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Socks Vs No Socks | What To Wear For Triathlon


– Working out what to wear in a triathlon race can be tricky. There’s so much more to
consider than just your trisuit. Well, I’m going to be opening up that age old debate of
socks versus no socks. So in this video, we’re going
to be looking at the pros and the cons and comparing
different race styles to help you decide which
side of the line you sit. Now, if like me, you come from a running or a cycling background, the thought of doing
that sport without socks might seem incomprehensible, not just because of the comfort level but also the unwritten
rules of that sport. But don’t worry, you’re
doing triathlon now, so you can throw those rules away. (whooshing) (upbeat music) OK, let’s start with socks
and the pros for wearing them. Well, the obvious is, they feel good. Putting on a brand new
pair of colourful socks has gotta be a good thing. And they also act as a barrier between your foot and your shoe. And if you do go for
a sport specific sock, they can even add that bit
of support to your foot. Wearing the correct pair of socks can reduce the risk of blisters
and prevent any hot spots, especially when it comes to running. And talking of hot, if you do
have the right pair of socks they can actually help your feet keep cool and vice versa you can get socks that are specialised to
keeping your feet warm if you’re competing in
really cold conditions, so they don’t turn to ice
blocks on the end of your legs. But going back to the heat, if you get that burning feeling
on the soles of your feet when you’re doing a long run on asphalt, certain socks can also reduce that. OK, I’m probably starting to
show where my allegiances align but it’s time to look at
the cons for wearing socks. Obviously, in triathlon,
time is of an essence. When it comes to transitions, you don’t want to be losing
those valuable seconds of having to dry your feet, trying to squeeze your toes
into well fitting socks and it also takes a lot of effort, you might even find if
you’re out of breath that you need to take a rest
and sit down to do this. And finally, if you’re
racing somewhere that’s hot and it’s a long race, you’ve got to think about those tan lines. It might seem like a badge
of honour at the time around your triathlon friends, but when you come to a party and you want to wear a nice dress, those tan lines mid calf
are not gonna look good. (beep) OK, maybe I was talking to
our female viewers there. Right, now it’s time to look at no socks and pros of going with that. Well the obvious one comes
to speedy transition. Now this is especially
important if you’re racing in a draught legal triathlon and you’re trying to make the
bike pack out of the swim. Now there’s no point in
having comfortable feet with your socks on if you
can just see the lead pack disappearing into the distance. But, it also looks like you mean business. It’s a sign of a tough
triathlete going without socks. And then finally, as
I’ve already mentioned, If you’re racing somewhere hot, you’re avoiding those awful tan lines. OK, you didn’t think I was gonna forget about the cons did you? Right, here we go, top of the list, or top of my list anyway, is comfort. Even if I have to wear my trainers without shoes back from training because I’ve forgotten
to take a clean pair, they start to feel a
little bit uncomfortable. And that horrible feeling
of sticky clamminess inside your shoe just isn’t nice. And talking of discomfort, unless you have a pair of shoes that fit
absolutely perfectly, then you’re gonna start to get blisters and rubs pretty quickly. Also, if you’re racing in
poor weather conditions, your feet will get cold much faster. And finally, a point
that maybe not all of you will agree with me on, you don’t get the chance
to brighten up your kit with a pair of nice looking socks. (upbeat music) So we’ve looked at the pros and the cons, it’s now time for you
to make that decision. But, there are a couple of other factors you might want to consider
such as the race type. For example, if you’re
doing a draught legal race then you’re not going to want to risk wasting any time in transition. And then you’ve got the distance
of your race to consider. The longer the race, the smaller the ratio
of transition will be and the more important comfort becomes. But, if you look at the pros, you’re not gonna see anyone
racing Olympic distance or less bothering with
socks in their transition. But then if you look at the
70.3 or middle distance races, you’ll see a mixture amongst the pros, some choosing to wear socks and some not. And then for the full distance,
the majority will wear socks at least for the run, but some
of them even for the bike. We’ve already covered the race conditions, but don’t forget that socks
can play an important part in keeping your feet warm or cool whichever it is you require. And it’s especially
important when it comes to the longer distance racing. And another area that’s worth mentioning, is socks for aero or compression gains. Now recently, we saw pro
triathlete Lucy Charles using aero socks on the bike leg in the Ironman South Africa. Now, if you think the
gains of wearing aero socks will be bigger than the
time it will take you to get the tight fitting
sock on in transition, then it’s something
definitely worth considering. And, a lot of triathletes
do use compression socks. If you’re one of those people, just remember you can’t wear
a full sock for the swim. If you’re gonna use calf
guards and it’s a wetsuit swim, then you can put them on underneath and you won’t waste time in transition. But, if it’s a non-wetsuit swim, or you do what to wear
a full compression sock, then you’ll need to consider
the time it’s gonna take you to put it on compared to the benefits you’ll have from wearing them. Finally, you need to decide whether you’re gonna use
your socks for the bike and the run or just the run. And this will also dictate
what type of sock you choose. (upbeat music) It’s time for tips. We’ll start with socks,
now it might sound silly but you need to practise
putting on your socks fast. And there is a certain knack to it. Some people will roll their
socks down in preparation. Others will fold them. It’s a personal preference. And then if you’ve got
socks that are specific to a left and right foot, make sure that you put them in or on the correct shoe to
save time in transition. And finally, there’s nothing wrong with wearing new socks on race day. But don’t experiment with
a new style or design unless you practise first. If you’re racing with no socks, you’re going to have to do some training without them as well. Now this is to get your
feet used to the feeling and they will start to
get a little bit harder. And if you have different
shoes for racing. Make sure you do at least a
couple of sessions in those. And you’ll start to identify any hot spots or areas where they might rub. And then before your race, you can put a little
Vaseline on those spots and that should help reduce
the chance of getting blisters. And then in T1, you can
have a towel ready to help dry your feet very quickly. Pop some talcum powder inside your shoes and that will help your feet slide in and also a little bit of
lubricant, such as Vaseline, on the heel just to help with
the ease of getting them on. Now you can also get some
more race specific shoes for triathlon which might
be worth considering if you’re sure you want to
do longer distance races without socks as these could be a little bit more comfortable and sometimes even have
an extra inner layer. Well, that should have helped you decide which side of the fence you sit on. Are you socks or no socks? Do let us know which you choose and why. And you probably guessed by now, that I’m a strong advocate
for wearing socks. And that is partly because
I came into triathlon starting off with the
longer distance races. But, I do have my first ever
sprint triathlon coming up. So it’s probably time I dip
my toes into going sockless. Well, if you’ve enjoyed this and you want to catch
more videos from GTN, just hit the globe to subscribe. And if you want some
similar race day hacks, we’ve made a video on that just here. And I also made a video
recently on how to run in sand and that’s just here.

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