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How to Stop Shoes from Rubbing Your Ankles

How to Stop Shoes from Rubbing Your Ankles

Rubbing shoes making your ankles uncomfortable? To solve this problem, you need to look beneath the shoes and focus on the barrier between your foot and shoes - your socks! There are a few factors that can impact how your socks protect your feet - length, weightand material. Let's go over how these aspects of your socks can protect your ankles. 


As you've probably noticed, socks come in various lengths. Sock length does not refer to the main body of the sock (where your foot goes) - that’s sizing. Length refers to the shaft of the sock (how far the sock goes up your leg). The most common lengths for socks are hidden, no show, 1/4 crew, crew, and knehigh. Some brands have specific names for these lengths, so keep an eye out for any differentiation. Sock length varies for many reasons such as wearer fashion preference, weather and debris protection, and even blister protection.  

But which lengths are best for preventing ankle rubbing? 1/4 crew, crew, and knee high socks have built-in ankle protection, as the fabric of the sock continues up past where your shoe would meet the skin. If you’re having problems with stopping your boots from rubbing your ankles, try boot length socks that are slightly taller than the standard crew. However, the main culprits for causing raw, blistered ankles are hidden and no show lengths, as these socks are shorter and meant to be mostly or completely hidden by the shoes.  

If you're a no show sock wearer, keep an eye out for socks that have extra fabric, often called tabs, on the back of the sock cuff. Tabbed no show socks will help keep your ankle free of blisters from rubbing shoes and will also help keep your sock up! Here are some of our favorite tabbed socks: 

Stego RunTec Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks 

Stego RunTec Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks


Wrightsock CoolMesh II Tab Socks 

Wrightsock CoolMesh II Tab Socks


Darn Tough Coolmax® Vertex No Show Tab Ultra-Light Cushion – Available for Men and Women 


Darn Tough Men's Coolmax® Vertex No Show Tab Ultra-Light Cushion

Smartwool PhD® Outdoor Light Micro Socks - Available for Men and Women 


Smartwool Men's PhD® Outdoor Light Micro Socks


If you’re a fan of hidden length socks, look for styles that have heel grippers built in. This will help keep your hidden socks in place around your heel, and not crunched up at the toe of your shoe. Plus, when your sock stays in place around your heel, you’re more likely to have that little bit of protection against ankle-rubbing from the fabric staying in place. Check out these hidden sock options: 

Smartwool Men's No Show Socks 


Smartwool Men's No Show Socks


Darn Tough Topless No Show Hidden Light – Available for Men and Women 

Darn Tough Topless Solid No Show Hidden Light


Fabric weight refers to the way the sock was knitted, and often allows you to gauge the warmth and padding level of a sock. Generally, the lighter the fabric weight, the less protection it will offer. However, lighter knits, like ultra light and lightcan come in handy when trying to avoid ankle rubbing, as they provide a close fit and will cause less friction between your skin and the sock. Mediumheavy, and extra heavy weight socks provide great cushioning between your skin and the shoe - but watch out, because heavier weights can lead to hotter feet, which could cause rubbing and blistering.  

It’s all about finding the right weight for your day! A medium to heavy cushion prevents ankle rubbing on a lower activity day, while an ultralight or light sock will minimize blistering and rubbing during more active times like while exercising, walking a lot, or running. When shopping for socks, be sure to filter by the weight that works best for you! 


When it comes to material, we have one main tip to help you avoid uncomfortable ankle rubbing – stay away from cotton! While cotton socks are popular, they are not built for wicking moisture which makes them a poor barrier between your skin and shoe. Moisture filled socks = high chance for blisters and uncomfortable rubbing , even on the ankle! As with weight, you can filter the socks you’re shopping for by fabric so you can find the best one for you! 

No matter what type of shoe you’re wearing, your sock choice can prevent ankle rubbing! Remember, it’s best to switch up your socks based on which shoes you’re wearing to prevent uncomfortable ankle rubbing. By using the information in this article, you can have happy, comfortable ankles!


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