Summary List Placement Your feet carry you through every run you go on, no matter if it's a short, one-mile jog or a longer 20-mile outing, so it's worth it to pamper them with a reliable pair of running socks. The best socks offer support where you need it, help prevent blisters, and improve blood flow through your legs and ankles to keep you feeling fresh throughout. Our top pick, the Rockay Accelerate Running Socks, are durable, comfortable, and wick moisture away to keep feet dry and blister-free.
Running doesn't require much equipment. While fancy gear might make runs more enjoyable, some would argue all you need is a quality pair of runners. However, there's another key piece that shouldn't be forgotten: a reliable pair of running socks. These two pieces of running apparel work in tandem to keep your feet happy from heel to toe and as most runners know, happy feet make for a much more enjoyable run. You may think any old pair of socks might do but we strongly encourage you to try out a pair of running-specific socks instead. How to shop for running socks Since there are so many options, it's tricky to wade through what's available. Luckily we've done the legwork for you, rounding up a group of socks outfit with the features you need most. Before we get into our favorites, we've outlined what to pay attention to so your feet can meet their best match.
Material: One of the most important things to consider is material. Synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, and nylon are your best bet because they help wick away moisture and prevent blisters. A wool blend can also be a good choice to keep your feet warm and dry — especially if you're running in the winter. You'll want to avoid anything that's 100% cotton as it will only hold in moisture, making for very sweaty and uncomfortable feet. Cushioning: The cushioning and the thickness you desire in your running socks is a matter of personal choice, and luckily there are all types to choose from. Plenty of running socks are also designed to provide cushioning in places that are more likely to develop blisters. Height: The height of your running socks can be a matter of personal style, but it can also serve a more useful purpose. Maybe you're tired of chafing the backs of your ankles. Or maybe you've noticed that mid-calf ankle socks have roared back into style, rejoining us from the 1980s. Either way, it's enough reason to try out a pair of crew length running socks. On the other hand, if you prefer a subtler look, no show or quarter-length socks are also available. Specialized Features: Aside from the basics, there are also socks designed to meet running specific needs and issues. Compression socks are a good option if you want to improve blood flow through your legs and ankles, or you want additional arch support. If you're especially prone to blisters, some runners swear by toe socks.
We all tend to have strong opinions on which brands are best but it's important to note what works for one runner may not work for another. That's why we tried a variety of options perfect for a variety of runners. Editor's note: Click here for insight into our testing methodology. Here are the best running socks:
Best overall: Rockay Accelerate Running Socks Best tough socks: Darn Tough Tab no show running socks Best socks for comfort: Balega Hidden Comfort no show socks Best socks for cold: Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather mid crew socks Best socks on a budget: Saucony Performance No Show socks Best for blister prevention: Injinji Run 2.0 lightweight no show toe socks Best compression socks: Swiftwick Aspire Twelve Best stylish running socks: Zensah Limited Edition Running Socks
Updated on 9/28/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the section on how to shop for running socks, added a rundown to our testing methodology at the bottom of the guide, checked the availability of each recommended pair of socks, and updated the prices and links where necessary. The best running socks overall
The Rockay Accelerate running socks are comfortable, moisture-wicking, and made from durable, high-quality materials with a focus on sustainability. Running socks are the first product to be released from the Danish running company, Rockay, and after testing a pair of its Accelerate, I was immediately impressed. They're incredibly comfortable thanks to a blend of organic merino wool, polyamide, and elastane, and I appreciated the seamless construction. Its focus on using eco-friendly methods and materials is a nice touch, too. The blend of materials allows for impressive moisture-wicking capabilities to help prevent blisters. My first test run was on an unseasonably warm day but my feet never felt overheated and stayed dry throughout the run. Durability-wise, these socks wash incredibly well. As with most of my running gear, I try to hang dry everything since heat can damage the synthetic materials often used in athletic clothing. However, there were a few times these socks slipped their way into the dryer and I was pleased to find that their performance was unaffected. If you do have any issues, these socks are guaranteed for life, so you can receive another pair, no questions asked. Another positive of these socks is the support they offer. They have just the right amount of compression in the arch of the