I've previously talked at length about the process of how to find the running shoe that's best for you, and how the result of that process can be affected by age and gait changes.
But I've said relatively little about socks, mainly because I had nothing useful to share. I've tried over a dozen brands of specialty running socks, some of which were quite expensive, and while there were many that were total failures for me, none of the rest ever seemed in any way special.
I'm not going to mention the socks that failed for me, simply because they may work great for you!
I had gotten to the point that I simply ran on whatever "good enough" socks I could get for free, or at discount, from events and TCSD sponsors.
That all changed in late 2016, when I received a pair of WrightSocks as a gift.
I had foot problems during runs longer than 5K, creating misery when training for my first half-marathon. My feet got hot, and it felt like my forefoot was swelling (it wasn't, but it just felt that way). I had thought it was a shoe ventilation and toe-box size issue, and that was partially correct, but the problems remained.
Until I got my WrightSocks.
The WrightSock design, like many others, uses two layers. My prior experiences with dual-layer socks had not been good: I always felt like I was sliding around in my shoe, with my toes getting jammed into the end of the toe box (I run with a forefoot-strike).
The WrightSock inner layer is a thin, snug-fitting friction-resistant Coolmesh moisture-management layer. It sticks to your foot and stays put.
The WrightSock outer layer is a thicker, durable, ventilation layer that also helps with moisture transport. WrightSock offers a choice of two outer layer materials: Coolmesh 2 and Merino TRL. I have tried only the Coolmesh, which is recommended for all uses.
WrightSock offers several weights and styles. I tried only their lightweight "Coolmesh" model.
On my first 4 mile run in the socks, the difference was immediate, obvious, and, well, wonderful.
However, there was one small problem: The pair I was given was the "low" below-ankle style. My foot is very narrow, so the heel tends to be a loose fit, which causes my shoe to "eat" low-cut socks.
So I had to stop once in a while to pull my socks back over my heels. A very small price to pay for such comfort.
After a couple weeks I knew this wasn't a fluke: The WrightSocks were actually transforming my running, making longer distances far more comfortable, and thus both faster and less fatiguing. I purchased three pairs of the WrightSock "Quarter" sock ($13 for a single pair, $11 each in a 3-pack) in the low crew style, which kept my shoes from eating the socks.
I took one pair to wear all the time, every day, to see how they aged. My toenails tend to slice right through most socks, my sandals tend to chew them up, as does using socks as slippers in the house.
It's been 6 months, and my WrightSocks still look and run like new.
If you're having foot discomfort while running that your shoes aren't handling, then it may be your socks. Before getting yet another new pair of shoes, be sure to try some WrightSocks!
Then wear them when buying your next pair of running shoes.