When I first started racing in 2009, I suffered from major blisters usually on my left foot, right on the inside of the sole- the spot that (if my form is correct) hits the ground first when running. Yeouch! As a racing newbie and doing 5K after 5K when I started, I would typically push through the pain, keep on running, and complain to anyone who would listen about my painful, bleeding feet afterwards. I finally realized that the cotton socks I wore + the amount of sweat I produced = the dire need for an authentic athletic sock.
My first stop was the Wright Sock CoolMesh II sock that, with double layered Dri-WRIGHT™ fabric, promised to wick away the moisture, leaving feet dry and blister-free. They definitely did the trick for those 5Ks. I would get just a little bubbling beneath that top layer of skin but these socks did the job of keeping my feet dry and happy.
When I stepped up my distance to the 10K level, however, the blisters returned. Not to the fault of the Wright Sock at all, but to my freakish ability to produce buckets and buckets of sweat when I run. (Attractive. I know.)
Still enjoying the performance of the Wright Sock, I then picked up a tube of Body Glide (worst name for a sports product ever) and rolled, rolled, rolled, rolled, and then what the heck, rolled it some more on the hots spots of my feet right before putting on the socks. Body Glide is an anti-chafe balm and claims to prevent blisters- most every seasoned runner I know swears by it, so I figured I would give it a shot!
Guess what? It didn’t work. It didn’t work on my feet, that is, but as a barrier against chafing for other parts of my body while running (like my jog bra straps) Body Glide is the best!
So, still at the 10K level, on I searched for The Best Running Sock ever and found…
… and bought 3 pairs and really don’t know why. While the Balega Enduro 3 claims it allows for added ventilation with better construction to keep the sock in place thereby decreasing friction, they didn’t work for me at all. Blister City. Added the Body Glide, and still no luck with the Balegas.
Not wanting to completely abandon my Balegas (as I had read so many great things), I tried a third layer of defense against those persistent blisters- Gold Bond Powder. So on went the Body Glide, followed by just a couple squeezes of the powder in each sock and that worked just fine at absorbing moisture at the 5K level and fairly well at the 10K level; however, when I started getting ready for my first half marathon, Wright Socks nor Balegas nor Body Glide nor Gold Bond Powder nor any combination therein completely prevented those stupid blisters from coming on and completely distracting me while running.
So I just endured the blisters until I started training for my first marathon, figured 26 miles of that blister pain on top of the pain of running 26 miles would probably kill me dead so I kept up the search and asked my coaches and running friends for their opinion and finally found my holy grail of the athletic sock:
… the Experia sock by Thorlos. The best running socks ever, in my opinion! They have great padding at the ball and heel of the foot that provides a really good cushion when running as well as CoolMax fabric that increases protection against rubbing and chafing in those areas. At the 5K and 10K level no additional balm or powder is needed to keep me blister-free in these socks. At the half marathon level, I’ll balm my feet and squeeze a little powder in each sock just to be on the safe side and that works fine, but when training for a marathon, all of that only gets my super sweaty feet so far without blistering… about 20 miles, to be exact…
Pretty ironic that after 3 years of racing the item that finally solved one of my biggest running issues can be found at any drugstore for $3- Vaseline petroleum jelly! So now, I slather the hot spots on my feet with the Vaseline, don my Experias and pound the pavement happy and pain free! Problem FINALLY solved!!!
To win please leave a comment here letting me know what keeps your feet happiest while running, for an extra entry “like” Running4theReason on Facebook, and for even one more entry- now that I am finally on Twitter– re-tweet this giveaway! Please leave a comment here letting me know you did and I will randomly select a winner next Thursday, May 10th (I will ship just to the U.S., sorry to my international readers!).
Good luck and here’s to Happy Running Feet!