Humans spend most of their lives on their feet. Whether we’re running, walking, or standing still, our feet are the ones that have to carry our weight and help us reach our goals. This is why it’s very important we provide them with as much comfort as we can, and the way most people do that is by buying super comfy shoes.
Our shoes are not the only ones that affect how good our feet feel! A poorly chosen pair of socks can undermine all of the work shoes do, and sooner than later your feet will feel angry and sore. If you want to avoid that, make sure you know what to look for when buying a proper pair of socks!
The very first thing you need to look out for is how the socks were made. Chances are that you had a pair of low-quality socks. It’s possible that you’re wearing one now, while you’re sitting comfortably and reading our guide.
Although the quality of the sock does not matter as much when we are sitting down and relaxing, it does matter a lot when we’re walking about, working, or exercising. If you want to know whether you’ve got a good pair of socks, divert your attention to the seams and stitches that hold the socks together.
Crooked seams and super thick stitches are a hallmark of bad socks, and wearing them with sneakers spells trouble. The seams are the main cause of irritation of blisters, and they can even pinch your skin and toes and cause all kinds of pain. This is the very last thing you need when exercising, which is why athletic socks usually have seamless toes and heels.
With no seams to irritate you and cause friction, there will be nothing left to cause blisters. The next thing you need to observe is the top band. Knee-high socks and crew socks don’t usually have a tight top band, because they have a lot of skin to grab hold of and they can stay up all by themselves.
However, low-cut socks and no-show socks, and fitness socks are usually like this, are pulled down when you move and they slither into your shoes. Once they do, you need to stop and adjust them, or you need to suffer the consequences of a bunched up sock. A tight top band will prevent all of this, keeping the socks where they are meant to be.
The top band has to be elastic too, because your feet need the precious oxygen-rich blood, and a band can prevent that from happening if it squeezes you too tight. This can lead to pain in the feet and toes.
Compression bands around the arches are something to look out for as well. These bands apply a certain degree of pressure around the arches, giving them support and keeping the sock in place. All of this can affect the comfort level of the sock, and if anything is lacking, you won’t feel comfy.
One more thing that really affects how comfortable the sock is, is the padding. Fitness socks usually have cushions, but the cushions shouldn’t be too thick. The pads should be dense and thin because this way they offer the most protection without affecting the fit of the shoes and your comfort.
Pads are usually present around the toes and heels, but some socks are padded throughout the soles, and some are even padded at the top. How much padding you need is determined by what you’re going to use the socks for. Walking and hiking need the most protection while running socks do not need as much because the sneakers are already generously padded.
If you’re going to use the socks in a gym setting, remember to avoid padded socks if you plan to lift. Shoes made for lifting have zero cushions and a super firm midsole because you need a stable surface to lean into when you lift, and a padded sock can ruin that and throw you off balance, which is the last thing you need when you lift heavy!
The compression can also affect the level of comfort. Although athletic socks are not compression socks, there can still be areas that have compression, most notably around the arches. You might think that squeezing itself is not comfy, it can actually increase the comfort level a lot.
Compression on the feet helps with stabilizing them, particularly the ankles, and it also prevents swelling and fatigue. Graduated compression is the best for this, but again, athletic socks do not have this. Even the smallest level of compression can greatly increase comfort, and it’s always better to have that tight hug stabilize your arches and help you achieve more than what you hoped for!