Whether you run for fun or competition, there’s no reason to wear uncomfortable socks that are sub par for athletic performance. With a range of styles, materials, and perks available, today’s athletic socks are changing the running game. Comfort, style, and performance are top markers for these five socks, so check out our top picks for runners of every stripe.
With anti-static and anti-microbial materials, these socks are utilitarian without looking like it. Color options let you customize your running gear, while compression properties help get the oxygen flowing and keep lactic acid from building up during your run.
Compression socks help prevent shin splints and increase blood flow, keeping you comfortable and pain-free while running.
Materials are 80 percent nylon and 20 percent elastane, making them durable and accommodating.
These socks are slightly above the cost of comparable running socks, but their value lies in their compression properties and versatility. Runners and other athletes appreciate their comfort and utility.
If compression is a sock quality you’re looking for, Adaval Health Compression Socks are a good value and stand up to daily athletic and occupational wear.
- Compression capabilities
- Comfortable fit
- Color choices
- More expensive than comparable running socks
Desirable style options plus added foot and ankle support give these socks utility without adding unnecessary bulk. Moisture-wicking effectively keeps feet and calves cool during workouts.
A compression-style sock with moisture wicking properties offers support while keeping feet dry.
Reinforced materials in the heel, along with ankle support, keep feet protected and comfortable.
LAX Stars Athletic Dri-Fit Socks are lower in price than comparable socks with similar or fewer features, making them a great value.
Added support plus moisture wicking properties make these socks the top pick for runners who aim to keep their feet cool without choosing a thinner or non-athletic sock.
- Reinforced edges hold socks up and prevent rolling
- Instep/arch support for plantar fasciitis pain relief
- Absorbent material
- Left and right dedicated socks due to arch supports
Balega designed their running socks for “serious athletes,” and it shows in the construction of these basic yet functional socks. With plush comfort in all the right places, these hidden running socks will make your run even more memorable.
A heel tab keeps socks from sliding into shoes. Plush undersoles gives feet cushion while an upper mesh design lets air flow for better comfort.
Reinforced heels and toes help make these socks last. A blend of polyester, polyamide, and nylon elastic lends durability.
Balega Hidden Comfort Running Socks are at a higher price point than comparable options, but with their use of performance yarns and cutting-edge technology, the cost is well worth it.
A great daily running sock for any climate, Balega’s running socks can’t compete with the style of other options but win in the functional category.
- Mesh top allows air flow and cools feet
- Cushioning plus ankle tab keeps socks in place
- Lack of color/style choices
- Pricier than alternatives with more features
MudGear socks offer a competitive edge to Spartan racers and Tough Mudders, but runners appreciate their support and stability on diverse terrain.
Sufficient cushioning keeps them comfortable while the ankle cuff holds them up and keeps out trail debris.
Socks dry quickly and help wick moisture out of shoes during wet or hot races.
Cost is slightly higher than comparable options, but for trail runners or obstacle course enthusiasts, their utility surpasses most.
Cushioned support plus a breathable mesh top keep your feet comfortable in any outdoor conditions, including mud and water.
- Sufficient cushioning prevents blisters on long runs
- Mesh ventilates to keep feet dry
- Quick-wicking material even dries up water/mud from trails
- Limited color choices (base colors are gray and black)
Targeted support and moisture wicking fibers, plus a host of color options, prove that Feetures! socks do have plenty of features.
Moisture wicking and seamless toes keep feet comfortable and cushioning gives support.
Not overly thick but sufficient cushioning and these socks withstand multiple washings without stretching or pilling.
Cost is slightly higher than similar choices, but a wide selection of sizes and colors/styles makes up for the difference.
Cushioned socks with a no-show ankle tab give support and comfort no matter the style you choose.
- Plenty of sizing and color options for men and women
- Ankle tab to keep socks from sliding when running
- Debris can enter along the tab at the back of the sock
Evaluation Criteria for the Best Running Socks
Seeking out the best socks for running means considering comfort and features. Feature-packed running socks that slip down into your shoes won’t give you the best running experience. But a sock that stays put isn’t comfortable if it’s too tight at the ankle. Here are the top features we consider when evaluating the best running socks.
Whether it’s a custom blend of moisture-wicking fibers or a mesh top, most running socks feature a way to keep feet cool. We consider the quality of the materials and the comfort of the fabric blends when choosing top socks for running.
Ending a run with sweaty feet, or feet soaked by mud or water, might not bother the occasional runner. But for athletes who run daily, or want to wear their socks outside of their fitness routine, a stay-dry sock is the best choice for long-term comfort.
Support and Padding
Thick and bulky socks only make your feet hotter and cause you to sweat. The best running socks have a blend of fabrics that are not only breathable but offer support and cushioning as well. A trim fit along with enough padding to prevent blistering and keep skin comfortable ranks high on our list.
Reinforced structures help prevent wear and tear on heels and toes, giving your regular running socks a longer life.
Other Factors to Consider
For short or no-show socks, ankle tabs not only help you grip the socks to slide them on, but they also keep them from sliding into your shoes as you run. Also, compression socks require a snug fit to keep from slipping down your calves while running.
In-step and arch supports are factors that runners with plantar fasciitis or other foot conditions may find useful. However, these types of supports often mean that socks have a designated right and left fit, so throwing them on first thing in the morning might become complicated if you have multiple pairs.
Finally, if color or style options are important for your running wardrobe, consider picks that have multiple color choices.