|X Socks are great but there are others|
If you run you probably have some running shoes, or at least you should. But what about your socks? Do you run in your ordinary socks, the ones you'd wear for normal use? Maybe you use some sports socks that look good with a pair of trainers? How about some proper running socks?
It is very easy to think it's just hype. Just when you've paid out £70 - £90 on your first pair of running shoes and you're asked by the shop assistant if you'd like to have some socks as well - at £10 a go it might seems expensive. Please read on....
What's their job?
Every time you run for an hour, you take over 10,000 steps. Each step involves the foot in a complicated movement which comes naturally to us as humans because our design is fantastic. As we wear shoes to run, the "interface" with our feet needs to be managed so we don't become uncomfortable through being hot, sweaty, having blisters or a whole range of other potential problems.
What are they?
Running socks are made up of many parts and are amazingly complicated to make, probably why they cost about £10 a pair. Good running socks will never be made from cotton. The problem with cotton is that it will absorb sweat and become damp and soggy. This can cause blisters and any rub point. If you've had blisters, you'll know they are bad news.
The construction of a good pair of socks allows for ventilation, strong areas in key parts (heel, toe etc) and elasticated parts to keep it in place.
Ideally they should be without any seams in order to avoid any rubbing and allow them to fit well. They need to be hard wearing - my X Socks last over 1000 miles (i.e. they will out last two pairs of running shoes).
Experiment if necessary
I reckon it sometimes takes a bit of trial-and-error to get the right shoe / sock combination. It's worth investing in two or three different types to find which ones are best for you. Maybe once you have found the ideal sock, buy a supply. Besides, it helps to have a few in circulation so they can be washed after each run and to extend their lifespan.
I have tried those tiny socks that are almost invisible when you're wearing a pair of running shoes. So far these have been a waste of time and money: they don't stay in place well enough.
Why I think they are important
We place a real strain on our feet when we run and so often we are not accustomed to this, through our mostly sedentary lifestyles. It is easy for our feet to have problems and having a proper pair of running shoes and socks is one thing we can do to minimise problems. Considering they will last the life of two pairs of running shoes, they are not really expensive after all.