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Socks or No Socks?!

Socks or No Socks?!


Wearing socks during a triathlon ride can offer several benefits and enhance your overall comfort and performance. Here are some reasons why many triathletes choose to wear socks:

Reduced Friction and Chafing: Socks act as a barrier between your feet and the cycling shoes, reducing friction and the likelihood of developing blisters or chafing during the ride.

Moisture Management: Good-quality socks made from moisture-wicking materials can help keep your feet dry by absorbing sweat, reducing the risk of discomfort and potential foot-related issues.

Temperature Regulation: Socks can provide a layer of insulation, keeping your feet warm in colder weather and preventing them from overheating in hot conditions.

Comfort: Wearing socks can improve overall comfort during the ride, helping you stay focused on your performance rather than any foot discomfort.

Transition Efficiency: While putting on socks may take a little extra time during the transition from the swim to the bike leg, some triathletes find it worth the added comfort and reduced risk of foot issues throughout the ride.

Preventing Debris Entry: Socks can act as a barrier against small rocks, sand, or other debris that might find their way into your shoes during the cycling portion of the triathlon.

No Socks

Going sockless during a triathlon ride is a choice made by many athletes, and it can offer certain advantages. Here are some reasons why some triathletes choose to go sockless:

Faster Transitions: Not wearing socks can save valuable time during transition periods (T1 and T2) between the swim, bike, and run legs of the triathlon. This can give you a competitive edge, especially in shorter-distance races where every second counts.

Simplified Setup: Going sockless reduces the number of items you need to prepare and manage during transitions. It streamlines your gear setup, making it easier to transition from swimming to cycling and then to running.

Better Foot-to-Shoe Connection: Without socks, your feet may feel more connected to the cycling shoes, providing a better sense of control and power transfer during pedaling.

No Sock-Related Discomfort: Some athletes prefer the feeling of going sockless as they find it more natural and less constricting. It eliminates any potential discomfort that might arise from wet or sweaty socks during the ride.

Personal Preference: Many triathletes simply get used to riding without socks during training and feel more comfortable and confident going sockless on race day.

However, it’s essential to note that going sockless isn’t for everyone, and it may not be suitable for longer-distance triathlons or athletes who are more prone to foot-related issues. If you decide to go sockless, consider the following tips:

  • Make sure your cycling shoes are well-fitted and comfortable for riding without socks.
  • Practice sockless riding during your training sessions to get accustomed to the feeling.
  • Apply an anti-chafing lubricant or powder to reduce the risk of blisters and friction.
  • Be prepared to rinse and dry your feet quickly after the swim portion to minimize moisture during the bike leg.


That being said, the decision to wear socks ultimately depends on personal preference and comfort. Some triathletes prefer going sockless to save time during transitions or because they have become accustomed to riding without socks. If you choose to go sockless, make sure your cycling shoes are well-fitted and comfortable for barefoot riding, and be prepared to manage any potential foot-related challenges that may arise.

Remember, the key is to train with the equipment you plan to use during the actual triathlon to become accustomed to it and ensure a successful race day.

Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).

Contact Stuart at



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