Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

The Great Sock Debate

I’ll admit it.  I hate wearing socks.  Give me flip flops, sandals, even the occasional dress shoes over socks any day.

In the past, I’ve compromised during training and racing by wearing the shortest, thinnest socks possible, even at the expense on occasion of my delicate little toes.  After a particularly brutal foot-trashing at the Cradle of Liberty last month, though, I decided to test out some socks of the slightly-thicker-but-just-as-short variety.  So a few weeks ago, I headed over to REI and after perusing all of the possibilities, I landed on a pair of Thorlo Experias.

They were cushioned at the toe and heel; they sat low on my ankles; and perhaps most importantly, they were green (priorities, people).

And much as I hated to admit it, they made a difference.  The added cushioning meant that my feet were less susceptible to the whims of my shoes.  My Salomons stopped gnawing at the inside of my arch and my Montrails slid snugly over my heels.  I had fewer blisters and no toenail issues.  My heels were still exposed, resulting in some rawness during the Longest Day, but otherwise my feet were in great shape.

Brent’s been racing in Thorlo’s light hiking socks for years and claims that he’s never had a blister (though I find this a bit suspect), and after my own discovery of their running line, I decided to approach the company about the possibility of partnering up for Costa Rica.

Between the paddling, the rain, and the mud, we know that our ability to take care of our feet will be one of the biggest factors in our success or failure during this race.  So we’ve all loaded up on moleskin, Hydropel, and Sportslick, and with the support of Thorlo, our feet are now fully outfitted.

But the question remains — the boys and Ali are all going with the over-the-ankle light hikers, but I feel committed to as little restriction as possible.  The company suggested a few pairs of Expedias and the balance in Light Hikers, so I’ll bring both down there with me and report back when we return.

What’s your sock-wearing philosophy?  Are you in the extra-protection camp, or do you go for pure minimalism?  Have you ever had any issues with your feet?


13 responses to “The Great Sock Debate

  1. Laurie June 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I am primarily a Wright Sock over-the-ankle, sometimes 3/4-length sock woman myself. Remember the day we ran for a few hours and my socks kept slipping off my heels into my shoes? I got rid of most of my below-the-ankle socks after a few more experiences like that.
    I recently bought two pairs of socks from The Clymb because they were all of $5. I wish I could think of the brand right now because I love them. Did the 50k in a pair and had no issues with my feet at all.
    So far I’ve been lucky in the feet department. After my first marathon I lost most of my toenails (and four never grew back) thanks to too-small shoes but since then I’ve been fortunate. Body Glide, Gold Bond powder and bacitracin have helped, too.

  2. Kara June 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I have more than one pair of those Experias (wearing the green ones right now actually!) and I love them. I also really like Balgas. I like the short socks, mostly for fashion reasons, not for any practical purpose.

  3. kari @running ricig June 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I hate socks too (especially dress socks!). I wear super low cut dryfit socks when I run, but try to go without socks any other time.

  4. Tasha @ Voracious June 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I live in flip flops and sandals! I occasionally wear flats, and sneakers to the gym and to hike my dogs, and riding boots to the stables. But, I wish I could somehow just be barefoot all the time. Thanks for these reviews!

  5. Julie (A Case of the Runs) June 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I need to look into more wool running socks, as I have none. Running a stormy marathon with normal socks added about, what, 6 lbs to my body? LOL

  6. Julie C Martinez June 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Someone introduced me to Smartwool socks for long runs, heck any kind of running and I LOVE THEM! I was running in the Thorlo’s but they have nothing on Smartwool! Seriously! Try a pair!

  7. sisrocks1996 June 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I am in love with Asics right now, but have NEVER found a sock I LOVE. Either my heels end up raw or my feet end up blistered. Ugh if you come up with a great idea let me know. I HATE thick socks too my feet like to breathe!

  8. Jill June 17, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Um…I have a pretty big issue with ONE of my feet…. bahahahaha. Actually, that’s not really funny, but I couldn’t resist! Asics has this running sock made out of Bamboo and I heart it to death! I got some bamboo hiking socks at REI for my son and he loves them, too. They don’t wear out as fast as those SmartWools either!

  9. Sarah S @RunningOnWords June 17, 2011 at 6:23 am

    I have a complex about feet…I think they are gross. I have majorly ingrown toenails, so I have to have enough room in the toebox of my shoes, which means I like socks that are really thin on top. I almost exclusively use Balega because I like the amount of padding, but if you step in a few large puddles, they seem to be soaked for good.

  10. Julie (A Case of the Runs) June 17, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Hi Abby… I don’t have your e-mail, so I’m going to tell you about iron here. Iron supplements should be taken with food/on a full stomach because iron is known to be harsh on the stomach. I’m used to taking vitamins with food, because otherwise they make me nauseaus. There are iron tablets made to be “slow releasing,” so you might have better luck with those.

  11. Elise June 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I tend to go for the bare minimum, but I also race in only brand new, unwashed socks: I once went on a 9 mile run with an older pair of socks, & ended up with a blister from the ball of my foot to my heel, about 2 1/2 inches wide. It was ridiculous — and super painful. Since then, I save my ‘mostly new’ socks for long runs, and purchase a brand new pair for races — just to be extra careful and ward off blisters. Its weird, I know, but it works!

  12. pawsitivelife June 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Now that its summer im sock free. Except for running. A good running sock makes a world of difference! I used to get blisters between my toes until i invested in good socks…cost a fortune, but totally worth it

  13. Pingback: Costa Rica 2011: And So It Goes « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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