Your feet do so much for you, but are probably the most neglected part of your body. For many sports, especially running, your feet hit the ground hundreds of time every minute. They are the first point of contact with the ground, acting as your very own shock absorbers. If you don’t look after your feet you are going to be stuck on the injury bench – no runner wants that. We have a guide to the best socks for running but that should be just the very start of your foot-care journey.
Some simple ideas to start looking after your feet are regular self-massage, or walking barefoot around the home to allow all the tiny muscles and bones to gain full range of movement. A quick, easy exercise to do is to kneel down on the floor with your toes tucked under for three deep breaths, to give the underside of your foot a deep stretch. This will also help improve toe-off. Stay kneeling and flatten your feet on to the ground, to take the stretch into your ankle and improve the mobility of this intricate joint.
These are my favourite products on the market to help you look after your feet better – think of these as a hug for your feet. I’ve written it from the perspective of a runner, but bikers, bike-packers, fast-packers and walkers: your feet need just as much love!
Enertor Running Insole
These feature shock absorbing PX1 technology, giving you up to 89 per cent more shock absorption to reduce impact to your feet, knees and hips
Use for: Preventing injury, exercise classes, running, sport, gym, HIIT
Reasons to buy: If you suffer from overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis or IT band syndrome, these are worth a try
First impressions when you unbox these insoles are that they are soft and light. The insole has a cushioned arch, perfect if you need support to stop pronation. They also feature a slightly raised heel to provide extra release to your calf muscles and not overstretch them. You also feel a midfoot pad that is designed to spread the forces of impact across your foot. You definitely get a sense of much more cushioning. Try taking them out to see the difference. If Usain Bolt loves them it’s a clue to their effectiveness. Easily transferable to any shoe and offering so much more support and comfort than the brand insoles.
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ankle Length Sock
When the weather is against you, these waterproof socks will give your feet extra protection from water, wind, mud, cold and blisters
Use for: Autumn and winter trail runs and races, hiking and backpacking, mountaineering, cycling, commuting and fishing
Reasons to buy: The three-layer construction has a waterproof hydrophilic membrane as well as a Merino wool interior, so your feet stay dry and warm
If you're a cross-country and trail runner you probably get to a certain time in the winter when you're fed up of having cold feet; getting waterproof socks can help to keep out the elements. These socks will keep your feet warmer than other socks, allowing you to keep going, especially if you normally suffer from cold feet. They are versatile; you will end up using them for lots of activities, so despite the initial outlay they quickly become good value for money. If you want to keep the winter weather out, these are the socks for you.
Superfeet Run Comfort Insoles
You might think an insole won’t improve your running, but once you’ve tried the Superfeet Run insoles you won’t want to run again without them
Use for: reducing foot fatigue while gaining efficiency
Reasons to buy: EVOLyte carbon fibre cap and two layers of AeroSpring Rebound foam combine to deliver exceptional comfort and smooth and efficient energy transfer through your gait from foot strike to toe off
Do you like the idea of giving your feet an extra boost with a more supportive, cushioned insole? Both men and women get specific fits from these insoles, all you have to do is trim them to fit your trainer. Under the heel part of the insole there's a carbon fibre stabiliser cap and this is solid to support you on impact. You quickly get used to the extra support given compared to the thin insoles that brands provide. Expect these to be thicker than your normal insole, to give you the benefits, so they may not fit into your race day shoes. However, get these into your every-day trainer to not only give your feet and joints extra support, but also to benefit from improved energy return on every stride. There are different models too from this brand, including an extra cushioned insole for high impact sports and a winter comfort one for warmth.
CEP Socks for Recovery
Boost recovery times with the CEP Socks for Recovery, which offer the benefits of medi-compression.
Use for: reducing recovery time between training sessions, with compression to boost circulation.
Reasons to buy: compression benefits to improve recovery time. Can also be used when travelling
The compression fit of the CEP Socks for Recovery aims to promote your circulation, helping to remove waste products from your muscles, speeding up recovery. Like all CEP products they are designed using a high quality fabric, that deeply hug your feet and all the muscles of your lower leg. They feature a thick footbed, as well as giving extra support for your Achilles and toes, making for added comfort while you’re running. If you are prone to injuries, these socks aim to reduce injury risk through medi-compression, and SMART INFRARED technology that uses your own body heat to stimulate recovery. They help reduce fatigue and swelling on injured areas such as ankle sprains.
Monkey Sox Classic X7 Sports Sox
• Buy direct from Monkey Sox for £16 (opens in new tab)
These are a bike, run, gym sock like no other, and are the perfect sporty gift too.
Use for: any activity when you want a bigger hug for your feet, and at the same time know you are making a difference to people who have MS.
Reasons to buy: Apart from the luxurious support and cushioning, this ethical brand donates 50 percent of profits to Multiple Sclerosis charities.
You will fall in love with your Monkey Sox and never wear another brand again. They’re latest release has all the features of their Classic X model including a breathable mesh upper, rib arch support, plated heel and toe and supportive 5 inch double cuff. Unique to the X7 model is the diamond cuff pattern, adding an extra edge to your workout in the peloton, gym or track. You‘re getting a cushioned footbed plus a breathable mesh to hug your tootsies. The toes and heels are reinforced, the deep five inch elasticated cuff keeps them in place, but the true beauty of this kit is how your left and right sock are designed differently, to mirror how the body acts and feels for sufferers of multiple sclerosis. Funky, soft, easy to pull on, and with compression benefits, they’re a great boost for your recovery too.
Nuasan Active Foot Care
• Buy for £29 direct from Nuasan.com (opens in new tab)
This naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal foot spray is scientifically formulated to eliminate bad bacteria and fungus that can cause foot odour, athlete's foot and toenail fungus.
Use for: cross-training and communal pools where there's an increased chance of picking up foot infections.
Reasons to buy: Instant three-way treatment for those embarrassing foot problems no athlete wants.
Yes, it’s a big price for a small tube but if you're unlucky enough to pick up athlete's foot or a fungus, Nuasan is worth it's weight in gold. Providing instant treatment, it also helps with foot odour and with 300 sprays per bottle, it'll last a lot longer than you might expect. Its natural active ingredients also improve the condition of your feet by removing dead, hard skin cells and improving the look of nails – and who doesn’t need the most help they can get to make their feet look their best. It’s obviously a good options for athletes who cross train and spend time in the pool, you just have to remember to put it on every time.
Skin Republic Foot Repair Mask
Too busy to look after your feet? Turn off your screens, put the kettle on and invest some time in your two best friends.
Use for: pampering your feet, especially after a marathon or other endurance event.
Reasons to buy: It's cheap and easy to use.
The Skin Republic Foot Repair Mask is essential skin nutrition for runners. This foot mask contains shea butter, ginkgo biloba, green tea, peppermint and seaweed to help intensely moisturise, soothe and soften rough, dry feet and heels. Simply tear open sachet and remove booties, place feet inside (taking care to make sure your foot is inside the inner layer) and wear for 15-20 minutes. Do it: you’re worth it!