Let’s talk socks. In this part two of what I learned at this year’s Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, I want to share a few observations I made while watching runners and helping them with foot care.
First – the good. Many runners are using good, high quality socks. Drymax, Injinji, Smartwool, Wrightsocks, Wigwam, and a few others were seen in large numbers. Of course, many were beyond recognition because of dirt and mud, or were covered with gaiters. But, at any rate, I am happy to see runners wearing good socks.
Now – the bad. Watching runners pull on their socks can be a bit bothersome. Many take the sock and simply insert their foot – and push. This is problematic as the sock is generally pulled on too tight, putting pressure on the toes and toenails, and stretching the sock, especially over the heels. It is better and easier to bunch up the sock and roll it over your feet. Let the shape of the sock fit the foot. Besides, pulling on socks can disturb any taped areas of your feet.
And finally – the ugly. I saw two runners whose socks made me cringe. One was lying on a cot getting an I.V. He was out of the race and had his shoes off. The socks on both feet had at least one hole over a toe! Stupid. After I patched the feet of the second runner he grabbed a pair of clean socks out of his drop bag and put them on. The socks were thread bare on the sides of the heels! I asked him why he would compromise a race and all the money it cost, for a pair of socks. When you pack for a race, make sure your socks are still worth wearing. Why make the race harder then it already is?
So that’s what I noticed about socks at Western States. In two days I leave for Death Valley to patch feet at Badwater. That’s always a great testing ground for foot care.