It's amazing how important something as simple as socks can be when it comes to running. But believe me, they make a huge difference. The best socks for running offer the perfect combination of comfort, temperature control, and moisture management.
Soft fabrics with stretchy components like spandex or elastane will be the most comfortable on your feet. Your socks should also provide ample cushioning and arch support to absorb impact when your foot strikes the ground — this is especially important if you're into trail running or long distance training. You also want them to stay up around your ankles and offer some form of blister protection.
As far as temperature control goes, your feet get hot when you run, so having breathable material like polyester or spandex will allow air to circulate and keep your feet cool. It's also helpful if the socks have some sort of mesh or ventilation woven into the design.
Lastly, when it comes to moisture management, sweat-wicking material such as LYCRA or certain types of polyester are crucial. Unlike the socks you wear while lounging around on the couch, your running socks absorb a lot of moisture so the fabric also needs to be able to dry quickly, too. It's also a big bonus if they have some sort of odor management or anti-bacterial properties to prevent them from getting stinky.
Below, I've rounded up the best socks for running to help you make a decision and get the most out of your runs.
1. The Best Overall
Darn Tough Vertex Coolmax No Show Tab Ultra-Light Cushion Sock
Why they're great: If you hate the feeling of thick, bulky socks, you'll love these Darn Tough running socks, which are so light you barely notice you're wearing them. They're super breathable, with moisture-wicking fabric that transports sweat from your skin and keeps your feet cool. On top of that, they have a convenient heel tab that prevents them from slipping and a comfy, anti-blister fit.
What fans think: "I used this product for the first time recently in my first marathon. I normally get blisters on any run over 5 miles and had read the sweat wicking fabrics could prevent this. The socks worked great and overall [I] did not get the blisters like I normally do!"
- Available sizes: Small - Large
2. The Best Budget Option
Saucony Women's Performance No-Show Sport Socks (8 Pack)
Why they're great: This hugely affordable eight-pack makes each of the Saucony running socks less than $2 per pair. But despite the low price, these socks are made of high-quality fabric, with 97 percent polyester plus a bit of rubber and spandex for flexibility. The polyester is sweat-wicking and the weave features air mesh venting to promote extra airflow and keep your feet from overheating while you train. These socks have more than 400 five-star reviews, and they're available in an assortment of colors.
What fans think: "These socks are comfortable and they wick sweat well--my feet did not feel damp or clammy after running. The tab on the heel works like a charm to keep my socks from sliding down into my shoes. I recommend these socks for fellow runners in particular."
- Available sizes: One size
3. The Best Compression Socks
Feetures Elite Lite Cushion Running Socks
Why they're great: I've also tried these Feetures running socks, and they are exceptionally lightweight — a highly unusual trait for compression socks, which often feel thick and restrictive. The targeted compression system encourages blood flow and minimizes delayed onset muscle soreness. What's more, the socks have moisture-wicking LYCRA fabric to keep your feet dry, and a seamless toe-box for extra comfort and reduced chafing.
What fans think: "These are now my favorite socks for trail running and working out. Fit is comfortable with no rubbing or chafing. Enough cushion without feeling thick or bulky."
- Available sizes: Small - X-Large
4. The Best For Sweaty Feet
Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Running Socks
Why they're great: If your feet tend to get extremely sweaty when you run, these silver-infused running socks are a great way to manage odor and prevent them from getting stinky. The anti-bacterial technology uses tiny beads of silver ions that are woven into the yarn. I have tried them myself, and in addition to having excellent odor management, they're soft, comfy, and stay up really well.
What fans think: "I have a lot of foot issues, and my feet sweat more than normal. These socks keep my feet from getting stinky, and they are incredibly comfy on my feet all day. I love them! They are well worth the money in my opinion!"
- Available sizes: Small - X-Large
5. The Best Toes Socks
Injinji Women's Run Lightweight Mini-Crew Socks
Why they're great: For folks who prefer toe socks, these mini-crew-length running socks are perfect for training. They're constructed with soft, stretchy fabric and an arched, narrow design that fits snugly but comfortably. The result is fewer blisters and minimized chafing during intense workouts. As a bonus, they're excellent hiking socks, too.
What fans think: "On my very first run in these socks, I did 6 miles with no typical discomfort. Came home, took them off, and discovered...NO BLISTERS. NO CALLOUSES. NO PAIN. Sold. You won't find me wearing any other kind of sock on my long runs now!"
- Available sizes: X-Small/Small, Medium/Large
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