10 Best Wool Socks for Sports and Running Tested

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Wool isn’t just for sweaters and scarves. Wool is a great natural material for running and athletic socks!

This may seem odd, but the natural moisture-wicking and insulating properties of wool make this material great for body temperature regulation. When it is cold outside, wool will help keep your feet warm as you run, but when it is hot outside, the natural air pockets created by wool help move moisture and sweat away from your skin to keep it cool and dry. Plus, wool is extra soft and hypoallergenic (and flame retardant, in case you will be running through fire).  

In times gone by, all running socks were constructed from wool. If you wanted running socks it was wool or nothing. With the arrival of synthetic fibers, things started to change. Wool has not been left behind but nowadays it can be blended with high-performance synthetic fibers.

Keeping the base material as wool and blending in additional high-performance fibers means that sock performance can be greatly increased, durability is prolonged, comfort is enhanced, and moisture-wicking capability is increased. We know that wool is comfortable and nowadays running socks made from wool and blended with other fabrics are certainly a good part of our running gear.

Last Updated: July 26, 2018
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By Maja Beier:

Here at RunnerClick, we care just as much about a good comfortable run as you do. Therefore, we collected even more information on Best Wool Socks for Sports and Running 2018 and updated the FAQ-section with recently asked questions to provide you with as much information as possible before you go out and purchase your own pair. Happy running!

ROCKAY Accelerate
  • ROCKAY Accelerate
  • 5 out of 5
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  • Mulesing free organic merino wool
  • Price: See Here
Darn Tough Light Cushion
  • Darn Tough Light Cushion
  • 5 out of 5
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  • Awesome durability
  • Price: See Here
Cloudnine Merino Wool
  • Cloudnine Merino Wool
  • 4.6 out of 5
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  • 63% merino wool
  • Price: See Here

11 Best Wool Socks for Sports

 

 

 

ROCKAY Accelerate

Connect with genuine comfort, quality, support and seriously good performance and of course a sporty style. These have strategic compressive sock tech designed in for arch support, and for total comfort, padded heel and toe areas.

As runners, we look towards choosing the right pair of shoes and the same applies to socks. These are all-weather performers, with very good breathability which means warm in the chilly winter weather and cool to wear during hot summer days.

Have a read of our full review and get the low down on your next pair of top performing running socks. You've tried the rest, now read on and try the best.
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Comfort

A no-show sock and these are packed with benefits which result in a secure protective FIT. Compression is thoughtfully designed into the sock for support to the heel arch and the sock gives further overall supportive compression.

The protective heel pad gives protection in conjunction with preventing the sock from slipping when socks slip runners get painful blisters, you won't have this problem when you wear these socks.

Very nice comforting protection through the innovative designing in of padding for the toe and heel areas.

The socks feature innovative and thoughtful design concepts such as blending the construction to merge the heel tab and all of the ankle cuff.

The higher heel tab is blended into the entire ankle cuff to benefit the comfort.

Due to the use of high-quality Merino wool, the socks give optimal temperature control, which means when the weather is hot, your feet are cool, when the weather gets cold your feet are warm.

Moisture gets wicked away effectively so you retain comfort and protection from chafing and so blisters will not be an issue. Due to the good level of breathability/wick-ability, the socks remain odor free and comfortable.


Durability/Quality

These are made from high-quality merino wool and so durability is assured. To ensure the highest quality fabric, the wool is sourced from South America.

Cost/Value

these socks are new to the running scene and the good news is that the price is very affordable for a high-quality sock.

Conclusion

The market has many choices for quality running socks and these newcomers are ready to offer exactly the level of performance, comfort, and protection, wanted by runners who use no-show socks. Research has been carried out to ensure these are the sock to meet the aspirations and needs of runners.

1. Darn Tough Vermont

1. Darn Tough Vermont
Darn Tough makes socks that are fitting to the company name: tough! These seamless wool socks will get you through a run or a workout with cool, dry, blisterless feet.
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Construction
These socks are made with an extra thin, yet strong, Merino wool, so they are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. Their seamless construction provides a smooth and snug fit that won’t cause blisters or chafing, nor will they slip down your ankle or get bunched up at the top of your shoe.

