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Running sans socks can shave precious seconds in transition, but it can also derail your race if you develop any hot spots. Consider this before you go sockless.
– Faster bike-to-run transitions
- No soggy socks from sweat or dumping water or ice over your head (the dreaded “swampfoot”)
- Better foot breathability
- No sock-related comfort issues like bunching
– Any minor irritation can quickly become a big problem that can slow you to a limp.
- Small bits of gravel in shoes can be an issue because there’s more open volume, so gravel can move around the shoe.
- If you’re not used to tying shoes without socks, it’s easy to over-torque and create pinching and pressure on the top of the foot.
- The same shoes will fit differently with or without socks, and that can change your proprioception and/or slightly alter your gait.
If you decide to ditch your socks, you’ll want to make sure you’ve trained in the same shoes you plan to use on race day. Some athletes will walk around barefoot as much as possible—and even do barefoot run drills—to toughen up the feet. You may also want to use a body lubricant around your feet (use moleskin on any sensitive spots; avoid Band-Aids which peel easily), and some people also put talcum powder in their shoes. You’ll want to make sure your shoe pick has minimal internal seams. Some models (such as ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 11) have a sock-like liner and other attributes intended for sockless wear.