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Skating Socks - 3 Rules to Remember
Certain topics will almost always get a spirited conversation
going if more than two skaters are in a room, and one of those
topics is socks. Every skater has their own
opinion about which socks are best for skating... including me!
I was interviewed recently by
and one of the questions they asked me was about socks.
What kind of socks do I prefer for inline skating? I told them what
I will tell you now: My opinion about athletic socks can be
summed up with these 3 rules:
Rule #1 - No Cotton
Rule #2 - Double Socks
Rule #3 - Dupont CoolMax
Rule #1 - No Cotton
Why not? Isn't cotton supposed to be very absorbant?
Here is why you should NOT select cotton
for your skating socks:
Rule #2 - Double Socks
Cotton socks will turn your skates into a petri dish for fungus and bacteria.
This is because
cotton takes forever to dry. Yes, cotton is absorbant, but all the moisture
sucked up by those absorbant socks will sit next to your skin for
hours. This will keep your feet moist and cold (or moist and hot) for hours
of clammy, uncomfortable skating.
Cotton is not durable enough for hard workouts like skating and
running. It deteriorates more quickly than most of the other fibers
used for socks.
Cotton socks tend to bunch up under
your skates, causing uncomfortable wrinkles.
Cotton shrinks and loses it's shape after washing.
Wear double socks inside your skates to prevent blisters and
"hot spots" caused by the socks rubbing against your feet.
When you wear double socks, friction is absorbed between
the two socks, instead of between the socks and your feet.
You can purchase ready-made socks with 2 layer construction,
but I prefer to wear knee-high nylon stockings
inside my regular socks to prevent chafing and blisters.
Nylon stockings will always fit inside your skates along with
your regular socks,
even if you wear a tight custom speedskate.
Rule #3 - Dupont Coolmax
CoolMax is a fabric made Dupont, that is made from a four channel fiber with large
spaces between the filaments. This special construction
gives the fabric "breathability" and allows it to dry quickly.
CoolMax fabric will also move
moisture quickly away from the skin into the outer layer
of the sock. This is another reason that clothing made of
CoolMax will dry very quickly.
CoolMax is also washable, dryable, nonchafing, and resistant to
shrinkage, odors, and mildew.
CoolMax is the brand name of a particular
fabric made by Dupont.
CoolMax socks are available from many
different sock manufacturers.
More Tips for Buying Skating Socks
Breaking the Rules
Never buy socks with bulky seams because the
seams can be uncomfortable inside your skates.
Try to find socks with no seams.
with elastic or rubber yarns because body oils
will cause them to deteriorate quickly.
Spandex is a more durable
stretch fiber, and it is less binding than
elastic, when used around the top of a sock.
Silk inner socks are comfortable next
to the skin, but they are not durable
enough for athletic wear. Select an
inner sock made of Dupont CoolMax instead.
If you have skates with a very tight fit
(for example custom speedskates), wear knee-high
nylon stockings inside, and a CoolMax inner sock
Some people like socks with padding strategically
placed for inline skates, such as the inline skating
socks available from
Thorlo. Other people find that
the padding itself causes uncomfortable pressure
inside their skates.
Socks must be washed and thoroughly dried after every use,
to prevent growth of bacteria.
Skates should also be dried thoroughly after
each wearing, because a dry sock in a damp boot
will still allow bacteria to grow.
Now that you know these 3 important rules for buying socks,
let's talk about real life. Those rules
are really guidelines for people who are buying
skating socks for the first time and skaters
who are not satisfied with the socks they are wearing now.
The above rules are the best advice I can give you about
which socks to buy for skating, but after trying many different socks,
a few skaters discover that the 3 rules do not work for them.
For example, some people prefer cotton socks,
because they say CoolMax socks allow their
feet to slip around too much inside their skates.
Those people are just not comfortable in a CoolMax
sock, and they say the bulkiness of cotton socks
prevents that slippage.
Another example: Some people just do not like the
way double socks feel inside their skates. They
say it causes their feet to slide around too much.
Some people even believe that double socks increase
the rate at which their feet perspire!
What I Wear
People are often surprised to learn that I only wear
nylon stockings inside my speedskates, because
this is the most comfortable "sock" I have tried.
If I can find socks that are thin enough to fit
comfortably inside my very tight
Bont Black Widow skates
I will start wearing them, but for now nylon stockings are
the most comfortable thing I have tried.
Here is the way I would sum up the above advice:
Try skating with a pair of knee-high nylon stockings
next to your skin (to prevent blisters and chafing), and wear
a pair of CoolMax socks over the stockings.
This will not feel the same as skating in a typical cotton athletic sock,
so give yourself enough time to get accustomed to the new feeling.
If you just cannot feel comfortable skating like that,
experiment a little. Try eliminating the inner sock.
Try commercially available socks that are manufactured
with two layers. Try socks with different percentages
of various fibers. Eventually you will
discover what kind of skating socks are most comfortable for you.
Visit Our Forum and Tell Us What You Think
Do you agree or disagree with anything in
this article? What kind of socks do you wear when you skate?
Connect to our
SKATING FORUM at AskAboutSkating.com and tell us what you think.
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