Cushioning
Half of the Merino wool yarn used to make each of these socks goes to the base of the foot, where they provide superior cushioning. Users praise these socks as being the most comfortable they have ever owned.

Color and Style
These socks will hit just above your ankle, and are available in black only. They are available in 5 sizes, from small to 2XL.

Value
These are an average priced pair of wool socks.
Pros
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Seamless construction
  • Variety of sizes available
Cons
  • Only one color choice

2. Cloudnine Merino Wool

2. Cloudnine Merino Wool
These merino wool blend socks are super soft and come in a handful of fun colors.
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Construction
The Cloudnine Merino Wool ¼ Top Running & Athletic Socks are made of 59% Merino wool, 36% nylon, and 5% spandex. This combination makes these socks extra light and extra soft while still fitting snugly. They are machine washable and come with a lifetime guarantee. The natural moisture wicking ability of the merino wool keeps your feet cool, dry, blister-free, and it fights germs and bacteria.

Cushioning
These soft socks have reinforced “cushion zones” to increase their comfort and durability. These reinforced cushion zones are located in the toe and heel of the sock. Users say these socks are incredibly comfortable and durable, especially for trail running.

Color and Style
These socks are available in four gray-based color combinations: pink, orange, green, and red. Additionally, they are available in 4 sizes, which users say run a bit large.

Value
These are average priced wool athletic socks.
Pros
  • User reported as great for trail running
  • Very comfortable
Cons
  • Sizes run large

3. Minus33 Light Trek

3. Minus33 Light Trek
This no-show running sock provides achilles protection along with all of the benefits of Merino wool!
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Construction
The blend used to make this sock is 80% Merino wool, 16% nylon, and 4% Elastane. It has a mesh top to enhance the natural moisture wicking and ventilation properties of Merino wool. A reinforced heel pad helps protect your Achilles tendon from blisters and chafing. These socks are machine washable and dry-able, and each sock weighs a mere 1.6 ounces. Users have questioned the durability of these socks, as they noticed fraying along the bottom and sides after just one wear.

Cushioning
In addition to underfoot cushioning, the top of the sock is constructed of cushioned mesh to increase airflow and create a comfy barrier between your shoe and foot. A reinforced heel pad helps protect your Achilles tendon from blisters and chafing.

Color and Style
These socks will not show above the ankle of your shoe. They are available in 3 colors and 4 sizes.

Value
These socks are priced below the average of other wool socks.
Pros
  • Multiple colors and sizes
  • Achilles tendon padding
Cons
  • Questionable durability

5. Balega No Show Athletic

5. Balega No Show Athletic
These socks are made of a unique polyester wool blend to fight off one of runners’ most evil enemies: blisters!
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Construction
These socks are made of a combination of 54% Drynamix polyester, 35% wool, 6% nylon, 3% neofil, and 2% elastane. This mix of Drynamix and mohair keeps your feet cool and dry because of the natural moisture wicking and evaporation properties, which is what makes these socks blister fighters. Users tout the blister fighting properties of these socks, with these having eliminated blisters altogether for some runners. A seamless toe eliminates top-of-foot irritation, and an extra deep heel cup helps the sock fit securely and stay in place.

Cushioning
These are labeled as medium thickness socks, and users comment that this specific pair is thinner than most other Balega socks, although they are still great for running and other athletic activities.

Color and Style
These socks are available in 8 colors and are offered in both bright and neutral tones. They are made in four sizes, ranging from small to XL.

Value
These are a below-average priced pair of wool running socks.
Pros
  • Blister preventing
  • No show
  • Many colors available
Cons
  • Thinner construction than other Balega socks

6. Darn Tough No Show Light Cushion

6. Darn Tough No Show Light Cushion
Made in Vermont, these socks are made with ultra fine Merino wool to provide temperature regulation and softness.
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Construction
With a blend of 51% Merino Wool, 45% nylon, and 4% lycra spandex, these socks are praised by users for their amazing fit and foot drying capabilities. Even though these are no-show socks, they still have a low heel pad to offer extra comfort. Some users wish this was a little larger to ease getting the socks on.

Cushioning
The socks are incredibly soft, and their seamless construction prevents chafing and irritation. Over half of the wool yard used to make each sock is dedicated to the underfoot area of the sock, ensuring thorough cushioning and impact protection.

