Toe socks are popular with runners and hikers as they are designed to match the natural shape of our feet to optimize natural function, prevent skin-on-skin rubbing and improve breathability. This gives a wide array of health benefits such as preventing blisters, skin redness and compressed, sore toes.
What are toe socks?
Toe socks are socks with separate toe sleeves that work with your natural foot shape and anatomy. Socks, in general are made to create a barrier between our feet and shoes to help wick away sweat, minimize friction and rubbing and all in all, protect our skin. Toe socks take this a step further by making that barrier wrap and protect all the skin on our feet, including that between our toes. With new and better technology, toe socks can be stitched with strong, light weight yarn with little or no seams at all, making them a very real alternative to the standard tube shape socks and no longer an uncomfortable, bright colored gimmick.
Why wear toe socks?
Find out below why they’re so popular amongst runners, so much so that they’re the most popular sock type at the Western States Endurance Run. All the benefits don’t just work for runners, but any activity where you are on your feet for a long time, or simply just want, drier, healthier feet with better function
They’re the ideal socks for comfort, function and foot health and fit your feet, well, like a glove.
The top 5 toe socks benefits
1. Blister Prevention
Wrapping each toe in its own low friction sleeve is a key benefit of toe socks and number one for a reason. Standard socks wrap all of our toes together in one package, letting out toes stay in contact. Add to that that most athletic and everyday socks contain elastic, this adds compression to our toes - squishing them together all day. With toe socks, you get a low friction, lightweight and seamless barrier between each toe, stopping all toe rub, chafe, and friction.
2. Natural Toe Alignment
Keeping your big toe aligned is key to allowing optimal economy and function when we’re walking and running. Our big toe works with our plantar fascia to propel us forward and transfer energy at toe-off, so having socks that allow your toes to keep in their lanes and not be compressed together is biggie. This also helps prevent bunions, toes that claw up or overlap - they basically don’t screw with your natural toe positioning and movement
3. Reduced Moisture
Socks are great at drawing moisture off our skin, but only where fabric comes in contact - which is where standard socks really lack, and toe socks absolutely shine. Your entire foot is covered in a moisture wicking second skin, even each toe has its own moisture wicking sleeping bag. Less moisture between your toes is a huge win and makes your workday, run or hike far more comfortable.
* Keep in mind the fabric of any socks makes a big difference to moisture - choosing fabrics that wick away moisture and dry fast is crucial. Choose merino and/or synthetics like coolmax rather than cotton if you’re after all day comfort.
4. Better Breathability
Your toes are made to spread - not be compressed together. Toe socks don’t make anything extra special happen but allow your natural toe movement, rather than compromising it. Being able to spread your toes, unrestricted (like when you’re walking in bare feet), leads to better air flow and match that with the lightweight & cool nature of toe socks and you’re in for an easy breezy day where your feet just feel good.
5. Full foot utilization
Combine the first four points and you can see why toe socks are becoming more and more popular. Allowing your feet to work at their dynamic best helps you perform at your best.
Being able to plant your toes in good alignment, without being restricted gives you better balance and control. Better grip and propulsion. Better comfort and uninhibited function.
There you have 5 toe sock benefits that might just sway you to choose function, comfort and form when you next refresh your sock drawer. Better breathability and improved moisture wicking leaves you no longer getting home and feeling the need to get your socks off and get relief, only to be bombarded by sweaty, smelly feet. Less risk of athletes foot or misaligned toes and no more full day hikes or half marathons where you spend the next week recovering from hots spots or blisters on your toes.
Toe socks certainly have their benefits and the biggest one, if you choose a quality brand, is the comfort, which needs to be felt to be believed. Our biased recommendation is to choose a merino blend toe sock like our Merino Crew, for a high quality, breathable an seamless sock that you barely know is there and has been tested and proven on 100km+ races.