Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drymax Socks

For those in the running industry, Drymax Socks are a well known brand and often endorsed by elite athletes running some serious races. In fact, it was because of these prominent ads and frequent endorsements (you can see ultrarunning phenom Andy Jones-Wilkins in his Drymax ad here) that I bought a few pair to try out myself. I figured if they were half as good as these people say, then they may work for me.

Turns out they didn't work for me. At all.

Now before you completely dismiss my opinion as sacrilege, keep in mind that this is my opinion. And even though I'm a bit picky when it comes to socks, I did give them an honest try. In the past I've had issues with my feet. In fact, I still do to some extent. Specifically, my big toes do not bend at the knuckle. They bend at the ball joint, but not the knuckle. No idea why. They never have as far back as I can remember. Then there's the toe next to the big toe. Those are the ones that have given me issues since I've started running longer distances. And like most distance runners, those issues manifest as black toenails. Over time, I've treated my toenails with clippings, trimmings, filings, more trimmings, and even one instance of pulling the dead nail out with pliers. Yuck. While trimming has helped, the best treatment for me has been larger shoes.

In addition to the bad toenails, I've also struggled with blisters. It wasn't until months after my worst blister incident (which was also my first ultra race) that I realized that my socks were causing the blisters. I used to wear Asics socks primarily because they looked cool and my local running store had them in stock. It turns out they were probably the worst socks out there to wear. After I came to this realization, I began searching for the best sock out there. I settled on my Saucony socks just because that's what I had and they seemed to work.

Turns out, they've been the best so far. Yes, it's already been proven that I'm a Saucony snob. But really, check your running socks. Turn them inside out and look at the seams. Those seams on the Asics socks are what gave me blisters. The Saucony socks didn't have any. And the Drymax socks? Well, I ran into different issues with them.

Yep. I got a hole in them. From my big toe. On both feet. On all pairs. Over the course of a few months. Now, surely it looks like I need to trim my toenails, right? Only a toenail long enough and sharp enough could slice through a sock like that, right? Wrong. My toenails are trimmed on a regular basis. I've learned from my black toenails that if I don't trim them, I'll pay for it. Dearly. And while the nail may be sharp, they've never cut through my Saucony socks. Nor my Asics. Not even my junky Champion socks. Must be the sock.

As further proof, the heel portion of the sock is wearing thin. Already. I've had a pair of bamboo Feetures that have done the same thing but that was over a year of wearing them. But from wearing socks a few months, I'd never expect to have the fabric wear so thin.

If you're curious how much I've worn the Drymax socks, it has been as much as my other socks. They received no special treatment beyond an extra run or two in wet weather to test how they handled moisture. I've done blazing hot summer runs to cold winter runs. I've done bone dry runs to full immersion in water runs. I've worn a variety of shoes, run on a variety of surfaces, and have not modified them in any way. And despite all this, the socks failed me.

I think what bothers me the most about this is that I really, really wanted them to work. I don't know if it was the "cool" factor of wearing the same gear as the pros or just finding a sock that was super awesome. Regardless of wanting them to work, they didn't. And as much as I hate to write a bad review of a product or company that has a large following, I feel it is my duty to report the truth. No lies, just facts. So I will be ditching my Drymax socks once they wear out. Like my Feetures though, I'll find a good use for them. From sun glass storage to headlamp storage, I'll find something for them to do besides go in the trash.

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