Best Running Socks Reviewed & Tested for Performance

Everyone knows how important a good running shoe is to protect your feet from the elements on the hard concrete and the trail. But what will protect your feet from your shoes? Improper running socks can cause all sorts of problems. Blisters could be the least of your worries when it comes to running with the wrong kind of sock. Hammertoes, shin splints, ankle injuries, athletes’ foot, all of these can be prevented with the help of a good sock.

best running socks

A good athletic sock can come in many forms. Some people swear by compression socks, others prefer thinner ankle socks designed for keeping your feet cool and preventing swampy running shoes. Others still prefer thicker socks with more padding and support on the heels and toes. There are several varieties of athletic socks, and most come with a combination of these features that I mentioned. Some of these features are more vital than others. For instance, almost all running socks are made out of moisture wicking material that will keep sweat from building up in your socks.

Last Updated: November 17, 2017
By Tenby Lloyd:

With so much focus on shoes, running socks tend to be overlooked even though their importance is vital. This update brings running socks in to focus as it looks at the ten best brands and styles on the market this year, and reviews how well each one performs. Added in to the reviews is a brief explaination of the medical benefits of running socks, as well as what type of conditions can occur for those who do not select proper socks.

Featured Recommendations

Feetures! Elite Max Cusion
  • Feetures! Elite Max Cusion
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Max Cushion sock
  • Price: See Here
Balego Enduro V-Tech
  • Balego Enduro V-Tech
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Non constricting
  • Price: See Here
Asics Intensity
  • Asics Intensity
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Soft Sole and Lace Pad Cushioning
  • Price: See Here

Unfortunately, all of these socks come with a hefty price tag. Athletic socks can range anywhere from ten dollars to thirty dollars for a single pair. I’ve gone ahead and selected the socks that will give you the highest quality and performance with the best value.

 

10 Best Running Socks

 

1. Feetures! Elite Max Cusion

A running sock designed with comfort in mind, the Elite Max Cushion running sock is brought to us by Feetures! These socks boast both extreme comfort and blister protection. They come in a variety of fun colors to brighten up your run. The iWick fibers should keep your feet dry during a harder run, without sacrificing softness.
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Sock-lock Technology
This specially designed sock provides extra compression around your arches. The socks are designed to fit your feet without slipping or sliding during your run, so you never have to break stride.

iWick Fibers
These special fibers were designed both for maximum comfort and protection. They are softer and provide more cushioning than even the other Feetures! Elite socks.

Cost and Value
These socks are very reasonably priced for the comfort and protection they provide. If you're planning on investing the money in running socks these will be a solid choice.
Pros
  • No toe seam
  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • Extremely soft with extra cushioning where it counts
  • Specially fitted for extra blister protection
  • Come in a variety of colors
Cons
  • Can be difficult to find the right size
  • Compression is a little lax

2. BalegaEnduro V-Tech

These athletic quarter-socks have been constructed using Balega's special DryNamix fibers, keeping your feet cool and moisture free throughout even the toughest runs. The V-Tech compression offers extra support and comfort for your heels and arches, while the extra deep heel keeps the sock from sliding. These form fitting socks are an excellent choice for any runner.
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Drynamix Fibers
Balega's specially engineered fibers are produced right here in the United States. They keep your feet dry and cool during even the most intense workouts.

Extra Deep Heel Pocket
These extra deep heel pockets were designed to give your sock an even better fit. They keep your sock from sliding down while you're out pounding the pavement.

Cost and Value
The price of these socks is relatively low for running socks. A good bargain for somebody who wants to try specialty running socks without breaking the bank.
Pros
  • Mesh on the top for better ventilation
  • Compression bands around the arches
  • Extra cushioned heel
  • Medium Volume
Cons
  • Can be a little short lived

3. Thorlos Experia

These socks are great for people who want to enjoy the benefits of thinner socks while also having cushioning in the areas where it counts. The mesh frame cuts down on ounces without sacrificing comfort or protection on your heel or instep. As we all know, every ounce counts when it comes to lightweight running gear.
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Padding Where It Counts
These thin sculpted pads on the heel and instep give your feet the same protection and cushioning as thicker socks without all of the bulk.

