Fitness

Running Socks by Kane 11 That Fit Your Shoe Size and Don’t Bunch Up

As far as runners go, I’m pretty chill about my gear: As long as my running shoes don’t actively hurt my feet, the elastic on my sports bra hasn’t completely stretched out, and my iPod Shuffle is charged, I’m ready to go.

So the concept of “running socks” isn’t something I’ve really taken to heart, even though I’ve been running for six years and, as a fitness editor, have had access to all kinds of cool gear and accessories. Before going out for a run, I’ve been simply grabbing whatever pair of athletic-type socks is front and center in my drawer. I can’t tell you a damn thing about where they came from or what features they have, except that I probably purchased them from a big-box store multipack roughly 3 to 5 years ago and, more likely than not, they’re cotton.

That’s not to say that all was well on the sock front, though. In fact, things were decidedly unwell. I wear size 6 shoes, and I’ve learned over the years that multipack athletic socks just aren’t made for feet on the smaller end of that one-size-fits-all range. I always had excess, gapping material at the ankles, and bunched-up fabric around the toes, which gathers uncomfortably on the underside of my foot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to take off my shoe to reposition that fabric lump, only to feel it settle back midrun, making it feel like there’s a soft, squishy pebble under my toes. In fact, while I can’t say for sure, I blame that for the shallow blister—not exactly painful but annoying and a little tender—that pops up under my right toe after the majority of my long runs.

My too-big, too-bunchy socks irked me, but I honestly didn’t think there was anything I could do about it to fix it—I’d only ever seen socks with that one-size-fits-all label—until Kane 11 sent me a pair of Meadow socks a couple months ago.

These lightweight, moisture-wicking merino-blend socks sell by shoe size, meaning all of the measurements that went into creating my Kane 11 size 6—like toe-to-heel length, toe box, and foot circumference—were based off a size 6 foot.

I felt the difference instantly. The socks clung to my feet, curving smoothly around my toes and up my instep before clinging securely to the back of my heel (yep, no more excess fabric attractively bunching up and spilling over the back of my shoe). It was pretty much the sock equivalent of the most flattering body-con dress you could imagine—except they were so unbelievably comfortable. And the pair stayed that way, continuing to hug my feet after I put my running shoes on and straight through my run.

I didn’t think about my socks once during the eight miles, which, to be honest, is pretty much the amount of brainpower you want to devote to something like your socks. Then after I got home from my 25-degree run, I realized my feet had not frozen, which was a surprise; often after a winter run I take off my sneakers to realize that my sweaty socks leave my feet wet and cold. The moisture-wicking properties of the merino blend prevented my feet from sitting in a puddle of cold sweat, keeping them dryer and warmer. I began to reach for my Kane 11 Meadows anytime I had a longer run planned.

For more info on the benefits of custom-fit running socks, I connected with John Vasudevan, M.D., a board certified sports medicine physician at the University of Pennsylvania. Short answer: There’s a lot. When you run in socks that don’t fit right, friction to your foot increases with each stride, which ups your odds of blisters.

“When you start getting that friction between your sock, your shoe, and your foot, that starts wearing down the skin,” he explains. “You can get a lot of blisters, and that can stop you right in your tracks.”

What’s more, cotton socks, which allow moisture to soak without absorbing, also increase friction and your chances of a blister, whereas socks made of material like merino wool wick it away, protecting your skin, he says.

So it’s very possible my old cotton socks, while helpful to my wallet, were doing my feet no favors. That’s all the evidence I needed to ditch my multipack socks guilt-free. My Kane 11 socks look better, feel better, and take away some of the annoying hassles of going out for a run—including returning home with that “here I am again” blister. To me, that’s a luxury I’ll shell out some extra cash for.

Kane 11 Meadow Socks

Kane 11’s merino-blend Meadow socks are moisture-wicking and sell by shoe size. That helps you get a perfect fit, so you don’t have to worry about them bunching up while you’re running or working out.

Kane 11

$ 17

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