Going feet first
Being an athlete requires a lot from your body, especially your poor feet. During your lifetime, you'll log close to 70,000 miles on those suckers. For this reason, we often pay close attention to what kind of sneakers and athletic shoes we buy, but how often do you research the technology behind your socks -- the item that sits closest to your dogs? You deserve better than off-the-shelf tube socks, so we scoured sports-specific options to find the most impressive pairs out there. Here are five to try on for size:
Powersox's APF lo-cut, $11.99/2-pack powersox.com
Worn by ultra-marathoner Pam Reed, who has twice won Badwater (known as "the world's toughest foot race"), this sock is designed to anatomically fit the heel and toe contours of the right and left foot (so, yes, now you have to pay attention to whether your socks are on the correct feet!). Cushioning in the key areas gives much-needed shock absorption, while a snug arch band prevents the sock from slipping and sliding when you're giving it your all.
Fox River Mills' Cirrus Performance Hiking Sock, $16.99/pair foxsox.com
Sure, you can do anything a dude can do -- but only if you're not wearing his socks. The fact is that a woman's foot is anatomically different from a man's, which is why we love that these socks are specifically designed for a (bad-ass) lady foot. This means no slippage and no bunching at the ankle, no matter how narrow your foot or high your arch. They're also knit together in such a way -- using a blend of polyester and no-itch, breathable wool -- that they won't lose their form even after a few spins in the washing machine. And that is a beautiful thing.
Toe Sox's Ultra Sport, $15 toesox.com
These socks get major eco points: They are made with activated carbon that's reclaimed from coconut shells, which wicks away moisture and squelches stench. The five-toe design -- it literally fits like a glove -- prevents friction (and nasty blisters) between your tootsies, and the vented top helps keep feet cool. Rounding out the plush ride, a heel cushion and an arch band at mid-foot provide just enough pressure to keep your foot properly aligned.
Wigwam's Ironman I-Pass, $12 wigwam.com
This company has been engineering socks for over a century, and has been the official sock of the Ironman Triathlon since 1994. So, yeah, we trust them. This cushiony model uses a blend of natural and man-made fibers to quickly move moisture away from your skin so feet stay cool and comfortable. Sans seams, blisters don't stand a chance, and neither does stink: Their so-called "FreshGuard" technology keeps these socks smelling like they've just come out of the dryer.
Adidas ClimaCool II, $12/2-pack adidas.com
Even as you pile on the miles, bonus cushioning around the toe, heel and ball of the foot make each heel strike a pleasure. Meanwhile, swatches of more breathable fabric, strategically placed, move heat and sweat away from your dogs, keeping you comfortable and blister-free no matter how long that tennis match lasts. Like most tech-minded socks these days, the ClimaCool is laced with antimicrobial goodness to reduce the chance of athlete's foot and eliminate the stink factor.