What are the best running socks for marathon training? (Post 5: Essential running gear)


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Please do NOT do any of the following things:  Get a pedicure while training for a marathon.  Get a male pedicurist for that pedicure (no offense guys).    Evoke scream from said male pedicurist with your incredibly nasty blistered and calloused runner feet.  Render said talkative male pedicurist speechless when one of your sad toenails falls off and he’s forced to paint your “nub”.  Follow this one tip, to prevent this scenario.

Do not run in regular cotton socks! 

I did not heed this advice.  After completing a particularly rainy long run in cotton socks, a whole family of blisters took up residence on my feet.  Then a lovely blackened toenail joined the family.  Instead of just wearing quality running socks, I attempted to rid myself of these maladies with a pedicure and ending up with a nub and no callouses to pad my feet.  Bad idea! 


A good pair of running socks is your best tool for preventing blisters, calluses and blackened toenails.  They wick away moisture (unlike cotton).  Your running socks should also help reduce friction between your foot and shoe.  Finally, cushioned socks will help add padding where your foot needs it.  Over time, our natural foot padding wears down, and running socks should help replace that.  Padding also helps protect against blackened toenails.  These occur when your toe repeatedly hits the top of the shoe and doesn’t have enough padding to protect it.


  • Padding strength (light to heavy)
  • Arch support level
  • Materials (most are synthetic or natural fiber blends, but avoid cotton at all costs!)
  • Length (ankle, crew, roll top)
  • Colors

running_socks_best_for_ marathonWhat to look for: 

Ideally, you should wear running socks for all of your runs.  Healthy feet are a big part of pain-free running.  But at a minimum, invest in at least one good pair of long run socks.  Make sure they are made from wicking material.  If the material is anti-bacterial, that is a strong plus as running socks get stinky!

Try to find running socks with seamless toes that fit snugly.  Any bunching combined with moisture could cause blisters.  Another consideration is padding.  Running socks should have padding on the heel and from the ball of the foot to the tops of the toes.  If your foot padding is worn down, you may want heavier padding for your long run socks.


I prefer my long run socks to hit just below the ankles (micro-crew length).  Thus far, I can run in them year round.  If you are running in shorts or capris and are on a tight budget, you may want to add roll top crew length (mid-calf) running socks during the winter.  These will give you a bit more coverage and versatility.

Note:  Do not get pedicures while training for the marathon (or don’t let them cut your nails or shave your calluses).

Repeat after me:  I will never run in cotton socks!  I will never run in cotton socks!  I will never run in cotton socks!  Okay, you’ll remember it now.  I hope you have enjoyed this series on things every marathoner needs, so far.  Let me know, by “liking” it on the sharebar to the left of this post and stay tuned for my next post on running shoes.


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