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Wrightsock Challenge Update

25 Aug

This is my last Wrightsock Challenge update since the sock review period is coming to an end. For those who have not been following this, I was given six pair of Wrightsock brand socks to test during the month of August. I had to run exclusively in these socks and provide feedback here on my blog as well as on the forum over at the Runners’ Lounge.

I have tested all six pair of socks. They all differ from each other in thickness, padding, feel, and single vs. double layer.

A quick review of the styles:

Single Layer
SLT Tab Seamless
SLR Lo Quarter Seamless
SLX Lo Quarter Seamless

Double Layer
Running II Lo Quarter
Coolmesh Quarter
DLX Lo Quarter

I’m not sure what else I can say other than what I have already said in previous posts. I’m quite surprised that I liked the double layer socks as much as I did. I never would have tried them if not for this opportunity. The DLX are listed below as my least favorite sock but I’d like to mention that it is Summer and I don’t feel they are a good sock for running in the heat. This Winter they indeed have a good chance of becoming a favorite cold weather running sock. They are simply too thick for warmer weather.

Rank from favorite to least favorite:

  1. SLT
  2. SLX
  3. SLR
  4. Running II
  5. Coolmesh
  6. DLX

There is one more requirement to fulfill for this Wrightsock Challenge: Join in a podcast discussion on August 31 to wrap up the sock challenge.

Wrightsock Challenge Update

18 Aug

By now I have tried all six pair of Wrightsock socks and have formulated a couple of favorites in my mind, for the moment. One must take into consideration the time of year that we are testing these socks because I feel that some of them are best suited for colder weather and others for warmer weather.

Of the three single layer socks the SLT (the thinnest of all the socks) continues to be my favorite. I seem to be in the minority amongst the Wrightsock Challenge group because this seems to be the least favorite for the majority of testers. What can I say, I like my socks thin. The thinner the better. The SLT has exceptional wicking abilities and feels amazing on my feet. Most importantly I don’t even notice that I’m wearing a sock. They are so thin that my feet don’t get hot and sticky.

My next favorite sock would have to be the SLX. Personally, these are a bit too padded for me but I do like the fact that the top of the sock is thinner than the bottom of the sock, as well as being thinner in the arch. This is actually why they win out over the SLR as the SLR is padded the same all the way around. I wore the SLX on a 12 mile run over the weekend with no problems.

I was quite surprised that I liked the Running II sock as much as I did. Honestly, I didn’t think I would like any of the double layer socks but I have to say this one was actually a hit with me. I’d say it’s a medium thickness sock, similar to the SLX and SLR but it wicks great and feels really comfortable. I’m thinking the double layer helps keep your foot drier since the first layer will wick sweat to the second layer. I’m anxious to put these to the test again later this week.

The DLX is a really tough sock for me to review. I really feel that this sock cannot be adequately tested and reviewed in the current season, at least for me. It is too thick of a sock for summer running and is much more appropriate for cooler temperatures. The thickness makes this really uncomfortable to run in, my feet get hot and I just don’t want to wear them. Once the weather cools off I will happily compare these to my other cold weather socks and provide a better review.

This leaves me with one final sock, the Coolmesh Quarter. Yes, I do like this sock. In my last update I mentioned the fact that I first wore these without washing them and subsequently felt my foot slipping around inside my sneaker during the entire run. Upon washing them they shrank just enough that they fit my foot perfectly and during my next run while wearing these I did not have the same experience. Again, I feel the double layer adds an additional element of wicking above and beyond the wicking power of the single layer socks and they are thin enough for me to enjoy my summer running. I guess I am a thin sock fanatic when it comes to summer runs.

Wrightsock Challenge Update

11 Aug

Since receiving my bundle of socks in the mail last week I’ve been able to wear my Wrightsock socks on three runs. I opted not to wear them for my race on Saturday. That was a little too risky for me since I wore my first pair on Friday and had 5 other pair that hadn’t been washed or worn yet.

My initial choice for a 2 mile run was the Coolmesh Quarter sock, a double layer and very thin sock. I was pretty skeptical of the double layer socks from the start. I just couldn’t imagine how a double layer sock would be comfortable. I envisioned my foot slipping around inside my shoe with each stride. I wore these without first washing them. They were a bit loose and my feet did slip around the entire time inside my shoes. I did not like that one bit. I have been very fortunate in my past two years of running to not have had any blisters on my feet from any of my runs, whether they were short (2 miles) or long (20 miles) runs or whether it was a rainy summer day with wet feet or cold winter day with cold feet. But, my biggest worry while wearing this sock was that I was going to get a blister from the friction of my feet slipping around. After washing the Coolmesh Quarter sock and slipping them on my feet again I noticed that there was some shrinkage and now they fit my feet perfectly. I will give this sock another shot to determine whether or not the slipping around was due to the double layer or my not washing them.

At this point, all six pair of socks are washed, so my initial issue with the socks fitting a little big has been resolved. I washed all the socks in cold water and dried them with no heat. They all shrank slightly.

Next, I wore the SLT single layer sock on a 5.5 mile run. This is the thinnest of the single layer socks. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I have two sock wardrobes just like I have two running wardrobes. I have my winter socks and my summer socks. Winter socks are thick and summer socks are thin. I was really excited to give the SLT sock a try. They are very comfortable, I did not even notice them on my run unlike the Coolmesh which I noticed the entire time. Half way through my run I realized that I had not even given the sock a thought and tried to focus on how they felt while I was running: comfortable, my feet weren’t sweating so they were wicking well, no rubbing. Then it began to rain and my feet were soaking wet as I had no choice but to run through several puddles. This was an excellent test and the SLT held up exceptionally well. I am extremely happy with this sock and from here on in will consider it a permanent member of my summer sock wardrobe. The SLR is very similar to my SmartWool Ultra Light Micro summer running socks, very thin all around and unnoticeable while running.