Lightweight Mesh Frame
The Lycra mesh frame cuts keeps these socks light and breathable for maximum comfort. The mesh also wicks moisture well enough to keep your feet cool and dry throughout your entire run.

Cost and Value
The price is about average for a running sock. Given the comfort level of the socks, I'd say it's a fair bargain. One of the best non-compression socks on this list.
Pros
  • Lightweight design
  • Extra cushioning on problem areas
  • Moisture wicking
  • Mesh frame helps keep feet cool
  • Sizes ranging from XS to XL
Cons

Can slide down the foot

4. Asics Intensity

4. Asics Intensity
The Intensity is a low-cut lightweight sock that does not forget about support. The heel and toe is cushioned while the top is made of a light mesh for better ventilation. These socks are made out of Hydrology yarn, and wick moisture away with the best of them. Your feet will be comfortable and dry even through the most arduous run.
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Targeted Padding
Thick padding on the heels and toes provide extra comfort and support where you need it the most. They protect your feet from the perils of a difficult run.

Moisture Management
The light mesh keeps these socks light and provides a little extra ventilation. The Hydrology yarn wicks away moisture for a perfectly cool and dry run.

Cost and Value
Unlike other running socks on this list, these socks come in a pack of three. These are easily the best deal for people who want to try out a pair of running socks without breaking the bank.
Pros
  • Center bands for extra arch support
  • Targeted cushioning on the heel and toe
  • Hydrology yarn
  • Heel tab prevents slipping
Cons
  • The bottom of the socks pill

5. Balega Blister Resist

5. Balega Blister Resist
An excellent sock for training in the wintertime. The blend of Drynamix and mohair keep your feet both warm without letting them get too soggy during a winter run. Targeted compression around the arches and a seamless toe ensure a comfortable and secure fit. The deep heel and high heel tab help keep this sock from sliding down during your jog.
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Mohair Blend
The blend of mohair and Drynamix fibers allows for excess moisture to be wicked away while keeping your feet warm during the more frigid months.

High Tab Heel
The specially designed heel tab and extra deep pocket help keep the sock in place. This helps prevent blisters, and worse having to stop to adjust your socks every few feet.

Cost and Value
These socks are an excellent value. They can get a little pricey, but given the quality of the product the few extra dollars you would spend are well worth it.
Pros
  • Keep your feet warm
  • No toe seam
  • Moisture wicking
  • Medium weight sock
  • Available in larger sizes
Cons
  • Not as blister resistant as the name might suggest

6. Mudgear Compression

6. Mudgear Compression
These knee-high compression socks were designed to be worn during obstacle courses and mud runs, making them more than tough enough to handle anything the trail you're running on can throw at them. The graduated compression helps prevent muscle fatigue while promoting circulation. Moisture wicking and blister prevention makes this an excellent sock to wear on any run, while remaining comfortable enough to wear around the house.
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True Graduated Compression
The graduated compression helps foster blood flow in the legs. It's great for anyone with circulation problems, not just runners. It also helps reduce swelling and muscle fatigue after a hard run.

Quick Drainage
The moisture wicking material is supplemented by an extraordinary quick drainage design that will shed water and sweat away quickly, keeping your feet light and dry through even the muddiest of mud runs.

Cost and Value
These are definitely one of the more expensive options on this list. However, if you’re looking for a quality compression sock that can take a beating, these are an excellent option.
Pros
  • Excellent drainage and moisture wicking
  • Good padding
  • Graduated Compression
  • Extra protection on the back of the calf
  • Machine Washable
Cons

Heels wear through quickly

7. Injinji Run 2.0

7. Injinji Run 2.0
These somewhat silly looking socks are excellent for keeping your feet comfortable during your treadmill session. These socks are lightweight and the top is made of a mesh fabric that aids in ventilation. The specially designed toe allows for your feet to splay more naturally during a hard run. The heel tab helps prevent sliding and chafing on your ankle.
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Enhanced Cuff
A dual welt band with extra compression, this extra durable cuff helps keep your sock from slipping and your shoe from rubbing against your heel.

Five Toe Fit System Technology
Each toe is seamless, allowing for extra comfort while also allowing your toes to align more naturally. The anatomical design helps ensure a closer fit and prevent blisters.

