March 28, 2013

Review/Giveaway: Feetures Compression Socks

A few weeks ago, Feetures generously offered me their compression socks to review. I was quite intrigued – I’ve never tried compression socks, but have heard a ton from other runners and scientific research that they really help performance and recovery. Still, I warned Feetures that they’d be subject to my standard review policy: I won’t promise to post a positive review, but would write my honest opinion, take-it-or-leave-it. They were confident enough in their product to send me the socks anyway… and I really liked them!

Let’s face it, I have never been the most high-tech person with my running gear. I’ve always known the importance of good sneakers, but the rest of my outfit has been all over the place. When I first started running with a goal to run one mile, I drove my car around the neighborhood until the odometer read one mile, and used that as my benchmark. To time myself, I would hit play on my (1st gen) iPod and then add up the lengths of the songs when I got home to figure out how long I had been going. And for my apparel, I honestly wore three-for-$10 cotton Hanes sports bras until well after I completed my 50 state marathons.

How times have changed! I now consider a good sports bra paramount to my long distnance running comfort, and get excited about new fancy models. Since discovering Athleta, I’ve also started keeping up with general workout clothing trends, and have ditched my dorky fuel belt in favor of skirts and shirt with tons of pockets. But socks are one area that I hadn’t yet upgraded from basic to fancy… would the Feetures really do anything?

I tried out the Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab, first just in Flywheel and Crowbar Cardio classes. While I’m honestly not a huge fan of the neon colors (despite the fact that I realize they are incredibly trendy for all kinds of running gear), I liked the low-cut top of the socks and found them easy to get on and off. I loved the extra cushioning for comfort, and was pleased that they didn’t seem to add any bulk that made either my sneakers or my spin shoes difficult to put on. (Maybe that’s true of all cushioned socks, but I was concerned beforehand.) They definitely felt slightly snugger on my feet than regular socks, but they weren’t too constricting, and I found the extra snugness totally comfortable.

Since they passed muster in my regular workouts, I then put them to the ultimate test: a full marathon. On trails. In the pouring rain. When I had a black tie event that would require me to be in strappy heels all night long. I was trusting these socks with a lot, and I hoped they wouldn’t let me down!

Well, the Feetures Elites served me quite well – despite going over some rocky terrain and getting a ton of sand, dirt, and gravel in my shoes (oh, so that’s why trail runners wear gaiters), I pulled off my sneakers and Feetures to find that I had not even one blister. Amazing! Clearly this material is both cushioning and extremely moisture-wicking, and I later tested this theory in full when I washed my muddy socks in the bathroom sink and found that they dried completely in just a few hours. Overall, I really liked these, and would definitely consider buying them in some other colors. (The white-with-pink-accents might be a little more my style, but I won’t stop wearing my orange ones either. They’re socks, they don’t really show!)

After showering and getting cleaned up, I also took the opportunity to test out the Feetures Elite Light Compression Sock, Knee High. These are the compression socks that I’ve see so many of my friends wearing during races and afterward, and I was really curious to give them a try. Would they help me prevent soreness and allow me to stay on my feet through a night of dancing in heels?

I didn’t get to put the socks on until several hours post-race, since I didn’t want to get them near my muddy feet until I had cleaned up, so I can’t claim to have gotten the full benefits. (Although I was wearing the No Show Tab socks up until I donned the Knee Highs, so I guess that was full-time foot compression). However, I will say that my legs weren’t even the slightest bit sore that night, despite the hilly course I had made them traverse for five hours. The socks were kind of tough to get on and off, because they were so tight, but once on, they were perfectly comfy. They were a bit tall on me, coming just above the knee, but I rolled them down a bit and found that worked just fine, so they should work whether you’re tall or short. But after all that trouble, honestly, I loved them. The best way I can describe the feeling is like nice little hugs for my calves – sweet! Strange as it may be, I’ve actually been sleeping in them every night since then (good thing I am traveling and don’t have anyone to see), since they’re soft and comforting without being thick or hot. I might just become a convert!

All that said, Feetures aren’t cheap – at $15 for the No Show Tab style and $50 for the Knee Highs, they’re much more than I typically spend on socks. (I do get athletic-specific wicking socks, but I’m not loyal to any particular brand and I generally look for sales that make them run around $15 for a three-pack.) Honestly, I can’t decide if they’re worth it. I generally don’t have sock problems, aside from a few blisters after marathons, but I’m not sure if it’s worth $15 a pair to me to avoid those instead of just sucking it up, lancing the blisters, and slapping on some Neosporin and a Bandaid.

