Despite the advice never to use an item for the first time in an actual race scenario, I put the Drymax Trail Running Socks – 1/4 Crew High socks to the test, at the 36.5 mile Speyside Way Race.
For long distance runs I always lather my toes in Sudocreme. However, thanks to some information obtained initially from the blog of fellow SUMS runner Silke which was confirmed by Keith from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com, I knew that you should use no lubricant at all.
“Vaseline or other lubricants or powders actually create a barrier between the sock and the skin. In this case they inhibit the Drymax fibres from working to their full potential. This is why Drymax recommend not to use them.”
To be honest, I was sceptical! However, I broke with my usual race ritual and opted for the 1/4 crew sock, a high density protective padded sock, with no lubricant on the feet at all. Just in case of any problems, I put a small tub of Sudocreme in the second of my checkpoint drop bags.
Talk about putting the socks to the test! The Speyside Way Race Race Directors advised runners to use trail shoes via Facebook as large parts of the route were very muddy. Torrential rain overnight merely added to this. As a result, the first 12-13 miles of the route alternated between a mud fest and a river, making for a tricky, testing start to the race. There was no way anyone’s feet were staying dry today!
As I found my feet totally submerged for the first time, I have to admit that I feared the worst and that my break from the convention of not testing new gear in a race situation was going to cost me dear.
There was, however, something different about the feeling in my feet. The feet were being soaked continually but there were no signs of aggravation or hotspots.
36.5 miles later I was relieved to cross the finish line in this, my 7th and final ultra of the year.
Removing the socks, I was delighted to see that they passed the litmus test, with flying colours. Not a single blister! My feet also looked a lot drier than usual and especially so given the conditions.
So, no faffing around with lubricant, 36.5 miles run, many of which in soaking wet, muddy conditions, and not a single blister. I will most definitely be adding to my ‘collection’ of 3 pairs of Drymax socks. A definite success and I can see now why they are held in such high regard Stateside.