Professional athletes and athletic enthusiasts alike love our sports compression socks for a variety of physical activities, like running, walking, hiking, climbing, weight training, skiing and snowboarding, and more.
We sat down with one of our biggest supporters and active users, Carmen Cheadle, to find out how she uses our sport compression line, what our socks have helped her achieve as an athlete, and which styles of running socks she’d recommend to other trail runners and marathoners like herself. Carmen works at Pack Rat Outdoor Center and is a Sockwell U.S.A. ambassador.
First things first, Carmen, what’s your role at Pack Rat Outdoor Center?
I primarily work the sales floor at Pack Rat, helping customers plan trips and get outfitted for adventures. I’ve been there since 2016.
Why are you so excited about Sockwell socks?
To be honest, I never put much thought into socks until I started wearing Sockwell. Smartwool has been around for a long time and has a huge presence in most outdoor or shoe stores with their variety of sock designs. I think they did a great job bringing people's attention to the benefits of merino wool, but what really stood out to me with Sockwell is the durability and compression. I still have my first pair of Sockwell socks (from years ago). They get worn almost weekly, and they don't have a single hole or fray. Sockwell’s designs for active use, recovery, and injury prevention just really set them apart from any other brand I have tried.
What’s your experience with running and trail running?
Running has always been a part of my life. Running around the woods as a kid, then running cross country in junior high and high school. I love trail running as a way to explore the woods and mountains.
How long have you been running and marathoning?
I started running ultras about 10 years ago, shortly after I moved to Boulder to go to school at the University of Colorado. I started really struggling with an ankle injury early on and knew pursuing XC wasn't going to be an option with how inconsistently my ankle injury was flaring up. My first half marathon was the Boulder half. I ran it during my freshman year, then found out I had a bone fusion in my ankle.
I ended up having really invasive surgery that kept me from walking without aid (boot, crutches, cane) for close to two years. I couldn't keep off the trails though. I eventually got to where I could run again and immediately jumped into trail races. The River Gorge Race in Chattanooga was my first post-surgery race, followed by the Pikes Peak Double. I started running ultras after that. I like the longer distances because it means I get to spend the entire day running outside.
What makes Sockwell compression socks the best for running and trail running?
Discovering Sockwell Socks literally changed my life for running, hiking, and riding. The design for compression and support in the arch and Achilles is amazing. Since my ankle surgery, I'd been trying different ankle braces and wraps, but they never worked and were bulky and cumbersome. Sockwell’s running socks actually provide strong support and compression with the freedom to move my foot the way it should naturally.
What socks do you like to wear—over the calf, crew, shorter socks? Do you wear specific types of socks for specific types/distances of runs?
The Ascend Quarter and the Pulse Crew are my favorites to run in. I like the Plantar Cush for long mountain days or long bike rides when I know I'll be putting strain on my Achilles. The Plantar Sleeve and the Circulator Sleeve are my go-to for post-ride/run recovery.
How has wearing compression socks changed your performance or recovery? As I have gotten older and pushed myself harder, I can really tell a huge difference with how the compression socks help with recovery and injury prevention.
What conditions do you tend to run in? How has the merino wool benefited your running/training?
I run in all kinds of conditions throughout the year. I can't believe how durably my Sockwell socks hold up. They are comfortable and somehow the burliest socks I have ever had! I really like the Summit Crew with the alpaca-merino wool blend for colder wet conditions (even kayaking in the winter). The Pulse Micro and Pulse Quarter are great when it's really warm out. They have a more snug fit but breathe really well in hot conditions. The merino wool running sock is the best for activewear. It really helps regulate temperature changes throughout the day or activity. Merino wool is soft and doesn't hold water, sweat, or bad smells like cotton does.
Have our socks solved any problems for you?
Sockwell Socks literally allow me to run or ride multiple days in a row. They provide my ankle with support and stability, and the compression keeps swelling down allowing for better mechanics and recovery.
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A special thanks to Carmen for the great information and tips about the best compression socks for her favorite athletic activities. We love hearing how our customers enjoy using our merino wool compression socks because after all, making beautiful socks that help people live their best lives is the whole reason Sockwell exists!
If you’re looking for the best compression socks for running and other athletic activities, we invite you to explore our sport compression collection, with socks designed specifically for running and fitness, hiking and exploring the outdoors, and skiing and snow sports.