Post from: The Casual Runner.
From HIS perspective
When it comes to running gear, including socks, I like a minimalist approach: thin, light, low on the heel. So what did I do? I tried out the Swifwick VISION EIGHT TEAM sock, which is pretty much the exact opposite of my normal running sock. It is heavier and sturdier in its design and construction, and goes well above the ankle. So, needless to say, this product was likely going to fail big time when I tried it out…well, as Lee Corso likes to say…Not so fast my friend!
The Swiftwick VISION EIGHT sock is noticeably heavier and stronger (due to its incorporated compression benefits) than the socks that I am used to. I also never ever wear high socks except with formal wear like a suit or tuxedo, so pretty much the exactly opposite activities from Casual Running! So, when I first opened the socks, I worried that I was going to hate them. Abiding by the adage of never trying anything new on a long run, I decided to first test these socks out and break them in by wearing them around the house and just as “going out” socks, before taking them out with me on a run.
This was a big mistake, huge. Why? These socks were so surprisingly comfortable that I found that I loved wearing them any time. I serious loved them. The VISION makes an awesome casual sock with both sneakers and a wide variety of other casual men’s shoes. Because of this, every time I tried to test them out on a run, I found that they were in the laundry bushel because, well, I had to break them in before running in them, right?
Maybe I was getting a little carried away, but the socks were super comfortable, and, to my surprise, I found that the compression design allowed them to mold to my foot, ankle, and lower calf in such a way that they were not at all noticeable when I was wearing them around, even for long hours at a time. I could tell that these were good socks, even for someone like me who is not accustomed to wearing high socks. This is high praise indeed. More on actually, you know running in them below.
Who? & Where?
Like we always say, you need to find the gear that works for you. I did not think that these would be the socks for me, but I was surprised at how comfortable they were and that they actually did work for me. They work equally great for running, cycling, and just for going out for an evening (the benefits of them looking as great as they feel – they look good with a pair of comfortable jeans).
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?
There is nothing ugly about these, didn’t you just catch where I said that they have cool, modern styles and designs? They look and feel great.
So, since this IS Casual Runner, I figured I needed to actually run in these socks, and when I finally found a laundry cycle that allowed me to do so, they worked great. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I ran in a pair of socks that went above my ankle, but the fit of these socks was the perfect balance between form fitting and allowing my foot and ankle to breath so that I did not notice the socks at all. I took the socks out for several long training runs and did not notice any adverse rubbing or pressure from them…in fact, I did not notice them at all! That is probably the best thing that one can say about a great pair of running socks: if you can get up into the double digit miles and not notice them, then they are both well-built and doing their job well. And these socks certainly did their job very well.
Swiftwick promotes the VISION socks as being designed for both compression benefits and avoiding blisters, and I can see why they can make this claim. Again, the fit is everything with these socks as they succeed in wearing very comfortably in a variety of shoes and conditions.
The material is designed to be moisture wicking. During my numerous training runs, I did not notice any residual wetness on either foot. This tells me that the material performed as advertised, however, I must give a caveat to this I ran in cooler temperatures. As you may know, I sweat a LOT when I run. As such, at the end of my long summer runs and races everything, including my socks and shoes, tend to be soaked. Thus, I will be eager to see how these socks perform when I get to run with them in warm temperatures. Who am I kidding, as I sit here in the middle of an admittedly warm Ohio winter, I just flat out looking forward to being some place where I can run in warm temperatures!
As we always say, Casual Runners need to find the fitness gear that works best for them, and I am happy to say that the Swiftwick VISION EIGHT socks work for me. I am glad that I expanded my comfort zone to give these socks a chance.
From HER perspective
I have been searching for the right pair of running shoes for the past 6 months. I just can’t find what works for me, they all have something that causes me discomfort, especially on my longer Walt Disney World Marathon training runs (remind me: who thought that it was a good idea to enter the Goofy Challenge?). Since I cannot settle on the right pair of running shoes, at a minimum I need to find the right pair of socks. Let me stress that: I NEED to find the right pair of socks. If I am going to be annoyed by ill-fitting running shoes, I definitely cannot be bothered with socks that compound my annoyance.
I wanted to let the ladies know how these socks work for us.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?
To find a great pair of socks that works for me, I have a few simple criteria.
First, the socks have to be comfortable. If I notice the socks when I run, they will annoy me, which is no bueno.
Second, absolutely no blisters. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.
Third, wick away! I do not want my socks to make me sweat more than I already am, and I definitely do not want to have my socks be soaked at the end a training run or race.
Fourth, for a mid calf sock, will you please stay up on my calf? Every single pair I tried out falls down. Which, is not only annoying, but fails my first criteria (come on folks, that was comfort, please try to keep up).
Ok, so let’s see how the Swiftwick VISION EIGHT performs.
Comfort. The first thing you notice about these socks is how comfortable they are. From the minute I took them out of the packaging, and after several long training runs and several wash cycles, these socks were factory fresh and remained super comfortable on my feet.
Blister free! A result of the comfortable fit is that I did not experience any adverse rubbing and zero blistering. This is huge as, especially with the unique shapes of women’s feet, we all need athletic socks that conform to our body shapes without any bunching or pinching. These socks allowed my feet to breathe while providing great support.
Wick away! These socks worked as advertised. My feet were able to breath easily, which meant no weird sweating and my socks were relatively dry at the end of my runs…except for maybe some spilled sports drink, but that is bound to happen during training runs and races. And I doubt Swiftwick makes a sock that can stop us from spilling our drinks while we run.
THEY STAYED UP! Now this is the one I could not believe: mid calf socks that actually stay UP on your mid calf throughout the run? I know, what a concept! This may have been the best feature of these socks as they did exactly what they say they would. Do not overlook the significance of this point -not once did I have to stop to pull up a sock that was falling down my leg or have my stride impeded by ill-fitting or moving/dropping socks. I think this may be the highest praise I can give.
Fashion forward. Jennifer and Jake are not the only team members now who love running in costumes. Now that I know that Swiftwick has some great designs in a variety of colors, I know that I can play around with some combos that will work for future costuming ideas. So, watch out for those.
Needless to say, I liked these socks. They worked well for me and satisfied what it is that I am looking for in a quality running sock. Their quality is noticeable, and they stand up to abuse, both out on the running trails and in the laundry cycle. Now that I found socks that work for me, I just need to solve that shoe puzzle!
These posts originally appeared on The Casual Runner.