15 Socks That Rock!
Old-school classic white ankle-highs have made way for creative, colourful and technical woven yarns. – By Gear Ed, Ryan Scott
When Eliud Kipchoge ran that marathon in 2:00.25, the Kenyan came a long way in a short space of time. The same is true of socks: classic white ankle-high options have quickly made way for creative, colourful and technical woven yarns.
01. Stance Fusion Athletic, R250
The Fusion’s signature Air Channel Cushioning system is made of raised articulated ribbing on the footbed. Compression is targeted, which means the overall fit is tight. Extra stitching in the heel and toe noticeably enhances strength.
02. Injinji Ultra Compression OTC, R699
OTC stands for ‘over the calf’. Compression begins at the ankle, and decreases in intensity as it moves up and over the calf. The sock aids circulation and blood flow under the knee. Reflective strips on the back of the upper leg increase your visibility in the dark, so you can be seen more easily by drivers approaching from behind.
03. Versus Watermelons Premium Race Sock, R120
A thin feel around the foot, and a light, ventilated upper. The cuff extends beyond the ankle for 15cm, and the sock has the best stretch of all those tested. A highlight is the fresh, exhilarating design. “Simply putting these on every morning gives me an extra burst of energy!” commented Kirsten Asherson, from Constantia.
04. Hilly Twin Skin, R200
The first full twin skin we’ve tested. Hilly socks are made in South Africa, and then distributed around the world from their head office in the UK. The sock is made up of two layers: the soft inner layer prevents blistering, facilitating a comfortable feel. 58% polyamide / 19% MerylSport / 15% polyester, 4% cotton, 4% elastane.
05. Salomon XA Sonic Trail Run, R90
When it comes to trail running, this has become our go-to sock. The shape is compatible with a variety of shoes. What we’ve found is that the sock can be split into two sections: the first is the foot, which is uncomplicated, medium-cushioned and medium-weight; and the second is the ankle, which is lightweight and ergonomically-shaped, for a quick pull-and-go effect. 98% polyamide / 2% elastane.
Buy now: Salomonsport.co.za
06. Maxed 7 Pairs Secret socks, R130
If you’re the one (or one of many) who can never have enough socks, but you have no idea where they all keep disappearing to (in singles), then it’s time you considered buying a pack of seven secret socks. Plus, these come in a range of bright colours, which will make keeping track of your wayward footwear that much easier.
07. Finni La Pink Candy Sticks, R150
Extra compression and support come from a double layer, which is exclusive to the upper. Because the sock is free of fabric around the rest of the foot, it will appeal to those who don’t enjoy the fuller sock-in-shoe feeling. Ventilated foot with sealed heel and toe area. Sizes 5 to 11, but no larger.
78% spun polyester / 18% nylon / 4 % elastane.
08. adidas Running Energy Compression Socks, R300
Light compression over the calf reduces muscle vibration and increases blood flow, without feeling too tight. A thick band under the knee keeps the long sock in position, and includes a reflective strip for visibility. The toe box is made comfortable by a flat toe seam and anti-blister yarn.
09. New Balance Impact Racer, R150
More than just a secret sock. This minimal, lightweight sock is left/right-specific, and includes a tighter band around the midfoot to prevent the sock from slipping. In fact it can’t be classed as a secret sock, because the heel protrudes a little past the shoe collar; but this does minimise the chance of the sock slipping down inside the shoe on longer runs.
10. Falke All Terrain Run, R180
Don’t be fooled by the glare from this sock: it’s high-tech. Ventilation, moisture management and comfort come in the form of a clever honeycomb mesh. The toes are seamless, and a mohair/wool blend of fabric prevents blisters. Graded tension around the ankle stabilises and supports the foot.
29% Drynamix / 29% wool / 40% polyamide / 2% elastane.
11. Salomon City Run Trail Sock, R105
The toe and heel are extra-reinforced, to keep the sock intact on the trails. The knock-on effect is a softer, more comfortable feel. The thick cuff is relatively low-cut, but it’s too bulky to slip down the heel and into the shoe. 70% cotton / 28% nylon / 2% elastane.
Influenced by the (mostly) slick style worn by cyclists, these good-looking socks come in eight appealing colours – all bound to make you stand out in the running crowd, from the bottom up. Has a reinforced heel and toe, a non-slip leg sleeve, and a breathable mesh top.
13. Stance Women’s Run Tab, R200
Our favourite socks of 2016 have come up trumps again this year. With a huge range of funky designs to choose from, these left/right-specific socks are great quality, and packed with all the technology you need for a smooth run. A ribbed underfoot pulls under the arch, stabilising the foot, and the extended heel cuff pulls the sock in place just under the ankle.
14. Bridgedale Speed Diva, R95
Testers who prefer extra padding in the heel and forefoot reported that this was the sock for the job. Extra padding around the toebox can sometimes compromise fit, but the extra cushioning in this sock only comes into contact with the protrusions of your foot – the pads and the heel – striking the ideal balance between comfort and space. Includes 20% merino wool, which is our favourite natural fibre.
15. Compressport ProRacing Socks, R340
The most technical of all the socks tested. Each square centimetre feels like it’s been designed specifically for the part of the foot it covers. Mesh areas around the ankle and the top of the foot offer ventilation – and less moisture means less chance of blisters. A seamless toebox alleviates friction, and fun-looking 3-D dots help redistribute shock. This might be at the level of the miniscule, but over long distances, every little bit helps.
15. Toesox Bellarin, R450
A sock with a silicone tread is ideal for minimalist fans who like running on the treadmill. There’s tread underfoot, and and your toes are free. Too extreme? Walk around the house in them post-run, and reap all the benefits of barefoot recovery without getting your feet dirty or destroying your socks. 64% polyester / 32% organic cotton / 4% other.