Color and Style
These socks are available in 3 color combinations and 5 sizes. Users that bought multiple colors found size differences between hues.

Value
These are average priced wool running socks.
Pros
  • Good fit
  • Keep feet dry
Cons
  • Sizing differences between colors
  • Heel tab might be too snug

7. Wigwam Husky Stretch Wool Classic

7. Wigwam Husky Stretch Wool Classic
Made with a stretchy wool blend and ribbed ankle, these running socks are a timeless classic.
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Construction
These socks are 70% wool and 30% nylon, so they are machine washable. The low profile toe closure prevents chafing and increases comfort for a better fit. Users note that these socks are especially comfortable and protective in rugged environments and high impact use, like trail running. However, other users feel the toe cushioning is a bit too thick.

Cushioning
These are heavy weight wool socks, so they are thick and offer plush cushioning between you and your shoe.

Color and Style
These socks are available in 2 colors and 3 sizes. The calf is wide and stretchy, so those runners and athletes with large calves should have no worries about these socks fitting well.

Value
These are priced slightly below average for wool socks.
Pros
  • Great for trail running
  • Wide calf
Cons
  • Toe cushioning is too thick for some users

8. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro

8. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro
This sock is tailored to fit a woman’s foot, and is engineered with the moisture wicking abilities of wool plus added mesh to increase ventilation.
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Construction
The 48% Merino Wool, 48% Nylon, and 4% Elastane construction of this sock has many benefits. It is ultra light, yet cushions your foot against rubbing and impact without feeling bulky. The two types of elastic give it supreme stretch power to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit. The “Virtually Seamless” toe helps prevent discomfort and chafing while you run. Some users have said that these are not the longest-lasting socks, but they do have a great fit.

Cushioning
This sock provides minimal cushioning so it is not bulky in your shoe, allowing you to run comfortably and naturally. An Achilles pad offers blister and chafing protection to the back of your foot.

Color and Style
This sock is made to fit the naturally narrower dimensions of a woman’s foot. It is available in 3 sizes and 11 different color schemes.

Value
Depending on the color you select, this could be a very inexpensive or a very high priced wool running sock.
Pros
  • Many color options
  • Cut to a woman’s foot shape
Cons
  • Not very durable

9. CEP Dynamic+ run

9. CEP Dynamic+ run
These socks have the least amount of wool out of all the options on our list, yet still manage to provide all of the benefits offered by a Merino wool running sock.
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Construction
These socks are made of 64% Polyamid, 14% Merino Wool, 12% Elastan, and 10% Polypropylen. These socks are extremely flexible, so they will match your every move while you run or play a sport. Even though there is a low percentage of Merino Wool in these socks, they still provide the same moisture and bacteria management as socks with a higher ratio of wool in their design.

Cushioning
These are the thickest socks offered in CEP’s Dynamic lineup. Users report that these are not only comfortable to wear for running, but also as all day socks.

Color and Style
These socks hit just below your calf, and are offered in 3 colors in 3 sizes. Sizing is based on the circumference of your ankle, not your shoe size. This may be confusing for some consumers.

Value
These are an average priced wool running sock.
Pros
  • Superior stretch
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Confusing sizing
  • Not a lot of wool in construction

10. Fox River Peak Vite LX

10. Fox River Peak Vite LX
This is the only sock on our list to include tencel in its construction, so it is made to stand up to your heavy duty runs and other athletic activities.
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Construction
These socks are made of 45% Nylon, 19% Tencel, 19% Polyester, 14% NanoGlide Nylon and 3% Spandex. They are very lightweight, and Fox River’s helix fit system creates a snug and supportive, yet comfortable fit using volumetric compression. Impact is absorbed by the reinforced heel and toe. This feature also increases the durability of the sock. Vent panels increase the breathability of these socks.

Cushioning
These socks provide all-over cushioning, but especially in the reinforced toe and heel. This helps keep you comfortable while you run by absorbing impact. Some users found these socks to be too thick to be comfortable for running.

Color and Style
This low profile sock is available in four color combinations. It comes in three sizes, ranging from small to large.

