Over the past couple years it’s safe to say that Balega Enduro running socks have become my favorite. Their combination of softness, cushioning, fit, breathability, and (so far) durability is hard to beat. So when I got a chance to test a few pairs of Balega’s new Natural Fiber Performance Blister Resist Mohair socks, I was both excited and wary. The Blister Resist socks are a much more elaborate and ambitious design than the Enduros, with strategically placed panels of different thicknesses and textures. The simplicity of the Enduros is a large part of their appeal for me, so would the increased complexity of the new Blister Resist design be an improvement or more of a retreat toward the over-engineered hosiery of competitors’ offerings?
My first impression was that the new socks would be less “cozy”, since the ankles and some other areas are thinner and less soft. But the Blister Resist design turns out to be very well thought out, with the fit and comfort coming very close to matching the Enduros. I tested three ankle heights: No show, quarter, and crew, and all three were supportive, comfortable, breathed well, and showed no signs of bunching up or creating any hot spots or blisters. My test socks were medium, and although I usually wear large, these seemed to fit my feet well, snug but without being too tight.
Although quarter is my preferred height, the no shows worked nicely, and I wore the crew length Blister Resist socks during the Shamrock Run 15K with great results, as they remained unobtrusively supportive and comfortable throughout, while not sagging or sliding down my ankles at all.
While Balega’s Enduro socks remain my all-time favorite, the new Blister Resist offerings are also an excellent choice!
A second opinion from Meg DuMez…
For the past year I’ve been running in the exact same socks for every run. I purchased 16 pairs of matching socks, and have just been cycling through pile, run, laundry, and back again. So when I had the chance to test our new socks, it was like Christmas morning exciting. These Blister Resist Quarter socks from Balega had bright colors stayed bright through multiple washings. And once I pulled a pair out of the packaging, I discovered the sticker informing that this pair of socks was hand inspected by a member of the Balega Quality Team (Thank you Dephley and Isabel for the good work). I felt like a kid again with one of Santa’s elves promising amazingness ahead.
My first run in the Balega socks was on a beautiful 50+ degree morning in California during a vacation. The first thing I noticed about them while running was that I was more aware of the socks than I ever was of my regular pairs. They were very supportive and tight, in a good way. By the end of my four miles, I also discovered that these were probably not the best socks for a warm run (at least not for me). My feet were sweatier than my normal experience. Good thing I live in the Pacific Northwest with lots of cold and wet runs to try these again.
Back in Portland, I definitely got the right context for these socks. Through three more runs (and washes), the socks did not lose any of their color or good support. After a long run on a cold afternoon, I was comfortable walking around the house afterwards with dry socks that were staying on well and offering some good structure as I recovered..
Overall I am still excited about these socks, and adding some color and variety to the sock pile on my dresser. And I have discovered more about the company’s story, which adds to their value in recommending them to friends:
“Community is a central pillar of Zulu culture and a fundamental aspect of Balega’s corporate responsibility since our inception. We have sought meaningful ways to give back, not only to the children of South Africa but also to our veterans of war right here on home soil.”
Made in South Africa with yarn from the United States, my new world traveling socks will be perfect for hitting the trails this spring in the Pacific Northwest.
- No Show – $13
- Quarter – $15
- Crew – $18
Balega provides harmony in the fit, feel and performance of our socks that is founded on research, design, technical excellence and durability.
Manufactured at our state-of-the-art facility in Cape Town, South Africa, utilizing the best performance yarns made in the United States.
Balega’s socks are the most technically advanced of any on the market.