To make running long or short distances fun, super-exciting and pleasurable, all you need to do is to get your hands on the best running socks. Having the perfect pair of running shoes and still can’t enjoy a blissful run is no fun. Suffering from painful blisters, unsightly calluses and bearing that nasty smell that is part of the running equation? Facing the ugly-truth because you just love running miles and can’t imagine a day without hitting the tracks? Well, then we suppose now is the time to burst your bubble, pop! Here’s the real deal, the key to enjoy a great run is of course; wearing the perfect pair of running shoes, but to maintain healthy feet, avoid blisters and that epic foot odor, you need the right running socks too. Yes, bingo; you got that right! You don’t have to put up with the pain and odor anymore.
Its funny how most runners are willing to go through the irksome grind and are ready to spend a great deal of money in search of the right pair of running shoes but when it comes to socks, well, just about any will do. For many of us, socks are nothing more than an afterthought. Sadly, that’s the wrong approach and is also one of the big, yet little known reasons for season-ending injuries.
Wearing the right running socks can make the difference between painful blisters and a fabulous run. And that is not an exaggeration! They help maintain healthy feet, control moisture and reduce friction. All that you need to say goodbye to calluses and blisters. Besides this, you can also take off your shoes confidently after an enjoyable run without being embarrassed of your smelly feet.
Did we just bring a million-dollar smile on your face? We can promise you’ll be smiling like that everyday once you are done reading this post as we’ll be spilling the beans – providing you with all the information you require to find the perfect running socks. From unraveling what running socks are; to sharing the secrets to maintaining healthy feet; to understanding the features to look out for when buying socks and reviewing the 10 best running socks on the market; we have it all lined up for you. Sounds exciting? Read on to find out!
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Running Socks
Although we are going to dig into each of these (and more) in detail as we move forward, but if you are one of those impatient readers, itching to learn about the best socks, then here’s a sneak peak at the top 10 best running socks. Browse through this chart; analyze and compare your options before you make your pick!
|Balega Hidden Comfort
|S, M, L, X-L
|Feetures! Elite Light Cushion
|S, M, L, X-L
|Thorlo Men's Experia CoolMax Micro Mini Crew
|S, M, L, X-L
|Smartwool PhD Run UltraLight Micro
|S, M, L, X-L
|Darn Tough No Show Ultralight
|S, M, L, X-L
|Swiftwick Performance Zero
|S, M, L, X-L
|WrightSock Men's Coolmesh II Lo
|M, L, X-L
|ASICS Intensity Low Cut
|S, M, L. X-L
|Injinji Run Lightweight
|S, M, L
|S, M, L, X-L
The interactive comparison table has 5 columns which are:
• Running Socks pictures
• Brand and product name – (click to view more details or to purchase)
• Available Sizes
• Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com. Here is the price legend.
- $ = under $20,
- $$ = $20 to $50,
- $$$ = $50 to $100
- $$$$ = $100+
• Rating – These are our ratings on a 1 to 5 scale.
What Are Running Socks?
We’ve heard how the right pair of running shoes can improve your performance on the tracks, but few of us know that running socks are equally important. Wondering how?
Unlike the regular cotton socks that we usually wear to work, running socks are exclusively designed for trail runners. In comparison, they are superior in function and quite different in terms of fabric, design, padding, and fit to meet the physical demands of running. Running socks are specifically engineered to:
- Protect runners from blisters during long distance running
- Help maintain healthy feet
- Provide both protection and comfort
- Control the flow of moisture
- Keep feet dry and minimize friction
Let’s Go Back to the Roots
Before we move on to the different types of running socks, let us first go back to the roots to find out how socks have evolved over the centuries. Did you know that in the past, socks were made from animal skins? Skins were gathered up and carefully tied up around the ankles. In those days, socks weren’t worn for running purposes or to make a style statement; in fact, they were typically worn to keep the feet warm. But you’ll be amazed to know that by the 5th century AD, socks were worn to symbolize purity and by 1000 AD, they became a symbol of wealth among the nobility.
The importance of wearing socks to control moisture was not realized until the World War I, when trench foot casualties among soldiers were common. Trench foot is a condition where feet become necrotic because of excess moisture. However, with time, as technology evolved, so did the socks. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, socks became a popular accessory to wear among people of all ages and varied in terms of style, color, print, material and features. And with time, the invention of running socks is no surprise. There was an increasing demand for high performance socks for runners; and let’s just say that sock designers truly nailed it and filled the gap between demand and supply seamlessly!
Got Blisters and Calluses? Read this to Discover the Secrets to Enjoyable Running and Maintaining Healthy Feet
We can’t emphasize more on the fact that good technical running socks are equally important to enjoy a great run. The technology used to design these socks is actually quite amazing. Today, you can find a variety of different types of running socks to meet your specific running needs.
If you are a competitive runner and wish to deliver fiery performance on the tracks all year round, then place your dibs on the running socks for all four seasons. As the name suggests, this type of sock is specifically engineered to help keep your feet dry and protected in different weather conditions.
