Treat Your Feet

    The Right Socks for Pole Vaulting

    As an athlete, your feet have to withstand a lot of abuse, so give them a little love. The right sock helps you perform better. A good pair of socks will protect your feet from shoe rub, provide cushioning comfort, arch support and help wick moisture. 

    What should you look for? Beware the cotton! Don’t get the wrong idea, a good pair of cotton socks will get you through a meet or workout, but in hot, wet or all-day situations they are not the best choice. 

    Socks have come a long way from the old school white cotton tube socks that end up stretching out at the top and sagging. 

    Cotton absorbs and holds water (think towel) which can lead to overall discomfort and blisters. Today’s socks are engineered with natural and high tech fibers that perform multiple duties in a single sock, plus many are moisture-wicking and antimicrobial.  

    Socks made of nylon, spandex or polyester fibers are a good choice and a good value. Merino wool is an excellent all-natural material that is lightweight and wicks moisture. It is more costly than some of the synthetic blends, but if you are a stickler for organic materials, that’s a great option. Look for brands with moisture wicking technology. It keeps feet drier and therefore more comfortable and less smelly. 

    Cushioning is also a consideration. An extra layer at the ball of the foot can be quite comfortable for the explosive moves of a pole vaulter. Cushioning is not critical and more of a personal preference. Keep in mind, if your spikes fit a little snug, the extra cushioning will make them tighter, but if they are a bit loose, the cushioning can help take up the extra room and make for a better fit. 

    Many performance socks have an added thread-count and special weave around the arch providing a compression fit in this area. This snugness around the arch adds support and helps prevent fatigue. That’s a good thing!

    High tech socks are more expensive. They are an investment and should be treated that way. Most are machine washable, check the package label. However, putting them in the dryer will wear them out faster, especially if they are dried on high heat. The heat of the dryer may cause damage to the fibers and elastic leaving you with a saggy sock that doesn’t perform. Hang them up to dry if you can. 

    Performance, protection, comfort, functionality. The right sock leaves you helps you perform better. Look for high quality materials, good arch support with tightly woven fibers, and comfy cushioning at the ball and heel. Good socks are a tool just like a good pair of spikes. #toolsforbetterpolevaulting.