Socks Are More than Just Exercise Fashion

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Socks are mundane fashion accessories to many.  Shirts, shorts, and footwear are high up on the shopping list when it comes to work-out gear.  The amount of comfort, safety, and other factors are considered when buying these items.  Not socks though.

Most of the time, socks are usually picked without much thought behind the purchase.  One look and the pair lands into the shopping cart. This is a mistake.  They serve more than just simple fabric wraps for feet.  Do not underestimate their purpose.  Consider them better next time you exercise since they provide important benefits as a part of your workout gear.

Why Socks Are Important For Exercise

Importance of Socks When Exercising

First is the fact that wearing socks reduces friction and chafing when you walk.  Basic movements during walking, jogging, or running can cause frequent rubbing between the back of the shoes and your ankles.  Sores and blisters can form.  If rubbed further, these blisters can rupture and provide an entryway for foreign matter like bacteria, fungi, or viruses. These can lead to infections and other more complicated illnesses.

Socks can also keep your feet from slipping out of your shoe.  Your foot changes shape depending on the walk, jog, or run cycle you are on.  Movements of the foot within the shoe can cause rubbing inside the footwear and cause chafing on the top and sides.  When jogging through a trail or woods, it is possible for small objects to enter your shoes.  The socks adds a layer of protection so that the small object cannot harm your skin.  Shrubbery and small plants can rub against your skin as well, and scratch your skin.  Keep these in mind next time when you hit the trails.

Next, your feet are the only parts of your body that are in constant contact with the ground.  Not only do they bear the brunt of your body weight, they also endure tremendous impact and stress throughout the day, even more so during exercise.  Repeated impact on the balls of the feet, soles, and the sides can lead to callouses or hardened skin.  A good pair of padded socks can absorb the impact and lessen the chance of injury from strenuous movements, and spare you from long term damage.

Your feet are the sweatiest parts of your body.  They contain around 250,000 sweat glands.  Intense exercise can put those glands in overdrive.  Without socks, the sweat will be absorbed directly by your footwear.  Enclosed shoes can retain a large volume of sweat.  Sweat is a bodily by-product generated to cool off the human body.  It contains chemical compounds like ammonia and urea – chemicals that bacteria loves to munch on.  These bacteria and their corresponding by-products can make your shoes smell.

Continuing your exercises using sweat-drenched shoes can lead to foul odors on your feet.  Smelly feet can be somewhat acceptable when you are exercising at home (hopefully alone) but can ruin your reputation once you are working out in a gym.  There are socks made from certain kinds of threads that wicker away the moisture and further protect you from foot odors and fungal infections.

Continuing on the subject of being in a gym, keep your socks on as long as you can when you are in the changing room.  Being barefoot in a public place is not safe, even if you are a gym member.  The floor might seem safe, but it is not a certainty.  Humid and sweaty places like the changing room is a place where fungi that can cause athlete’s foot can grow. Other foot diseases can also lie in wait, scattered on the floor.  Small debris can also be present and cause cuts on your foot.

Modern technology has improved socks.  Wearing special socks can improve your workout performance.  An example of these special kinds are compression socks.  They work by reducing the number of bulging (distended) veins and thus, improve blood flow.  Lactic acid build up happens when the blood flow cannot reach all the muscles in time and the body uses energy created from non-aerobic means.

This acid build up can slow you down and produce that burning sensation.  Without this burn, you can run longer, jump faster, and lift more of those weights.  Compression socks also serve to improve post workout recovery by limiting foot swelling after intense rounds of exercise. Longer sock varieties can help improve blood circulation on the lower legs.


The socks’ importance when exercising cannot be stressed enough.  They are not only aesthetic parts of your workout gear. They protect your feet, lessen chances of injury, and keep you healthy. Technology upgraded this simple article of clothing to improve your workout performance and recovery.  Therefore, keep these in mind the next time you hit the gym, trail, or your living room.  They are more than just fashion accessories.

We recommend going over our cover of the best socks for exercise.

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