When running off-road on rutted, rocky and uneven surfaces, running socks for off-road running are the best type. Also known as trail running socks, these socks not only manage moisture but also provide overall foot protection, which is much needed to reduce abrasion that is likely to result when twisting and shifting your feet on uneven challenging surfaces during your run. A must have feature to look for in trail running socks is the crew height, to get more protection of the lower leg from falls on rocky surfaces.
For marathon runners, running socks for a long run are the perfect type, better known as anti-blister socks. These have double layers of specialized fabric to prevent friction that is created between the feet and trainers during long distance running. The air space between the 2 layers helps keep feet insulated from cold and heat.
If you don’t learn about the most important features to look for when buying running socks now, you’ll hate yourself later
It’s important to understand that not all running socks are equal. However, they are a must-have, so compromising on features means compromising on your running performance, which is something no runner wants! To get the best value for your money, here are some of the features you must look for when buying yourself a pair.
1) Fabric and Design
Fabric and design matter the most. If you’ve been running in thick cotton socks; then they are a big no! Why? You must know that cotton absorbs moisture and unfortunately, retains it too, failing to keep your feet dry. And this is exactly why you get blisters when running.
It’s easy to connect the dots, the thickness and the material of the socks directly affects the amount of heat generated by the feet. The heat is generated by both the runner’s energy and the friction from the shoe, sock and the skin interaction.
As your feet heat up and sweat, moisture is created and because of that, it blisters and calluses are practically inevitable. So, you really need to make sure that the fabric you choose wicks away the moisture.
Synthetic fabrics such as acrylic and polyester are fast-absorbing materials and effective when it comes to wicking away moisture and keeping your feet dry. Others following their lead are wool and nylon.
When selecting the fabric, the design counts as well, because it is impossible for any sock to fully prevent moisture and repel heat unless it is designed ingeniously. For example; thinner sections of material around the arch have larger ventilation pores which effectively disperse heat and also help push moisture out.
You can’t compromise on comfort, can you? Especially if running is part of your everyday routine! To evaluate the comfort of the running socks, try feeling the fabric. If it feels like plastic, then find another one that is softer in feel. Also, try pulling them on, to see if the fabric catches on to your dry skin and toes nails. This will give you a clear idea of whether you want to purchase them or not!
If you enjoy long distance running and aspire to become a marathon runner, then this is definitely one feature you can’t do without. Padding offers that extra plush to your strides and cushioning for softer landings which allows you to run more miles and cover long distances on a daily basis without feeling the pain.
Padding is also an important feature in running socks for those runners who love taking on challenges and giving their peers a good run on different types of tracks like rocky surfaces that involve miles of sharp pointed rocks. Padding in your socks can help you deliver fiery performance and run all the way to the finish line in no time even if you have rocks beneath your feet.
When selecting running socks, make sure they fit you like gloves. If your socks don’t stay in place you can experience excessive friction and heat; and you know what that leads too? Blisters… There are two red flags you can’t overlook here; is it baggy or tight? If it pulls your toes backward and doesn’t properly fit your heels, then that means it’s too tight. You don’t want socks that are too tight because they can slow the blood circulation and restrict your movement. So, you must first try them on to check the fit before you close a deal.
5) Slip Prevention
Another feature that makes a running sock, a great one, is its slip prevention ability. Look for socks that have the ability to stay in place; this helps prevent the feeling of slipping, and minimizes friction and heat which accelerates blisters.
Running socks that are higher than the collar of the sneakers make runners less susceptible to calluses and blisters. Additionally, height of the socks really comes into action for runners who run off-road as it provides protection to your calves from bruises which you can get from falling on rocky surfaces or running on surfaces with thorny bushes and weeds.
And yes, you must know that knee-length running socks like compression socks are great for colder runs. These socks help improve blood flow to your tired legs and help muscle recovery.
7) Blister and Odor Prevention
Runners who sweat a lot have a higher risk of blisters, especially if they are unable to keep their feet dry, and because of the sweat, they can’t do much about that nasty foot odor. For such runners, blister and odor prevention properties should be a top priority. In other words, look for socks that rated high on breath-ability and antibacterial properties. For example, running socks made from wool are naturally anti-microbial, they can prevent bacteria from feasting on your feet that cause bad odor and control sweat to prevent friction and moisture that lead to blisters.
To make sure your money is well-spent and you don’t end up paying for a new pair of socks after running every 90 miles, durability should definitely be on your checklist. Search for socks that offer you performance with durability.
The 10 Best Running Socks Reviews – Run Like a Pro on 150 Miles of Trails without Worrying About Season Ending Injuries
Do you have time and money to spare in trying and testing different pairs of running socks before you find the best one? No? Then don’t worry! We got your back. Based on our in-depth market research and comparison analysis, here is the list of the top 10 running shoes that we think can help runners maximize their running performance on different types of trails and put opponents in awe!
1. Balega Hidden Comfort
Balega Hidden Comfort is right on the money. These running socks are engineered to perfection. They provide excellent structured hold, seam-free comfort and have medium volume construction which is neither too little nor too much. If you think that’s all it offers, wait till you read this. The extra padding under the sole provides plush, added protection to runners and makes it quite cozy.
