Are Running Socks Worth It?
In a sport that often comes down to mere seconds, even the smallest details can make a big impact. While most runners invest in quality running shoes, one often-overlooked accessory that can make a substantial difference is the right pair of running socks. Many new runners wonder if running socks are really worth it. We argue that the answer is yes. Let’s break down the costs and benefits of high-quality running socks, using one of our favorite brands, Feetures, to show you why.
Running socks last longer
When you can get a 12-pack of cotton socks at Walmart for 10 dollars, investing in a single pair of running socks might sound crazy…until you compare the materials, longevity and overall feel of each product.
Running socks are designed to last longer and feel better (more on this below). Feetures, a family-owned brand, feel great and are engineered to last forever. They’re made with reinforced materials in areas of high wear, like your heel, for added durability.
Feetures is so confident in the quality of their running socks that they offer a lifetime guarantee on their socks. That’s right, they will replace them for free if they start to shrink, thin, get holes, or fail to live up to your standards.
Fleet Feet wear tester Kate says she stands by the durability of Feetures socks. “I have several pairs of Feetures that are about four years old. They’re still my go-to for long runs because they stay in place and I never get hot spots or blisters with them.”
When you add up the total cost of investing in a few pairs of durable running socks versus buying cheaper pairs that are less comfortable and need to be frequently replaced, the price of high-quality running socks makes a lot of sense.
Running socks fit better
There’s no better feeling than finding your perfect fit, whether it’s in a running shoe or a running sock. Feetures socks seem to mold to your feet by offering left and right-specific fits to conform to the structure of your foot. This is another small feature (pun intended!) that makes a big difference, as it provides an improved, snug fit which reduces slipping, rubbing and chafing.
Better materials, fewer blisters
Speaking of rubbing and chafing, blisters are the mortal enemy of every runner. When it comes to running socks, you want to avoid cotton at all costs. Cotton holds moisture in, creating a warm, wet environment for your feet. As your feet slide around in the miniature swamp created by cotton socks, blisters start to form. Running socks use sweat-wicking materials like spun polyester and microfiber nylon to keep your feet dry, cool and happy.
“I used to think that blisters were just part of being a runner,” says wear tester Caroline. “That is, until I switched from cotton socks to Feetures. Now I can run distraction-free, plus, I can wear sandals and not be self-conscious about my feet!”
Not only do materials matter, but the targeted compression and anatomical design mentioned above also help reduce blisters by preventing the rubbing that leads to chafing and blistering.
Targeted compression offers support
Most of us know the feeling of ill-fitting running socks loosely draping around your foot, moving around inside your shoe with every step. The good news is that Feetures offer targeted compression for superior comfort and support.
Compression enhances your body’s ability to efficiently circulate blood and deliver oxygen to your muscles and tissue. Feetures use targeted compression in the arch for added stability and support, helping to offset the impact your feet take as you pound the pavement.
Plus, Feetures running socks have a deep heel pocket and pull tab, keeping the socks from sliding down inside your shoe as you run.
Running socks come in a variety of lengths and cushion levels
Just as you can choose between different types of cushioning and various stack heights in your running shoes, you can choose between a range of heights and cushion levels in your running socks!
Feetures offers a wide variety of sock heights, including invisible, ankle, quarter, crew or mini crew. If you prefer a no-show look, we recommend their no-slip Elite Invisible or their best selling ankle sock, the Elite No Show Tab.
If you feel comfortable with more coverage around your heel or ankle area, the quarter-length socks are a great way to further reduce any rubbing or chafing. For off-road adventurers or those that love bold designs, the crew length is best to avoid any pesky dirt, sand or debris from creeping into your socks.
“Feetures quarter-length and crew socks are my go-to staple,” says wear tester Max. “Sometimes for style points. Sometimes for extra protection on trail runs. Plus, they feel much more breathable than other socks I’ve tried, keeping my feet cool.”
Different amounts of cushioning will impact the way the socks feel inside your shoes. We recommend thin socks for racing, as most racing shoes offer a dialed-in fit to eliminate movement within the shoe, helping you run as efficiently as possible and shave off those precious seconds. Thicker socks feel great in cold weather and can also help take up some room inside your shoe if you have low-volume feet (feet that don’t take up much room inside the shoe). Feetures Elite socks are available in three different cushioning levels–Ultralight, Light Cushion and Max-cushion.
Pairing a great set of shoes with poor quality socks is like purchasing a luxury home with no furniture to put inside. It may look good on the outside, but your overall experience in the house, or the shoes, will suffer. At the end of the day, a great pair of shoes is only as good as the socks you put inside them.