How To Choose The Right Socks For Your Walking Workout

Who knew socks could make such a difference?


Wanita Nicol |

Whether you’ve never exercised before or are coming back after a long hiatus, walking is a great way to get into an active lifestyle. You can do it anytime, pretty much anywhere and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing. That said, as with any exercise, getting the right gear will help you walk better, avoid niggles and make the experience so much more pleasant. And that means you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Gear Up For Greatness

So, walking gear. Comfy clothes and a good pair of shoes, right? Spot on. But there’s another key item that many walkers overlook: socks. Some walkers spend plenty of time choosing the right shoe, but few take the trouble to find the ideal sock. And that’s too bad, because if you don’t pair the proper sock with your shoe, you’ll increase your risk of blisters and other health issues, like athlete’s foot. These guidelines from the Women’s Health Big Book of Walking Workouts, will help you choose the right pair.

1/ Find socks before you shoe shop.

Socks come before shoes — and not just when you’re getting dressed. Choose a pair based on your shoe size and make sure they’re snug but not tight. If they’re loose, they can bunch up (causing blisters); if they’re tight, they can stretch out (ruining the moisture-wicking fibers). After you find socks, shop for shoes that fit with them.

2/ You can stay cool without cotton.

Any sock made of synthetic fibers will keep your feet cooler and drier than cotton. Fabrics such as CoolMax, acrylic blends, and Teflon blends are all good options. Just skip the cotton: Once the fabric gets wet, it stays wet, and it doesn’t hold up well to washing, easily losing its shape and becoming abrasive. Here at WH we love the ranges of socks available from Falke and Balega.

socks for walking
The Women’s Health Big Book Of Walking Workouts is on sale now!

3/ There are two ways to beat blisters.

If you blister easily, opt for a thicker pair of socks or consider layering your walking socks over a thin sock liner. In studies done by the US military, layering systems prevented blistering.

Our Fave Socks

Tried, tested and adored by members of the WH team…

Ankle Length

Falke All Terrain 

These come in a range of bright colours and have built-in compression that’s perfect for long stints on your feet and, bonus, prevents them from slipping into your shoes.”I have one pair of these and I love them so much, I always save them for race day,” says WH resident triathlete and managing editor, Amy Hopkins.

Low Rise 

Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Compression-Fit Running Socks

They have light compression and antimicrobial properties. The lip at the back prevents chafing. “I love Balega’s socks because they fit snugly, even though my feet are narrow, and are soft and breathable. My feet don’t get hot and sweaty and they feel cushioned in my shoes,” says deputy editor Wanita Nicol.

Get The Book!

The Women’s Health Big Book Of Walking Workouts is your guide to getting in shape, one step at a time. No matter what your fitness level, you’ll find the guidelines you need to take that first step towards achieving your goals. From walking plans to simple at-home strength-building routines, you’ll find everything you need to get started. It’s on sale now at major retailers around SA. Look for it on the magazine racks.

READ MORE ON: Fitness Fitness Advice