Are double layer or single layer socks best? This depends on a number of factors as well as personal preference. Here we explain the benefits of both double skin and single skin socks for walking and running.
When you walk or run your foot moves slightly in your shoe. This repetitive movement creates friction, which generates heat. Initially you get what we call ‘hot spots’. These are red areas on the skin and an early warning sign that a blister might be about to form. Eventually hot spots become blisters.
Preventing blisters is by far the best treatment and choosing the right shoes and socks is incredibly important.
Double layer socks
Double layer socks comprise an outer layer with an inner liner. They are designed so when you walk or run the outer layer rubs against the inner layer, not your skin. As a result, they protect your foot from repetitive friction.
Double layer socks are often thicker than single layer socks, so you may need to accommodate this when buying your shoes. Therefore it is important to take the socks you wear for running or walking with you when trying on new shoes.
Thick twin layer socks are likely to be warmer. This is a positive in some cases, however, it is possible more heat means sustaining a blister is more likely, especially if your shoes are on the tight side.
Single layer socks
Despite the benefits of double layer socks, some people prefer to keep it simple with a more traditional single layer sock. In warmer climates they may retain less heat, reducing the chance of blisters. However, this does mean if your foot rubs in the shoe you are more likely to get friction on the skin.
If you are not susceptible to blisters or will not be walking or running long enough for it to be an issue then no problem.
If however, you prefer a single layer sock and are planning a long walk or run then the best advice is to tape your foot under the sock. This involves placing protective strips of zinc oxide tape over the areas most likely to blister. These include the back of your heel, toes and instep.
Choose a double layer sock if you:
- Prefer a thicker sock
- Do long distance walking or running
- Are susceptible to blisters
Choose a single layer sock if you:
- Prefer a thinner sock
- Do not need extra blister protection
- You tape up your foot prior to long walks