This post is a part of my blog flash series, Tips for New Runners. It is based entirely on my own experiences as a new runner and may be missing a lot of information. This series is intended to help my readers find what works for them by sharing what worked or didn’t work for me.
When I started running, I didn’t realize how important socks were. I went out on quite a few runs in regular, everyday cotton socks. For a while that wasn’t a problem. Running a mile or two in cotton socks isn’t really an issue for me. But once I got my mileage up to three miles and beyond, cotton socks stopped being okay and started causing me blisters.
I checked in with other runner friends and was directed to my local running store to purchase actual running socks. When I got there, I suffered a bit of sticker shock and went home to try to find less expensive options on the internet. I’m not sure I can recommend this course of action, to be honest. I ended up with two pair of socks that got me up to 12 miles before they started causing blisters, and then I just gave in and went to my local running store.
See, the thing I didn’t realize is that most of the blister-causing friction on my feet was actually being caused by my socks. Your shoes can be big and somewhat loose, to allow for feet swelling. Having a shoe that rubs isn’t necessarily going to cause you any problems. It’s really the sock that matters. If your sock isn’t moving against your foot, there isn’t going to be much friction against your skin no matter what your shoe does. (See my future post on blister tape & chafing gels/creams for when toes rub and cause blisters.)
There are many, many brands of socks and many models made by each company and your feet may have different needs than mine. My best recommendation to you is to visit your local running store and have them help you pick out the best socks. If you experience sticker shock, as I did, buy one pair and try them out. After that, if they work for you, you might be able to buy them online or on sale days at a better price.
This series isn’t intended to be about product recommendations, but I will tell you which socks I use. For my shorter runs, I wear one of the less expensive Feetures models, but for my long runs it’s the Feetures Elites all the way. They were recommended to me by another distance runner friend and I love them. On my 26.2 mile marathon training run, I ran on a cold, miserable, rainy day. My feet were absolutely soaked within the first 3 miles. The only blister I got that day was not remotely sock related, but rather my own fault for poorly applied blister tape. It wasn’t even in an area where a sock could have caused it. You can also see sock reviews at various websites, including the Runners World sock review.
If you find yourself having blister problems, especially on longer runs, consider that your socks might be the culprits. Socks can be spendy, but the good ones really are worth it. Also, be extra sure to read the laundering instructions on your socks. Many of them call for turning your socks inside out in addition to the temperature and drying recommendations. Washing them according to the directions may well increase their lifespan and help keep your feet happy and blister free.