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Review: Sof Sole Anti-Friction Sock

The Sof Sole Anti-Friction sock is a very good sock.  As soon as you put them on, you know you are wearing quality.  The socks are extremely comfortable just to wear around the house.  I found that he sock sizes run a little bit big so keep that in mind when purchasing the socks.

To learn more about Sof Sole, visit the company’s official site.

I wore the Anti-Friction socks on a mid-distance hilly trail run and they worked very well, with no slip or foot irritation.  They stayed right where I put them for the entire run.

Comfort and staying put is the name of the game in a running sock.  They  get a big pass for me.  The Anti-Friction socks are good for wearing around and running.  I love a sock that does not bunch up around the toes or heals.

The Sof Sole Coolmax Trainer sock does not look like a sock that I would buy.  It just looks thick and bunchy around the toes.  I put the socks on and was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they were.

I wore them around as day socks and took a light jog in them and they worked very well.  They are a definite step down from the Anti-Friction as running socks but they work well enough.  The Trainers also gave me hot spots on my feet while cycling.  That is no surprise since they are not cycling socks.  They will work great in the gym.

Double thumbs up for the Sof Sole Anti-Friction at $5.00 a pair.  It is a very good pair of socks for the money.
Thumbs up for the Coolmax Trainer at $3.33 per pair.

Note: I did not pay for these socks.  I will definitely buy the Anti-Friction socks if they are available the next time I buy running socks.  The Trainers are a very good sock but I can’t say I will buy them as I rarely buy that type of sock.

I went to the foot care lecture at REI on Saturday morning.  As you know, 11:00 A.M. on Saturday is a bad time for runners and a lousy time for cyclists.  Us runners are usually doing our post-run socializing until about 11:00 and the cyclists are right in the middle of their Saturday workouts.

The people training for a triathlon don’t even have a chance at making it.  I was there because an injury had me resting for the weekend.  Parking is also tough at the Berkeley REI.  There is plenty of meter parking around the store for $1.50 per hour.  The streets look a little rough but I have never had any problems with parking in that area.  Take standard precautions, I don’t leave stuff in my car.

Enough with the logistics,  I appreciate REI for putting on events like this.  John Vonhof knows his stuff and he has a good website .  John is not a podiatrist; he is a foot care specialist with a goal of keeping us moving on healthy feet.  When things go wrong, he helps us perform first aid and teach prevention techniques to keep us moving.  That being said, the lecture started with a talk about the benefits of shoe inserts.

He held up Superfeet in one hand and Sof Sole inserts in the other hand.  I am a firm believer in high quality inserts, and I think they help me keep my running mileage up.  I used to get all types of injuries before I started wearing inserts.  John pointed out the different types of inserts, shoes and feet.  We should try different things until we get things sorted out.

After insoles he moved on to talking about socks and blister prevention.  I found it interesting that he passed around some Injinji toe socks.  I used to get a lot of blisters on the hilly trail half marathons until I started wearing the Injinji socks.

He spoke about different types of socks and ways to prevent blisters.  One of the hikers mentioned using duct tape to help keep you going after a blister and for blister prevention in general.  John broke out some kinesiology tape and gave us some pointers on how to use tape to patch up our wounds and prevent injuries.  After primary prevention, he went on to discuss first aid for various injuries and types of prevention.  Visit his site for prevention tips.  It has a lot of good information for foot care.

I love to see companies like REI doing all of this community stuff.  These lectures are really informative and helpful.  REI is not a store where I buy running, biking or swimming stuff but they are a great store for warm stuff and stuff you want to try.  They have a good selection of electronics and are one of the few stores that let you return your electronics goods.  Sometimes, you can spend $500 for something and just hate it when you try it out.  Give their classes a try.  The free class was good.  I am thinking about taking the bike repair class for $150.  It seems like all of the pay classes are $20 less for REI members.  I wonder if the REI memberships cost $20?

Mike’s Note:  The street parking isn’t too bad in the immediate vicinity around REI, but don’t stray too far down San Pablo… parking in one of the residential neighborhoods can also be ideal.  Also, feel free to take a look at the REI membership perks, which should be great depending on your likelihood of shopping there.

