Sole Search: The Best Walking, Running, and Hiking Shoes
You may treat them like an afterthought, but socks can make the difference between a smooth ride and a sore one. First of all, the right pair can help prevent blisters, says running coach and physical therapist Bruce Wilk, director of Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists in Miami. According to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, nylon blends are best for beating blister-making friction -- 100 percent cotton is the worst. Pick pairs that are made with technical fabrics like Coolmax or ClimaLite, which wick away sweat, Wilk says. Also, they should come up higher than your shoes, especially behind your ankle, and stay put. Extra padding -- double density in strategic places like the heel, arch and forefoot -- can help cushion impact a little and fill out looser areas in your shoe. Stretchiness around the arch allows your foot to contract and expand naturally as you stride.Editor-Tested: TLC for Tootsies
Running/Walking: Asics Hera Bamboo Low Cut ($12, asics.com for stores)
Trail Running: Smartwool PhD Trail Run Mini ($17, smartwool.com)
Light Hiking: Bridgedale Bamboo Lo ($14, www.garmontusa.com)
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