foot, providing a snug fit without being uncomfortable. This fit also prevents them from slipping around in your running shoes, so any rubbing that might cause blisters can be avoided. The Rockay Accelerate socks are available in multiple colors and range in sizes from extra-small to extra-large. A sizing chart is available to help you find the best fit, too. I felt that they ran just a tad bit smaller than true to size. Keep in mind that these will have a snug fit around the foot because of the compression arch, making them feel smaller than normal socks. While these are on the more expensive end, you're paying for quality and for socks that will last. Pros: Comfortable, durable, moisture-wicking, made from thoughtfully sourced materials, provide support where you need it most Cons: Expensive The best running socks for durability
The Darn Tough Tab No Show Light Cushion socks are durable, have a seamless toe for added comfort, and are made with merino wool and nylon blend that wicks away sweat to keep your feet dry. True to their name, these are durable running socks that get you through anything from a short jog to an arduous trail run. Every pair of socks made by Darn Tough is crafted in the United States in Northfield, Vermont, and comes with a lifetime warranty. These socks are thoughtfully designed to withstand some of the toughest sports, and it shows in the attention to detail given to the Tab No Show Light Cushion running socks. It's a wordy name but these socks live up to it. The no-show style is subtle and the tab provides extra cushion where your running shoe meets the back of your ankle to prevent chafing. Another winning feature? These socks are seamless, so your toes won't be subjected to any uncomfortable rubbing. As far as material goes, you won't find any cotton here. These Darn Tough socks feature merino wool blended with nylon and lycra spandex. You may think wool is only reserved for cold weather running but not in this case. These are all-weather socks that wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and blister-free. Wool also helps resist odor, so even after a sweaty run, you'll be far less likely to offend anyone when you take off your runners. These Darn Tough socks are available in both Men's and Women's styles and come in Small, Medium, and Large sizes that correspond with your shoe size. Pros: Durable, no seams for added comfort, wool and synthetic blend to wick away sweat, resist odor, all-weather appropriate Cons: Not many colors to choose from, can be expensive The best running socks for all-around comfort
The Balega Hidden Comfort No Show running socks have a seamless design crafted with synthetic materials and elastane throughout to make for a better fit and prevent blisters. Even if you've been running for a relatively short amount of time, Balega is likely a brand name you've heard. I own a few pairs of these socks myself and can confidently say these are some of the most comfortable socks I've ever worn. They've seen their fair share of runs but they've also been through trips to the grocery store, as well as some intense Netflix binge sessions on the couch. In other words, they're so comfortable you'll probably find yourself wearing them even when you aren't running. Each pair is carefully crafted to help runners perform at their best. The seamless design of the Hidden Comfort running socks reduces the friction that causes blisters. They have a reinforced heel and toe for increased durability and the top of the sock is constructed with mesh construction for extra breathability and comfort. These are no-show socks with a heel tab at the opening that makes them easy to slip on. It also reduces chafing and prevents them from slipping down into your shoes. The elastane provides added stretch and comfort, too. These socks come in sizes ranging from small to extra large. It's important to size correctly so you get the best fit and minimal slippage. There is also a fun variety of colors to choose from if you like to add a little flair to your running kit. Pros: Synthetic materials keep feet dry, mesh construction for added breathability, heel tab to help prevent slippage, seamless design, multiple colors to choose from Cons: Some reviewers reported slippage, they don't have targeted cushioning The best running socks for cold weather
The Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew socks are designed for cold weather running, with a longer length for extra warmth under your tights, and a wool blend that keeps your feet toasty and dry. If you live in a location where winters bring cold and snow, yet you don't call it quits on your running routine, you need a pair of running socks specially designed to keep your feet warm. Smartwool is known for a wide range of specialized socks and its line of cold weather running regularly receives positive reviews from runners who often brave the cold. These socks are mid-crew height, perfect for wearing under your running tights for added warmth, and preventing the cold ankles that often result from wearing no-show socks. It may sound silly but when it comes to running in the cold, every bit of skin coverage makes a difference. These Smartwool socks are made of 55% merino wool for warmth, nylon for breathability, and elastane for flexibility for stretch. They'll wick away moisture to help keep your feet dry and free of blisters. If you're afraid that warmth equates to added bulk, you won't have to worry in this case. The 200 needle construction allows for high density cushioning while keeping these socks lightweight. Smartwool designed the PhD cold weather socks in both men's and women's styles for a better fit and they come in small, medium, and large sizes. Unfortunately, you won't have many colors to choose from but in this case, comfort and warmth will likely be more important than style as you brave those chilly weather conditions. Pros: Wool and synthetic blend keeps feet dry and blister-free, mid-crew length for extra warmth, 200 needle construction for warmth and cushioning without the bulk Cons: Not many color choices, expensive The best budget running socks
