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Why Your Running Socks Are Just As Important As Your Shoes

For runners, shoes usually get all of the hype. But what about those other things that you put on your feet? You may not realize, but your running socks are crucial (and often overlooked).

There are a few things that you need to consider when buying running socks. Staff from Injinji—the maker of performance toe socks—shares that the type of running sock you get should depend on the type of run (trails, street, both, packed trail, technical trail, etc), the time of the year (climate where you will be doing your running) and individual running mechanics.

RELATED: Gear—Best Socks For Every Runner!

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Your local running store can help guide you to the perfect fit. “Always ask to try on samples of the product,” stresses Ryan Hopper, Swiftwick’s National Sales Manager for running and an expert in their compression socks. “Feeling the product with your hand isn’t going to help determine the function and feel when running.”

Both Injinji and Swiftwick agree on the same important point: you socks make or break a run. That is why when looking for the perfect running sock, you need to make sure it wicks away moisture to prevent blisters.

Both companies also agree that the thickness of the sock is a personal preference. Just as you pay attention to the feel of running shoes when trying them on, the same goes for socks.

So what technology do these companies put into their socks that makes them better than a normal cotton sock?

RELATED: Meb Keflezighi On Why He Loves Compression Socks

If you’re Injinji, you wrap each toe individually with sweat-wicking material to eliminate hot spots and keep blisters at bay. “The five-toe interface helps to splay the toes better which allows the entire foot to be engaged in each step,” explains their team. “Additionally, the CoolMax fiber blend in the socks allows feet to stay much, much cooler than with its ability to wick away unwanted moisture.”

If you’re Swiftwick, you build your socks with moisture-wicking fabric as well and include their signature managed compression. “Our Managed Compression, with a 200 needle count, creates a second skin feel so the sock doesn’t slip and slide,” shares Hopper. “All Swiftwick products are made with a seamless linked toe and Olefin fibers, which retains less than .01% of their weight in moisture, to help prevent blisters on the feet.”

They don’t put all of that thought and precision into a piece of apparel that doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that socks are just as important to your run as your shoes. Not only will they help you perform better—they help keep your feet running ready. And for those who love a good sock game as much as their shoes, we expect to see more and more funky, fun and functionals styles in 2016—something Stance Run already proved to be excellent at when they hit the run scene earlier in 2015.

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta is the freelance web editor for Women's Running. A freelance journalist, she is the assistant editor at LAVA Magazine and has written for espnW, ELLE, Men's Journal, VICE Sports, Health and more. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.