Running Socks 101

Pain and regret are what you get when you run in cotton.

Pain and regret are what you get when you run in cotton.

Running socks are a big deal. They cost you a million dollars and make the difference between a happy run and a very unhappy run. I grind my teeth and throw temper tantrums when I have to buy running socks because they are so incredibly expensive but honestly, it’s a necessary buy. Cotton socks are the enemy. When I first started running I did so in cotton socks because who knew cotton was no good?

I was constantly taking my 2 sizes too small Nordstrom Rack shoes off after a run to find blisters and bloody Achilles. But I was under the impression that blisters were just a result of running.  That is until I ran in synthetic fancy running socks. I felt like I was walking on air. Running socks can also be very confusing. There are a hundred different elite brands claiming to do a hundred different things, so how do you know which overpriced sock to buy? (Why none of these magic socks grant wishes or allow you to see the future is beyond me. I mean they do just about everything else…get on that science!)

So it makes sense when on Friday one of my coworkers reached out to me about running socks. She asked me, “Can you write a Run, Selfie, Repeat blog post about socks?  I just need to know what I should be wearing for different kinds of climates, distances, and what kind of arch support to look for. Oh and how to help prevent blisters! Should I be changing my socks out at some point if it's really hot?”

Honestly, if you are picky about socks, read up on the science behind the different designs. Otherwise it’s really simple. It comes down to trial, error, and personal preference.

1. Thick or Thin Socks?

Your shoes already offer your feet cushion and provide impact protections so do you need socks with extra cushion on the ball of your foot and heel? If you have lighter shoes it’s recommended to reach for a sock with more cushion on the ball of the foot and heel to help reduce fatigue. Personally, I like a sock with a little cushion despite the fact that my shoes offer more than enough support. Thick or thin, try both and see which one feels better.

2. What Length?

The last time I run without tabs.

The last time I run without tabs.

If you are prone to Achilles blisters, reach for a quarter length sock or a no-show sock with a tab. I am a firm believer in no-show socks with a tab. TOTAL game changer. I remember being in Costco when I first started running and saw some “Athletic No Show Running Socks” and thought, excellent! I need those! One run later and my sock was completely saturated in blood. It was terrifying. Those socks became normal socks and I never ran in them again. That’s when I discovered the tab. So I reach for no-show socks with tabs. But there are low/no show, quarter length, crew cut, and knee high. Choose your favorite.

3. Arch Protection

Some socks offer arch protection. I have an incredibly high arch and I haven’t noticed a difference when I use socks without arch protection and socks with arch protection. Again try and see what you think. Or better yet, ask your health care professional for advice when you go in for your physical. (I would say if you are looking for arch protection you’re better off with orthotics.)

4. Change Of Socks

I bring a change of socks anytime I run over one hour in anything over 85 degree heat. I never thought to do this until two weeks ago when I ran 14 miles in 87 degree heat. My socks were drenched and I got a beautiful blister. Anytime you run in wet socks you are looking at blisters. This is why we avoid cotton like the plague. So if it’s hot and humid out, just stick an extra pair into your spi-belt and change them out halfway in. Better safe than blistered.

5. Cold &. Hot Weather

Climate wise I run in the same socks year round. This was my first winter EVER so I really didn’t even know that wool socks existed. This year I am going to invest in a pair or three. I didn’t notice too much of a difference running in my normal socks but wool socks help keep your feet warm and dry. Perfect for those 30 degree runs we all are longing for right about now. (Summer runs are killing me.) For hot and humid temperatures, I reach for thinner socks.

So there you have it. 5 tips to choosing perfect socks, I really think it’s just personal preference. I’ve tried all sorts of different socks but my absolute favorite sock right now is Elite Ultra Light by Feetures because it feels like I am not wearing a sock, has cushion, and has a tab. I am not a huge fan of vibrant colors but having bright colored running socks helps me 1. Match them after washing and 2. Differentiate my running socks from regular evil cotton socks. CLICK HERE to check them out.

Otherwise, happy sock hunting! What is your favorite pair of socks and why? I’m curious to see what everyone’s using.

Safety first!

Safety first!

And now for a little weekend recap! This weekend I went to the Poconos and had an insane amount of fun. On Friday I took a half day from work so we could beat traffic and I am glad we did. We had time to go kayaking, drink fancy drinks, make dinner, drink more fancy drinks, and sit around the fire. AND THERE WERE WILD TURKEYS! AS IN LIVING GIANT TURKEYS! I've never seen a wild turkey in my life! It was crazy exciting. (Everyone was not as excited as I was. I mean HELLO IT'S A TURKEY!)

I have a habit of disappearing and putting myself to bed whenever I get a little too turnt’ up, so Friday around 11 after some Mojitos and red wine, I told everyone I was going to put my PJ’s on and instead brushed my teeth, washed my face, laid out my running clothes, and put myself to bed. (Impressive for any level of drunk. I mean I brushed my teeth, huge win.) Everyone we went on the trip with was older than me so all weekend long they made fun of me for being the youngin’ who goes to bed early. But hey! I like to get my beauty rest! And nothing good EVER happens after 12, am I right? AM I RIGHT? Ok fine. I’m lame.

This giant Pterodactyl flew into our car and tried to eat me alive. Not appreciated.

This giant Pterodactyl flew into our car and tried to eat me alive. Not appreciated.

Saturday morning was Struggle Central. I wake up really early so I spent about 30 minutes, alone, trying to find the bagels I knew someone brought. Desperate to eat before a hangover set in I ended up giving up and ate half of an English Muffin while nursing a Gatorade. Once everyone got up, we decided to go on a hike. I was told the hike was 30 minutes away. Feeling wobbly I thought to myself, "it’s only a 30 minute car ride and you love hiking. Keep sipping that Gatorade and go on the hike, don't be the one who stays behind!" Well 30 minutes turned into 40 and then 40 turned into a detour. It literally took 2 hours to get to the waterfall. It was a very difficult hungover car ride, let me tell you, but the hike was totally worth it. We had so much fun. But it was really, really, really hot and we got so incredibly sweaty. The amount of stairs we climbed was insane. I mean it was like climbing a mountain made of stairs. We were dunking our heads into the river trying to cool down. But totally worth the hung over 2 hour car ride.

Saturday night was another night of shenanigans. This time I made myself stay awake for the fun. We had awesome drinks and food, sat around the fire, told jokes, played games and laughed at each other. It was a very good time.

Wait, I thought the Poconos are in New York?

Wait, I thought the Poconos are in New York?

Also, did you know the Pocono’s are in Pennsylvania? I was totally under the impression we were going to upstate New York! I told probably 10 people and no one corrected me! And did you also know there are fireworks EVERYWHERE in Pennsylvania?!?!  No one would let me buy fireworks! What’s up with that!?! It was my first time to Pennsylvania and I don’t think I have ever seen so many trees in my life. I did absolutely zero running but I’ve been trying to recover from some knee pain so it probably for the better. I really don’t allow myself to rest when I sustain an injury so giving myself some time off was definitely for the best. But today we are back at it, kicking it into gear for the NYC Marathon! It’s time to get serious and with no more planned trips until September, the rest of the summer is going to be spent training for my marathon.

So until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.

1 Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.