Do You Wear Socks at Transitions?

To wear, or not to wear socks, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the feet to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous blisters,
Or to take arms against a sea of bubbles
And by opposing end them. To bike—to run,
To chafe no more; and by a sock to say we end
The foot-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That our heels are heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To bike, to run;
To Tri, perchance transition—ay, there’s the rub:
For is a slow T1 best for the race to come?

-Triathlete Hamlet

Ah, Triathlete Hamlet – one of my favorite plays. Personally, I like wearing socks when I bike or “run,” but it seems like socks could add a lot of time to transitions though potentially save time later in the race by adding comfort. So I’m curious, what do you do? What would Triathlete Hamlet do??? Feel free to elaborate in the comment section.

Categories: Polls

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23 replies

  1. It depends on the distance. I wouldn’t waste the time for a sprint.
    My heels got a little bloodied when I went sockless for my first olympic distance tri last year, so I’d maybe consider socks if I do that length again. I’d probably forget to put them on anyway!

    • That is good advice, do you practice sockless before race day or go right into it?

      • The first tri I did was a sprint and I think I just went with it. I couldn’t be bothered to deal w/socks! I would try riding w/o socks a couple times. As long as you wipe your feet a little at transition, you probably won’t have any trouble – less movement so less chafing. Running is more of an issue. One tiny grain of sand and you end up bloody and uncomfortable. But you’ll look tough! Good luck. You’re getting a lot of advice – you’ll have to play around and see what feels right and works for you.

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to respond (again)! I cannot believe the amount of good feedback I’m getting here and it’s really neat to see where ppl are coming from and why. Before these comments I wasn’t thinking about weather, sand or even t2 vs t1. I’ll try both ways and make a decision based on practice. Thanks for your help and experience!

  2. I am in the same boat. I prefer socks for running and biking, but the problem I have is that I like thinner socks for biking than I do for running. I am thinking about trying the superfeet elite socks and see how they work as they look comfy for riding and running. Heck, its the first one, so do what works for you in the end and don’t worry, its going to be your best time no matter what.

    • What makes the super feet elite stand out? I guess I never thought about sock thickness between biking and running before, but I get it. I’ll probably wear socks in this first tri and think about sockless in a subsequent one.

      • In my running socks I like some support and cushion. In my bike socks I like them thin. I like both to fit my feet snugly and good at wicking sweat. The elite are thin, but provide comfort and support, it’s sorta like a crossed between the best of both worlds. They are too expensive for every day socks. One problem they can cause is that they are for specific. I have tried them biking and running and they felt good for both. I am prone to blisters so it’s socks for me.

      • Oh, that sounds like a good compromise! How expensive are they?

  3. Always socks for running. Whether I put them on in T1 or T2 will depend on the temps. Cold bike leg? I’ll take the time in T1 for socks. Warm temps? I’ll save the socks for T2! –Kendra

  4. Never wear socks in triathlon races, ever. I have race shoes that I use on the day, that are designed to be worn sock less. My bike shoes are fine with or without socks, actually better without. If its cold, i use toe covers on the bike shoes. Socks waste time!

    • I have to ask how you know you have the right fit with the race shoes? Do you get to test them at all beforehand? Are they good for a certain number of miles? The toe covers are a great idea too. What kind of shoes are they? Would you give that same advice to a first timer?

      • How do you know the right fit? In general bike shoes are one size smaller than regular shoes. The reason is you must have NO space in the shoes, they should be a snug fit for the feet, with absolutely no room for any movement in the shoe at all. I tried them on in the shop sockless. Have always had same bike shoe size since, even in different bike shoe makes. You are simple cycling in the, so as long as the foot is snug and solid with no movement inside the shoe, there is no need to test, after all, you don’t walk about in them do you? You just need to make sure that there won’t be any slippage in the gyroscopical effect of pedalling, which would lead to blisters.

        My first triathlon bike shoes were sidi T2, I now use mavic Tri helium. Both fabulous shoes. You couldn’t go sockless in races unless your shoes were Tri specific because you wouldn’t be able to get them on while on the move, which would make the whole sockless idea pointless if you had to stop to put shoes on!

        Would I advise a newbie do that? No. Mounting on the move is a skill that requires practice. Going sockless is usually a choice made to save even more time, and at the beginner stages this is less important.

      • Thank you for making the time to answer all my questions, there is so much information in your response! I will be coming back to this post as I progress. Thanks!

  5. Interesting question and post. Before the cold weather decided to stay, I started expirementing with no socks and quickly realized if I’m going to go this route I need to gradually introduce it as I could feel every little rub after only a short mile run. I would never recommend someone make this a race time decision as you’ll definitely pay for it during the race and for days to come.

  6. I would never do a tri without socks. It’s not worth taking the chance of blisters and a ruined race. It only takes a few seconds to put on socks, not like it’s really going to make a difference. My first tri, it was pouring a cold rain and I actually changed my socks at T2…

  7. I wear socks and pedal and run like hell to pass those that go without. 😉

  8. So I just voted for socks, as I have to wear socks so my orthodics don’t slip. But if you can stand the smelly shoes, I would definitely say no socks. They are the slowest part of my transition.

    • I know I’m still a few months out, but for the first tri, I’m planning on wearing socks and then I think I’ll try no socks for my second tri – but I have to practice without before race day. As for the smelly shoes, I should be okay – my best friends family was big into hockey and nothing compares to the smell of hockey equipment in the back of your car!

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