Vitalsox – Running Sock Review

Posted: June 15, 2010 in Product Review
Tags: , , ,

It’s been awhile since we had a product review on Run for Dom – no particular reason other than I have not added any “new gear” to my running arsenal.  It seems like I tend to try out new equipment in fits and starts, with no real “plan” to see what is the latest cutting edge running equipment.

I suppose that you could drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with the latest technical fabrics, devices, shoes and fads.  For me I usually get turned on to new equipment by spotting something at a race expo before a marathon, in a starting corral before a race or out of necessity. 

In the past six months we have taken a look at Zensah shin compression sleeves as I was fighting my way back from shin splint issues, running shoes, Pace Tats, Moeben Arm Sleeves, Technical Shirts, Runderwear, Body Glide and Nutrition supplements.

There has been one very critical piece of equipment that I have not examined in this space for those of you who have not “gone native” and embraced bare-foot running, and that is running socks.

A sneak peek at RFD's Running Socks & Shoes

In my experience there are three camps when it comes to runners and their socks: 

The “cushioned” camp – where padded areas for your heal, ball of the foot and toe areas are critical.

The “ultralight” camp – where there is very little additional padding to mimic a “no-sock” experience.

The “support” camp – where technical fabric is added that supports the arch for the runner.

Whether you are a fan of Brooks, Asics, Adidas, Nike, Thorlo, Under Armour, Drymax, Pearl Izumi, Injinji, De Feet Cloud 9, Bridgedale X Hale, Euro Socks  or the dozens of other manufacturers, there is definitely a sock out there for you.

I have tried all of the above and there have been certain things I have liked about all of them.  I even have a few pair of the Injinji 5-toe socks that fit literally like a glove over each individual toe.  If I ever have a blister forming between my toes, or a “hot spot” I will run for a few days in the Injinji 5-toes and my problem area is gone.

Injinji 5-Toe Socks

There is nothing like running in a good pair of running socks, especially in a new pair of running socks – which is a luxury I usually only afford myself on marathon morning.  One wash prior to wear – which is something you should do with every piece of running gear you ever buy – and then I hit the streets.

I stumbled upon a new pair of socks, or pairs I should say, at the Pittsburgh Marathon Expo this year on May 1st.  The folks from Vitalsox had a booth at the expo and I decided to try out their gear.  I wanted to not only run in the socks a few times before reviewing them, but I also wanted to see how they held up to running and washing.

One of my favorite pairs of running socks – the Nike Elite Structure have all of the best attributes for me in a running sock except one, they simply do not hold up in the toe box very long and no matter how close I trim my toenails – I find holes in the socks after only a few weeks.  This is not a good feature for a $13 pair of socks.

Vitalsox however have held up remarkably well over the past month and have earned a 5-star rating from Run for Dom.

Made in Italy, Vitalsox have 5 lines to choose from:  Compression, Court Sports, Biking, Multi-Purpose and of course Running.

I fall in between the “cushioned” and “support” camp when it comes to my running socks.  I really like the feeling of arch support woven into the fabric – but I also want a plush ride.  I want a sock with some extra cushioning in my toes, heal and ball of my foot – while still providing me with a “wicking” technical fabric to keep my feet dry.

That’s not asking too much now is it?

From the first time I tried on a pair of Vitalsox at the Expo I knew that they met all of the above criteria – as an added bonus the Vitalsox have an additional padded area at the top of your foot – directly under where you lace your running shoes.  Anyone who has ever mistakenly tied their shoes too tightly before a run can attest that can cause you some pain and trouble.  The extra padding in that area is a nice touch and feels great when you are lacing up your kicks before a run.

I chose two different “models” to try out.  The Ped Light Weight, which come up just above the ankle and the Ghost Light Weight which are basically an “unseen” sock that does not come up above my running shoes.

