As far as running gear goes, socks don’t get people that excited. For the most part we wear socks that don’t even peek that far out of the shoe. Although we don’t talk about them much, socks play a huge role in the running experience. In my early days of running I started with the cheapest six pack of Nike socks I could find. Later, I started to experiment with different brands of running specific socks. At this point I have narrowed my sock selection down to three brands. I wear Balega socks, Smartwool, and WrightSocks. I used to also run in Injinji five toe socks, while they are a great sock, the price of the sock and the longevity of the sock wasn’t a good formula for me. I tend to wear Injinji socks out very quickly compared to other socks. To be clear I am only talking about regular running socks, not compression or recovery socks.
The perfect sock helps you get through the long miles with comfort. I usually buy a new pair of socks about a week and a half before any distance event. I love having a fresh pair of socks for a big run. When I ran the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, I chose WrightSocks SLC (mine are black not argyle.) The last thing I wanted at the bottom of the Grand Canyon was hot spots or blisters. The double layer system in the WrightSocks let’s the friction occur between the sock layers instead of against your skin. It was a good choice and my feet held up to the grueling day. What is most surprising is, the socks I took through the canyon are still in rotation with no holes in them three years later!
Jenny and I started off feeling the same way about socks. I am sure to a lot of beginner runners socks are an after thought.
“Socks. I hadn’t given them a second thought since I started running two and a half years ago. Can’t believe I’m admitting to this but socks were the last thing I ever wanted to spend money on…YOU DON’T EVEN GET TO SEE THEM! So, I hit the dollar store and picked out 5 or 6 pairs of the cushiest ones I could find (can you believe the selection was limited?!). AAAAND, from then until now I’ve used those same socks. The only exception was when I received a pair of “running socks” in my Christmas stocking two years ago. Turns out they were WrightSocks, but I had no idea until trying out the rest. Coincidentally, they were my favorite pair of the bunch but I had lost one for the longest time. I just couldn’t toss the mate and glad I didn’t because when I moved last year, I discovered it! Aaah, the two were reunited and it felt so good. I had the privilege of trying out several of WrightSock’s products and I’ve learned the importance of good socks—dare I put them on the same plane as choosing a good running shoe? I know this is preference but I like a little something to my sock…too thin and I feel like my shoes are slipping, too thick and my shoes are too snug. I.want.just.right.” -Jenny
Recently WrightSock sent Jenny and me some of their socks to review. Here are our thoughts:
CoolMesh II Jenny: Great wicking sock but a little slick. The double layer, anti-blister design does the job but I almost felt like the layers slid against each other. Definitely no hot spots or irritations and they’re super soft but I’m such a snob. The “quarter” ankle comes up too high, as I prefer no-shows. The low quarter was a little better and by far, the no show tab socks were the best. Thomas: I really like the CoolMesh II with racing flats. They are a slightly thinner sock, so they provide protection without being hefty. You can still feel the foot-bed of the shoe through the sock. I would recommend these to people who don’t need a lot of cushioning or like less bulk in their shoe.
Running II Thomas: want to feel light and fast? These are the socks for you. With the whole minimalist running trend going on, these socks fit right in. Barely there feeling. Again, I liked these with the facing flats. Thin light socks in thin light shoes. Jenny: Really thin, soft sock which felt nice on my foot. But as noted, I love some substance to my socks and this was too thin for my preference. It would probably make a great anti-friction layer for race flats, though.
Cool Mesh Jenny: Nice, lightweight anti-blister sock—great wicking and prevents hot spots. Even with the double layers, I didn’t feel like the sock was twisting ever. Still need a little more cush. Thomas: If you like the CoolMesh II you will like these too.
SLX Jenny: Now we’re talking. DE-lux. These cute little no shows had just the cushion my feet need–enough just where it’s needed on the heel & ball of the foot. They came in some fun colors, too—black with a little pink tab, another with a little “blue razz” tab. These and the SLC’s could very easily become my socks for life. They did such a great job at minimizing any kind of discomfort, hot spots and with the ridiculous humidity, did a surprisingly good job of keeping my feet dry. I *heart* them. Thomas: I have to agree with Jenny with regards to this sock. This is a great LSD (Long Slow Distance) sock. Save these badboys for your long run. Good cushioning and a great fit.*
Overall, all the socks WrightSock provided us with were quality socks. It really just comes down to preference. They truly have a sock for every runner’s foot.
“Thanks to WrightSocks for the opportunity to try out some of their products and teaching me the importance of good socks.” -Jenny
*For fit reference Jenny wears a size 8 running shoe (6.5 in hot stilettos) and I (Thomas) wear a size 10 running shoe. Jenny was provided size medium women’s socks, I was provided with Men’s size large socks.