I bought the Feetures socks at the beginning of my marathon training. They were endorsed by the local run store when I asked about a good pair of socks. The kid said that he ran in them and that they were compression socks. The store had a huge inventory of Feetures as well, with a ton of variety. To me, that at least says the company is doing pretty well so it must be pretty good right? Not so much.
After first using the socks, I started getting blisters on the tips of my toes. I attributed these to increased training…. even though I had previously gone from zero to that mileage in different socks before and never gotten those blisters. Then, when the massive summer heat and humidity hit, it felt like I was running with submerged feet. Literally my feet could not have been wetter had I jumped in a pool. I mentioned this on a long run to my teammates and they said they were experiencing the exact same thing!… in their Feetures. It was awful. When we would take our shoes and Feetures off after runs, we all agreed, our feet looked so wrinkled and raw. It was as if we had been running in the rain. They also said that ever since they’ve worn them they’ve had the worst blisters. Again, we all just figured this was one of the tough/bad parts of marathon training.
Finally, I had had it. No more. I’m not going to run in sopping wet socks! I refuse to believe this is the only option. I went back to the run store, saw the Balega sock, and saw that it specifically mentioned its superhuman moisture-wicking capabilities. SOLD!! As usual, I took them home and washed them first, all the while lamenting how they would now go from the soft wonderful socks I had in my hands to the cardboard that socks turn into after the first wash… that my Feetures turned into after the first wash. But no! They didn’t! They are as soft as the day I bought them! I’m telling you, this is an easy test. Go buy both and wash them and you’ll see. Feetures turn into sandpaper, cardboard socks after the first wash. Balega stay so soft and brand new looking even after a million miles and a million washes (I only have the one pair so I have washed and worn it a million times). My feet were completely dry throughout my run. No running in squishy socks with Balega. I mentioned it to the team when we were on mile 10 one day and they demanded I take my shoe off right then and show them the brand (I had forgotten the name because they were so new at the time).
The one less-than-ideal thing I experienced with the Balega is, well, the moisture has to go somewhere right? I think it wicked that moisture right off my foot and it went into my shoe. I did notice that my shoe seemed to be wetter than usual after a really long run. But this could have been due to my shoe switch though. I recently changed from Brooks to Asics. I can’t be sure what is the shoe’s “fault” and what is the sock’s. But, yes, my shoes were wet while my feet remained dry. I didn’t notice the shoes during the run at all though. All I felt was dry feet. Personally, I still think this is a great deal. My shoes dried by the next day. No big deal. But my feet finally felt good immediately after a run.
I’m definitely going out to buy some more. A dozen more! The only reason I haven’t so far is because I’ve been caught up buying the million other things I seem to need for race day. Plus I had technology issues. But now it’s time for sock buying! And if you’re in the market for great long distance, marathon training socks, buy the Balega!