I’ve done a lot of trial and error with my feet since moving from barefoot into shoes. The whole process was actually pretty daunting. Running barefoot I didn’t get blisters or lose toenails. When I moved into shoes, suddenly I developed sore toes and strange bubbly, fluid filled blisters…I got hot spots and painful chafing on my feet– top, bottom, sides, wherever socks or shoes were rubbing while I ran. What gives? I thought I had tough feet! I was showing signs of princess feet. It was seriously impeding my running and I was really annoyed.
I turned to the interwebs for advice.
“Change your shoes”
“Get a different size shoe”
“Change your socks”
“Change your terrain”
“You’re running wrong”
“Tie your shoes different”
“Lose the socks”
“Go back to barefoot”
Everybody had a different answer! I decided I needed to go on a fact finding spree.
One by one, I changed everything except my running form which I felt to be just fine and the ‘going back to barefoot’ which I also felt to be overkill.
I purchased some BodyGlide® and tried that first for a few runs, coating my feet in thick layers of the stuff before every jaunt out the door. What happened? My feet still got raw in places and on longer runs I would still develop the bubbly marks of failure. Shorter runs were more successful showing I was at least moving in the right direction.
Next, I examined my shoes… these were ever morphing anyways so why not continue changing them? Was I getting the wrong size? Were my feet sliding around ever so slightly and this was causing some chafing? Were the shoes retaining moisture? Were there seams/laces that were rubbing on my princess feet? Nothing I did in this area really fixed the problem but I did get to test a lot of shoes and it gave me an excuse to go to the running store frequently. I settled in with my Merrell Pace Gloves and Altra Intuitions as they both didn’t irritate the tops or sides of my feet and I felt no sliding.
Socks…This is where the big problem apparently was. Changing my socks was the ticket. I tried multiple types of socks from cheap to expensive, Champion, Adidas, Asics, Saucony, Nike and settled in to a few pair that had a slight raise in the Achilles, a little cush in the forefoot, and were seriously blister resistant. What were these magic socks? The WrightSock ‘Anti-Blister’ Double Layer Silver Elite Tab Socks. Pairing these with Bodyglide seemed to be the ticket to blister-free, hot-spot free runs! YAY!
Having all my ducks in a row as far as my feet go, I was hesitant to alter my strategy. I’m, however, open to trying new things and plan on giving some new shoes a try (namely the Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s) in the near future…so when I got some Fitsok F4’s in the mail I was eager to take them on a couple runs and see what happened.
These socks out of the package felt really similar to the socks I was already using so I was really excited to put them on my feet. They are Left-Right specific which is a plus. I figured I’d give them a ‘true’ test and do one foot with body glide and one foot without just for kicks.
I layered up my left foot with Bodyglide and put on my pretty new Fitsok on it and then left the Bodyglide off the right foot and placed the Fitsok on that one. I tossed on my Altra Intuitions and took off the door for my run. This was my scheduled short run as I had a lot of homework due that night.
It was drizzling out and there were a lot of puddles. Great for a test of socks. I ran down the hill near my house and into Crosby Park to do the loop through the park that would give me a nice four mile run.
What did I feel?
Both feet felt good. Keep in mind, I only rarely go without body glide on my feet AND there was a ton of moisture. By mile four I expected to have a bit of irritation in the non-body glide foot. There was none. I was seriously impressed.
At home I pulled off my shoes, which were nice and damp and stinky. Then I removed the Fitsoks…The bodyglided foot was a bit slimy (to be expected) and had no red marks or irritation. The non-bodyglided foot was DRY. The sock was slightly damp but my foot was entirely dry. Awesome. For a short run, the socks got an A+
The Fitsok F4’s had earned a long run. I, of course, used Bodyglide on both feet for this one. The shoes were again Altra Intuition and the route was nice and hilly running along the river to attempt to slide a bit. The first 10 miles I had no issues whatsoever with my feet. At about 11 miles I felt a bit of a hotspot near my big toe and was a little concerned. At 14 miles this was pretty uncomfortable as I hadn’t really dealt with it.
Back at home, I pulled off my shoes and socks to see what the deal was. Again, the shoes were damp and truly dumpster worthy due to going through a big puddle. The socks were fairly soaked from the same. My feet were a bit slimy. The toe? I had a rock in my shoe! Not a single blister. OK, I’ll give the socks a win again. They held up as good as the socks I had hunted so long for before and after a shower, my feet felt as good as before I ran, barring the tiredness of the run itself.
I’m a Fitsok F4 convert.
This post has been brought to you by my smelly feet. Have a great day!