Foot care for runners

Take care of your feet.  They are the first thing to hit the ground every step you take when walking and running. We tend to forget about our feet because they are way down there at the ends of our bodies.  Some of us can’t even see our feet when we start running.

I will start this article by talking about socks because they are the cheapest.

Socks are a really important items.  Poor selection can cause serious problems when the mileage increases.  A lot of people are used to buying socks in packs of 3 for about $5.00.  It can be a real shock to the system to go to a running and store where they cost up to $10.00.  Spend the money.  Most good running stores have them available to try on.

Socks come in all styles and varieties.  The best advice I can give you is to try them on in the store and see how they feel.  I never know if I will like a sock until I try it on.  I reviewed some SofSole socks here a while ago and I absolutely love them.  They are pretty cheap considering they’re running socks.  I gave some away to a couple of readers who loved them.  The main reason the readers loved them is because they moved up to the high quality running socks.  It makes a big difference.  High quality socks conform to the feet, have thinner seams and wick the sweat away.

Now that you have some good socks, lets support those comfy things with high quality insoles.  I can hear you out there now telling yourselves that you don’t need no stinkin’ insoles.  “You” may not need insoles but for most of us they really help.  Inserts help absorb the impact of the ground evenly to help keep the bone motion consistent in your feet.

I alternate running shoes.  One pair of running shoes has SofSole inserts and the other has SuperFeet insoles.  My every day shoes have Red Wing insoles that are placed into the oven to soften up.  Then I stood in them to have them conform to my feet.  It may take a bit of research to get the right product on your foot but the inserts are worth the effort as they put some personal customization to your running shoes.

Running shoes are usually the most expensive things on your feet and they should be replaced often.  I used to replace my shoes every 300 miles.  Now that I use inserts, I get 500-600 miles out of a pair.  Every now and then, I will get a pair that crashes with only 100 miles on them then I hate that brand until I forget about the crash.  My best advice for shoes is to go to a running store like Roadrunner Sports or Transports and have them put you on the treadmill for examination.  A couple of minutes on the treadmill will let you know about your running style and what type of shoes you should wear.  Most running stores have the shoes broken up by running style to make your selection easier.

Typically, I will buy my first pair of shoes at the running shop then go to a discount store to buy older models of shoes for my running style.  I don’t like to spend $150 for running shoes every 1-3 months.  If I could afford it, I would buy all of my merchandise from the running stores because they are so helpful.

On to hygiene – Keep your feet clean and your toe nails trimmed.  It is amazing how many bad things we can do to our feet that can have an adverse effect on our athletic lifestyle.  If you go to a gym, wear shower shoes that you clean often.  Let the shoes dry between use.  At the first sign of athlete’s foot, begin treatment.  Do not let it go until the skin starts to peel.  If you do get any dermatological problems with your feet, wash often and wear closed toe shoes as little as possible.  Treat blisters just as carefully.  When you trim your toe nails, get down there and get personal with them.

If you can’t reach your toes, take some yoga classes to improve your flexibility, then get personal with your toes.  Don’t just clip your toe nails and leave the sharp edges to catch on the next toe or to bump into the shoe.  File the nails down so they are nice and pretty.  If you are prone to blisters, try some athlete glide or Vaseline on the spot that is sticking.  Eventually your feet will get tough and you will get fewer blisters unless you try something new on a long run.  Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.

Stuff from Ted’s desk

This post is a list of things on my desk as I clean up.  First thing on my desk is my cool Vineman 70.3 medal.  Since I am so proud of it, I had Jasmin at Brazen Racing engrave the medal.

It took a lot of work to complete a half ironman triathlon.  I am proud of that medal.  Brazen racing charges $10 to engrave a medal at the race and $15 to engrave a special medal.  The price difference is because the machine is set up to engrave all of the race medals on race day.  Different medals require a different machine setup.  It also cost about $2 to mail the medal out.

Most of my medals wind up in a drawer.  Special medals make it to the wall.  Really special medals get engraved.

Strutz Sole Angel arch wrap with cushion support.  I am not reviewing these for an article but I love them.  I have high arches that can be protected with orthotics but it is really hard to get something for the metatarsal area up by the ball of the foot.  These things wrap around the foot and stay where you put them.  There is something about the feet that can cause the whole leg to ache.  These supports help alleviate that pain a little.

