Welcome back friends! Now that you have all found the most perfect running shoe, it is time to pause for a moment, reflect, and think about what exactly we are putting in those shoes. For a runner, the feet are perhaps the most important parts of our bodies, which means it is essential to take care of them in any way we can.
While shoes are of the upmost importance, there is something that is equally important and often overlooked: running socks. That’s right, something that is so tiny and elusive (I must have nine currently floating around somewhere in the 4th dimension of my laundry room) can make a world of a difference in terms of comfort and relief.
When I first started running, I had no idea about all the various running socks. In fact, I’m pretty sure for a long while I ran in socks that were purchased in bulk next to the checkout register by the discounted gum. Needless to say, halfway through training for my first half-marathon my blisters were out of control!
For me, the first round of blisters appeared under the arch of my foot, towards my heel. This was when I first discovered Thorlos lightweight, no-show socks. There are also blister-preventing socks available that are great at providing the correct amount of padding in just the right places.
Soon after switching out of my tightie whities, my arch blisters subsided. For those that are just starting out or for moderate runners, you may want to try a pack of Wigmwam mid crew socks or a couple of pairs of Nike Lightweight Anti-Blister socks as they are a great value and do an amazing job at protecting the feet!
It wasn’t until training for my first full marathon that I started to get blisters in between my toes. In. Between. My. Toes. Frankly, I am not sure how this even happened, but let me just say, it was as awful as it sounds. At one point, one got so big and bad that I named him Hank and would give him a nice pep-talk before venturing out on a long run, hoping that he would comply and behave himself. Hank never listened and proceeded to just get larger and more unruly. This was when I found the joy of toe socks. Sure, they may look funny but boy did they make a difference! Toe socks are specifically designed to reduce the friction between the toes while running and tremendously helped reduce the size of my nasty blister (RIP Hank).
Finally – there is the compression sock. Compression socks are a great way to keep the blood circulating in the lower part of the legs and feet. They not only enhance blood circulation, but they help regulate skin temperature and fight bacteria. Similarly, compression socks can be worn after a run to help circulate blood flow and subsequently reduce inflammation.
While all of these socks can help reduce blisters, please note that some blisters are still inevitable – much like spilling red wine on a white shirt or the fact that every time I go to the bathroom at work,a Maroon 5 song will be on the radio. Some things we just have to prepare for and not get upset at when they happen. Personally, I like to think of them as little badges of honor…and I must remind myself that every time a new one inconveniently rears its ugly head.
Until next time, happy trails, roads and any other unchartered terrain.