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Blisters and Blood: Why Running Without Socks Is a Bad Idea!

Today’s advice: Wearing low-cut socks while running is not a good idea.

I’ve had a few bad experiences running with low socks in the past. Just look at the photo below to get an idea…

bloody running socks

Those blood spots on the backs of the socks do a pretty good job explaining things!

Here’s what happened… One day I set off on a 16 mile run wearing ultra low-cut socks. The problem was that I had worn them numerous times while riding my bike, with no problems, making me think they would be fine with my running shoes. Too bad my running shoes are taller and the impact makes them scrape my heels!

So unless you are wearing triathlon shoes that are made for bare feet, wear tall socks! They should at least be tall enough to cover your heel and protect from blisters and abrasions.

If you don’t, chances are your shoes will scrape your heels enough that there is bloodshed, causing your socks to look like the ones pictured above!

[Larger photo: “Wear Tall Socks!” via]
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Levi Bloom is an experienced endurance athlete who has been training and competing for over 17 years. A former Cat 1 road and mountain bike racer (professional class on the regional circuit), he is now a cycling coach (USA Cycling Level 3 Certified) and sports nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified).

  1. Is there a recommended supplier of waterproof tall socks?

  2. This seems overblown to me… I’ve run hundreds of miles in low cut socks and never had a blister. If yours got pulled down, exposing your heal to your shoe, maybe you had a size that was too small. Or, perhaps, your foot had excessive motion within the shoe – some of the alternative tying styles could be useful in this case.

  3. @Jeff

    The socks fit great, but they were “ultra low-cut socks.” Not low cut socks. My skin was in contact with the shoe from the beginning, I just didn’t realize it till it was too late!

    Thanks for the tips, though in this case, it was just a poor choice of sock on my part!

  4. Also, if you look at the stitching at the top of the sock, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sock itself is 100% to blame! That’s rough.

  5. I’ve run in triathlon and minimalist running shoes in the past wearing no socks then trying those very low cut socks. I find the materials in the newer ankle cut socks work the best. The last time I wore a triathlon specific running shoe without a sock, I developed a bleeding blister around the arch of my right foot. These were shoes that I wore before without socks without any issues.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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