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November 13, 2012

Ask the Practitioner: How to Choose the Right Socks!

Written by Dena Evans
Superman-Caped-Knee-High-SocksAdam and Micheline Kemist own On Your Mark, a running specialty and performance store.  A certified Pedorthist and Kinesio tape practitioner, Adam provides personalized biomechanical feedback and orthotic services along with retail services. In this edition of Ask the Practitioner, we talk to Adam about an often over-looked element of our everyday running - socks.

rc: We often spend a lot of time considering the right pair of shoes, but we wear socks just as much!  What are the main functions socks can provide (either well or poorly)?
 
AK: Socks are the item actually touching your skin so you want them to be working harder than your shoes at keeping your feet comfortable.  Technical running socks are designed to keep your feet comfortable and dry.  When this happens your feet will have less swelling, fewer hot spots and fewer blisters.

rc: As an avid runner and running retailer, what do you feel are some of the recent innovations and improvements for socks?

AK: Two of the best innovations are anatomically shaped socks.  This means some socks are made specifically left and right.  This puts the padding and durability in the high wear areas and softer materials in non-critical areas.  Another innovation in running socks is a high stitch count. Basic cotton socks are typically stitched at about 72spi (stitches per inch), but a good technical running sock will be at 174spi with some of the best at 210spi.

rc: If you aren't sure what kind of socks would be best for you, what are some tips for ways to find out?
 
AK: Try to buy your socks from a specialty store like On Your Mark in Los Altos, California. The staff will know how each of the socks are constructed and can guide you.  Look for socks by companies that only make technical socks like Balega and Feetures, or running shoe manufacturers that have branched out with socks like Asics and Brooks.  Choose a medium weight sock to start.  As you start to feel the difference, then branch out and try other brands and thicknesses.
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