Socks have taken on a life of their own. Recent innovations in knitting technology and market demands for better socks have fueled a revolution in what we wear on our feet. So what is happening? Cotton is out. Synthetic is in. Here is why:
Cotton is Out
Cotton is comfortable and soft; “the fabric of our lives.” But when it comes to running, it’s practically the fabric of our demise. Cotton naturally soaks up and holds on to moisture, making it very difficult to evaporate. That moisture could be your sweat, dew from grass, or water from an aid station. This is bad for a number of reasons. First, it promotes blistering by softening your skin with the buildup of moisture. Second, that build up of moisture and sweat increases your foot odor. Third, cotton has a hard time regulating body temperature. In the summer, it is harder for moisture to evaporate and draw heat from your body to keep you cool. In the winter, wet cotton socks will ensure that your feet remain cold.
Synthetic is In
There is a better alternative! Here are the benefits of a technical synthetic running sock:
Runners and walkers aren’t the only ones who can benefit! In fact, many non-runners have discovered the advantages of running socks. Those who go to the gym, do aerobics, cyclists, etc. can benefit from the extra comfort and features of a synthetic running sock, too.
If you haven’t made the switch, ditch your cotton and try a sock made specifically for running. They will knock your socks off!
(Fritz is a valued team member at the Runners Forum. He really enjoys nice socks. Please send any questions or comments to Fritz at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I’d been reading a lot over the past couple of years about “Natural Running.” The best way to describe “Natural Running” is that it is how you would land on your feet if you weren’t wearing shoes. To get a feel for what this is, put on your shoes and pay attention to what part of your foot strikes the ground first. For 75% of runners, it’s their heel. Now take your shoes off and try running barefoot across your lawn. Pay attention to how your feet strike the ground. You will find that you land on your forefoot or your midfoot NOT your heel. Your heel will eventually touch the ground, but not initially. So it is natural to strike with the forefoot/midfoot.
By landing on your forefoot or midfoot, the impact gets significantly distributed to your muscles so it does not transmit the full impact to your joints. Advocates claim that this reduces injury and down time, AND increases your speed, because some of the force of the impact can be returned to you during toe-off because it is not absorbed by the heel shoe where it is lost. You also don’t need a big high heel to absorb the impact. Most shoes have a heel that is about a half inch higher than the forefoot.
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