Socks may sound boring, but they are one of the most important pieces of exercise gear you can own.  Until recent years, both the medical profession and athletes have overlooked the role of socks in preventing foot injuries in runners.  Blisters, ingrown, black toenails, corns, irritations, infections, athlete’s foot – all of these can happen from bad fitting socks made of the incorrect materials.   Most of these foot problems are a result of the shearing forces occurring while running. Shearing forces are a result of forward or side to side motion of the foot within the shoe. Shearing forces increase with improper shoe and sock fit and excess moisture.

Socks do not prevent sweating – they simply allow the sweat that is produced in the feet to evaporate faster. Moisture-wicking socks may be marketed as running socks, hiking socks, or other sport socks. Be warned, not all brands of socks are created equal.

With so many different types of socks out there, it can be difficult to decide which ones to get.  When picking out socks the single most important thing to consider is the material that the socks are made of. Socks not only offer protection, cushioning, and distribute the pressures of the shoe onto the foot, they enhance or impede the flow of moisture off the foot. There are between 2 to 4 million sweat glands over our entire body. The soles of the feet alone have between 250,000 to 300,000 sweat glands in total. A soggy foot may not end up being a healthy foot and cotton socks can certainly end up soaking your feet with all the moisture that ends up contained within them. Cotton swells almost 10 times as much as acrylic when wet.
Socks containing a combination of acrylic and polyester, as well as stretch nylon and spandex around the arch will wick away sweat, keeping your feet cool and dry. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends socks made with CoolMax. CoolMax fabrics use polyester fibers and are uniquely engineered with gradient fabrics to move moisture from your feet. These socks, rather than absorbing the moisture from the feet, will spread the moisture out so that it can evaporate at a faster rate. When the cotton sock is wet, it compresses and loses its shock absorbing properties. They are also subject to shrinking during the washing and drying cycle. Polypropylene will also shrink in the dryer, so allow them to drip dry. CoolMax® socks may be machine washed and dried and are considered shrink resistant. They are also the fastest drying material.

The height of your sock is a personal matter. Whether you wear a crew sock or a mini-crew is up to you. Some sports though have standards that are either traditional or required. Over the calf socks are used in Baseball and Soccer. Crew or mini-crew socks are used in Running, Golf, Tennis, and Racquetball.

Tips for choosing socks:

  • Always use fresh, clean, dry socks for your athletic activities.
  • Choose sock thickness to match the fit of your shoes. If you fit and selected your shoes with thin socks, moving to thick socks or double thickness socks may end up squeezing your feet.
  • Take the socks you intend to wear when you get fitted for new running shoes.
  • Consider using socks made of feet friendly, moisture wicking materials and not the 10 for $10 cotton socks.
  • Change socks at least daily.

Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and the Gentle Foot Care Center are located on US27.  Visit us at  or call 314-9255


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: