonly seen in compression socks, or just darn fun socks
Still sound like mumbojumbo? I thought it might, so I asked FootZone staff members to tell you their favorite sock and why it works for their foot type.
Narrow, low volume and flat.
Feetures Light Cushion and Fits Sock Light Runner. They both give me enough bulk to fill up some space in my shoe without being too bulky. And both are super soft with out being slippery. I don't change my sock weight with the seasons, just the height.
Flat feet (low arches), with toes & ankles usually sporting dirt remnants of our local trails.
Balega Hidden Comfort is my "go to" all around sock. It is cushioned but not too hot, it stays in place well, and seems to hold up well even when wearing for long runs. This is the sock that I hunt for in the drawer each time I head out on a run. I've bought numerous pair now, yet never seem to have enough.
Wide, low to no arch. Sweaty!
Feetures Ultralight. They are tight but not restrictive, thin, comfortable and made from a synthetic material that manages moisture nicely!
Normal to high arch
Normal to high arch
In cool weather I like to wear the Feetures Merino Ultralight. They are amazingly soft, breathable and warm. Not to mention durable! I also like the light cushion they provide. In warm weather I like Feetures Ultralight socks. They are incredibly thin, tight and have a supportive fit.
Normal arch, with toes that cross over one another.
I LOVE the Injinji socks. The toe separation makes the fact that my toes cross over one another less of an issue. I get less rubbing, irritation, and blistering. It’s sort of like running with Crisco between your toes!
Smartwool PhD Ultra Light. This sock fits the bill for my need of a lightweight, non-restrictive sock. I also like the Balega Ultra Light for the same reason.
The right sock can go along way! I hope you find the sock that's perfect for your foot and rid yourself of all the slipping, uncomfy, cotton and just plain bad socks in your life.