Looking after your feet is a number one priority for any runner and whilst we spend a great deal of £'s on running shoes, tracking there usage and ensuring we replace them in a timely manner, this is not the normal case for our running socks.
Most runners are familiar with the recommendations for the replacement of running shoes and although this varies by brand and style, the normal 'life' of a running shoe is 450 - 600 miles. Runners who use a stability or cushioned shoe are usually required to change their shoes after less foot miles than neutral runners who tend to get a bit longer out of the life of their shoes. Racing flats however have a lower life expectancy, of between 250 - 350 miles, due to the lighter design and materials used in construction.
So do we pay the same attention to our running socks?
Along with our running shoes our sports socks wear out too. Sports socks are more durable than a casual sock but we are asking a lot more of them during our workouts. Sports socks are designed to give extra support and cushioning to key areas of the foot, therefore any loss of thread or structure over time and use will have a negative effect on the performance of the sock.
There is no hard or fast rule or a useful mileage guide but we can be aware of key signs that tell us it's time to replace our socks;
Thin Spots \ Holes
- A thin spot or a hole in your socks can be the difference between blistering or not blistering.
Stretching \ Loss of Form
- Socks that become too stretched or misshaped can bunch up inside your shoe causing rubbing, pressure and blistering.
- Hot spots on your feet can be caused by over wear of the socks or breakdown of the structure.
- Another good tip is to avoid tumble drying your socks. Whilst this is not always possible you can extend the life of your socks by avoiding the tumble dryer. Using a tumble dryer can speedup the breakdown in fibres used in the construction and cause increased stretching and subsequently loss of performance.
Remember... keep your feet happy. Monitor the condition of your socks, and when they are visibly worn, or if you notice uncomfortable rubbing it is REPLACEMENT time.
Anthony is part of the XMiles team, with a marathon PB of 02:30:06.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @fragilerunner