What Socks Knock Your Socks Off?

Socks, once the most boring of running apparel, have undergone an evolutionary explosion in recent years. No longer are your only choices white or striped, knee or ankle, and thin or thick. Now you need too decide what feature is crucial. Is it the toed socks from Injini, right and left footed socks from Keen, built-in gaiters made by Inov-8, or something else entirely. Once you make that call you might need a PhD to choose from all the various advanced wicking and support technologies included in socks, including those from Smartwool.

Not to be left out in the cold, er… warming, the Earth First!ers out there now have plenty of enlightened sock options into which they can slide their demure carbon footprints. Even a single company, Teko, spins their yarn and your eco-minded minds with offerings of merino wool, recycled plastic, organic cotton, and corn. Yes, corn. [December 2009 Update: It appears that Teko has discontinued both its organic cotton and corn-based Ingeo lines of socks.]

Ok, take a breathe and please don’t wish yourself the days of blue and orange striped tube socks just yet. It just so happens that the runner-in-chief at iRunFar is in search of a new socks and he, too, has been left staring blankly into the ethers of the Internets after being presented with such choices. (He has been for 3 whole months. Just him… staring… at the Internets since he started this post a full quarter year ago.) With all the great feedback iRunFar readers gave to the recent Diversity of Trail Shoes post, we’ll open up discussion in hopes that you can sort out this socky subject for Bryon and the rest of the iRunFar readers.

Please share what socks and sock features you’ve found really work for you and which don’t.

  • Do you have a favorite make of socks?
  • Any sock horror stories?
  • What do sock makers get wrong most often or, put another way, what feature do most socks lack to their detriment, and, just for fun, what is your wildest fantasy sock feature?(Ours is a sock that turn sweat into bourbon, but we’ll settle for beer.)

Comment Summary [Updated 7/8/08]
So far iRunFar readers have left informative comments regarding the following brands of socks:

  • Balegas
  • Drymax
  • Feetures
  • Injinji
  • Salomon compression socks (Exo Calf)
  • Smartwool
  • Teko
  • Underarmor
  • Wigwam
  • Wright Socks

Others have also discussed their preferences for thin socks in general as well as no socks at all.