Value
These are a low priced wool running sock.
Pros
  • Tencel construction
  • Durable
  • Ventilated
Cons
  • May be too thick for some runners

Criteria used for choosing 10 Best wool socks for sports and running

Every single person is aware that selecting a good pair of sporting shoes is important in maintaining happy feet that are comfortable from cracks, bad odor, and injuries. Similarly, people forget that for an avid runner to have those happy and comfortable feet, they require good wool socks for running and sporting. Look at it in this perspective, if a runner or a racer has good racing shoes and the socks are not of good quality with bad features, at the end of the day, will we have a happy racer? No. Good sports and running wool socks are as important as any sports gear. Alongside choosing the best sporting gears, selecting the best wool socks is definitely necessary if one is looking forward to good sport. The vital importance of wool sporting sock is to provide comfort and prevent the runner’s feet from getting blisters. The bad odor is also prevented when one has wool socks on.

There are different types of wool socks designed to suit different sporting activities like cycling, running, and trekking. There are also many designed for different weather conditions and places too. One should do a little research when selecting from the many options on the market.

Ask any runner what the key to running success is and they will tell you: happy feet.   Alright, perhaps there is a bit more to the sport of running, but comfortable feet can truly make or break your running experience. As any seasoned runner will tell you, having the appropriate type of socks is as vital as having proper fitting sneakers.

It is important to select sports woolen socks considering the properties of their material and the sport for which they are intended to be worn. Sports socks are available from sports shops, department stores, specialized sports shops such as hiking and cycling equipment shops, and also from online stores.

choosing the wrong pair of wool sock for your sport may lead to having a strain on the feet of the athlete. This is why it is more important for an athlete to consider the kind of sport when choosing the best socks for him or her.  Below are the criteria and considerations to help an athlete have an easy road when selecting the best wool socks for his or her sporting.

Factors to consider

Fabric

The fabric is the most important feature one can have in mind when buying any kind of gear, leave alone just a pair of sporting wool socks. The fabric is the material that one touches when he or she gets in conduct with the gear. The right material for any gear should keep the athlete comfortable depending on the weather condition, type of sporting activity and the athletes’ preference. For athletic gears, a good fabric should be lightweight and breathable. Good wool socks fabric should one that can give good cushioning to the feet of the athlete. Different athletes have a different preference when it comes to cushioning. some love more cushion, suck like they can feel on the clouds when sporting, while other love little cushion, as little as walking on the forefoot. No matter the quantity of the cushions, cushions offer comfort.

The fabric to good wool sporting socks should be durable. Durability fabrics are long lasting. Good wool sporting socks will make an athlete use the pair on several occasions without the wool sporting socks wearing out quickly.

Wicking ability of the wool sporting socks is another good aspect the wool socks fabric should have. Wicking ability is basically the potential of a material to transfer moisture absorbed from the skin. Good wool sporting socks should be able to evaporate absorbed moisture and sweat from the feet of an athlete. Wicking ability is vital because it keeps the feet odorless, dry, comfortable and prevents the feet of the athlete from getting minor injuries and blisters. Apart from wool, the other good wicking fabrics are Polyester and Acrylic.

Socks made from cotton are not preferred for sporting because they tend to store a lot of moisture and sweat, which is not only uncomfortable but also very bulky. The sweaty feet may easily get blisters and injuries while the athlete is exercising.

Coolmax, Acrylic, Nylon, and Lycra are good fabrics for running gears creation. They are versatile, comfortable, durable and have good wicking power. Blends of wool and these other materials can be used to make good socks for sporting. Wool sporting socks can be maintained easily by hand washing.

Thickness

The thickness of your running sock is often a personal preference. While some may prefer a thin, minimal sock, others may prefer to have a significant amount of cushion.   Some socks, such as the brand Wright Sock offer double walled thickness to, in theory, help prevent blisters.  When deciding on what thickness you would like, consider the sort of activity you will be participating in. Some long distance runners prefer to have some added cushion in their sock, while shorter distance athletes prefer a lightweight sock. If you are running in a colder climate, having a thicker sock may help keep your feet warm. Lastly, it is important you consider what sneakers you will be wearing the socks. Try the socks on with your current pair of sneakers to ensure that the thickness does not compromise the proper fit of your sneaker.

