In search of the perfect running sock

I run in minimalist shoes. While some minimalist runners run without socks, I really dislike the sensation of my shoes.  However, running with thick, padded socks doesn't really work for the minimalist runner.  Plus, it's HOT down here in Texas, so I wanted socks that wouldn't make my feet too warm.

I tried a variety of thin running socks, but in invariably wore a hole over my big toe within a few weeks of regular use.

Then I ordered some Balega "Hidden Dry" socks. If there is a sock Nirvana, these are it. 

First, they are incredibly thin.  I mean, nearly nylon-stocking thin. They are ingeniously constructed to follow the contour of the foot without a bulge, wrinkle or snag.  Firm, but not tight or constricting.  As I pulled on my first pair, I thought, "my toenails are going to tear these up."  Now, nearly 18 months later, I still have the same pair.  No snags, tears or holes. 

Lastly, these socks come in S, M, L and XL.  That means they can easily fit your foot, from size 2 all the way to 15. 

The company, based in Cape Town, South Africa, prides itself on its workmanship and quality.  On their website, they profile all their employees and you can even see a photo of the person who inspected your socks! If you, as I am, are concerned about US jobs, the high-quality, synthetic fibers used in the socks are made in the USA.  

Comfort, durability and superb fit make these socks the best I've worn. They currently retail for about $12 on their site.  Check them out.

 

SPIbelt: Endurance Edition

Straight from the "Why didn't I think of that?" files, came the SPIBelt.  For the unfamiliar, this line of belts, the brainchild of Kim Overton, is a fantastically convenient way to carry your necessities while you run, exercise, play or whatever.  Kim was frustrated by having to carry her key tucked in her bra and in a flash of brilliance, conceived the SPIBelt. 

Thousands of runners wear her gear today.  The belts are small, securely hold the contents, but most important, they do not bounce.  At all.  In fact, I barely notice mine.  I had one of the early models, but recently with my increasing mileage as I prepare for my first marathon, I purchased one of the Endurance edition belts.

The SPIBelt Endurance Series

The SPIBelt Endurance Series

Several features make the Endurance Series different from the regular SPIBelt.  First, the elastic belt is wider, 1.5 inches, for better comfort and to better distribute the increased carrying capacity of the larger pouch.  This larger pouch, the second new feature, easily accommodates my iPhone 6 Plus, my wallet and my car key.  Third, they sewed a total of six loops to the elastic band to carry gels and fourth, there are elastic loops with toggles for your race numbers.  Fourth, they use a contrasting color inside the belt to help you locate those small items.

I've put in about 100 miles on this belt and rarely notice it until I need to fish my phone out and look at a map.  The new wide elastic band really does comfortably distribute the weight of the belt and its contents. The gel loops work exactly as you would expect.  One of the nice design features is that the larger contents of your pouch, such as you phone, will stay in the pouch when you unzip it. So you can open the pouch without spilling everything everywhere.  

SPIBelt goes to great lengths to say that their pouches are not waterproof.  If you immerse it in a swimming pool or take a dunk in a stream, your stuff is going to get wet.  However, it did keep my phone and stuff completely dry in a driving rainstorm recently.  So it is quite water resistant.

If you're looking for a small, simple running pouch with a bit more capacity and tons of comfort, check out the SPIBelt Endurance Series.  Available in a variety of colors, it will serve you well on your runs or other adventures.

Any thoughts?  Please leave comments below.