The six-pack of Saucony Performance No-Show socks gives you the most value for your money and keeps your feet dry and comfortable. You've likely heard of Saucony, a brand known for its well-made running shoes. However, like many running shoe brands, Saucony also makes athletic socks geared towards runners. If you've just splurged on a new pair of running shoes and want to save some bucks, or you simply don't want to spend a lot on socks, these are a great option. For less than $20, you can get six pairs of socks, and having more socks means you'll be less likely to run out before having to do laundry. These socks come in plenty of fun color combinations and are available in both men's and women's styles. Unlike most others on this list, these don't come in multiple sizes but men's will fit an 8-12 shoe size and women's will fit a 5-10 shoe size. A heel tab helps prevent slippage and arch compression provides extra support. You won't find any cotton here, either, with all synthetic materials for sweat-wicking and comfort, and mesh construction for added breathability. These are all features found in a more expensive running sock, for a fraction of the price. As a more lightweight sock, these aren't recommended for winter running but otherwise, they'll do just fine at the gym, on the road, or on the trails. If you are looking for just one pair to try, you'll be out of luck as these only come in six-packs. However, for such an affordable price, it's worth it to try them for yourself. Pros: Affordable, synthetic fabric to keep feet dry and blister-free, heel tab to prevent slippage, arch compression for added support, comes in multiple colors Cons: Can't be bought in single pairs, non-specific sizing The best running socks for preventing blisters
With a place for each toe, a breathable mesh upper, and sweat-wicking materials, the Injinji 2.0 Lightweight No-Show toe socks are a great option if you're prone to blisters. These toe socks may look a little odd but as they say, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Having a place for each individual toe prevents them from rubbing together — one of the main causes of blisters. Injinji is a California-based company, with its roots in wanting to develop a seamless sock that allowed for more natural foot movement and toe splay. From this, the patented five-toe sock was born. In addition to preventing any skin-to-skin friction that causes blisters, the Injinji 2.0 is made from synthetic materials to wick away sweat and keep feet dry and comfortable. A mesh top also allows for more breathability. If you prefer the minimalist style of running toe shoes like Vibram's FiveFingers shoes, these socks also make a great liner for additional comfort. These socks perform just as well in traditional running shoes, too. The Injinji 2.0 is a unisex sock but it comes in four sizes: small, medium, large, and extra-large. Sizing is important here since these conform to every contour of your foot — toes included. While they may not be for everyone, if you've been in a standoff with stubborn reoccurring blisters, these socks may be just what you need. Pros: Individual toe coverage helps prevent blisters, Synthetic fabric to keep feet dry and comfortable, mesh upper for breathability, heel tab to help prevent slippage, come in multiple colors Cons: Can be tricky to put on, some reviewers couldn't get used to the individual toe style The best compression running socks
If you experience muscle soreness or shin splints after your runs, Swiftwick's Aspire Twelve compressions socks help reduce the pain. Swiftwick is a mainstay in the compression sock industry and its Aspire Twelve knee-high socks are perfect for the runner looking for more than just muscle relief, but shin relief as well. Made of 43% nylon, 11% spandex, and 46% olefin, not only do they offer supreme compression and a snug fit, but they wick sweat away, as well. This is especially useful for hot and humid summer runs. Running in these socks provides response lower leg support thanks to its minimal cushioning. They also function well to help recover after a long run or whenever you feel the muscles in your legs start to tighten up and feel sore. It's worth pointing out that these socks (as well as many similar compressions socks) aren't always the easiest to put on. We recommend reaching into the sock and pulling out the heel before putting your foot in and pulling the rest of the sock on. They're made to be really snug on your lower leg, so this isn't something that just needs to be broken in either. Aside from getting them on, the Aspire Twelve's perform well work wonders to help with sore muscles. They're a bit expensive at $30 per pair but most compression socks of this quality are hardly cheap. -- Rick Stella Pros: Promote blood flow and help reduce muscle soreness, olefin wicks sweat to keep your feet dry Cons: Expensive, hard to put on The best running socks for style
