When people talk about running gear the main things that normally come up are running shoes, and fitness trackers. While these are both important and useful an often-overlooked piece of gear is running socks. Having the right pair of socks is important and can mean the difference between having a satisfying run or ending up with blisters. It can also mean the difference between being comfortable or having hot sweaty damp feet, or chilled feet, depending on the weather.
The majority of socks that people have at home are cotton socks. You know something like those white socks that come in a big bag of 20 from your local chain store. While these are great for lounging around the house, and casual wear they are far from ideal for running. Cotton does not pull moisture away from the skin, which means that when they sweat your feet stay damp, which leads to chafing and blisters, not to mention just being unpleasant.
There are many kinds of socks made specifically for running. Some are made from synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, Lycra, or spandex. Socks made from these kinds of materials are much better at wicking moisture away from the skin and reducing the risk of blisters.
Another great option for sock material if you are running is merino wool. It is much better at keeping moisture from the skin than cotton, although not as much as some of the synthetic materials. What it is better at though is regulating temperature. Some socks made from synthetic material will be less comfortable in the heat or the cold, whereas socks made from merino wool with be more comfortable in a wider range of temperatures.
Once you have the right material for you use look for other sock features, such as height, and heaviness. The most important thing for a running sock is to make sure that it fits properly in your running shoes. Having a sock that properly fits your shoe will be the biggest factor in determining your risk of blisters. You can also look for special features such as extra padding to help reduce food fatigue or, arch support.
Try different sock until you find the right kind for your shoe and running style. And always remember the few extra dollars you spend on socks will help you further enjoy the hours of running you put in.