Apparel trail_socks

Published on January 8, 2014

Trail Socks

Having recently reviewed the CompresSport Pro Racing Trail Socks V2 one of RunningMonkey’s Twitter followers asked us for some further recommendations by way of comparison. Always happy to obliged, here are a few of our other favourite trail socks options…

RunBreeze Anti-Blister SockRunBreeze Anti-Blister Sock

Although not specific trail socks the RunBreeze Anti-Blister Sock has impressed us every bit as much as the rest of their growing range and if you’re prone to irritating hot-spots on tougher trail runs then the double-layer construction should keep you blister free. Some anti-blister socks can prove too thick for our liking – the double-layers, designed to move against each other rather than your foot, tend to add bulk – but RunBreeze have the balance just right and when you add to this a decent Lycra arch support, anatomical (left/right) design, impressive wicking and a bargain £9 price tag these are hard to beat. Details at runbreeze.com

SealSkinz Thin SockletSealSkinz Thin Socklet

SealSkinz have always really been the first name when it comes to complete weather-proofing and whilst their Thin Socklet does an exceptional job of keeping water on the outside you do have to get used to the slightly odd sensation of wearing what feels a little like a crisp packet on your foot. Actually the Socklets are more comfortable than that makes things sound, thanks in large part to the fine Merino wool lining, but there is a distinct ‘rustling’ from the waterproof membrane but on balance we’d rather have dry than silent socks. The only occasion on which these socks have let RunningMonkey down was at Hell Down South and in fairness the water was more than chest deep. The SealSkinz Thin Socklet retails at £22, with ankle length versions at £25 and Mid length at £28. Full details at sealskinz.com

Inov-8 Debrisoc 38Inov-8 Debrisoc 38

Inov-8 know a thing or two about trail and their Debrisoc is a highly technical (though simple enough to use) solution for avoiding all manner of trail detritus from ending up inside your shoe and ending your run with blisters. Basically a single-piece combination of Coolmax constructed sock, which wicks well and is fast-drying, and an over gaiter that slips over the top of the shoe (including tongue and upper eyelets) and attaches with a rubber-band-like fastener under the rear shoe lugs. The design works brilliantly and RunningMonkey has even used these extensively on sand and desert runs, with the only disadvantage being that if (to be honest, when) the rubber fastener snaps you are left exposed to everything the trail has to offer up. The solution, of course, is to carry spare bands – available separately – but on short runs and especially races, it’s a drag to have to stop and mend. Don’t let that put you off the Inov-8 Debrisoc 38, which retails at £18, is a solid enough option when the going gets tough. More at inov-8.com

Bridgedale CoolFusion RUN Na-kdBridgedale CoolFusion RUN Na-kd

As contradictory as a sock for barefoot running sounds, we always favour a minimalist sock with a minimalist shoe and the Bridgedale CoolFusion RUN Na-kd is the first of two that RunningMonkey would recommend. Low-cut and low-volume these slip, like a second-skin, inside barefoot shoes but there’s still enough padding through the toe-box to add protection on the trail (even with steep downhills) and the thin upper mesh reduces weight and aids cooling, breathability and wicking. Really a non-nonsense sock option available in a decent range of colours – not that anyone will see them inside the shoes – but limited in sizes to small/medium for women and medium/large for men. A bargain at £9.99 and ideal for warmer, spring/summer trail runs. Further details at bridgedale.com

Falke RU5Falke RU5

We have always found Falke both reliable and excellent value and the RU5 is another great option, thanks to their low-volume, for consideration with barefoot or minimalist shoes. Venting on the upper helps to regulate temperature and moisture build-up (which can cause blisters) and the padding under the heel and forefoot is perfect for taking up the slack from minimalist soles, especially if you are making the transition to barefoot and still need the reassurance of padding or are prone to plantar problems or heel bruising. Less in the way of padding through the toes here, so possibly not ideal for really undulating trail, but RunningMonkey has used these in excess of marathon distance without any problems. The Falke RU5, available in four sizes, retails at £13, with further information at falke.com

X-Socks MarathonX-Socks Marathon

X-Socks were amongst the first trail socks RunningMonkey ever used and the Marathon option is built like an armoured car for your feet. Positively bristling with tech-spec, they feature everything from a ‘Supronations Bandage’ (which helps address pronation issues), to underfoot airflow channels to control heat and moisture, and a truly impressive Achilles tendon protection system. Retailing at £15.99 they would be value at twice the price and carry a two-year full guarantee is a great bonus; but given their near indestructible construction (they have never let us down) you’re unlikely to have need for it. Available in four sizes covering men’s UK sizes 3 through 12, full details are at x-socks.com

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