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Can Socks Make a Difference?

I enjoy walking for exercise. There’s nothing better than putting on your sneakers on a beautiful day and going for a brisk walk. I’ve found I like to participate in walking or walk/run events. A 5k, 8k and have even walked in my first half-marathon last February.

Being over 40, I knew I needed to build up my stamina. I was training last year for the half-marathon I started walking about 4 miles and built up to 11 just before the event. My muscles cooperated but I did have an issue, blisters on the bottom of my feet.

When I increased my training above 5 miles, I started having issues with blisters. I went to a running store and was fitted and purchased new running shoes and dry wick socks. My blisters continued. I kept thinking I just needed to toughen my feet. Being a diabetic, it was probably not the smartest approach.

The day of the event, my feet were so blistered I barely finished the race and it literally took several weeks to heal by feet to be able exercise again. I vowed to do the race again this year but to find a way to avoid the dreaded blisters.

I went to another running store that was recommended by a friend and was refitted for shoes. The same problem continued so I returned to the store and was fitted again. My friend told me sometimes you have to go back several times before you find the right shoe. I found out that for a woman, I have wide feet. The tighter the shoe the more likely you will have blisters. They fit me into a men’s shoe, which tend to be wider and suggested a thin dry wick type sock.

I started using the men’s shoes and had good success. After the race was over, I didn’t walk as many long distances but I did test a couple of long walks and I seemed to have cured my issue.

Now I have started training again for this year’s race. Last weekend, my friend and I walked 6 miles on Saturday and attempted 6 miles again on Sunday. Saturday, I used those thin socks. They worked great! Sunday, I used a more a cushioned pair of dry wick socks and I got to about mile 4 and I started feeling discomfort. Not wanting to go down the path of blistered feet again we cut the walk short. Yes, I ended up with a small blister on the inside of my foot.

I truly believe the socks were the difference. If you find you have struggles getting to the next level of exercise, try to determine what is stopping you. For me it was the right gear. I won’t go for a long walk again without my thin socks. Persistence will win and I’m hopeful to get though the race this year with a few sore muscles and no blisters!

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