With a range of fun patterns to choose from, the Zensah Limited Edition Mini Crew-Length running socks allow you to show off your personal style without sacrificing high-quality performance. Just because you're decked out in running gear doesn't mean you can't make a statement. If you want to stand out from the pack, a crazy pair of running socks is the perfect way to do so, and the Zensah Limited Edition running socks rise to the occasion. Don't be fooled by the limited edition in the name. Whether you want to show some holiday spirit, or share your love for donuts, there are tons of fun prints, patterns, and colors to choose from. These socks look fun but when it comes to performance and comfort, things get serious. Zensah is a brand known for tight-fitting compression products but even if you aren't looking for compression, their snug fit keeps them from sliding down during your runs. They also have a seamless toe and a lightly cushioned sole for added comfort, and they're anatomically designed with a specific left foot and right foot fit. The nylon, spandex, and polyester blend allow for breathability and help these socks dry quickly, protecting your feet from any blisters. Silver ions in the material help keep any odors at bay. The mini crew height of these Zensah running heights makes them just tall enough to show off your chosen design, without having them take over your entire calf. They're available in small, medium, and large sizes that correspond to your shoe size. Pros: Tons of fun patterns and colors to choose from, comfortable, light compression for added support, moisture-wicking material to help prevent blisters Cons: On the expensive side How we test Each pair of running socks featured in this guide went through a series of on-foot tests to see how well they compared across these four categories: Fit and comfort, features, durability, and value. Specifically, here's how each category factored into what socks ultimately made this guide and what sub-categories we chose to spotlight:
Fit and comfort: Though fit and comfort could be two different categories, they're very closely related when it comes to running socks. You ideally want your running socks to fit snug enough to not rub inside your shoe (even if they get wet and want to start sliding around). This is as true for no-show socks as it is for both ankle- and shin-high options, too. The more comfortable and well-fitting a running sock is, the more enjoyable your running should be. Features: Using the term "features" to describe the makeup of a running sock may seem odd but different brands do include a variety of unique traits that make them more well-suited for different types of runners (and their needs). For instance, a brand like Swiftwick specializes in compression while Injinji's socks are geared toward reducing the development of blisters. Durability: No matter if you're a casual running or you're training for a marathon, your running socks will take a beating — and having to deal with holes forming or a sock tearing at its seams can be especially frustrating as you prepare for a run. Though we didn't push each pair to its absolute end, we did go on enough runs wearing each featured pair to get a reasonable idea of how long they'd last. Value: Value is the combination of each category above, as well as how a running sock's actual stick price factors into its worth. We do think that it's more beneficial to spend a little more on a premium product that's designed to last than to opt for a poorly-made budget option and have to spend that reduced cost more often.
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Summary List Placement Sheepskin boots are a favorite for their warmth and comfort, but they require...Summary List Placement Sheepskin boots are a favorite for their warmth and comfort, but they require maintenance to stay looking fresh over time. The good news is that there are several things you can do to treat stains and take care of odors from the interior. We've put together some tips and a list of products that make the cleaning process easier, including the Shacke Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Leather Brush and Outback Gold Wool Wash. