They may seem to be the least exciting accessory on the market, but wearing the right pair of socks can make a great difference to your marathon result.
If you want to avoid blisters – or at least minimize the possibility of getting them – choosing your socks carefully should be pretty high in your checklist of priorities.
Sock technology has come on in leaps and bounds: today high-tech running socks have different material thicknesses at key points and different fabrics where, for instance, you might need extra elasticity.
You’ll want your socks to be lightweight – there’s no point carrying any extra weight for 26.2 miles – and you’ll want them as cushioned as possible, especially on the heel and forefoot, which will see the most action during the run.
Search for high-tech fabrics such as CoolMax, a moisture management fabric that helps move moisture away from the skin and keeps your feet cool, dry and comfortable. Some socks have a double layer that helps prevent friction: the inner sock wicks moisture to the outer cotton sock, keeping the skin dry and lowering the onset of blisters.
While most runners prefer socks that fit low around their ankle, you’ll see more and more runners wearing knee-high compression socks. These are designed to reduce calf and Achilles problems, and cut back muscle vibration – which can be excessive through the course of the marathon distance.