The Inside Story

Don't undermine your trail-shoe investment with tired socks. A fresh set of condition-specific cushions will turn miles into smiles.

Aug 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Traction Heroes

Get the goods on the latest trail runners, tailor-made for speed, slop, and splash.

trail running socks

trail running socks

1. Wigwam Merino/Coolmax Trail Runner
These softies make feet feel like they're bundled up inside cozy slippers. $11;

2. WrightSock Merino TRL Quarter
Wicking synthetic and insulating merino work together to decrease blistering friction. $12;

3. DeFeet Levi-T-Ator No See 'Em
The toe seam is tucked under your piggies, where it is less likely to chafe. $12;

4. powerSox Power-lites Running Lo-Cut
Wicking fabric over the Achilles tendon helps keep these socks dry. $10 for two pairs;

5. Fox River
AXT Wick Dry Off Road Quarter Fox's merino-polypropylene blend is engineered for durability. $10;

6. SmartWool Running Medium 3/4 Crew
Generous cush around the midsole and heel helps stabilize your stride. $15;

The Arch of Progress
Your new trail shoes sure feel nice and squishy, don't they? That's the ethylene vinyl acetate working—the foamy layer under the manufacturer-supplied footbeds. But while EVA delivers decent shock absorption, it offers not a lick of motion control for overpronators—those of us who roll our feet inward while running. Neither does that bare-bones footbed. Avoid rolled ankles, shinsplints, and blisters by dropping extra coin on an aftermarket insert, like Shock Doctor's new UltraRunning ($30; A rigid cup locks your heel in place on impact, a plastic frame combats overpronation by lifting your arch, and a raised area over the midsole improves stability on off-kilter landings. Other good options are Superfeet's thickly cushioned Performance ($35; and Montrail's new Enduro-Soles ($35; plastic footbeds, which bake in your oven for a heat-molded custom fit.

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