The Revolution of the Sock
What is a Technical Sock?

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Feetures Light running and walking socks

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:

  • Many synthetic socks contain a blend of synthetic fabrics with nylon, polypropylenes, polyester, and other proprietary materials that, by their very nature, transfer moisture away from the skin. This expedites evaporation and helps to regulate temperature as well as prevent blistering.
  • Most technical synthetic socks now have seamless stitching that won’t cause irritation down by the toes or heel.
  • Advanced synthetic socks have zoned panels. This means that some areas, such as the heel and forefoot, have more cushion. Whereas the upper portion of the sock may be more breathable to promote temperature regulation. This can’t be done with cotton.
  • Most synthetic socks have an arch wrap that ensures that your socks stay snug to your foot and won’t become baggy or loose like cotton will over time.

Wigwam Terrain Trax Pro Running SocksRunners 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 Fritz is a valued team member at the Runners Forum. He really enjoys nice socks. Please send any questions or comments to Fritz at


Related Topics: Hot Weather Tips

Learn more about the sock brands we carry: Feetures, Asics, Balega, Smartwool, Wigwam, Zulu, WrightSock


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