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Ask Men's Fitness: "I know running shoes matter—but as a non-elite athlete, should I put much thought into running socks?"

We all dream there’s gear out there that will transform us into Usain Bolt. But, um, no—it won’t be your socks.

In terms of performance, socks don’t help: Studies show that, compared with going barefoot, wearing socks actually reduces your ability to balance. So the effectiveness of pricey “technical” socks is iffy, says physiotherapist Blaise Dubois, founding president of the Running Clinic.

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“Socks are designed primarily to increase comfort by reducing friction,” Dubois says, so wear the ones you find most comfortable, and rate their quality by how well they mold to the shape of your foot and wick away moisture.


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