I suck at putting on socks. Doesn't matter whether its T1 or T2, it seems to take forever. And I pretty much have to sit down to do it, meaning it takes even longer.
I've tried those shoes designed to be sockless and they were worse than my regular shoes sockless.
So the question is whether I am doomed to forever be putting on socks while others pass me in transition. Can one "work up" to sockless by intentionally developing calluses? What's the sockless running secret?
I think you can get yourself used to biking and running sockless. I usually train sans socks here and there leading up to a race in order to get my feet used to it (though you don't want to overdo it and develop blisters right before a race). Generally speaking, I only go sockless for Olympic or shorter races. Anything longer and I feel like the added comfort and blister protection of having socks is well worth the added minute or so in transition.
Matt said it! get used to running/cycling sans socks and to learn how it feels and let your feet adapt. I'd recommend starting slow, though and eventually get faster. Do you use quick laces? Having them at the right adjustment can help a lot.
Lube. Try using some lubrication (vasaline/bodyglide) in your shoes in all the "hot spot" areas to help reduce friction. While you won't prevent ALL chaffage with this, it certainly helps a lot. During the race it may even help your foot slide into your shoe faster!
I, like Matt, train without socks, race without socks in sprint/oly, but for LOOONG rides/runs/races I find it worth it to put some socks on.
Hope you're able to find a method that works for you. I'd be interested to hear how it works out. Post back here later and let us know!
In the "go ahead and use socks" side of the argument, have you ever tried inverted rolling your socks? By this, I mean that you roll your socks down so that the inside of the sock toe is exposed and then you just unroll the sock up your foot (it's harder to describe than show/do). Takes me less than 5 seconds to put on my socks in T1 over wet feet.
I've never lost a race or dropped a place in a race because of less than 5 seconds (yes, I know 5 seconds here and there add up), so I figure it's worth it to avoid those blisters and bloody feet.
Just what I do and it takes a few seconds to put my socks on. Wearing socks makes sense unless you are racing a pro ITU event. Just not worth getting blisters!
Stating the obvious, but ... I think it also helps if you condition your feet just by going sockless alot. Once it starts getting warm out in the spring, slip on driving shoes or boat shoes without socks and wear them evenings when you get home from work, mornings when walking the dog, and all weekend. It's something I've always done so I don't change my routine. I've never had a problem with blisters on the bike or run legs, even with ordinary New Balance sneakers (with no special "sockless" interior). The skin on your feet will soon get toughened up over time.