"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Running With Wet Shoes


A week or two ago Mary, The Green Girl, asked some advice about running a trail race with a water crossing that will leave you with wet shoes. Her question was around how to deal with wet shoes and water crossings.

My answer was: just carry on running normally as if the water crossing wasn't there or as you would with dry shoes.


To add a bit more perspective on the question: Mary runs with custom made orthotics in her shoes. I am lucky that I don't need anything like this but the basic reasoning behind my answer stays the same.


We run with wet shoes and feet all the time. If you run a half marathon or longer I will bet my life on it that your feet and shoes are wet at the finish. It is the same for most shorter runs as well because we sweat. I have completely wet socks after every run I do. The difference is that we don't feel the moisture as much because it is the same temperature as our skin on our feet. When running through water we feel the water because it is colder than our feet are. This make us much more aware of the wet feet and shoes.


Yes, of course the shoes get totally soaked sometimes and are heavier for a while, but I believe this is no reason to run differently or change shoes or socks. I don't believe this is any different from doing a long run and running with wet feet, socks and shoes from sweating.


Most people seem to worry about blisters when they think about wet shoes and socks. If you get blisters from your socks or shoes you need to change the socks or shoes. Something causes the blisters and it is not wet feet, socks or shoes. We all have run thousands of miles without blisters and we did this while running the last parts of all our runs with wet feet, socks and shoes.


If you get blisters on your feet fairly often, you need to change something. Running races with water crossings or in the rain will then almost certainly cause some blisters. If you don't get blisters from your training you most probably won't get blisters from wet shoes or socks when running through water.


I never get blisters and I am sure it is because I learnt over many years of running which shoes and socks work for me. Even during all the races where the photos in this post was taken I never got one blister. I never took my shoes off during any of these races and have never changed socks during a race or run.


So my full answer to Mary's question is: if you run in the right shoes and wear the right socks, you don't need to do anything when you run through water. Just carry on running normally. 


How do you know if you are running in the right socks and shoes? You don't get blisters or other foot problems...ever. If you do, change your shoes or socks before doing any races with water crossings. Then again, you might run in rain any day and if that doesn't cause problems you know all is well. If rain runs end with blisters for you, change something.

Enjoy those water crossings!



15 comments:

Kate Geisen said...

I love races with water crossings. So fun! If I know I'm going to get wet on a run I tend to stick with wool socks. I've had good results with those when they're wet.

misszippy said...

I love all your adventures! And I agree..wet feet are pretty much a part of the deal, it's just degrees of how wet. Lightweight wool socks can be helpful if you prefer fast drying though.

Robin said...

Great post Johann...I have a 25K trail race prior to my first 50 miler and there is a water crossing. I was wondering about that myself.... Thanks!!

Lisa Isenberger said...

Very interesting perspective!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Columbia makes some great shoes that drain pretty much instantly - love them for when I know my feet will get wet.

Giorgio said...

In Winter we, runners, sometimes run through the rain with wet shoes and feet. As mentioned in your post, it's important to choose the right running socks for comfort and performance.

One Crazy Penguin said...

I agree. Ever since I found shoes that work for me, I don't get blisters. The socks matter a lot less for me. I've run through rain, snow, and rivers and my shoes just trek on. I do like my trail running shoes though. They dry super fast!

Kevin @ HalfTRIing said...

That is some red Georgia clay colored water!!

Kevin
HalfTRIing.blogspot.com

Raina R. said...

I don't like to be cold. :( Call me wimpy :( .. I actually plan to have a shoe change location in the event that my shoes are filled with water in a bad weather race (if it's long). I can tolerate normal wet feet, swimming poos in my shoes is the exception :)

coach dion said...

Some shoes are better in the wet than other... I've had some that hold water and stay wet, while others that don't hold any water, and those are best for 'wet' runs...

ajh said...

I don't get blisters ever - from my running shoes. But I have some dress shoes I always do. Can't return them. They were expensive. So I wear them from time to time. Stupid I know.

Hope you're feeling less tired today!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Great advice Johann - I don't think I ever put on the same mileage as you, and definitely not through streams and standing water. But like you, I never really worry about running in wet shoes or blister. The only thing I think about is how heavy the shoes are, but my socks always keep me from any skin damage.

Michael said...

I actually got blister resistant socks this past weekend out of fear my feet would blister running in the rain. I never get them normally, so I probably would have been fine. But they worked and no blisters...I was worried about breaking race rule #29 about never racing in something you've never worn before. But what can I say. I'm a rebel.

Liz said...

So many pictures of your feet in puddles! I do find my shoes smell bad after they've dried out though...

Jill said...

As you can see, I am way behind on blogging. I sincerely apologize. I think of you often, if that helps any?

I've only done one race with water crossings....and I've since run on that trail a few times. I don't mind the water that much, but I'm always fearful of slipping. I have blister issues on my right foot from time to time when I run on the trails; I think that's due to the way I land with that foot which is different than on the road. I think I use that foot to push off harder on the trails as it's my stronger side. It's just a theory.

Love your pictures, Johann. Always a treat to come visit your blog!