Fortunately, some of you won’t have to pay the price, because Feetures has offered to send three readers a free pair of the same No Show Tab Style socks that I tried! They come in a variety of sizes and colors, so even if you’re picky about neon like I am, you’re sure to find one to suit your style.

To enter, leave a comment telling me what you think of performance socks. Are they worth a higher price point, or do you stick with the three-for-$15 basic ones like I used to use? Bonus extra entry if you tweet about the entry using this link, and then leave a separate comment letting me know that you did so.

Edit: WOW, all your comments have totally sold me on performance socks. I will definitely be buying more Feetures!

Contest will run through Wednesday April 3 at 6pm ET, at which time winners will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced on this page (if you leave your email/Twitter handle, I’m also happy to notify you that way), and they will have one week to email me in order to claim their prize. Contest entry is open to all residents of the US and Canada.

Congratulations to:

#49 – insearchofoz / March 28, 2013 at 4:34 PM
#72 – Ashley @ Running Bun / April 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM
#21 – Runner Leana / March 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM
Please email me at laura at 50by25 dot com to collect your prize.

Note: Feetures provided me with product samples for testing, but I received no other compensation for this review, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.


85 thoughts on “Review/Giveaway: Feetures Compression Socks”

  1. Beth @RxBethOnTheRun

    I have two pairs of Feetures socks and like them. But, also like you, I love my cotton Hanes socks from Target. Would love to try the Feetures compression socks though. Love my high knee compression socks after a hard run!

  2. I’ve tried some non-compression Feetures socks before, but to be honest they weren’t my favorite. My favorite socks are Balegas. I’m interested in trying compression socks though because I’m curious if they’d help with my achilles tendonitis.

  3. My mom gave my husband a few pairs of these for Christmas, based on my sister in law’s assertion that they make her run faster. I recently started running again, and I have been using his socks during my last few runs. I don’t know if it’s the socks, but the days I’ve worn feetures I’ve run on average 45 seconds/mile faster than days that I wear other brands. I am a believer, and I’m planning on investing in a few pairs of my own. Bonus if I don’t have to pay for them!

  4. I think nicer socks are worth the price. I usually wear Balegas for working out, and Injinji and Smartwool toe socks for running. I have some compression sleeves and socks, but I seldom wear them for actually running.

  5. I think the nicer socks are worth it. I have a few pairs of good socks for running, then the cheaper cotton socks for bumming around the house and such. I have never tried short compression socks – I have the tall socks and also the sleeves and I love them!

  6. I used to use whatever socks I could find that day, then I started moving into some middle of the road semi-pricier socks when I was having some issues with my feet. Now I rotate between semi-pricey and pricey socks. When you spend as much time on your feet as I do(a runner and athlete, like yourself) you need to have the proper attire. You wouldn’t go run a marathon in sneakers you got from wal-mart, so why would you run a marathon in socks from there either? You need special socks to go with your special shoes. It’s a runner thing.

  7. I’d love to try these socks out! The majority of my socks I’ve bought for cheap at race expos. I do have two pairs of low cut compression socks from ProCompression that I love though. I think it may be worth it to buy pricier socks if they help to keep your feet in tip top condition through lots of miles.

  8. I use 3 for $6.50 sport socks from Old Navy for any kind of endurance activity and really like using compression sleeves on my legs after a long run. For anyone who suffers from plantar fasciitis I highly recommend the Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve made by Feetures. It’s fantastic and I will forever be indebted to the lovely saleswoman at Jack Rabbit who recommended it to me.

  9. The Feetures socks that you reviewed (the light, no show tab ones) are my absolute favorite pair of running socks, and while I only have a few pairs (I don’t like spending that much on socks either!), they’re the ones I consistently make sure I have clean for my long runs and races. I haven’t tried the tall recovery compression socks yet (again, because they’re pricey, and I’ve been doing just fine -I think- without them), but I might have to give them a try here soon…

  10. I’m learning about how important the right socks are. Just invested in some that are like $15 a pair named Throlos and love them as well as WigWam brand. I would love to try your socks.

  11. I have yet to try compression socks, but I’m sure I would love them. I actually tried Feetures no-show ultra lites for the first time a couple weeks ago (for a half marathon I did not train for) and then proceeded to a bar crawl afterwards. My feet did not hurt one bit!

  12. I have the older generation feature socks and I too like the reviewer in this article started in cotton 6/$10 socks. I was having difficulty with blistering and arch issues. The best thing my sister did was give me a pair of feetures to try out. The moisture wicking abilities have greatly improved the blister issues I was having and the compression helps my arch issues. I wear them for a while after I run for support. I would love to try the new ones. Mine are the gray think wools and I love them. I’d love to try the new ones.

