The Asics Kayano II Low Cut socks
First things first, they look cool and with a blend of nylons and elastane they feel high tech! Far more superior than traditional cotton socks that will leave you with painful blisters. I live in Florida where it's a blazing inferno most of the year, which means sweat. Lots of sweat on long runs, which means lots of Body Glide and good socks to avoid blisters. Reading over the features of the Kayano II low cuts, they fit the bill.
* Anatomically correct left & right foot construction and high-density cushioning.
* ASICS exclusive ankle fit
* ASICS Tiger Stripe Design (maybe they'll make me fast like a tiger?)
* Articulated arch band for better fit.
* Flexible horizontal lace pad cushioning
* "Y" heel gore for improved fit, reducing slippage
The first thing I notice upon trying them on is how snug they feel to my feet, almost like wearing a skin-tight wetsuit. There are no loose spots or extra clumps of fabric around my toes, heel or Achilles tendon. They just feel good.
The chosen test subject is a 4-mile race (yes, more to come on TallGuySurfing's return to running in a future post) called the Run to the Sun benefit for MDA. At the race start the air temperature is in the high 40s so my feet are a little cold for the first mile. This concerns me because I begin to fear that I may be developing a blister near my big toe and I'm uncertain if I'm just cold or something is going wrong in my shoes. After the first mile my feet warm up and feel fine. Throughout the race my feet feel snug in my shoes and I do not feel any slippage, discomfort or rubbing. I can honestly say these socks feel great. There are cushions near the edges of the arches in the socks, but not thick enough to interfere with arch support of my shoes. I have one collapsed arch and one high arch, but the socks fit both feet superbly.
After the race I give both feet a full examination. I'm one of those lucky people that rarely blister from running and I've never lost a toe nail, but occasionally I do get some raw and tender spots. With the Kayano II low cuts my feet pass the examination with flying colors. These socks rock! Seriously, the only con I can find is the cost. A quick search of Google "shopping" (since my socks were free) reveals an average price of $13.99 for only one pair. I'm relatively new to distance running, but I have extensively tried similar performance socks by Adidas and Nike and the Asics Kayano II low cuts blow them away hands down. The real test will be to see how they hold up over time. For the price I expect them to last at least as long if not longer than your average performance running sock. However, I will probably splurge in the future and buy a few more pairs.
If you feel like treating yourself to some higher priced socks I definitely recommend giving these socks a shot. They are probably worth the price if you are blister prone. I'm looking forward to wearing them on my next long run.