Finally, this morning I wore the SLX single layer sock on a 6 mile run. This is very comparable to the LL Bean CoolMax socks that I have been wearing. I typically like to wear them in winter but will wear them in a pinch on a summer run when my other summer socks are all in the laundry. This is because they are, in my mind, a mid-weight sock. The SLX is padded on the bottom and thin on the top, unlike the LL Bean CoolMax which are padded all around. I really liked the SLX, I figured I would but wasn’t sure if they’d make the cut for summer running. In fact, they do make the cut. They wick well, they are comfortable and I like the thinness of the sock on the top of the foot.

Check back next Tuesday for my continued review of Wrightsock socks.

New Job Title: Sock Tester

7 Aug

I’ve got two things to talk about today. First let’s deal with the running. Just a couple of easy miles this morning around the neighborhood to get my legs moving a little. Started slow (9:02) and eased into a very natural 8:20 pace by the end of the run. My legs wanted to go, I am taking this as a good sign. 58* outside + 55* dew point = 90% relative humidity. The cool temperature made me really excited for Fall.

Thanks for all the well wishes for tomorrow’s race. The race jitters are almost all gone, maybe just a tiny butterfly here or there. I’m looking forward to toeing the line tomorrow morning, but not the 9:00 am temperatures. Hope it’s cool!

Next … the Wrightsock Challenge.

As some of you know, I have been hanging out over at the Runners’ Lounge for the past year. Some of you do, too. It’s a really great, interactive community of runners with so many fun things going on and lots of participation. Members contribute to the site by submitting articles, videos, stories, joining groups and interacting in the forums. Each day of the week is generally devoted to a certain topic. Sunday is a running recap from the past week of news headlines. Check in on Mondays for the weekly giveaway. (I’ve actually won things twice: iron on reflective decals and my current favorite trainers – New Balance 769’s.) Tuesdays you can find a great write-up with links to members’ blogs. Then there is Take It and Run Thursday. A certain topic of the day is unveiled, you blog about the topic and then add a link to your blog. Friday is called Open Mike and a RL member is highlighted and interviewed. And there is so much more. I’ve really come to enjoy participating in this community.

I was very excited when I got an email from Tom (one of the site owners) asking me if I was interested in joining a team to try out Wrightsocks and then provide feedback. And this is how I became a sock tester. My socks arrived yesterday, it’s always exciting to get a package and quickly open it to see what’s inside! There are six different styles of socks, three of which are single layer and three are double layer. As per the website:

Double Layer socks:

WRIGHTSOCK TM Double Layer delivers the no blister promise through a three-part system:

1. Moisture Management : Dri-WRIGHTTM inner layer wicks moisture off the skin better than any other fabric. The Result… your feet stay dry.

2. Temperature Regulation: Staying dry means staying cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The Result… your feet are more comfortable.

3. Friction Reduction : Interaction between the inner and outer sock layers absorbs friction that is normally transferred to the skin. The Result… skin shear is eliminated.

Single Layer socks:

WRIGHTONES™ premium performance line:

Our new premium single layer performance line offers many benefits for the active user.

1. Seam Free Design: Eliminates irritation on the toes.
2. Temperature Regulation: Dri-WRIGHT IITM fibers keep the foot cool and dry.
3. Y Heel: Promotes an anatomically correct fit for added comfort.
4. Stabilizer ZoneTM: Enhances the fit and keeps the sock properly positioned on the foot.
5. Color Coded Size Indicator: Helps match sizes after laundering.

I received the following socks to wear and review ($60 worth):

Single Layer
SLT Tab Seamless“A lightweight premium performance sock that provides a second skin feel. Perfect for all running activities.”

SLR Lo Quarter Seamless “A premium performance sock featuring a midweight cushioned footbed that adds comfort and protection from shock for all athletic activities. This sock provides all the protection you need without shoe sizing issues.”

SLX Lo Quarter Seamless“This premium performance sock is ideal for all athletic activities. It features dense terry cushion in key stress zones to provide exceptional comfort and shock absorption. The SLX also has venting channels for added breathability. “

Double Layer
Running II Lo Quarter“The Running II sock is still a flat knit (no cushion) midweight sock designed for all running activities. This new style also has a bit more Lycra® and a Stabilizer ZoneTM for a snug (but not tight) fit. Features the perfect combination of moisture management and friction-free control. This sock provides all the protection you need without shoe sizing issues. Perfect for the Running sock user who would like just a slightly snugger fit.”

Coolmesh Quarter “Our lightest, most breathable Double Layer. Features 30% lighter weight than the Running sock along with a mesh panel across the top of the foot. This panel allows for maximum “wicking” action away from the foot, keeping you drier and cooler than other socks. Designed for all activities where lighttweight is preferred. Perfect for Running, Cycling, Hiking and Walking on or off trails. “

DLX Lo Quarter“The Cushioned DLX provides a light amount of cushioning for added comfort. Dri-WRIGHT II™ wicks moisture away from your feet and the two layers absorb all the friction and foot shear. Stabilizer Zone™ helps lock the sock in place. A great addition to the WRIGHTSOCK™ line. “

The rules are pretty simple:
1. Wear the socks for all my runs during the month of August
2. Blog about it
3. Join in the discussion with other team members in the Wrightsock Challenge Group at Runners Lounge
4. Join in a podcast discussion on August 31 to wrap up the sock challenge

Whew! Are you following all that? I am planning on reviewing the socks each Tuesday during the month of August so check in for my feedback on all of the Wrightsocks.