Fitness fanatics know that a good pair of exercise shoes can make or break your workout. But have you ever thought about the socks inside them? Aside from simply finding something that won’t slip off halfway through your run, it’s worth knowing how quality buys can benefit your body.

Socks provide a cushion between your skin and the shoe, which can either cause or prevent friction and future skin irritation.

The Correct Fabric

It is essential that you pick the right fabric, according to WebMD. You want something that will control the amount of moisture against the skin. Too much moisture can lead bad odor, chafing, blisters and skin fungus.

You want a fabric that will pull moisture away from the skin and keep your feet dry throughout – argues Women’s Health. Steer clear of cotton, which will soak up and retain moisture, holding it against your skin.

Merino Wool

Merino wool is a particularly good choice because it is breathable, soft and durable. Both wool and certain synthetic fabrics have the ability to wick moisture, pulling it away from the skin and letting it evaporate. Nylon is another good option, known for its strength, durability and quick drying time.

It’s also important that you pick a perfect fit. Your socks should sit snugly around your foot without being too thick, rough, tight or loose. Also note the seams, which should be flat to avoid any pinching or rubbing that can cause irritation. And it is worthwhile to look for socks with some cushioning on the sole.

Now that you’re a bit more sock-savvy – thanks to EMS – head out to your nearest sports-gear store and pepper that salesperson with questions. You’ll want to slip on the best next time you hit the gym.