You're getting dressed for a fun day on the links: Collared shirt, tailored shorts, fresh spikes in your golf shoes. But when you go to grab a pair of socks, you suddenly have a thought. Does the type of socks you wear make any difference to your golf game, or can you just put on any old crew or athletic socks?
Turns out that the socks you wear can make your day better by providing arch support, keeping your feet dry by wicking away sweat, and preventing blisters that can make your round turn into a painful trek -- even if they can't shave any strokes off your score:
The Right Padding
Naturally, you want padding on the bottom of your sock to help you walk those 18 holes without aching feet. And while your run-of-the-mill crew sock lacks this feature, it's readily available in a number of sports socks.
But you also want to look for a golf sock with padding in the Achilles area, above the heel of the foot. That's because that spot tends to blister from newer golf shoes that aren't broken in.
As well, if you're choosing low-show or no-show socks, this added padding will help keep the sock in place, so it won't slip down into your shoe and bunch up. This also helps reduce your risk of getting a blister.
The Right Support
Playing in a tournament? Planning to walk all 18 and forego the cart? You'll definitely want to have a pair of socks that offer more support. This comes in the form of a tighter weave that incorporates elastic along the arch.
Take a page from the runner's handbook here; what's good for a person running several miles with sweating feet will work equally well for a golfer walking the 3 to 6 miles of an average golf course.
The Right Material
Not all athletic socks are constructed out of the best fibers to meet your goals. Here are some of the more common options and whether or not they are good for golf.
- Cotton. Skip cotton socks on the course. They absorb sweat and lose their shape quickly.
- Nylon. These are more durable than cotton but they also absorb water.
- Polyester. A better choice for moisture wicking water away from your foot.
- Wool. The thickness of wool can be helpful for padding, but it also absorbs water. Some golf socks on the market are made with a blend of Merino wool that is superfine for softness, holds its shape, but isn't too hot and absorbant; these are among the best on the market.
- Acrylic. Warmer than other choices, if that's what you're seeking on those cold, rainy days where you're trying to sneak in a quick round. They also wick water away nicely.
- Olefin. You probably know this as Coolmax, and it's great at wicking water away. Also a bit more spendy, but generally a good choice.
There are several more materials that can be used in socks, and some of the best athletic socks are a blend of fibers.
What About Compression Socks?
You might have found tight compression socks in the sports store or athletic section. Will these be desirable for golf? Probably not. There are two good reasons to wear compression socks:
- Increases blood flow. This is great if you're running a road race, not as necessary for the long slog of a golf round. You don't need to be faster (unless you're a poster child for slow play, but that's another story) and you aren't concerned about leg muscle fatigue.
- Improves muscle vibration. Striking the ground while running essentially jars the muscle, along with the tendons in your leg. You won't be running on the course, so compression isn't necessary.
There are some good reasons to wear compression, such as providing support for your calves. As a golfer, you're likely better off getting leg compression sleeves and padded, golf-appropriate socks rather than a long compression sock.
One final word on choosing your footwear: Really good golf socks don't come cheap. You'll be shelling out between $10 and $20 for a pair with all these features. The good news is that these socks are both comfortable and durable, meaning they'll wash well and hold up to repeated jaunts around the course.
Contact a company such as The Golf Guys to learn more.