TODAY'S athletes are looking for every advantage they can get when it comes to the equipment they are using. Whether it’s wearing the lightest material so they don’t have to carry any unnecessary weight or using revolutionary textures that adjust to their every twist and turn.
The competition has become so fierce that even socks are now especially engineered to give the athlete every advantage. Not only are there different socks for different types of sports now, but some brands like Nike have even come up with socks that are different for each foot. That’s right, the Nike Elite Basketball socks have different padded sections for your left and right feet. Other sock companies like Bombas has created a honeycomb structure that gives the right compression to the parts of your foot that need it the most. The R&D companies are putting into sock research nowadays rival that of athletic shoes. Gone are the days when all you needed to decide when it came to socks was what color you like best.
If you’re currently in the market for some athletic socks, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices and features currently out there. To make sure you get the one that’s right for you, it still helps to stick by a few timeless (and effective) principles.
WHAT IT’S MADE OF
Today’s modern socks are a combination of several materials. Most are a mixture of cotton, polyester, spandex, and nylon. Each material adds to comfort, the ability to absorb sweat, and the level of compression it provides. Cotton is the most comfortable but absorbs and retains sweat. Polyester and Nylon are not as comfortable to the skin but dry very quickly. Spandex provides the stretch and compression needed for extreme mobility and some support.
For most (if not all) sports, socks are used in relation to the shoe. Choosing to wear thick socks may work for those with narrow feet to prevent too much movement inside the shoe. Conversely, those with wide feet should get thinner socks. Either way, the socks must never cut off blood the circulation in the foot.
When it comes to sock length, it really boils down to preference and the current fashion. Sports like basketball, for instance, have gone full circle from knee-high socks to ones you can barely see.
Modern athletic socks provide specific support and cushioning to certain areas of the foot. The balls of the feet and the heels are commonly padded to lessen the formation of blisters. Compression bands are normally placed in the arch area to help flat-footed athletes or those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. The amount of padding and compression depends on the condition of your foot, the type of movement you will be doing, and the shoe you will be wearing.