Cost and Value
The range in price may startle you, but the higher prices are for packs of multiple socks. These are very reasonably priced. If you buy a single pair and like them, investing in a three pack may be a good idea.
Pros
  • Arch support
  • Mesh instep
  • Specialty cuff keeps it from slipping
  • Designed to fit your foot as closely as possible
  • Prevents interdigital blisters
Cons
  • Too thin for colder weather
  • Some people have trouble wearing toe socks

8. Balega Hidden Comfort

8. Balega Hidden Comfort
Balega has proven to be a trusted brand on this list, and these Hidden Comfort socks are no different. Like the other Balega socks on this list, they have an extra deep heel to help prevent the socks from slipping, no toe seam, and are made of Drynamix fibers. The top is made of a thin mesh and the heel and toe are reinforced and cushioned for a more comfortable run.
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Plush Sole
The extra-plush sole along with the reinforced heel and toe make for an extremely comfortable running sock. These are great for people who want to wear something comfortable while also enjoying the protection of a good running sock.

Elastane
An improved Elastane formula allows these socks to fit closer and offer more protection than ever before. Along with the non-slip tab, this should ensure they stay right where you want them during your run.

Cost and Value
The cost is low for such a high quality running sock. Good if you want a solid and reliable sock for a lower price than some of the more expensive competitors.
Pros
  • Reinforced Heel and Toe
  • Plush sole
  • No toe seam
  • Well fitting
Cons
  • The XL is a little small

9. SB Sox

9. SB Sox
These compression socks are made of a lightweight breathable fabric while the graduated compression maintains a compression rating of 20-33mmHG. This promotes circulation in your legs and helps prevent muscle fatigue. Designed for maximum support and relief, these socks are both comfortable and functional. The anti-odor fabric wicks away moisture while deodorizing your feet. You won't regret wearing these during a long run.
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Improved Circulation
These socks utilize graduated compression to help promote blood and oxygen flow in your legs while also preventing a buildup of lactic acids and muscle fatigue during a harder run.

Anti-Odor Fabric
Just because you ran a marathon, that doesn't mean your feet need to smell like it. The anti-odor fabric wicks away moisture while preventing the buildup of bacteria and fungus on your feet.

Cost and Value
These are less expensive than some compression socks. If you're looking for a good compression sock for a relatively low price, this is a good one to look into.
Pros
  • Cushioned heel and toe
  • Reduce swelling
  • Medical grade compression
  • True to size
Cons

A little difficult to put on

10. Physix Gear Sport

10. Physix Gear Sport
High quality compression socks that don't sacrifice durability or comfort. Unlike many compression socks, these were designed specifically for athletes. Targeted compression and support on the toe heel and calf areas set these socks apart from their peers. These graduated compression socks boast a fashionable design and anti-bacterial fabric. Your legs will stay dry in the summer and warm in the winter with these excellent socks.
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Graduated Compression These socks compress and support your feet and calves with their prescription grade 20-30mmHG compression. The increased blood flow you will experience in your legs will help prevent both post-workout swelling and pain.

Lightweight Anti-Bacterial Fabric The lightweight fabric will keep your legs cool in the summer as it wicks away moisture. The fabric is also anti-bacterial, which will prevent odors from building up in your shoes after a tough day on the trail.

Cost and Value
Reasonably priced compression socks. These are a great value for a high quality product. If you’re going to get compression socks, you should really consider purchasing these.
Pros
  • Prescription grade compression
  • Durable
  • Machine washable
  • Stylish design
  • Anti-Bacterial fabric
Cons
  • Foot can be a little too long

Socks are the unsung heroes of our running escapades. They act as a shield against the friction of our shoes rubbing against our feet as we run while cushioning our footfalls. Aside from simply protecting your feet from blisters, athletic socks can help prevent the development of serious health problems. Such as bacterial growth or hammertoes. In the case of compression socks, they can even help ease circulatory problems like DTV (deep vein thrombosis) and prevent blood clots. While they do tend to run on the more expensive side, a serious runner cannot afford to forgo the proper equipment.

There is a world of difference between a regular old sock and a performance sock designed to protect and support your feet during a marathon. Given how vital they are to maintaining your health while training, you should give a lot of thought as to what kind of running sock would be good for you. Your feet will thank you for it.