Tips for Athletic Socks

By Lyle Smith
While many golfers wear casual socks, athletic socks often perform better.
While many golfers wear casual socks, athletic socks often perform better.

Golf socks? Yes, there are socks designed specifically for golfers--and walkers and hikers. What makes them different is that they are designed to stand up to long days of walking up and down grassy hills with sweat-producing feet in shoes that may not be as waterproof as they used to be. When you play golf, especially if you are a walker, it is important to protect your feet and your shoes with socks that are comfortable, durable and yes, even fashionable.


While there are exceptions in certain dress codes, golfers typically wear short, athletic length or ankle length socks with shorts and crew or full-length socks with long pants. Crew length socks go up to mid calf, while full-length socks stretch all the way up to your knee, so they could even be worn with knickers or plus fours. Athletic length socks extend just slightly above the collar of your shoe or can be found in a "no-show" length that seats very low to your foot to make it appear you are not wearing socks at all.


Many manufacturers promote their thicker or multi-layer socks as insulators against blisters, but thinner socks tend to protect better in most cases against uncomfortable rubbing, blisters and callouses. It may seem counter-intuitive, but a thinner, tighter sock will allow your feet a bit of room in your shoe and provide just the right amount of friction buffer between your shoe and your feet.


It was a common belief years ago that colored socks should not be worn for athletic activities. The belief was that the dyes in the material would run with heat and sweat and absorb into your system becoming either an annoyance or a health risk. Today's modern materials used in socks will not do this, so, while white is a universal in socks worn with shorts, skirts or capris, color choice has become simply a matter of style. You can match your socks to your shoes or even the rest of your outfit.


Ideally, athletic socks should have a very small or smooth seam or no seam at all. They should also be worn fairly tight to the skin, but not stretched so tight that your toes are restricted. Both of these measures work together to keep your feet insulated by the sock and protected against blisters when walking up to five or six miles for every round of golf.

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