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Ever since UGG boots hit the market, sheepskin boots have become a comfort icon. Made from real animal hides that have been tanned to create a softly-napped outer finish and finely sheared wool for the lining, they must be hand-cleaned and treated with care just like suede shoes and jackets. Some brands state that their shoes are machine-washable, but that probably means they're made from synthetic materials and not natural sheepskin. Whether you've just purchased new boots, or you're looking to get a favorite pair back in good shape again, here's everything you need to know about caring for sheepskin. What to do first when you get a new pair of boots: Most wearers begin to see signs of soil and staining after wearing the boots for just a few weeks, and the interior can develop some strong odors as well. To help prevent problems, here are three tips to keep the boots fresh longer. Use a stain-resistant and waterproof spray like Moneysworth & Best Suede and NuBuck Protector to coat the exterior before you wear the boots. Spray the sheepskin lightly and in layers, allowing each to dry before you apply the next coat. Wear moisture-absorbing tights or socks each time you wear the boots. This will keep the interior cleaner and smelling better. After each wearing, gently brush the suede with the Shacke Suede & Nubuck 4-Way Leather Brush to remove accumulated surface dust and soil. How to clean the outer surface of sheepskin boots: Eventually, your boots are going to need a thorough cleaning. To prevent spotting, you need a gentle leather and wool cleaner like Outback Gold Wool Wash and at least 24 hours to allow the boots to dry slowly. Begin the cleaning process by giving the exterior of the boots a good brushing to remove loose dust and soil. Wipe away any excess mud from the soles with a wet paper towel. Following the leather cleaner label directions (Outback Gold recommends one teaspoon per gallon of water), mix a cleaning solution with warm water. Dip a sponge or microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution and wring so that most of the water is removed. Starting at the top of the boot, wipe down the entire surface using gentle circular motions. Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently, as soil is transferred. Be sure to evenly wet the boot so that no streaking or water-spotting occurs. How to remove difficult stains from sheepskin boots: Even brand-new or freshly cleaned boots can get stains. Fortunately, you don't have to throw them out — there are a few things you can do if your boots become a victim of oily foods or salted sidewalks. Oily stains: Cover the oily stain with a layer of baby powder or cornstarch and let it remain on the stain for at least 24 hours. Brush away the powder and repeat until the stain is gone. Scuff Marks: Use an artist gum eraser to gently buff away the scuff. Take care not to rub too hard and always follow the nap of the sheepskin. Finish by brushing with a suede brush to lift the nap. Salt Stains: Mix one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and one cup of warm water in a small bowl. Dip a cloth in the solution and gently wipe the salt-stained area. Finish by dipping the cloth in plain warm water and wipe down the entire boot evenly to prevent watermarks. When the boots are dry, brush with the suede brush to lift the nap. How to clean the wool inside of sheepskin boots: Now it's time to clean and disinfect the interior shearling of the boot to get rid of bacteria and fungus that cause odor. For this, you will need a phenolic disinfectant (Lysol; currently out of stock) or pine oil disinfectant (Pine-Sol). Even though chlorine bleach is an excellent disinfectant, do not use it because it will cause the hide to stiffen and if too strong, the sheared wool will disintegrate. Mix a solution of the disinfecting cleaner and warm water following the label directions. Dip a sponge or microfiber cloth in the solution and wring until only damp. Wipe down the inside of each boot. If concerned about athlete's foot fungus, spray the interior with an anti-fungal spray. Now that your boots are cleaned inside and out, allow them to air-dry away from direct heat for at least 24 hours. Allowing them to dry slowly — that means no clothes dryer or hot hair dryer — will prevent cracking and damage to the hide. Join the conversation about this story »
I tried Adidas' reflective Boost sneakers designed for night-time joggers — here's how they've held up over the last year
Adidas launched a new sneaker designed for nighttime runners, aptly named the Nite Jogger. Inspired...Adidas launched a new sneaker designed for nighttime runners, aptly named the Nite Jogger. Inspired by a sneaker of the same name from 1979, today's version features a full-length Boost midsole, a cut-and-sewn upper, and plenty of reflective accents for nighttime visibility. Priced at $100-$160, the Adidas Nite Jogger is one of the most affordable Boost sneakers. UPDATE on 5/29/2020: It's been a year since I first reviewed my Nite Joggers and they're still one of my go-to shoes for working out. As Adidas continues to release more versions, select colorways can be had for less than the already-affordable retail price, which makes them a really great deal now. Running is often regarded as a sport with endless bounds. Requiring nothing more than the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet, and the path in front of you, it can provide an exhilarating sense of freedom. But for some, that freedom can be stripped away after sunset. City runners tend to reserve their strides for daylight for fear of not being seen. Visibility has always been a major concern for urban runners, so Adidas just launched a shoe to help solve their problem. Separated from the original 1979 Nite Jogger by more than 40 years of innovation, this updated Nite Jogger model is completely redesigned. It features a full-length Boost midsole, OrthoLite sock liners, and a mesh ripstop nylon, plus a combination of reflective accents for nighttime visibility. While I'm personally not a devout night-time runner, Adidas