Arctic Ease.  Another one of those cool gadgets that work.  It is basically a gauze pad that you wrap around a sore part of the body and it magically cools it off.  I don’t know how it works but I know that it does.

When the wrap starts to dry out, you add a teaspoon of water and return it to service.  I don’t use it very often but it is nice to have in my work locker for when I get sore during my morning or lunch time workouts.  If you use seran wrap to hold it in place, your clothes won’t get wet.

Earbuds.  I had enough ear buds on my desk to fill up a zip lock bag and have some left over.  I only write about the stuff I like.  If I’m not a big fan, I simply tell the company and move on with life.  Mike’s Note:  I have some neat earbuds and audio products that should get some attention sometime here in the near future (hopefully).

Chap Stick Classic.  All people who spend a lot of time outdoors should protect their skin.  Soft lips and soft skin are important if you want to get a hug and a kiss.

I went to the shoe store with a list of running shoes designed for neutral runners.  It is a good thing I have a neutral gait because I have ITB issues that cause me to replace my shoes often.  I typically replace my shoes every 300-500 miles, which equates to  two new pairs of shoes every five or six months.  The internet is nice because you can do a search for the type of shoes you wear and quickly find a list of shoes.

Two of the shoes on my list to try were the Nike Zoom Vomero+ 5 and Asics Gel Cumulus 11.  I tried on the Nike shoes first.  When I put them on, they fit like nice goat skin gloves.  They were comfortable to walk around in before I tied them.  This was the shoe for me.  They were so comfortable, I had to smile.  I then took the left shoe off and put the old left shoe on to see how it felt against the new shoe on the right.  I noticed the outside of the right heel is really soft.  This additional cushioning is probably good for someone who does not have ITB issues.  I have ITB issues and this shoe would not last for more than 100 miles for me and it might cause my ITB pain to flare up.

After I tried the Nike’s out, I did the same thing with the Asics.  The Asics have a much stiffer outer sole.  That is good for me.  I then tried the Asics on one foot and the Nike’s on the other foot.  The Asics were the clear winner.

Overall thoughts for neutral running shoes:

Nike Zoom Vomero+ 5

  • Excellent fit
  • Excellent comfort
  • Good looks
  • Moderate price $100.00
  • Soft heel – not good for me

Asics Gel Cumulus 11

  • Good fit
  • Good comfort
  • Average looks
  • Low price $65.00
  • Firm heel – excellent for me.

Tomorrow is my last trail half marathon of the season.  As you may know, we have been testing various running stuff since the site went on line back in March.  After I packed, I decided to post what actually made the cut.  I am not advocating any one product over another.  This is the equipment that I packed for the race.  All of the equipment listed here passed the test.  The biggest surprises for me are the Athletes honey milk and the Timex HRM.  I wonder how that made the cut over the Garmin 405?  Tomorrows run is going to be hilly and tough.  It would be nice know how far and how high I went.

I will do this again for my next half marathon in October.  I wonder what will change?  I know the shoes will change as tomorrow is my last run in them.  I ran more than 600 miles in them and I am pushing my luck.  That may be the reason I am wearing KT tape.

Race Gear
Shoes Asics – T941N with SuperFeet green insoles.
Road ID on shoe laces
Socks – SofSole
KT tape for calf relief from plantar faciitis pain on my lower calf
Underwear – Jockey  polyester/lycra
Running shorts – Asics
Tight long sleeve under shirt – Enso
Short sleeve undershirt – PB pro
Long sleeve top shirt – Jockey polyester spandex
Heart rate monitor – Timex Ironman race trainer
Hat – Under Armor
Maui Jim sunglasses
Nathan water carrier
Casio  Exilim camera
GU roctane
GU gel

Post race gear
Torex ice packs
Dollar store compression sleeves for ice packs
GU gel
bag of pretzels
Fig Newtons
Hammer bar cashew coconut
Athletes Honey milk (Chocolate and honey)
Cytomax bottled recovery drink

Please forgive all errors and missing links as the editor is out of town for a wedding.