Typically I will have a mixture of white socks that I prefer from an aesthetics standpoint and black socks that I wear when I am running in the rain or on a messy trail.  Being an “all-conditions” outdoor runner, I can never seem to get the white socks “white” again after a long run in nasty conditions.

Vitalsox also has a line of what they call “ultra light weight” socks if you like the feel of a very light sock underfoot.  I have not tried this line out yet as their “Lightweight” line was plenty light for me.

All of their socks have flat-stitch seams which are designed not to have any rough areas that would cause blisters on a run and they even go so far to use two types of cutting edge fibers in their socks:

Silver Drystat:  Silver ions are built right into the core of the fiber, they inhibit the growth of bacteria and moulds reducing unpleasant smells and keeping biological skin balance during athletic activities.

MICROSupreme: This material is a hollow-core micro denier fiber that when knit into technical sport socks enhances performance, keeps feet dry, comfortable and, assuming footwear fits correctly, blister free.

Now, I’m no scientist.  I don’t even play one on T.V.  But I am a runner and I can tell you that the socks from Vitalsox are now the first ones that I grab out of the drawer for a run.  They are very comfortable, have a nice level of support, do not cause any hot-spots and do a great job of cushioning my feet on long runs.

If you are new to the sport and are just getting started experimenting with new equipment or you are a runner who has had issues with comfort or blisters I would definitely recommend that you give these guys a try.

You can click here to visit their website:

http://www.vitalsox.com/index.html

As is the case with all product reviews at Run for Dom – these are simply my honest opinions on a product after I have had time to try it myself and see how it holds up under heavy use.  I am in no way compensated for my time or my opinion – although if the folks at Vitalsox were in a giving mood – I certainly would love a few new pairs of their socks!

Happy running everyone!

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Comments
  1. Joe this could not have come at a better time. My good old champion socks let me down at my last race with the seam rubbing against my big toe resulting in a blister. I even had to stop and flip my sock inside out mid race! I have been looking for a good replacement sock, thanks for the review! Socks are my next running purchase and I’ll check out the vital sock!

    • joerunfordom says:

      AJ – thanks so much for the visit and the message! So glad this post was well-timed. Those flat seems really do make a big difference in those longer runs and races.

      I’ve been really happy with the Vitalsox so far – I really can’t say enough about their design and comfort – the only thing I was holding off on was to see how they kept their shape after quite a few washes – and they have done great. I hope you have as much good luck with them as I have.

      Best, Joe

  2. […] Vitalsox – Running Sock Review « Joe Still Runs For Dom Tagged as: addidas running shoes Comments Off Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) ( subscribe to comments on this post ) […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by socks nike, Joe Marruchella. Joe Marruchella said: Hi guys! We have a product review on the blog today: http://wp.me/pHGel-rA Vitalsox – Running Socks – thanks for stopping by! […]

  4. onelittlejill says:

    I love the shoe collection!!!!

    I prefer Balega socks. And by prefer, I mean, I am obsessed with.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jill! Yeah, I have no business giving my wife any grief over her shoes – I think I’m sitting at 7 pairs right now of running shoes – a couple closing in on retirement – but that just means – more shoes!

      I have not heard/tried the Balega socks – I will definitely give them a look-see the next time I am gearing up. Best from Austin, Joe

  5. Seth says:

    I also stumbled upon these sox at the expo prior the the Twin Cities Marathon this past weekend. They worked amazingly! I finished with no blisters, and feeling better than I have after any race. Plus I didn’t train for this marathon 😛

  6. […] Vitalsox – Running Sock Review Vitalsox however have held up remarkably well over the past month and have earned a 5-star rating from Run for Dom. Made in Italy, Vitalsox have 5 lines to choose from: Compression, Court Sports Biking, Multi-Purpose and of course Running. The Ped Light Weight, which come up just above the ankle and the Ghost Light Weight which are basically an “unseen” sock that does not come up above my running shoes. Typically I will have a mixture of white socks that I prefer […]

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