releasing an all-new Boost silhouette for $130 was reason enough for me to show interest in them. Having worn a handful of more expensive Boost sneakers including Ultra Boosts, Ultra Boost 19s, NMDs, and Yeezys, I decided to see how the affordably-priced Nite Jogger stacked up — and how it performed at night. First impressions The first thing that caught my attention was how great the overall style of the sneaker is. I'm constantly impressed with how Adidas can create all-new sneakers that are fit for modern times, but still pay homage to the brand's heritage. In contrast to most modern sneakers that use fused synthetic uppers and modern manufacturing techniques, the Nite Jogger has a cut-and-sewn upper that's reminiscent of 1979 version and other silhouettes from that era. While reflective accents have long been used on footwear, the Nite Jogger manages to use a lot of it without looking tacky. The signature Three Stripes, heels, lateral side of the toe box, and laces all shine brightly at night. What they're like to wear I've yet to come across a Boost sneaker that was uncomfortable and the Nite Jogger is no exception. However, the bottom is rather flat — similar to the NMD. I wouldn't say the Nite Jogger is as performance-based as the Ultra Boost, but at $50 less, it's also understandable. I still found them to be exceptionally comfortable and perfectly suitable for walking long distances, casual runs, and other activities that require you to be on your feet a lot. Although they're not specifically intended for strength training, I also found the flat bottoms to be a pretty sturdy platform for weightlifting. When I wear my Ultra Boosts in the gym, I sometimes feel myself balancing to compensate for the arched shape of the sole. They're an all-around good sneaker for training, but if you're specifically looking for speed and higher energy return when running, definitely go for the more expensive Ultra Boost. In terms of fit, I strongly recommend going with your true size. Adidas didn't have my true size available, so they sent me a half size larger and they're noticeably bigger than other Boost sneakers I've consistently gone up a half size in. If I were to buy another pair, I'll definitely go with my true size. If I were to buy another pair, I'll definitely go with my true size. My girlfriend, who has also worn a handful of Boost sneakers, went with her true size and was happy with the fit. Update after one year of ownership (May 2020) It's been about a year since Adidas launched the updated Nite Jogger sneaker and the brand hasn't let up on releasing new and interesting colorways. Now that some colorways are hitting the sale section of the website, you can get them for an even better deal. The pair I tested last year is still one of my go-to shoes to wear to the gym. They've held up well and are still very comfortable. My girlfriend is a registered nurse and wears her pair to work for comfort during 12-hour shifts and then to the gym at night. Even with long hours of wear, she still finds them to be comfortable. The bottom line For about $140 a pair, there really isn't anything to complain about with the Adidas Nite Jogger. It's lightweight, comfortable, and has a retro-inspired look that's still fresh and modern. Athletes who thrive at night, general comfort seekers, and people into sneakers strictly for style will all find great utility in the Nite Jogger. While it's not the very best performance runner from Adidas, it's definitely one of the best looking, commanding attention whether it's day or night. Shop men's and women's Adidas Nite Jogger for $100-$160 at these retailers: Adidas | Finish Line | Nordstrom Join the conversation about this story »
After reconstructive knee surgery, Hoka One One's supremely comfortable shoes gave me the support I needed to start running again
These lightweight Hoka One One Carbon X shoes have a cushioned, curved midsole that provides...These lightweight Hoka One One Carbon X shoes have a cushioned, curved midsole that provides extra padding for smooth, supportive runs. They helped me get back into pain-free running after going through ACL reconstruction surgery and a long road to recovery. Though my experience with them was largely positive, I did find the laces came untied easily and that they shouldn't be used for strength training exercises. Running shoes have seemingly morphed from purely utilitarian kicks to trend-setting fashion statements over the past several years. We've witnessed the rise of brands like Nike, Athletic Propulsion Labs, Yeezy Supply, and others that appear to be much more focused on style than function. Hoka One One, a French brand acquired by Deckers in 2013, has effectively bucked that trend. A noticeably clunky shoe, Hokas feature a signature style of cushioning that adds an extra inch or so of padding. However, the odd design appears to be working as revenue for the brand has grown 40% over the past three years, according to CNBC. With that extra padding comes added comfort, too. That's why I decided to try the Carbon X after I was cleared to run following ACL reconstruction surgery. The shoe is one of Hoka's latest models and is designed with a first-of-its-kind technology that hasn't appeared in other styles. During my eight-month recovery from ACL surgery, I missed running dearly. But I also wanted to make