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?
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.
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Thanks to RyunoOhi for the background of the image above.