Socks can keep you warm, keep you cool, absorb sweat, cushion feet, support arch braces, prevent blisters, improve performance, provide hours of foot fashion fun, add colour to your extremities, double as glove puppets (with a pair of googly eyes and a little bit of know how), insulate plant pots, make great dog toys, are delicious with onion gravy, help you learn a foreign language, tell great jokes, solve quadratic equations, get under the bonnet of your car and sort out any mechanical problems, decorate your living room, mow the lawn, fill out your forms for the inland revenue… and so on.
Whether you are road cycling or mountain biking, you want socks that fit well, maintain a constant temperature, prevent odour and keep your feet comfortable. Good socks will not make you a better cyclist, but bad socks will definitely distract you from your ride. Choosing the right pair of socks for you, is critical.
So what do you want?
• You want socks with cushioning, but which are thin enough to fit into your cycling shoes.
• You want lightweight, quick drying and breathable socks.
• You want seamless socks, because even a small seam can feel like a rock on long rides, causing blisters and uncomfortable chafing.
• You want socks with good moisture wicking, to keep your feet comfortable and dry, to reduce odour and to stop bad bacteria having a party in your socks.
• You want to look good, and these days there is a variety of colours and designs to choose from, and you also get a choice of no-show, low-rise and higher-rise styles.
• You want socks with an open weave to maximize air flow, allowing moisture to evaporate quickly, but trapping warm air next to your feet when you need it most. Merino Wool is ultra light, soft and warm, but breathable and great for winter rides. Coolmax and other man-made fibres wick moisture, keeping you cool during summer rides.
Before you buy walking socks, here are some things you may wish to consider.
Walking socks can have different thickness of cushioning and it is important to get the right sock for the job. Many socks have padding in key areas, such as the heel, ball of foot, toes and instep, while others are thinner and more suitable as a base layer only.
Wearing more than one layer of sock can prevent blisters by reducing friction.
1000 Mile offer the unique double-layer sock which does the job superbly.
Consider walking socks with regard to their anatomic design. You want socks which remain in place, fit well and compliment the shape of your foot. Some brands have gender specific designs to suit the different shapes of men and women’s feet.
Good walking socks such as Wigwam socks will wick the moisture away from your feet, keeping them fresh and healthy and thus preventing fungal infections and blisters. Look for fabrics such as CoolMax, Wool Ultra and Merino wool and socks with a moisture management system.