More importantly, the fabric of these socks wick moisture like no other! It is 84% Drynamix Polyester, 3% Neofil, 2% Elastane and 11% Nylon. In terms of fitting, it will not be wrong to say that it has a glove like fit. It stays in place which prevents friction and provides slip resistance and the thick reinforced back of these socks prevents blisters. Balega Hidden Comfort is available in all colors and sizes, small, medium, large and even extra large. What more can you ask for? The only thing that is a turn off is the fact that not all colors are available in all sizes; for example for those who want electric pink socks in extra large size may have to settle for another color. But overall, these running socks are ‘perfect’.
2. Feetures! Elite Light Cushion
Feetures! Elite Light Cushion has earned the second spot on our list. No, not because the name of this brand is super creative, but because it’s actually very technically advanced. These running socks feature their patented Sock-Lock Technology which provides excellent compression. In addition to this, the socks fit perfectly. If you are wondering about its moisture wicking properties; then let’s just say it does the job pretty well. The fabric is made of 83% iWick Nylon, 7% Lycra Spandex and 10% Polyester. These socks are a great choice for road runners, especially on warm and hot days, with durability and slip resistance. Though they are comparatively expensive than Balega Hidden Comfort running socks, but you can most certainly invest in these socks with confidence as they are backed by a lifetime warranty. Happy?
3. Thorlo Experia CoolMax Micro Mini Crew
For unbeatable performance on uneven surfaces, Thorlo Experia CoolMax Micro Mini Crew is perhaps your best bet. It boasts features like extra padding, good snug fit and in terms of comfort, these are superb. Its specifically sculpted Thorlo pads in ball and heel offers added protection from impact.
The ultra lightweight frame of these socks provides aerodynamic contoured fit and the mesh polyester contributes to its breathability. Besides that, we’ll give it 8/10 for controlling moisture and friction. So, you don’t have to worry about blisters and calluses.
4. SmartWool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro
The merino and nylon fabric in manufacturing these socks make them durable while the elastic bands that wrap arches and ankles keep these socks firmly in place. These socks are a great choice for both seasons; winters and summers. However, in terms of cost, these running socks are slightly overpriced. But we guess its outstanding durability ensures you that your money will not go to waste.
5. Darn Tough No Show Ultra Light
Features like ultra durability, extra padding which is much needed by off-road runners, fantastic smell resistance and ability to wick moisture earns Darn Tough No Show Ultra Light a spot on our top 10 best running socks list. From steep up and down runs, in cool and warm days, you can count on these running socks. And did you know that these socks come with a lifetime warranty? In terms of comfort, these are slightly tight initially, but as you start using them; these socks will adjust to your feet just fine.
6. SwiftWick Performance Zero
SwiftWick Performance Zero is definitely a keeper. These running socks are breathable, durable and comfortable. And for those runners who are embarrassed of their smelly feet, SwitWick Performance Zero running socks are a must have. It’s built in Olefin antimicrobial fiber keeps the stink away. And if you are wondering about the cost, then you can get a pair of these running socks easily for $10. Are these cheap and functional or what?
7. Wrightsock Coolmesh II
For road runs and flat trail runs on both cool and hot days, you can’t find a perfect pair of socks than Wrightsock Coolmesh II. It’s designed for superior performance. The double layer and soft material of these socks allows you to run miles comfortably but also prevents friction and heat which means no blisters. However, in terms of fitting, for some runners, they may not be the best pick. We advise you to try and test them to see how well they fit you and even if you don’t, you have to worry about anything as it comes with a lifetime warranty! So relax and enjoy your run.
8. ASICS Intensity Low Cut
ASICS not just conquers the running shoe category but also the running socks domain. ASICS Intensity Low Cut running socks features its patent NanoGlide moisture management which provides supreme moisture and friction control. We give these socks a 10/10 on fit, comfort and slip resistance. However, as these are low cut, they may not be ideal for those runners looking for knee length socks.
9. Injinji Run Lightweight No Show Toe Socks
If we were to describe Injinji Run Lightweight No Show Toe Socks in one word; we’ll say dexterous. These socks offer superior moisture control, have excellent gripping and provide great balance inside the shoes. In addition to this, toe mobility is superb which allows helps keep feet healthy. When it comes to blister prevention, you fall in love with them. However, what we don’t like is the twin colors, but if it appeals to you, then we’ll say go for it!
10. Thirty48 Running Socks
Last but not the least, Thirty 48 running socks are ideal for those looking to elevate their running experience. The extra padding on the metatarsal provides abrasion protection and prevents bruising after a long run. The thin micro mesh fabric that it features increases breath-ability and helps keep feet healthy.
Get the Best Running Socks and Be Ready to Outpace Your Competition
People; it’s time to make your pick! We’ve provided you with the best information and the list of top 10 best running socks. We hope this information helps you make an informed decision and optimize your running performance.
To make the best choice, it is advisable to compare and evaluate your options according to your running goals and needs. Good Luck!