Andy Scissorfeet

I've just run this blog past the rest of the Mudstacle team and they all completely disagree with me... but, you know what? I don't give a damn! This is my blog and I'm having my say!

I imagine we all have specific race running socks in our underwear drawer, but are they any good?

No.

I’ve run in all sorts of different socks. Sometimes out of choice and sometimes out of pure incompetence. To be honest I’ve never really noticed any difference between expensive running socks and the cheapest of the cheap.

What is the point of socks when running?
They will stop your feet from rubbing on the abrasive material your running shoes are made from.
They will add a layer of warmth too.

Are merino socks the best then?
I purchased four pairs of Merino socks (two different brands) and they all suffered toenail holes within 10km of being worn. So they were an expensive waste of money! [Ed: Trying… so… hard… not to butt in… let go Pete, let go.]

[Ed: On a side note, we’re calling him “Andy Scissor Feet” from now on – see above.]

What about neoprene socks?
They will keep your feet warmer than normal socks, especially if you are planning to get your feet very wet. The issue with neoprene socks is that they are designed to hold water next to your skin so if you are running for a long time (Over 90mins) with wet feet you can start to get numbness and severe wrinkling which can be quite painful. Don’t worry trench foot doesn’t really start to kick in unless your feet are wet for 12 hours plus.

High, Low or medium?
Arghhh… I hate the fact that socks have these length options. What is the point of low socks? they just expose your ankles to abrasion, and the cold. Medium socks will offer enough ankle coverage for running shoes. High socks will just drop down to the same height as medium ones as soon as you start running, so offer no additional benefit. Only go for the high option if you want everyone in the event village to know what brand of socks you are wearing.

You get what you pay for!
No you don’t. I’ve worn £1 running socks from Aldi (or Lidl, I can’t remember) and they have outlived £16 branded, specialist, scientifically proven socks. I’ve worn supermarket own brand casual socks at OCR races and they have done just as well as ‘running’ socks.

So why bother with running socks?
Personally, I have a stash of cheap running socks just so I don’t trash my regular casual socks. They are shorter than my regular socks so are easier to clean and don’t hold as much debris and mud. My running socks are generally very brightly coloured so I can find them in my underwear drawer in the predawn light without having to turn the light on, and wake my other half.

What about compression socks?
Yeah great for long flights, if you are worried about deep vein thrombosis. I’ve never suffered with cramps or DOMS in my calves [Ed: Lucky man!], so I’ve never worn compression socks for recovery purposes. I have found that wearing them greatly increases the amount of abusive banter you receive. I have found a useful scenario for wearing them though,; if your run is going to be muddy and, wet puddled type muddy, then wearing compression socks does make the post -run shower slightly less muddy, but the trade-off is that your washing machine takes more of a battering.

Would you like to submit an article to the Blog Roll? Do you want to get something off your chest or just wax lyrical about your love of obstacle racing? Just drop pete@mudstacle.com an email. 

See more blogs from Andy here.

Thanks to RyunoOhi for the background of the image above.

10 COMMENTS

  1. So as a relative newbie to OCR, what does everyone who disagrees with Andy have to say on the matter?

    IS expensive better or should I just get cheapies from Sports direct with the intention of binning them post race?

    • My first choice is a medium length merino sock in the winter and any old running sock in the summer (fairly thin). I got a really good deal on a pack of ten Helly Hanson socks on Sport Pursuit ages ago and they’ve served me well. To be honest I partly agree with what Andy’s saying… the only thing I disagree with is that I think merino is great and mine have lasted me… but I do keep my nails short 😉

    • I love the Injinji nuwool toe socks. They are made from merino wool, though still pretty durable, and not had any blisters with them. Though they aren’t cheap I’m afraid 🙁

  2. I’m so happy I’m not the only one that puts a hole in his lovely new merino wool socks, and after about 9 km too which is worse, pedicure before each race should do the trick.. Never tried neoprene socks, pretty happy with the merino wool apart from the holes of course..
    Wore neoprene gloves for hellrunner and didn’t find them any use, my hands were frozen so will be sticking with merino wool socks for grim and 4 laps of nuts(hopefully 4)

    • Yah, Neoprene gloves would have limited use at Grim and Hell Runner, as Neoprene only really comes into its own when you’re constantly getting wet. I’d HIGHLY recommend using them on four laps of Nuts though. Seriously, they’ll be worth their weight in gold.

  3. I also have scissor feet, despite keeping them short as and making sure they’re not sharp on a regular basis.

    The reason I do it on a regular basis is more about the damage my shorter toes do to the sides of my longer ones if I don’t. They’re pretty scarred up along the sides at this point!

    So yeah, socks are a pain. I have worn through countless socks and they’ll do this at any length. I reckon some people just have brittle nails and they lose out to the sock whereas those with good, strong nails like Andy and I just punch through.

  4. Sort of with the Man Parry here.

    I have Inov8 Merino and they have lasted and provided comfort I bought lows so only use in Summer.

    I also have more mile compression trail ones which were £4.99 a pair, indestructible and comfortable and excellent value for money.

    Pete Rees get ready I am about to say it:

    The best way to stop those awful toe nail holes is to cut your awful toenails Parry you magnificent haired hippy!

  5. Hi all, on harder ground (summer time) my feet blister which is due to both terrain & my toes rubbing, to solve this I have worn hilly socks which are 2 ply this has prevented this problem & I no longer have toes that look like they have just been run over 😉

  6. As with all kit, it’s a personal thing. For what it’s worth, I’ve sworn by Thorlo running socks (medium padding) for the past 5 years and honestly can’t recall getting any blisters since I started using them, despite putting them through a lot of mud and water-based abuse as well as a few road marathons.
    (I used to get blisters before that when trying the “1000 mile” socks and a few other brands.)

    Thorlos are about £10-12 per pair, but they’re worth it for me.

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