Yes, you read the title correctly. Socks. Socks are an often overlooked item that can make a big difference, at relatively little cost. It should be telling that many runners and other athletes obsess over them. The right pair of socks can not only make running and engaging in parkour more comfortable, but protect your feet from blisters and other ailments.
There is certainly nothing wrong with regular cotton socks if they are working for you. However, generic cotton socks don’t wick away moisture, have a good anatomical fit, or provide the same level of protection that athletic socks made with specialized blends and synthetic fibers do.
So what are my picks for the five best parkour socks?
For the Summer
In many ways, these socks are comparable to other running socks in regards to fit, comfort, etc. However, where they differentiate themselves is in how well they deal with sweat. Let’s face it, parkour can be very intensive and cause you to sweat a lot. Socks tend to become saturated in sweat because we have a high concentration of sweat glands in our feet. These socks are absolutely fantastic at wicking away moisture. Even during extended physical training in blistering heat they manage to keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable.
For the Winter
Made of a merino wool, lycra, and nylon blend, Swiftwick’s Pursuit Four line achieves the delicate balance of keeping your feet warm and insulated, but not sweaty. They are also long enough to bridge the gap between your shoes and pants, which is useful for colder weather. Also, these are compression socks so they won’t move around, including the cuff.
For the Minimalist
The Venti Pros are super lightweight, thin, acrylic socks that allow for great sensitivity. If you want to wear socks, but not have it feel like you are, these are a great choice. An open mesh top ensures great breathability and helps keep them dry. Chitosan, a biopolymer derived from the shells of crab and shrimp, is utilized to combat odor.
For the Best Fit
Brooks’ Infiniti Double Tab Mesh socks provide an anatomically correct left/right fit that follows the contours of your foot almost perfectly. If you are looking for socks that cradle your feet comfortably, these are it. There are small padded strips on top of the foot, but I haven’t found they really do all that much, good or bad.
For Superior Blister Protection
Toe socks may take some time to get used to, but they offer a huge advantage for blister protection. Since each toe is isolated from each other, friction is nearly eliminated. They can be a little annoying to put on because of this, and fit might be an issue for some people with abnormally shaped toes. People either tend to love or hate toe socks, but they are definitely worth giving them a try if you haven’t used them before.