sure I treated my new knee gently as I got back to pounding the pavement — no minimalist running shoes for me, please. Plus, I've enjoyed one of Hoka's trail running shoes in the past, so I was curious to try this road-friendly style. A unique design The Carbon X is designed for competitions. In other words, it's built for both speed and comfort. Hoka's proprietary curved sole is called the Meta-Rocker, which essentially acts as wheels for your feet. The rocking motion is supposed to help propel you as you run, as well as reduce the impact of the start-stop motion that running puts on your body. Made of lightweight foam materials, the base provides added stability and a sense of responsiveness, in addition to the feeling of propulsion. The rest of the shoe is incredibly lightweight, with single-layer mesh allowing for breathability. There's plenty of room in the wide toe-box area, which also features carbon-fiber plates under the toe section to ensure a smooth stride. Overall, these Carbon X shoes aren't as bulky as other styles Hoka offers. I'd even go so far to say they're sleek, especially if you choose the black-and-white version. Additionally, I'm not going to complain about the extra inch of height it gives me. The perks If you've ever recovered from an injury, then you know that joyous feeling of being cleared to run again. With the Carbon X on my feet, my first runs post-surgery not only felt good but more importantly, they felt painless. Overall, I'm a big fan of the rocking motion this shoe provided. It powered me through my first few runs, both indoors and outdoors, and I felt like it helped me have a smoother stride and softer footfalls. Although the heels look like they're built up, the overall drop is minimal. This allows for a natural footstrike and a fluid transition through the stride. You don't have to only believe my glowing review, either. I asked Rob Watson, Lululemon Global Run Ambassador, and Canadian long-distance runner, for his thoughts on the Carbon X. He, like so many people, quickly became a Hoka fan the moment he laced on a pair. "I am indeed a recent Hoka convert to these weird-looking, yet effective shoes," Watson told Business Insider. "They are soft and supremely cushioned, as you can assume by the look of them, but they also provide a really smooth ride." While Watson said he's considering using the Carbon X as his racing shoes for a marathon, I don't have my sights set on any big races in the near future. Thankfully, they also double as my everyday shoes. They work well for wearing around town while running errands and are perfect for travel. On a trip to New York City, I wore them while walking up to 6 miles a day, and my feet never felt sore. The caveats The biggest issue I've had with the Carbon X shoes is its laces — they come untied far too easily. I've even double-tied them, yet they still come loose. Anything short of an actual knot and they're likely to come undone. Then there's the price. At $180, they are on the pricier end of the running shoe spectrum, though I do believe they're worth the extra investment. I've used them almost daily for roughly five months and they seem to be holding up quite well. The final drawback is that the Carbon X isn't a suitable shoe for strength training. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way while attending my favorite functional training class at the gym. During a lunge, my coach shook her head at my feet, which immediately made me think I was doing something wrong. "You're not doing anything wrong," she explained. "I just hate those cushioned shoes for strength training." Though the curved sole provides stability while running, it also causes instability during strength moves. Think about doing a lunge or squat. You're supposed to ground the sole of your foot into the floor but the padding prevents that from happening. My trainer explained that this causes the moves to be far less effective overall. Plus, it prevents you from strengthening the whole foot during these lower-body moves since your feet and toes aren't involved. The bottom line Whether you're a beginner, recovering from an injury, or a professional long-distance runner, I'd highly recommend adding the Carbon X to your running shoe arsenal. It's a lightweight and functional shoe that lets you feel like you're flying. While there are some slight drawbacks, the overall advantages of comfort and speed that the Meta-Rocker design delivers are well worth the price tag. Should you buy it? Yes. These shoes are great for long-distance runners, as well as anyone recovering from an injury. They're not just for training, either, as they work well as an everyday shoe and provide comfort all day long. What are your alternatives? The running shoe market is full of variety, though the closest competitor in terms of design might be Nike's newest running shoes. Featuring a similar amount of bulky padding in the heel, as well as a sort of pointed end, the shoes are designed for long-distance runners who want more responsiveness. Pros: Foam padding provides plenty of comfort, especially if you're recovering from an injury, Meta-Rocker design delivers noticeable propulsion while running, offers a smooth stride and soft footfalls Cons: Pricey at $180 and the laces come undone easily, even when double-knotted Join the conversation about this story »