Why Thousands of Runners & Hikers and Choosing Toe Socks | 5 Benefits Explained
Toe socks aren't the norm when we think of socks but that doesn’t mean they're inferior. It's far, far from it. Toe socks have a lot of features that give you far more benefits that your standard sleeve-shaped socks.
If you ask the next ten people you see what type of socks they’re wearing, you’d be hard pressed to find even one wearing toe socks. But go and ask a group of trail runners or hikers what they’re wearing, and you’d get a entirely different answer. Out of necessity, toe socks are becoming the athletic sock of choice due to their health, comfort, and functional benefits that we cover below.
They’re than much better than “normal” shaped socks? Take the 100-mile Western Endurance Race for example. Due to the nature of such a race, athletes often turn to not what looks best, but what performs best for their feet. The most popular sock worn? Toe socks were the most common sock worn, with over 25% of athletes wearing them in order to reduce the rub.
Now that toe socks can be stitched with amazing natural fibers, lightweight and with seamless construction, they should be the first option you look to when next buying new athletic socks and to explain why, here are the top 5 benefits of toe socks:
1. Reduce Blisters and Hot Spots
Plain and simple, by wrapping each toe in a lightweight sleeve, you get a barrier between your toes to completely stop skin-on-skin rubbing. No more hot spots, redness and nasty toe-chafe that leads to discomfort and, if you go far enough, blisters.
Other remedies to toe blisters when running and hiking just don’t come close. Sticking wool between your toes, regularly lubing up or powdering your toes just isn’t as lasting as laying on a second skin like toe socks do.
Bonus: Some people like to use both lube and toe socks if they are really blister prone and toe socks work best to reduce the friction when they have merino in them as it has the lowest friction all the standard socks yarns - even all the fancy synthetic ones!
2. Less moisture between your toes
Socks are great for drawing away moisture from your skin, but most normal socks let moisture build up between your toes. This leaves a perfect environment for fungus and swell if you are on your feet all day and increased irritation on runs.
Luckily, toe socks solve this by wrapping moisture wicking fabric around and between each toe, increasing the surface area of moisture-busting fabric for better foot health.
3. Promotes Natural Foot Function
Wide toe box shoes and toe socks are perfect for letting your feet move naturally, how they were meant to but strangely enough, they aren’t the norm.
Just like most running and dress shoes curve inwards and end in a point, pushing your toes together, standard socks do the same. Most socks have an elastic component and when stretched out onto our feet, act to add compression to our toes. It’s not a lot but through the day works to maintain more skin on skin contact and not let our toes stayed aligned.
Letting your toes splay, spread, grip, and feel when needed can help balance, feel, and function or the entire lower limb. If we didn’t need separate toe function, out feet simply wouldn’t have them - they would have evolved differently, maybe webbed?? Maybe give nature a nod and free your feet by letting them do their thing, in toe socks.
4. Improved Big toe Alignment
Wearing toe socks, reduces the pull at your big toe, letting it stay straight and true. This is key for not only reducing the risk of bunions but also for natural foot function and our inbuilt propulsion mechanism, the Windlass Mechanism.
With a big toe pulling inwards towards your other toes, you just won’t get as good a leverage and force transfer. Toe socks = Economical.
5. Less Smell & Prevent Athletes Foot
Airflow and breathability are massive for socks and shoes. I don’t know anyone who likes their feet clammy at the end of the day or that loves taking their shoes off and clearing the room as quick as anything.
By letting your toes spread and maintain a small gap, like we do in bare feet, we allow for moisture evaporation and some airflow. Not only this but combine that with the previously mentioned moisture wicking fabric around each toe and you’ve got a much healthier foot environment. Toe socks reduce moisture both by better breathability and improved moisture wicking.
Toe socks are everyone’s cup of tea, visually, why? Largely because a lot of people are creeped out by feet for some reason and our brains just tend to bulk at anything that’s different to what we usually see.
If you can get past that though and choose socks for their benefit to you? Then you would choose toe socks, without hesitation.
Toe socks allow better foot function, they reduce moisture and take away skin on skin friction to reduce redness and blisters better than anything else.
Our biased toe sock recommendation?
Check out Creepers range of lightweight, seamless merino toe socks today for most comfortable socks you’ve wriggled into.