Sunday, May 15, 2011

Function or Fashion? Must I chose?

I am afraid that the socks take attention away from my super cute Run Momma Run skirt and Asics racers
I have been simultaneously intrigued and mortified as I watch runners with knee high socks out on the trails and roads.  These aren't the elite athletes mind you.  These are the everyday plodders, just like me logging training-miles in their own backyards.  There has to be something to be said for this compression-sock-fever that's spreading like wildfire.  Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, folks are wearing them.  There must be a good reason.  When I asked around and read up on them, I discovered that there indeed is a good reason for their growing popularity.  It turns out that these, albeit hideous-looking, socks are actually GOOD for you!

After struggling with foot and leg issues since I got into distance running three years ago, I was intrigued with the fact that a pair of socks, (SOCKS people!), could "increase circulation to move old blood out and new, oxygenated blood into the region to reduce muscle fatigue, minimize swelling and speed recovery."  (Saucony package) That's a lofty promise Saucony, but I'm willing to give it a try.  I want to keep my feet and legs healthy and happy.  If it takes a silly high-priced sock to do it, so be it.  What do I have to lose?

My latest running geek purchases: Saucony Elite Compression Sock and Asics Trabuco Wool elite performance sock

Well, that brings me to the mortification part of my story.  No, it's not the price tag for the Elite Compression Socks with Graduated Compression Technology that I purchased today.  Nor is it the wordless laundering instructions that comes with these socks.  Okay, I understand that the iron symbol with the X through it means no ironing my socks.  But really, who irons their socks?  Nevermind, I don't want to know.  The 30 degree Celsius symbol means wash in cold.  That leaves three of the five listed symbols on the package that I don't understand.  What does the striped triangle mean?  How about the the box with the circle and dot in the middle?  What's up with the circle with the angry X through it?  Okay, enough with the stupid laundering instructions already!  This piece is about socks.

Washing instructions. I don't get 'em. Do you?
What is it about these socks that I find so mortifying, you ask?  Wearing them in PUBLIC!  They aren't cute and when it comes to clothes, I like cute. I know, I live in Eugene where us down-to-earth folks are supposed to be above fashion.  It's all about function, right?  Well, I tried. I really did.  Peasant skirts, podiatrist-endorsed clogs and sandals, batik, tie dye, world-beat patterned clothing, hair where it naturally belongs on one's body and face, in it's natural color and natural state of curl or degree of straightness.  Been there, done that and am done with that.  Don't get me wrong; it's fine on other people.  In fact, I admire people who opt for function, frugality and political statement over fashion statement.  I just can't do it anymore.  It's not me.  I like cute.  There, I said it.  I like cute dang-it!  I like cute AND I'm a feminist!  I can be both; so there!  Wow, I don't know where that came from.  This piece is about socks.  Let's get back to socks.  I'm coming to realize that socks might be worthy of more attention than I've previously given. 

Here's my news breaking report on my spiffy new socks.  I've been wearing them (around the house or under my long fleece pants mind you!) for the last four hours and must confess that they feel absolutely delicious.  My legs are all warm and fuzzy.  As if they've returned to the womb for some loving.  I thought they would feel super tight but the compression is just perfect.  Not in the least bit constricting but rather rendering a constant gentle squeeze from my toes to my knee caps.  I like the feeling quite a bit.  I can feel the compression technology's healing properties on my legs.  I'm thinking my whole body should be encased in it!  Bring in the oxygenated blood!  I need oxygenated blood!  Okay, this is what a rest day does to me.  It makes me CRAZY!  It's getting close to bedtime and I really don't want to take my new socks off.  I love them.  I have the sinking suspicion that the function of these socks will override the fashion-faux pas element,  much like my Dirty Girl Gaiters, arm panties, ginormous Garmin 405 watch and bright blue lock laces. 

Ready or not, here my compression socks and I come!

1 comment:

  1. Aha! Now I know who bought the last pair of socks I wanted to get yesterday! With all my calf problems of late, I figured it was high time I try them. Will I double mortify you if I wear mine when we run together? By the way, you are indeed the cutest runner I know, with or without pink skirts and knee-highs. Oh, and I think that upside-down triangle with stripes on the washing instructions means don't wash them in a nuclear fall-out shelter. See you on the trails, cutie-pie!