Athletic Socks... What Is Best?

Socks, I call them essential equipment for your feet. A good athletic (and even a dress sock) should offer protection, cushioning and distribution of pressure from the shoe onto the foot. The sock should also serve to enhance or impede the flow of moisture off of the foot.

Cotton Is Out

Cotton absorbs moisture extremely well. In fact too well. It never wants to let it go. Cotton socks will absorb moisture, swell, lose their shape, compress and continue to hold moisture in the form of a "soggy" sock against your foot. This may lead to blisters, corns, irritations, infections and "athlete's foot." I consider cotton an "old school" material. There is a better choice.

Synthetic Materials Are In

They are made of hydrophilic fibers that "wick" mosisture off of your foot and allow perspiration to transfer to the outside of your shoe. These fibers will retain their shape and dry relatively quickly. A drier environment will minimize blister formation, inhibit the development of corns, irritations and infections and prevent "athlete's foot." Look for the trademarks of CoolMax©, UltraMax©, Wigwam©, Thorlo©, Wrightsock©, Dry fit© or Smartwool©. If you don't see any of the tradenames, look for socks that have "wicking fibers" on the label. They are found in sporting goods stores and major department stores.

Do I Need To Wear 2 Pair of Socks?

The answer to this is no. Today's socks with "wicking" fibers makes the need for 2 pair unnecessary. If you need 2 pair of socks to make the fit of your shoes more snug, then you bought the wrong size.

How High?

Choosing the height of your socks is a personal preference. Some sports have standards that are either traditional or required. Over the calf socks are used in soccer and baseball. Crew or mini-crew socks are usaully used in running, golf and tennis.

Sock Tips

  • Choose your sock thickness to correlate with the fit of your shoes. If you fit and selected your shoes with thin socks, moving to thick socks or double thickness socks may end up squeezing your feet.
  • Make sure to bring the socks you intend to wear when you get fitted for new shoes (running or basketbal shoes, soccer, baseball or football cleats).
  • Consider using socks made of feet friendly, moisture wicking materials and not the 3 for $9.99 cotton socks. The saying " you get what you pay for" definitely applies here.
  • Change your socks (I hope) at least daily. If you perspire a lot, consider bringing an extra pair so you can change them during a line change or at halftime. Always use fresh, clean, dry socks for your athletic activities. Synthetic socks have become so popular and easier to find that you may consider using them for your work shoes. I have purchased synthetic wicking fiber socks for everyday use from Macy"s™.

Selected Running Sock Sites

Some companies (Asics and Nike) not only offer socks that wick moisture but are designed for your right or left foot individually. You can save your money. I have accidently placed them on the wrong foot and didn't know it until I took them off 2 hours later.

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