The science of sports socks

Posted by SOCKSHOP

 Athletes competing, wearing sports socks

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When we exercise, we put our feet under strain that they’re not normally accustomed to. Increased friction, impact and sweat can all take their toll on our feet, resulting in blisters, corns, calluses and even stress injuries.

While the importance of proper sports shoes is common knowledge, it’s less widely known that a good sports sock can be just as crucial. In fact, experts say that the second main cause of workout related foot problems is wearing the wrong socks. Not only does the latest sock technology protect your feet from issues such as blisters, but they can even improve your performance.

Here’s the science behind the socks.

Compression socks

One of the hottest new items in athletics circles, particularly in the running world, is compression socks. These snug-fitting, knee-length garments are designed to increase circulation, reduce lactic acid build-up, prevent cramps and minimise muscle fatigue, both during exercise and afterwards to aid recovery.

Try our range of compression socks, including the Falke Support Category 3 Cotton Knee Highs for ladies.

Blister resistant technology

Increased friction and sweat during exercise frequently results in blisters, which hinder performance and can be a real pain – quite literally.

In response to this, sock manufacturers introduced blister resistant technology, in an attempt to relieve sports people of this common affliction. The concept is simple – socks are made with two layers of fabric, which helps to absorb friction as well as wicking away moisture.

Try Nike’s Anti Blister Running Light Quarter Sock for men and ladies.

Cushioning and zonal cushioning

Cushioned socks have a terry pile surface on one side and a ribbed or plain surface on the other.

In most cushioned athletics socks, the terry forms the inside of the sock portion, and some will also have zonal cushioning under the areas of the foot that face the most impact. Not only does this increase comfort, but it also reduces shock when running or jumping.

View our range of cushioned socks.

Arch support

Socks that slip or slide around during exercise can cause blisters. Arch support or arch bracing holds the sock in place, making the technique ideal for sports socks. Try our range of socks with arch support, such as these

Smooth toe seams

Smooth toe seems can make a big difference when it comes to sports socks, reducing friction and consequently blisters. To achieve this, the seams are hand linked, which involves linking the stitches of the two sides of the toe seam together with one thread to create a flat seam.

Try our range of sports socks with smooth toe seams for women.

Materials designed for performance

The material sports socks are made from is also carefully considered to provide maximum comfort and breathability, as well as reducing sweat – all of which can help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. While a blend of fabrics is normally used, good materials include:

  • Coolmax – a polyester fabric, which draws sweat along the fibres and away from the skin. Try these Thorlos Tennis Coolmax Crew Socks with Thin Cushion, which use Coolmax fabric.
  • Polyester – is always a popular choice for sportswear due to its ability to wick away moisture
  • Acrylic – provides good cushioning, friction and moisture management
  • Wool blends – are a good choice for winter sports, due to their ability to both insulate and absorb moisture



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