The Best Running Socks
If you’re a runner, you probably spend a lot of time researching the right pair of running shoes, but do you do the same with your running socks? Whether you are a casual runner or you’re training for a marathon, what you choose to wear on your feet inside your shoes can make or break a good run.
Proper running socks should be an essential part of your running attire, since wearing the wrong pair can leave your feet blistered and sore. Running socks are specifically constructed with features that can enhance your run, such as special venting to keep your feet cool and dry, a cushioned sole to protect against impact and arch support. Good running socks and should also stay securely on your feet and not slip down into your shoe. If you are a long-distance runner, the socks should ideally be designed to prevent blisters from developing.
The type of runner you are and your personal taste for style, color and fabric blend will play a part in the running socks you choose. To help narrow down your search, we have curated a list of some of the top-rated running socks you can purchase online.
Buyer’s Guide: Things to Look For
We tend to give our feet a rough time. Our tender tootsies are subjected to being squeezed into all manner of shoes, from flip flops, sandals and high heels to boots, brogues and running shoes. The socks we choose to cover our feet act as a protective layer from all the pounding they take as we walk, dance, jump and run. If you are a runner, then you know how your feet can hurt at the end of your run or feel super-hot and sweaty after hitting the road on a summer’s day. The kind of running socks you choose can really make a difference in your run and in how your feet feel when you’re done. With so many options out there, how can you choose the best running socks for your needs?
The first thing to consider is the fabric blend of the running socks you are looking to buy. Many are made from a blend of synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic. These materials offer up a lightweight sock with a bit of stretch (if there is some spandex or elastane content), as well as moisture wicking properties to keep your feet dry during a long, hot sweaty run. These socks tend to be thin. There are also running socks that include cotton into the mix, some that are as high as 80 percent cotton. These are softer and thicker than running socks made from synthetic fibers and often absorb sweat, rather than wick it away, which may not feel comfortable for some people. They also absorb odors and may shrink after washing, however, many people like the soft feel of a cotton blend.
What differentiates running socks from regular socks is some of the features that protect your feet from the stress and impact of running on hard surfaces for a long period of time. For example, you will want running socks with some cushioning, arch support, especially if you have flat feet, and if you prefer a no-show style, an extra tab of fabric to cover the Achilles area to reduce rubbing and irritation that may occur from the top edge of your running shoes. If you have circulation problems or want to improve your performance, look for compression running socks, but be aware that these have a tight fit.
Top 5 Best Running Socks
Top Pick for Men – Saucony Mens Multi-Pack No-Show Socks
98% Polyester, 2% Spandex
6-9, 8-12, 13-15, 15-17
Top Pick for Women – ERING Women's Performance Athletic Ankle Running Socks
68% Polyester, 15% Spandex, 12% Nylon, 5% Elastane
Best Fabric Blend for Women – Gonii Ankle Womens Running No Show Socks
80% Cotton, 16.5% Polyester, 3.5% Spandex
6-8, 8-10, 10-12
Best Compression – PAPLUS Low Cut Compression Running Sock with Ankle Support
Best Cushioning – Thorlos Unisex-Adult Maximum Cushion Ankle Running Socks
85% Acrylic, 14% Nylon, 1% Elastic
1. Top Pick for Men – Saucony Mens Multi-Pack No-Show Socks
Air mesh venting technology and a cushioned sole make these no-show running socks a top choice for serious runners. For long runs in the gym, around an outdoor track or on the road, you need a reliable running sock that will stand up to the rigors of the run and provide you with a cool, comfortable and supported experience.
This Saucony running sock for men has positive reviews from thousands of users because it fulfils many of the “musts” many runners are looking for. The polyester/spandex blend socks have a run-dry moisture management system and air mesh venting, a powerful combination that wicks away moisture and provides maximum air flow to keep your feet cool and dry in any running condition.
