Everyone knows about running and athletic shoes, but not enough people talk about running and athletic socks (also known as sport socks). Regular socks will keep your feet comfortable during everyday activities, but they’re no match for intense outdoor activity. That’s why it’s important to buy socks that are appropriate for the activity or sport you play.
What’s The Difference?
Regular socks are designed to be all-purpose. They’ll get you through the day unless your day is spent playing sports. Running and Athletic socks are typically thicker and more accommodating. They also use higher-quality fabric to prevent blisters.
The way your sock feels with your shoe on is important too. Some socks will be padded or be made up of a material you’re not familiar with. Wearing them with shoes might feel strange at first. Every sport will probably require a different sock as well. It’s up to you to determine what works best with the activity you’re performing.
What Kind of Materials Am I Looking For?
Cotton is a popular material when it comes to socks and other clothes. Unfortunately, it’s an awful material for athleticism. Cotton absorbs any type of moisture, which means that sweat is going to be a big problem.
That being said, here are materials that will benefit your feet:
- Merino wool. Even though it’s one of the most expensive materials that can make up a sock, it’s also one of the best. Merino wool is composed of soft, itch-free fibers. It also regulates temperature and keeps your feet dry.
- Synthetic fibers. Fabrics like nylon and acrylic belong to this category. They can stand on their own, but they’re usually blended together. Nylon adds durability while acrylic provides cushioning and comfort.
- Ingeo. This corn-based polylactic acid fiber is similar to polyester. The main difference is that it’s more eco-friendly. This is due to being made from a renewable resource. Ingeo also controls odor and wicks moisture.
- Natural fibers. This blend includes fabrics like wool or cotton. It’s true that cotton alone doesn’t make for great material, but it’s fine when blended.
What Kind of Features Am I Looking For?
Wearing socks just because they feel nice might not be enough. Depending on how intensive your sport is, your socks should provide at least one of the following:
- Comfort. Your socks should be comfortable enough to prevent blisters.
- Proper padding. A little padding in the heel and rear of your foot can help prevent blisters. Especially when running. Just make sure that the padding doesn’t make your shoe too tight.
- Warmth. You don’t want your feet to be sweaty, but you don’t want them to be cold either. A little insulation will help keep your feet warm when it counts.
- Protection. Your feet and toes require a lot of protection. Make sure that your socks keep your feet soft to prevent cracking.
- Cushioning. Impact zones should always be protected. This shouldn’t be a problem if you shoot for targeted cushioning.
- Seamless toe. Seams can cause irritation if they rub up against your feet. Buy socks without seams if you can.
- High thread count. The higher the thread count, the stronger the sock. Go for this if you want durability.
- Moisture management. Socks that can move moisture away from your feet are a huge help. As previously mentioned, you don’t want wet socks.
- Odor control. Some socks can cut down on odor by preventing old skin flakes from getting into your shoes.
Next time you buy socks, you’ll know what you’re looking for. It’s important to remember that each sport is played differently, so one pair doesn’t fit all. Tennis players may choose comfort while soccer players choose protection. It’s all situational, and it’s all up to you!