Feetures Running Socks Review
While much has been written about the importance of various pieces of gear (shoes, jackets, tights), socks can be one of the most important pieces of clothing to your running outfit – and equally as important, they should be one of those pieces of gear which sort of just fade into the background, allowing you to go about your run.
When you wear the wrong pair of socks (I’m looking at you, cotton Hanes tube socks of my childhood), you know it. They feel heavy with sweat, they rub your foot over and over again in that same painful spot, they bunch up in the wrong places and leave you spending more time thinking about what is likely one of the cheapest pieces of your wardrobe then you really should. If you’ve ever finished a run with bloody, blistered feet, you probably know just how important socks are.
About Feetures Running Socks
Feetures is based in North Carolina, and you can find them in most specialty running stores. They offer a lifetime guarantee that says,
Feetures! products are designed to withstand repeated wearing and washing, and to maintain their fit and feel over the lifetime of the product. If your socks fail to live up to this standard, then you can return them for an exchange or a full refund.
They offer tons of styles, which is great if you like to match your socks with your shoes. They also offer six different performance styles. From high performance, wicking fabric made from “power bands of Lycra, so the sock hugs the entire foot in a comfortable, supportive way” to the Elite Merino+, which uses a “unique blend of Merino wool and bamboo.” They also offer graduated compression socks, and a plantar fasciitis sleeve.
If you haven’t had that distinct pleasure, read what two of Minneapolis Running’s contributing authors, Claire Walling and myself, had to say about Feetures! socks.
When I opened my mail recently, I had two pairs of running socks from Feetures! waiting for me – one pair of heather gray light cushion no show tab high performance socks, and one pair of black and pacific blue light cushion no show tab elite socks.
Upon first glance, these two models are as different as they are similar. The silhouette of each is almost identical (both were no show/tab versions), but the concept of “light cushion” is very different between the two models. The Elite model is barely there (which leaves me pretty curious to see the ultra light cushioning), while the High Performance model is more similar to the level of cushioning I am used to in similar offerings from the other manufacturers currently inhabiting my sock drawer.
To give each pair of socks a fair shake for this review, I wore them each multiple times – fresh out of the packaging, after the first wash, then a few more times for good measure. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a little less than scientific in my testing, as I only wore the Elite model with my lighter shoes for speedwork days, and the High Performance model with my more cushioned shoes for recovery runs and weekend long runs.
From the first day, I was pleasantly surprised how well the Elites felt. I have worn very thin, “race day” type socks from other manufacturers in the past (and while I had varying degrees of luck, I generally made my way back to more cushioned, “training day” type socks). I tried to focus on fit and feel, but they honestly just melted into the background. No odd pulling or tightness like I had experienced in the past, and they had just enough cushioning to leave me suitably impressed. The tabs on front and back were perfect for the tongue and ankle collar on the shoes I wore them with, and these socks quickly became my go-to for speedwork (which means I need to do some shopping soon so that I don’t have to do laundry quite so often).
I don’t have anything bad to say about the High Performance model – but they also didn’t stand out as drastically different from some of the other more cushioned socks currently in my rotation. Fit and feel were great, but I also didn’t have a lot of complaints about the socks I am currently wearing for the same purpose. All in all, I would put them up against any other sock I own – but for someone with a pile of socks they are currently happy with, I would slowly work them into your rotation as old pairs wear out and you have a reason to go sock shopping again.
Like Rich, I received a pair each of the Elite and High Performance models. Most socks are one size fits all, and most brands end up being a little on the big side for me. I appreciated that Feetures running socks have multiple sizes (both models I tested were size S, intended for shoe sizes 4-6 1/2). I can’t speak for whether most local running shops actually carry the smaller sizes, but I’d recommend these socks because of the sizing alone.
I usually detest socks with cushioning, so I was pleasantly surprised by the High Performance model. I wore them for the first time on an 18-mile long run, and they were exactly what a good pair of socks should be; they kept my feet dry, comfortable, and blister-free for the entire run without slipping or slouching. My testing methods were a little less methodical than Rich’s methods were, but I’ve worn them several times since, and they’ve held up well in the wash.
Now, for the Elite model: These might be my favorite pair of running socks ever. They were snug without being constricting, and they sat comfortably just above the top of my shoes without slipping or sliding. Other thin socks I’ve worn have started to get baggy and stretched out after a few washes, but not these socks. So far, I’ve only worn them for easy days and lactate threshold runs, but I plan on these becoming my go-to socks for race day as well.
Your Go-To Socks
Which socks have made it into your regular running rotation? Do you end up reaching for a different pair for your long runs, or on race day? Let us know in the comments below.