Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The problem of foot-chafe: solved.

The socks that will save the life of my feet. 

One major problem I've always had with distance running is what it does to my feet. In the past, I've been able to ignore the blisters, callouses, lost toenails, cracked and bleeding skin and prolific athlete's foot because as a teaching assistant at a four-year university, it wasn't often I wore sandals. Now, however, that I work in a clothing store AND I'm wearing sandals frequently, I've come to the horrific realization that my feet resemble something from a movie called "Swampman returns from parched desert" or photos a podiatrist might keep on his iphone of the very worst patients to remind himself of his luck in not having feet like that.

So I admit: I tried to ignore the problem. I'm not that vain, after all. But when my toenails started falling off in twos and my nail-less toes rubbed together to create geysers of blood, I thought it was time I sought out a possible solution to my problem of foot-chafe.

While at the Fleet Feet Store in Sacramento on J Street, I came across an odd sight: toe socks. But they were not your usual piggly-wiggly type made from sweater-like material, but rather thin like a running sock, but with material that separated each toe from each other. Like parents that bought 5 bedroom homes for their four-child household, I thought my problem would be solved by separating the offending digits (are toes called digits? They are like fingers, but on your feet?), giving each it's own little sock area. The salesman asked me, as I put them into my pile of purchases "You're going to run in those? Have you, before?"

I admitted I had not. But I was desperate, and not wanting to make the man throw up, I downsized the scope of my problems. "I just though they might help with blisters?"

"Well let me know how they work out for you." It was like the thing you say to someone who plans on diving out of an airplane with a new type of untested parachute. "Well, let me know how that works out for you," some skeptic might say, thinking if you come back at all, it's a good sign.

But I put them on this morning for an easy 12 miles down west shore. At first, I was conscious of a bit of pressure between my toes where they had previously been rubbing each other to a bloody pulp. But when I came home, there was no blood on my socks (a welcome sight) nor had blisters formed where they usually do.

And so-- I'm planning on investing in a few pairs. Besides, have you ever seen cuter running socks? I think not.

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