If you bought a pair of barefoot running shoes, you might be staring at your sock drawer, wondering, “Do you wear socks with barefoot running shoes?” Well, it's entirely your choice!
When I brought home my barefoot running shoes, my first instinct was to slip my feet into them without socks. But after doing some research and chatting with fellow runners, I learned that it’s entirely acceptable to wear barefoot running shoes with and without socks. The bottom line is that it comes down to personal preference.
If you are new to this type of running, check out our guide on how to start barefoot running for more information.
The Consensus on Wearing Socks With Barefoot Shoes
Most runners choose not to wear socks with barefoot shoes. I’m unsure if this is because the name “barefoot” automatically implies not putting anything else on your foot to hinder its contact with the ground or because they’ve concluded that this is the best option for them.
In either case, if you want to follow the crowd, going sock-free is the way to go.
Personally, I recommend you try running with and without socks. That way, you can determine what feels best for you.
Of course, choosing to wear or forgo socks have advantages and disadvantages.
You might also find our neutral running shoes explainer useful.
Socks With Barefoot Running Shoes? No!
You have the potential to gain a couple of benefits with your running performance if you decide to forego socks when using your barefoot shoes.
Some of the most significant advantages include:
- Not impeding toe splay
- Reduced foot slippage within the shoe
The first point about toe splay circles back to why many people purchase barefoot running shoes in the first place—to allow their feet to feel the ground with less inhibition, molding to the surfaces they encounter.
Although some socks are more restrictive than others in how much they let your toes splay, there’s a chance that socks of any kind could undo a bit of the purpose of barefoot shoes.
Since some people claim that barefoot running shoes can reduce the potential for injuries, improve running efficiency, and help you have an overall better running performance, not wearing socks may allow you to achieve some of these potential upsides.
Socks can also cause internal slippage within your barefoot shoe. In worst-case scenarios, doing so can throw off your stride and potentially open the opportunity for injury. Of course, the fit of the sock and your barefoot shoe also play a vital role in this situation.
Socks With Barefoot Running Shoes? Yes!
There’s a reason why many people choose to wear socks, whether it be when they run or are taking a walk. Much of this comes down to comfort and cleanliness.
Some of the biggest advantages of wearing socks with your barefoot running shoes include:
- Prevents shoes from smelling
- Reduces risk of chafing and blisters
- Keeps your feet warm
Sweat is the biggest cause of stinky feet. And let’s face it—runners sweat a lot.
As if it couldn’t get worse, your feet have thousands of sweat glands. When you mix in sweat-loving bacteria, the acid creates the stinky shoe odor we all know too well.
So, if you’re wondering do you wear socks with barefoot running shoes to prevent smells? The answer is yes.
Socks will decrease the amount of sweat that reaches your barefoot shoes when you’re running, helping reduce the number of odors they’ll emit.
Socks also prevent the possibility of chafing and blisters, situations that are all too familiar to runners. However, adequately fitted barefoot shoes significantly reduce chafing and blistering when you run without socks.
Finally, socks help to keep your feet warm. That said, since barefoot shoes are so thin, they’re no match for frigid weather, even if you wear socks.
Types of Socks for Barefoot Running Shoes
You now know that the answer to “Do you wear socks with barefoot running shoes?” is that it’s up to personal preference. So, let’s explore the types of socks you can choose from if you wish to go the sock route.
The different types of barefoot shoe socks include:
- Toe socks
- Full-sized socks
- Sock liners
Toe socks are just like they sound—socks that fit around your toes, no more. When choosing toe socks or socks of any kind, selecting a pair that fits comfortably in your barefoot running shoes without making your toes or feet feel too constrained is important.
Full-sized socks are another option, which covers the whole foot. These make them ideal for people who want to use socks to prevent chafing and blisters.
Finally, sock liners typically go over a full-sized sock. They can help keep your foot a bit warmer. However, they might create some extra cushion, which is what you’re trying to avoid by using barefoot running shoes.
Want to know more about barefoot running shoes? Check out what are barefoot running shoes now.