Style

While the style and length of a running sock again may boil down to a personal preference, there are a few points to consider. If you are running on trails with thick vegetation, you may want to consider crew length, or even knee high socks, to help prevent debris entering your shoe, scratches from shrubs, or even dangerous insect bites. Consider the fit of the sneaker you will be wearing, and if there are any parts of the shoe that will be rubbing against your heel that you may want to protect with a taller sock.  Have constant issues with blistering between toes?  Try toe socks.

Size & Fit

Running specific socks are typically measured in shoe size. It is imperative that you wear a properly fitting sock. Wearing socks that are too big may lead to friction issues, which may lead to painful hot spots and blisters. However, wearing socks that are too small may be equally as damaging, by constricting blood flow, toe movement, and potentially changing your running biomechanics.  A local running store will be able to help suggest the right size sock based on your foot and your needs, and likely even let you try a pair on.

Compression

Compression socks are currently all the rage in the endurance community, and for good reason: the increased blood flow due to graduated compression may help with recovery or preventing issues such as muscle cramps and shin splints.  However, compression socks may also become uncomfortable over time if the compression they provide causes the sock to become too tight.  If you choose to run in compression socks, be sure to wear the correct size (see above) and test them out over shorter distances before completing long runs, as your feet may swell over the longer miles.

While socks may seem like a small part of the running apparel equation, experiencing pain from uncomfortable feet might ruin an otherwise enjoyable run or race. Wearing the proper socks while running will help keep your feet dry and cool, help prevent blisters, and help prevent the buildup of unwanted bacteria. Be sure to keep the above tips in mind when shopping for running socks, to keep your feet happy and healthy.

 

Other Important Factors to consider

Waterproofing

Few things are more irritating on a long winter ride than cold, wet feet, so a pair of waterproof socks is a valuable addition to the cyclist’s wardrobe. Worn in conjunction with a pair of waterproof overshoes they should keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Thermal qualities

Socks with thermal insulation properties – the ability to trap a layer of air next to your skin, where it can warm up – are also a winter staple. You should be aware, however, that insulation comes at the expense of breathability. Socks with different levels of thermal insulation are available – from those suitable for Arctic exploration to others that just offer that extra degree of warmth – so choose according to the conditions and the level of exertion you expect, or you run the risk of overheating.

Moisture management

As above, all synthetic and some natural fibers (Merino wool, in particular, cotton not so much) are valued for their wicking properties, that is, their ability to draw moisture away from the skin and allow it to evaporate. This is an essential consideration if you don’t want your feet to become saturated with sweat from exertion.

Some socks designed specifically for cycling may also have additional features such as extra padding in the heel area, stretch panels under the arch of the foot and silicone gripper bands above the ankle.

 

FAQ

Q. Why should I use wool socks for my running?

A. A common, sometimes painful mistake often made by inexperienced runners is wearing 100 percent cotton clothing, including socks.  Chances are you have tons of these socks in your drawer already, so it’s easy to understand why one would reach for a pair of cotton socks first.  Cotton clothing tends to absorb and hold moisture, and wet socks may result in painful blisters. When choosing a running sock, look for synthetic materials, such as acrylic, polyester, or other types of quick drying, moisture wicking technical materials. These materials will help wick sweat and moisture away from your skin, keeping your feet comfortable and helping to prevent blisters. For cool weather runners, or simply those looking to go a more natural route, running specific wool blend socks which will also help wick away moisture while keeping the feet warm.

Q. What are the ideal materials for running socks?

A. The fabric is the most important feature one can have in mind when buying any kind of gear, leave alone just a pair of sporting wool socks. The fabric is the material that one touches when he or she gets in conduct with the gear. The right material for any gear should keep the athlete comfortable depending on the weather condition, type of sporting activity and the athletes’ preference. For athletic gears, a good fabric should be lightweight and breathable.

Good wool socks fabric should one that can give good cushioning to the feet of the athlete. Different athletes have different preferences when it comes to cushioning. some love more cushion, suck like they can feel on the clouds when sporting, while other love little cushion, as little as walking on the forefoot. No matter the quantity of the cushions, cushions offer comfort.

