ASHMEI MEN'S ROAD RUNNING SOCKS
About 3 weeks ago I headed down to Ashmei HQ in Tring, England, as part of their Ashmei ambassador day and I was gifted a pair of Men's road running socks. Doesn't sound very exciting does it. I've driven 8 hours down the road for a pair of socks, Whoopi do! Keep reading!
Firstly, think about the Marks and Spencer adverts, these aren't just socks, they are Ashmei Merino+Carbon socks.
Everyone that attended the day got a pair and we were invited to put them on for the 60 minute run. I wasn't going to say no, it felt it was the polite thing to do. Sort of like when you visit an Aunties house, they have spent all day cooking a nice meal and even if you have already eaten, you don't say no.
I had some nice socks on but I took them off, changed in to the Ashmei socks and straight away I was surprised by how comfy they felt.
I like my socks to be thin, I don't like my feet to get too hot so when I pulled on the Ashmei socks the first thing I noticed was that my feet felt like I'd just put them on a newly laid carpet. I was a bit concerned by this. Thick socks tend to mean sweaty feet for me, which then leads to blisters which then leads to an unhappy Owain!
But as I said, I didn't want to be rude and like a sheep, I followed everyone else and put them on.
I'm a size 11.5 shoe and do tend to find it difficult to find socks the fit properly. Some just feel a tad too small or once washed, never go back to the original size. I'd need to wait and see how these were once washed but first impressions were that they fitted perfectly!
The socks are ergonomic so they have 'L' and 'R' written on the toes of each sock so you know which foot to put them on.
The are ankle socks, I know some guys aren't massive fans of this style but I don't mind them, Ashmei to make longer socks if they are more your thing.
The socks also have a slightly longer heel section which comes up just below your Achilles which prevents your shoes rubbing your heels red raw.
There are no seams around the toe area so no chance of blisters due to this design flaw so many other brands seem to ignore.
The final thing I noticed was that they felt really snug on my foot. No excess material, it was like a glove for my foot.
I laced up my trail shoes and got ready for the run. We headed out along a path and out in to the country side. It was lovely.
The socks felt amazing, really comfy but the pace wasn't demanding and I felt I needed to put the socks through the test before writing a full review. The run was just short of 6 miles in total, running at a conversational pace of about 10 minutes per mile. We got back to the office and we all headed our separate ways. I kept my socks on for the drive up the road and I'd be tempted to get some merino socks just for every day use. They we so comfy!
Time to put the socks to the test.
I had ran the easy run on Saturday but on a Tuesday I have a track training session, that week it was :
4 x 200 metres
2 x 400 metres
1 x 800 metres
3 x 6 minutes 45 seconds at threshold pace with 1 minute recoveries
1 x 800 metres
2 x 400 metres
4 x 200 metres
With a 3 mile warm up before and 1 mile cool down, this was going to be a 13 mile session! That should test the socks pretty well.
The next test was to do a double session, a run in the morning followed by a run at night. This usually means I need two pairs of socks for the day but if I could get away with just the one pair, over the week, this would save me washing up to 3 extra pairs of socks!
The final test would be a 16 mile Sunday run over mixed terrain. Some road, some canal path, some trail, a bit of everything really.
I'm sure many of you will be thinking, if he is now a brand ambassador, the result is obviously going to be favourable. My reply to that would be, not at all. If I wasn't happy with any product, I would say what the flaws were, how can a company improve their products if we always give positive feedback? The answer is, they can't and won't.
I found the socks really comfy and when I say really comfy I mean, probably the most comfortable socks I have ever had on my feet! During the warm up on the Tuesday evening, I did feel that my shoes were slipping slightly, similar to how I felt the first time I wore them at the Ambassadors day but this feeling soon stopped. I can't put my finger on what causes this feeling, it isn't the socks moving and I've laced my trainers up the same way I always do.
The track session went very well, my body was aching, my T-shirt was sweaty but when I got home, my feet were dry.
The double session, an easy 4 mile run in the morning and then a fast paced 9 mile run home from the office. I had expected the socks to be a bit damp when I pulled them on in the afternoon but I was wrong, they were bone dry, odour free and felt like just washed socks. After the 9 mile run home I took them off and still no odour, I did wonder how many times I could run in these socks before washing them but I'm not sure I am brave enough to give that a go! All I will say is, I've ran 4 runs and still no odour and they still feel fresh.
The final test was the long 16 mile Sunday run. I tend to get hot spots on my feet after the Sunday run. Areas where I expect would become blisters if I continued to run on them but, nothing! My feet felt great, so much so, I actually ran a personal best time along the course! I felt like I was running on air. My feet weren't sweaty when I finished. I had expected to notice my feet getting too warm since the socks are thicker than I tend to like but nothing, they felt fine.
My only criticism if any, would be that the socks are white (with red bits). Remember though, these were gifted to me so I didn't get a choice in colours but they do come in 3 colour options.
I tend to like to run through all the puddles on a route so I expect the white to go slightly off white over time but apart from that, these are great socks. They have been washed a couple of times now and the colours don't run and the sizing has stayed true, I don't feel like I am trying to pull on Mandy's (@runbesidehim) socks after each wash!
They are £13.50 per pair but they have now become my favourite socks and I really notice the difference in quality when I pull on my other running socks.