SOCKS, SOCKS, SOCKS,
Remember back in the day when all athletic socks were cotton and white? I don’t miss those times. Things have changed in the sock world. Most of my socks are not white and they are not all cotton but a varying blend of merino, poly, etc. In all the running I do on trails and roads and cycling too I have tried many different socks. There are many options available in the market place. This can make finding the right sock rather difficult. We hope this information can help you to find a sock that works. Of course as we dive into this broad subject we want you to know that we recognize everybody has different needs and we are fully aware of different foot types. With that in mind, we have tried a variety of brands, styles and fits in an effort to help you find the best sock for you. The following 5 companies are differentiating themselves in the market place with unique construction, durability, and value.
After extensive review (Every single company here with the exception of Thorlo I have used one or more of their products for more than 2 years) Here are our 5 favorites:
DARN TOUGH- Quality and durability is in the name. DARN TOUGH has an unconditional lifetime guarantee http://www.darntough.com/lifetime-guarantee.html . This is the best guarantee that I could find on the market. . Return the sock for a new pair. Pretty simple and very straight forward. I expected to find the heal wearing a bit now and then. I am impressed with how the thinner socks are still so durable and stand up to high mileage on the trails and well in my bike shoes too. The first 2 pair I used were a thicker hiking or cold weather sock. That was more than 2 years ago and after dozens of uses trail running in snow etc. they are totally intact. When I was first introduced to these socks I had the chance to use a thicker version of a running/hiking sock. I was thinking to myself “of course this is TOUGH because it is the thickest active sock I have.” This was exactly what I wanted running in colder temperatures in the winter. The next pair that I was able to try were the seamless socks that are incredibly comfortable and very durable and have hidden seams- perfect for running and cycling. They have several styles with varying levels of thickness and a variety of colors available.
INJINJI- This is the sock with the individual toes. I first used this sock when I was done snowboarding and wanted my feet covered but wanted to stretch my toes. This is a great toe and foot recovery sock. I used this sock on the first half of my Rim to Rim to Rim run of the Grand Canyon 43 miles in one day. They did exactly what I wanted them to. These socks allowed my toes to move independently inside the shoe. This allows the toes to stretch and flex outside of the traditional shape. This provided me with more stability. If you have ever had trouble tripping on varied trails or pavement I recommend trying this sock to give you more response in all of your foot. Your toes can truly help to smooth things out on a rough trail. When I put on a traditional sock after wearing the Injinji my toes are trained to spread out and not rub together. Our natural tendency when we want to have greater stability and balance is to spread out our toes. Injinji has a great product and this is a sock that I recommend putting in the sock drawer rotation. http://www.injinji.com
Lorpen- These are just all around good socks. The soul of the sock is very comfortable. good quality with construction that wears well in all conditions. The sock that we tested is the trail running sock. This sock is incredibly well fit with great comfort and awesome durability. They do not constrict or compress the foot but are not too loose. Lorpen has a great variety of different sizes and materials. All the socks that I have used have been very comfortable and met our durability test. If you are looking specifically for a trail running sock look at this http://www.lorpen.com/lorpen-na/catalogue.php?gender=men&category=trail .
Swiftwick- This is a compression sock company. They make compression in all sizes. Everything from the short crew all the way to the very popular 12 inch full compression. This is my favorite compression sock company period. Swiftwick has dialed in the great benefit when you want the shorter sock but still want to prevent blood pooling. I have used the 12 inch full compression for almost 2 years and they are fantastic, extremely durable, and because they are black I wear them under business suits and dress pants frequently. They make a great 4 inch compression sock that is great for cycling. This compression technology works and is great for recovery. If you have a compression sock for under the knee I recommend trying some of these other smaller sizes. I was surprised to find that the shorter compression socks were best for cycling. The thinner crew version is great for running.
THORLO- This company has a very different approach to the shoe and sock relationship. The concept here is make the sock work first, then get the shoe to fit. This is because of the in-depth study at the IPFH Institute for Preventive Foot Health. Check out some of the research that has been done about impact on the foot http://www.ipfh.org/research . Having seen firsthand the effect of Diabetes and arthritis on older athletes this type of sock approach caters to comfort and wearability. What I noticed with these socks is extra cushioning that was created from the special weave inside the sock that takes and smoothes out the pressure points where the foot meets the shoe. This cushioning is mostly in the sole of the foot. Just walking or hiking in these socks is a treat. You can select the level of cushioning you want in the sock. This option allows for true customization for the whole foot experience. If you have any serious foot problems this sock could be the solution. For me the sock was great for some of the shoes that I have that say they are a size ten and feel like an 11. If you feel like you need to pamper your feet a bit more this sock will do exactly that. The integrated solution is something that caught my attention. Different socks will have an effect on how a shoe feels. This is great information for achieving the right fit for your activity http://www.ipfh.org/integrated-solution. I noticed with this sock that I need to expect about a half shoe size bigger to wear it comfortably. It is not made for a race flat. I really like what Thorlo has done to give people with foot issues a solution to be able to continue activity. http://www.thorlo.com