Having never had a pair of running shoes that fit properly, I finally decided to visit a store which specializes in footwear. The obvious local choice was Playmaker's in East Lansing. A classmate from high school works there, so I asked for him when I went to visit.
Tony was happy to help, and after a few tries fitted me with a Brooks shoe. The fit was superb, owing in part to the narrow (B) width of the shoe. Something that had struck Tony was my recounting of the numerous blisters I had suffered while running. After finding the right shoe, he asked what kind of socks I wear when I run. "Cotton", I replied handily. He advised that I try a pair of SmartWool socks, and he threw a pair in with the shoes.
After running with the shoes and socks for several months, I can honestly report a 100% improvement. Until purchasing these shoes, I had never gone running without earning a blister. Since buying these shoes, I have never gone running and gotten a blister (my running journal is at http://coins.bimjournals.com/).
Last night I packed up my running bag, but couldn't find a clean and complete pair of my handy SmartWool socks. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to try the Pepsi Challenge between the cotton socks and the wool socks. It might be that my comparison was unfair, as I ran four miles last night (in wool socks) and two miles this morning. Perhaps the two runs were too close together. I don't think so, though. Although my feet aren't nearly as blistered as they would have been in the past, I can feel the distinct burn of rawness on the inside of my left foot.
My conclusion is that the SmartWool socks work exactly the way they are supposed to. By wicking moisture away from your foot, the socks are supposed to remain properly fitted to your foot and keep your skin comparatively dry. By the way, I have also been using these socks when I ice skate (I used to use polyester dress socks). They have worked as nicely for skating as they do for running.
A caveat: I have also tried using polyester socks for running. Believe it or not, they are also superb when compared to cotton socks. If you can get past the snickers when you run down the sidewalk in your black poly socks, give it a try. You may be surprised.