  13. I used to think that all socks were the same, but now I’ve learned how important it is to treat your feet right when you are exercising!

  14. I also want to win these. I LOVE Feetures. When I first started running a few years I go I thought ehhhh who needs regular socks? Well mile after mile I would keep getting blister after blister after blister. I thought this was normal. Black toenails and blisters are a runners staple right? Nope SO WRONG!!! I finally went to my local running store and complained that my first half marathon time was awful because my feet were killing me. While I was proud of my accomplishment I just KNEW I could have done better. They immediatley hooked me up with Feetures. I have never run in anything ever since. I have learned cotton is rotten for my feet and blisters and tormented feet are a thing of the past!

  15. I’ve never tried compression socks but I would love to. I buy cheapie socks and pray for no blisters. I would buy sports socks but I never get to any stores that have them and yes, I could order some online. Maybe I will.

  16. At first I used to buy just any old sock that was cheap. But after having issues with blisters, I found that the best running socks for me are indeed the Feetures socks. I am a total believer of their brand and will only buy those from now on. Love their merino wool ones for winter!!!

  17. When I bought my first pair, I doubted $15 socks would make a difference…but wow, did they ever?!!! I LOVE tech socks and wear them on ALL workouts and usually in my every day sneakers too! Great investment!

  18. Kimberly powell

    I got Feetures for Christmas after reading about them on DC Rainmaker’s blog (AWESOME blog for triathletes and other gear-heads) and I LOVE them. I wear the knee highs under my tall black dress boots – they are the only ones that don’t make the boots hurt my feet.

  19. I used to be a doubter/cynic as well, but after I got my first two pairs, it’s all I ever wore. Less sweat, less blisters, and your feet just feel more like feet… even 50 miles later.

  20. My fiance lives by his compression socks. Im a newbie runner training for my first half right now. I have issues with plantar fascietis and think I really need to give compression socks a go!

  21. Mackenzie Chambers

    I haven’t tried the compression style socks yet, but as a college athlete, socks are very important to me. The 3pr/$15 types have served me well!

  22. I haven’t tried any performance socks, but I’m curious to try them. I’d like to know if a compression sock would prevent me from getting calf spasms during the last four miles of a marathon. 🙂

  23. Faithfully tweeted! Here is another use for Feetures socks… Besides running in them, I fly in them too. I’m sure that I am not alone when I say that my feet swell when I sit in one place on a plane for hours. Wearing Feetures socks while in flight really helps!

  24. I’ve actually never tried compression socks, but the area I get most problems after long runs is my calves – and I’ve been told by a number of people that compression socks really do work magic on sore muscles. I definitely think they’re worth the extra cost – a few months ago I upgraded to a pair of ‘technical’ running socks, after trying about 5 different brands/styles – they cost about 3x as much, but I’ve never had a single blister in them, despite running two half marathons in torrential rain 🙂

  25. I’m a pretty new runner who just completed my first half marathon on St. Patrick’s Day. Wish I would’ve had these compression socks for the run…my feet were dying near the end!

  26. I have never tried compression socks before but I have shin sleeves and like them. I found your post while researching compression socks, I want a pair but not sure how to size them. Been looking at two other brands and am getting ready to treat myself for my birthday on Monday!

  27. I love compression socks. I can honestly say my legs do not tire as easily on long distance runs when I am wearing them! I’ve never tried Feetures but I want to! Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  28. I have heard & read so much about compression wear, I’d love to give these a try! I am a bargain shopper; I definitely look for sales on socks & all my other running gear. Thanks for the info!

  29. You get what you pay for with socks. Pay a bit more and you get less friction better moisture wicking and a long lasting sock. At least in my experince.

  30. I am a huge fan of compression socks. I even find myself running long distances in them and then leaving them on the rest of the day. They can get pricey, but one pair will last a long time. I would love to try the Feetures! no tab sock. Thanks for the giveaway.

  31. i like the socks. i alwasy thought they were called racing socks. now i know. i only wear compression socks in actual races as they are expensive and why wear them out so quick.
    i like the slight increase in cushioning and sweat wicking. it is important like you said to make sure they dont take up to much space as i already have a motion control insert in my sneakers.
    they only way i can comment is by anonymous. but this is Mark Anderson you know me. haha!
    facebook Mark Anderson. as far as expense i would be willing to pay more for a better quality sock. so feetures sound good. One thing i didnt get was what stores might have them. I think I would probably like the tabbed ones like in the picture.

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