Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gym Socks

Blisters, calluses and ingrown toenails. All quite gross, and all too familiar if you spend a lot of time in running shoes. Particularly new running shoes that don't know your feet yet. But these things, these nasty things we runners deal with can be quite preventable if 1) the shoe fits and 2) the socks are good.

I don't know about you, but a pair of socks can make or break my run. Or my workout. So I am very particular about the socks I choose. I like 'em low to the ankle, and they can't be too thick. And if they hug my arches, well...I'll love them forever. They also have to be made well because I hate holes and I hate strings on the inside. Bonus points if they look cool, which is ridiculous because it's not like anyone sees my socks while I'm working out. And no, I have not jumped on the mismatched socks bandwagon yet. That's a funny trend only teens and cool people can pull off. All the socks in my drawer are perfectly paired up:

It's OK to be jealous of my Batman socks.


The good people behind PowerSox recently sent me a few pairs of their socks to try out.

I've worn them all over the course of the past few weeks, so I'm fully prepared to offer my honest opinion of each. Because that's what you get from me whenever I do a product review. Complete and total honesty. Let's start with these from New Balance:

They're the Technical NBX sock, made specifically for elite runners. "The comfort, the function, the achievement are noticed...the sock is not." << Totally agree. I had plenty of room in the toe box, and they felt tight around my arches. My only complaint? I wish they cut lower around the ankle. You'll find that's my complaint on all of the socks featured above. Especially the second New Balance pair. Way too high, way too thick...probably my least favorite of the bunch. For the gym, anyways. I loved wearing them around the house. It was as if I had slippers on. But when I wore them at the gym, I could actually my feet sweating.

Next up, the Under Armours. Let me preface this by saying that I'm not usually a fan of black socks, particularly at the gym because the fashionista in me doesn't like how obvious they are up against my blue shoes. So I probably won't put these into the rotation, but they were rather comfortable. They fit smoothly, and left me without any issues contrary to comfort.

Like the Powersox, actually.

These would be perfect if they were just a little bit lower at the ankle. Notice the right/left fit. The contoured toe eliminates any bunching you get at the toes in your shoes. I hate that, it's so annoying! These fit perfectly, and snuggled my feet in all the right places—and kept them dry, too. Bonus points for that.

So after testing all of these, here's what I recommend you consider as you shop for gym socks:

1) Size. It does matter because one does not fit all. If they're too big, your foot will slide around and the sock itself will bunch up inside your shoe which can affect foot performance—it's true! And if they're too small, they will just annoy you. Heck, they might even make your shoes feel too small.

2) Material. Choose cotton, preferably with some dri-fit action. Wet feet stink, literally and figuratively, and they can lead to things like Athlete's Foot and fungal infections. Fun, right?

3) Arch support. This part of your foot absorbes the shock of running and jumping, so a little support will go a long way. I notice a huge difference when I wear socks with this feature. They're just...way more comfortable.

4) Thickness. Different shoes require different socks. Pick the wrong thickness and your shoes might suddenly feel too small.

I know it seems silly to spend a little more on a pair of performance socks, but they really can be worth it. Then again, you have to do what's right for you. Only you can truly determine your own comfort levels.

Now, if only my gym socks had bows on them.

Question: Are you picky about the socks you wear at the gym? If so, how?

ENTER MY GIVEAWAY! You just might win a box of Chobani Greek Yogurt! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Tuesday, April 3, 2012).

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