Wednesday 12 September 2012

Running Without Socks

I always ran with socks, right up until about March 2012. I have to admit I have tried being sockless in the past, but not for running, usually on holiday somewhere warm. But my feet would end up sweaty and rub on my shoes causing blisters. 

There I was working away from home in London and I noticed someone on the train who had just been to the gym not wearing socks with running shoes. I don’t know why but It made something click in my mind. I had always worn socks and not thought much about not wearing them when running. So I decided to give running sockless a try.

I run sockless all the time now (maximum distance of twenty miles)and would recommend  it to everyone. But it’s not all plain sailing, these are the advantages and disadvantages I have discovered.


The thing I like best about sockless running is the ventilation. If I am out running for anything other than a short run particularly in hot weather my feet tend to get hot quickly. By running sockless I have found that my feet feel more comfortable and ventilated.

I have also noticed that I can feel the ground a little bit better than before, which helps when trying to keep a check on good running technique. 

Hard to put this one into to word but as with minimalist shoes or those who run barefoot you get an increased feeling of ‘freeness’ you feel more natural and in touch with your surroundings.


Running without socks makes my running shoes smell bad, then again I suppose that after a period of time when I used to run with socks this would happen, but I am sure it is worse sockless.

For the first few months it took a while for the skin on my feet to toughen up and I would get a few blisters. This would be particularly worse when breaking in some new running shoes. But  my feet seem fine now, although I will still get the odd blister with new running shoes for a while.


As with almost any change associated with running, the best strategy is to slowly phase in sockless running over a month or two. I would recommend that you rub a bit of vaseline on parts of you feet that are likely or have in the past formed a blister, at least until the skin on your feet toughens up. I wonder how I will cope when the weather is cold - I may go back to socks in the winter, but I will give it a go first and see if my feet are warm enough. 

Overall, I suppose in comparison with other changes that you can make to improve your running experience, running sockless is probably quite low down on the list. However give it a go, it has worked well for me for all distances.

What do you think do you run with socks or without?