While any runner knows the shoes you put on your feet can make all the difference, the socks you slip on your feet before your sneakers are equally important. Because, not only can the best cushioned running socks reduce discomfort and swelling during your run, they can help you crush your personal record without any of the post-workout foot pain.
Keep in mind, while a flexible, lightweight pair may work for your running buddy, you may need a more durable material to prevent dreaded heel blisters. So think about what sort of running you plan on doing, and any concerns you might have. Will you be training for a half marathon? Do you struggle from chronic arch pain? The answers to these questions will also dictate which pair is right for you.
For example, long-distance runners are more susceptible to common runner's issues like blisters or bunions, and can benefit from thicker, blister-proof socks. In turn, if you plan on running outside in the warm weather, you may want to opt for a pair of lightweight cushioned socks that absorbs sweat and won't cause your feet to overheat.
From highly durable arch-support to a breathable, anti-microbial pick, here's a list of the best cushioned running socks that are so comfy, your run will never be the same.
1. The Best Overall: A Comfortable, Anti-Microbial Pair Of Socks
Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Running Socks
Woven with anti-bacterial silver ions to keep your feet clean and odor-free, Balega's no-show socks are a fan-favorite amongst runners. These no-show performance socks are made with a unique blend of drynamix polyester, giving them powerful sweat-wicking properties that will keep you dry during your longest runs. As for comfort, these socks feature extra cushioning mid-foot and at the heel to mimic the same support as your running shoes. The long and short? This sock hits all the marks for just about any runner. One fan says, "I typically wear a few of the other brands of running socks, but decided to try these. I bought two pair and I have to say that they are outstanding."
2. The Best Toe-Separated: A Pair That Prevents Blisters And Hotspots
Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Socks
The toe-separated design of Injinji's running socks sets them apart from other pairs on the market for one reason: The extra cushioning in between your toes keeps them from rubbing together and forming painful hotspots or blisters. Made with Coolmax, a specially designed moisture-wicking fabric known for its breathability, these socks will keep your feet dry even if you're on your feet running all day. And, even runners who don't like toe-separated socks praise this pair: "I hate things being between my toes. No flip flops for me. However, these socks were recommended to me to keep blisters at bay that often form between my toes on long runs. They work like a charm!" Bonus: There are tons of fun, bright patterns to choose from to wear for your next big race.
3. The Best Compression: A High-Impact Sock That Reduces Swelling
CEP Women's Dynamic Short Socks
If you struggle with pain and swelling on your runs, CEP's compression socks are a great buy that feature unique compression technology to target and reduce the risk of foot pain. And while most compression socks go up to the knee, these socks were designed to hit you below-the-calf, so they won't cause your legs to overheat as you exercise. Built with a snug compression cuff that increases circulation, these will stay in place on your leg no matter what workout you have in store. One fan says, "Absolutely amazing support. Wore them for my first half marathon and they performed perfectly. Great moisture wicking."
If you prefer a full-length sock when you run, this knee-high compression sock has many of the same benefits of the sock above, with total leg coverage.
4. The Best Sweat-Absorbers: A Double-Layered Favorite That Keeps You Cool
Wrightsock Coolmesh II Tab Running Socks (2 Pack)
While most running socks are moisture-wicking, very few can hold up to the double layer absorption of these cooling socks. Made with a spandex blend, these running socks feature two layers of fabric to absorb literally every drop of sweat on your feet while also creating an ultra soft barrier to blisters. On top of that, the mesh panels keep your feet extra cool. There's even arch braces stitched along the bottom of the sock for maximum support and pain-free running.
5. Honorable Mention: A High-Performance Sock With Even More Cushioning In The Heel
Feetures! High Performance Cushion Socks
Not only do these running socks come with a lifetime guarantee, they also feature cushioning throughout the foot without the bulk, and a seamless toe box to keep the fabric from rubbing. They're also perfect for any runner looking for extra heel support. Lycra bands and a Y-heel construction keep the socks from sliding into the shoe and forming blisters. One reviewer swears by them, writing, "They don’t slide down into the [shoe], they fit well, they’re high quality, extra knitted in the heels unlike other sock brands that are thin in the heel. I ran 5 miles in these and they feel wonderful. Need to buy more!"
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.