Wicking ability of the wool sporting socks is another good aspect the wool socks fabric should have. Wicking ability is basically the potential of a material to transfer moisture absorbed from the skin. Good wool sporting socks should be able to evaporate absorbed moisture and sweat from the feet of an athlete. Wicking ability is vital because it keeps the feet odorless, dry, and comfortable, preventing issues such as blisters. Apart from wool, the other good wicking fabrics are Polyester and Acrylic.

Socks made from cotton are not preferred for sporting because they tend to store a lot of moisture and sweat, which is not only uncomfortable but also very bulky. The sweaty feet may easily get blisters and injuries while the athlete is exercising.

Coolmax, Acrylic, Nylon, and Lycra are good fabrics for running gears creation. They are versatile, comfortable, durable and have good wicking power. Blends of wool and these other materials can be used to make good socks for sporting. They can be maintained easily by hand washing.

Q. How does wearing the right pair of wool sporting and running socks affect my running?

A. Wearing the right pair of good wool socks for sporting has a positive impact on your running and exercising. Buying or acquiring yourself a pair is worth investing in. The comfort they provide can keep the runner or sporting man concentrate more on the exercise and not how discomfort the socks are. The good cushioning, wicking ability and breathability will keep the run or exercise peaceful, prevent or reduce blisters, offer support to the feet, aerate the feet by keeping away moisture and maintaining the feet’s temperature will definitely improve the running and exercising of the athlete and make it worthwhile.   

Q. What is the determinant factor of the thickness of my sporting wool socks?

A. The thickness of your running sock is often a personal preference. While some may prefer a thin, minimal sock, others may prefer to have a significant amount of cushion.   Some socks, such as the brand Wright Sock offer double walled thickness to, in theory, help prevent blisters.  When deciding on what thickness you would like, consider the sort of activity you will be participating in.

Some long distance runners prefer to have some added cushion in their sock, while shorter distance athletes prefer a lightweight sock. If you are running in a colder climate, having a thicker sock may help keep your feet warm. Lastly, it is important you consider what sneakers you will be wearing the socks. Try the socks on with your current pair of sneakers to ensure that the thickness does not compromise the proper fit of your sneaker.

Q. Do you recommend compression socks to enhance my running performance or are regular socks enough for me?

A. Compression have a different function, they have special technology that makes you recover faster and more efficiently from your runs. They are very specialized kinds of socks and most people have a “Love/hate” relationship with them. It is worth trying them if you suffer from calf soreness or pain.

Q. What kind of cushion levels can I find for my socks?

A. You can find from ultra light, recommended keeping your feet cool; light cushion, the ones that provide some protection in high impact zones; and max cushion, ones that give you the perfect blend between performance and comfort. The latter ones can be too warm during summer.

Q. How do I wash my wool running and sporting socks?

A. The following is the procedure on how to clean your wool sporting and running socks;

The following are the steps one should follow while washing the wool socks used for sporting;

  1. Turn the inside part of the wool socks to be on the outside
  2. In case you are using the washing machine, the cycle speed should be medium. If you are using hand wash, which is the most preferred way, soak the wool socks on medium warm water.
  3. Wash the wool socks with mild soap or washing powder with no percentage of bleaching.
  4. Air the sock after rinsing in clean water.

Wool clothing is not washed regularly because the washing practice deforms the wool, making it less durable.

Q. Whats the difference between athletic and running socks?

A. Running socks are different from athletic socks. Not only by the naming, but also when it comes to design and properties. Each has different levels of breathability, wicking ability and cushioning. Sporting wool socks, example hiking, the socks are much thicker, have a lot of cushioning than running socks because hiking requires more comfort and warmth while cycling socks are thinner for enabling faster movement during cycling.

If you are looking for an all-climate sock that keeps your feet dry, wool running and athletic socks might be the right choice for you. Use our list of the top 10 wool socks to help you choose the pair that meets your needs.


 

Here are some of the sources we used while conducting our research:

Sources

  1. Blacks, Outdoor Socks, running website,
  2. Smart Wool, wool socks buying gude, Consumers website,
  3. Weight Watchers, Running products, products website,
  4. Hun Chain reaction Cycles, Socks buying guide, products website,
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