The socks are engineered with just the right amount of compression to keep your arch stable and secure while preventing the socks from bunching or slipping. Light cushioning provides impact protection without taking up too much space inside your shoes. The running socks are machine washable, come in a range of sizes and are available in packages of six or 12.
2. Top Pick for Women – ERING Women's Performance Athletic Ankle Running Socks
A heel tab on these ankle running socks for women protects the Achilles area from blistering. No-show running socks look great, but sometimes they fail to protect the back of your heel from rubbing against your shoes as you run. This can create nasty blisters. If you still want the low-profile look of a no-show running sock but without the blisters, these ankle socks from Ering have a protective tab of material that covers your Achilles area, reducing the risk of blisters.
The socks are a blend of polyester, spandex, nylon and elastane, so they are soft and durable with a nice amount of stretch that makes them easy to pull on. The socks are not too thin or too thick, are reinforced at the heel and toe areas to withstand long workouts and have extra cushioning to add comfort and absorb the impact of running on hard surfaces. And for those hot sweaty outdoor runs, breathable mesh made of moisture wicking material offers good ventilation, keeping your feet dry and odor-free.
3. Best Fabric Blend for Women – Gonii Ankle Womens Running No Show Socks
The higher cotton content in these running socks add an extra level of softness and comfort. Most running socks are made from a blend of polyester, nylon and spandex because of the moisture-wicking properties of these materials. Some brands do add a small percentage of cotton, but you would be hard-pressed to find running socks made from 100 percent cotton.
These running socks from Gonii give you the best of all worlds with a high cotton content along with a smaller amount of polyester and spandex to retain the moisture-wicking and anti-odor properties of those fabrics. A heel tab on the no-show socks prevents scratches and slipping, a cushioned sole and arch support reduces friction, and reinforced mesh allows for heat and moisture ventilation.
The socks come packed in a set of five pair and are available in a choice of six different colors including fun options such as sorbet colors, quotidian hues and multicolor, as well as black, grey and white.
4. Best Compression – PAPLUS Low Cut Compression Running Sock with Ankle Support
These compression running socks for men and women have targeted compression zones that provide moderate to extra-firm support. Compression workout wear such as leggings have been known to improve blood flow and reduce fatigue, and compression running socks are no different. These ankle socks from Paplus are specifically engineered with the latest arch-to-below-ankle compression technology (15-20 mmHg) to promote blood circulation and oxygen flow. This in turn helps to prevent cramping, fatigue, swelling and other side effects associated with long runs.
The design consists of a 3D circular, progressive pressure for permanent, all-around protection. Fabricated from a comfortable and breathable nylon and spandex blend, the lightweight running socks keep you feeling cool by wicking moisture away from your feet. A smooth heel ensures a secure fit and a hand-linked seamless toe eliminates potential friction and discomfort in the toe area. Available in men’s and women’s sizes and a range of colors including pink, blue, black, grey and white, these affordably priced running socks come in packages of two, four or six.
5. Best Cushioning – Thorlos Unisex-Adult Maximum Cushion Ankle Running Socks
The extra padding on the heel and toe areas of these running socks gives your feet an added layer of cushioning. Some runners prefer the sock they wear to be ultra-thin, while others like a measure of cushioning to absorb the impact of running on hard surfaces. But if you find that your feet ache or blister after a long run, you may want to consider running socks that provide an extra layer of cushioning in the more vulnerable areas of your feet.
These running socks from thorlos are ideal for long distance runners and also for tennis players looking for a sock that can buffer the shock of the many stop and go movements associated with the game. It’s the padding and sculpted fit in the heel, forefoot and instep that makes these running socks desirable for anyone who suffers from sore feet.
The design and fabric blend has been clinically shown to reduce blisters, moisture, pain and pressure, and have been chosen for performance and durability for years of use. The fit is secure to keep the socks from sliding and the ankle part is a bit higher than no-show socks, giving better protection to the Achilles area.