by Benita Zahn

Perhaps you read the article in the NY Times on ‘How to Pick a Marathon’ now that real racing has returned. It talked about our current fitness level, reminded us to be humble and realistic with our schedule, and emphasized cross-training. It also encouraged us to find our community and, of course, identify our pace—all important items.

But what about dressing for success? I’m not all about the clothes. Heck, my favorite running vest sports some impressive bite marks left by Stanley, my black lab mix who ‘tasted’ everything the first year after we rescued him. But what we wear can help us cross the finish line feeling our best. To that end, I set out to find socks that make my feet hum.

IMG_6593BunionsFinal.jpgLet me digress. Like so many of you, I have bunions (rather impressive bunions, I might add). In the right shoes, they’re not a problem. But increasingly, the socks I wore were – a problem, that is. In the old days, I was a fan of Thorlo socks. But over time, I came to feel they were too bulky. Yes, I know they make a thinner sock, but I was sold on Nike socks with arch support by then. Those gave way to Balegas–my Goldilocks socks–not too thick, not too thin. Pricey? Yes, but when Fleet Feet has the buy 3 get one free sale, I’m a happy camper, er, runner.

InjinjiFinal2.jpgBut then I saw an ad for Injinji, the toe socks.  I was intrigued.  I wrote to the company asking to demo their product. ‘Happy to oblige,’ they responded, and off I went in the most adorable socks that have ever adorned my tootsies. Each toe in its own ‘room’ is very comfortable. The trail socks are warm, so I’ll save them for the winter. The ultra thins are delightful. HOWEVER, I noticed a seam along the heel of only the left sock that was a bit pronounced, so I suspect that could be an issue over 5 miles. I didn’t notice a seam with the trail socks, so perhaps it was a fluke.

IMG_6909Final.jpgSocks and seams also had me reaching out to the folks at Bombas.  Who hasn’t heard their ads about seam-free socks? Loved them! If you like a more bulky sock, you might not like these.  But I found them quite comfy over 5 miles and appreciated the high ‘throat’ that came up just about to the bend in my ankle. Both the Bombas and Injinji don’t slip in the heel – often an issue for me because my heels are very narrow.

Bottom line – I’d wear either the Injinji or Bombas if you’re buying me a Christmas gift. Is there a winner between the two? A tie! Each shines in its own way.  And yes, I would spend the money as I add miles and appreciate their comfort and wicking ability. Since stinky feet are not an issue for me, I can’t speak to their ability to keep your feet smelling fresh like a daisy.  As for the Balegas in my sock drawer – I have no plans to cast them aside. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve hit the trifecta of fabulous foot covering.

Oh, and I also demoed a new pair of shoes–Hokas – the jury is still out. Cushy, oh yeah! And wide enough for those bunions without being sloppy, but the built-up sole may not be right for my reconstructed Achilles heel. The shoe changes the angle of attack with the ground. Check with me next month!

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