to top 10 table

10 Best Athletic Socks Fully Reviewed & Compared

last updated Sep 29, 2019
Athletes understand what a good pair of athletic socks added to a great pair of shoes can achieve. Gone are the says of rolled down sweaty cotton tube socks. Today's socks are advanced, adding support, breathability, moisture-wicking and much more.

RunnerClick’s 10 Best Athletic Sock lineup is a great place to start your search. You’ll get a better idea of what makes athletic socks more desirable. From walking to work to running a marathon, finding the best athletic sock is important for active feet.

Our FAQs and Criteria sections are also loaded with additional information. Scroll through to get informed on what the best active socks offer while advancing your athletic sock knowledge for trivia night. We are so confident in our athletic sock wisdom, we at RunnerClick designed our very own.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Rockay Accelerate
98.4/100 our score
Materials
99
Comfort
98
Breathability
99
Style
99
Value
97
Rockay Accelerate
Why is it better?

Grip tabs for ankle

Moisture-wicking properties

Arch Support

Odor Eliminating Properties

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Rockay Accelerate
Test Winner: Rockay Accelerate
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Researched Sources
4
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.6k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Gabby Gabbard:

This most recent update brings two new stellar athletic socks to the 10 Best Athletic Sock lineup: Under Armour Resistor III Lo Cut and the Saucony Performance Comfort. Both are a short ankle style and both offer a lot of different support and cushioning. UA Resistor is a more aggressive and thicker sock that works well for colder climates while still allowing good breathability. Saucony Performance Comfort says it all in the name. It is a thin compression-style design that also has padding in all the right spots. Furthermore, it's one heck of a bargain that people are loving that and we are sure you will too. Don’t forget to scroll through and check out FAQs and Criteria as well.

Sorting Options
Materials Comfort Breathability Style Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.4
Materials
99 %
Comfort
98 %
Breathability
99 %
Style
99 %
Value
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Rockay Link
$14.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$15.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.6
Materials
99 %
Comfort
98 %
Breathability
98 %
Style
96 %
Value
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Rockay Link
$15.25
See Deal
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Materials
97 %
Comfort
98 %
Breathability
96 %
Style
94 %
Value
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Rockay Link
$16.10
See Deal
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Materials
97 %
Comfort
98 %
Breathability
96 %
Style
95 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Amazon Link
$8.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Materials
96 %
Comfort
95 %
Breathability
97 %
Style
97 %
Value
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Amazon Link
$12.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.2
Materials
93 %
Comfort
94 %
Breathability
96 %
Style
96 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Materials
92 %
Comfort
94 %
Breathability
93 %
Style
93 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Materials
93 %
Comfort
92 %
Breathability
92 %
Style
92 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Holabird Sports Link
$18.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$20.99
Road Runner Sports Link
$21.99
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Materials
89 %
Comfort
93 %
Breathability
91 %
Style
90 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Materials
87 %
Comfort
91 %
Breathability
92 %
Style
88 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.10.19)
Amazon Link
$14.40

10 Best Athletic Socks

1. Rockay Accelerate

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.4
Rockay accelerate
Amazon Link
Materials
99
Comfort
98
Breathability
99
Style
99
Value
97
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$15.95
Rockay Link
$14.95
See Deal
Pros:

Grip tabs for ankle

Moisture-wicking properties

Arch Support

Odor Eliminating Properties

Cons:

A bit pricey

As runners our feet are important and we spend a lot of time ensuring we choose exactly the right shoe for our personal needs, the same applies to choose a high performing sock. We need to choose a sock which protects us, gives comfort and works with the shoe to enhance performance.

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Materials

This sock is made from high-quality Organic Merino wool so the performance is higher and breathability even better. Organic Merino wool enables optimal balancing temperature regulation so that the material reacts to the seasonal temperature positively. When it is cold, you get warm feet and when it hot you get reasonably cool feet. Merino is a highly durable high-quality material which does give prolonged durability whilst also providing comfort. To achieve this level of comfort combined with durability, it is clear that the better the materials the better the results. This sock incorporates the highest quality Organic merino wool from South America and this means that the level of durability is higher.

Comfort

If you're looking for comfort combined with stability, Rockay has some amazing features.
This is a compression-fitting sock which is designed to give optimal temperature control regardless of which season you are out running in. The design though seeming simply is actually highly innovative, thinner material zones work with thicker material zones to distribute and regulate temperature and wick away moisture. This results in constant comfortable breathability. For optimal comfort, the heel tab is designed to be high and prevent slip, give protection and nicely blends into the ankle cuff for good comfort.

Breathability

Every runner knows that the build-up of moisture leads to all types of nasty outcomes, these socks have a creative design to prevent the build-up of moisture and promote wick-ability, no friction and no blistering. The material and design of the sock work to prevent the build-up of moisture, strategic zones in the sock construction ensure the thinner areas promote breathability and the dispelling of excessive moisture.

Style

Anti-Slip. These socks feature a nice protective heel tab, which also works to prevent the sock slipping down into the shoes, bunching up and causing discomfort and friction. The sock design ensures a compressive FIT while also targeting compressive support for the foot arch. Both the toe and heel are padded and this padding will work as additional support and comfort inside a running shoe. The sock is discreetly designed to include a nice reflective logo to ensure you get seen when you run in the dark.

Cost/Value

These socks are sold at a price which translates into value because the sock will outlast and outperform products which are not constructed from high quality and durable materials. The performance characteristics for this sock are certain to assist performance while giving supportive comfort.



2. 20four7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.6
Materials
99
Comfort
98
Breathability
98
Style
96
Value
97
best offer for today
Rockay Link
$15.25
See Deal
Pros:

Cushioning in Heel and Toe Areas

Moisture-Wicking Properties

Odor Eliminating Properties

Compression

Arch support

High-Quality Durable Material

Cons:

Plain Colors

As runners are constantly on the hunt for the perfect sock with the right amount of comfort, breathability, and odor absorbing qualities, it is becoming harder to find. Well, look no further! Rockay came through with their newly released 20four7 sock. These athletic fitness socks are made from 100% recycled materials that are chosen carefully to give our runners maximum comfort, compression, and arch support, allowing you to work harder and longer like never before. Not only do these come with a lifetime warranty, but also with each purchase, you help remove waste from the ocean, which is helping our marine life and planet.

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Materials

Made with 100% recycled materials that are carefully picked from regenerated nylon, polyamide, elastane which help achieve a perfect level of comfort. This, combined with durability, makes it clear that the better the materials the better the results. Elastane material provides a supportive fit and is also made with cushioning for your toe and heel, reaching maximum comfort. By adding breathable mesh zones that allow your feet to breath and moisture-wicking properties, Rockay achieved the perfect sock for runners.
Breathability

Every runner knows that moisture leads to all types of discomfort. By adding odor eliminating and moisture-wicking properties, this gives our runners little to no friction, zero blistering and allows you to say goodbye to stinky sweaty feet. The design of the sock works to prevent the build-up of moisture. With their breathable mesh zones in the sock construction, the thinner areas promote breathability and eliminate excessive moisture.

Cost/Value

These socks are sold at a price which translates into value because the sock will outlast and outperform the products which are not constructed from high quality and durable materials. The performance characteristics for this product is certain to assist in performance while giving supportive comfort.

3. Agile

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Materials
97
Comfort
98
Breathability
96
Style
94
Value
96
best offer for today
Rockay Link
$16.10
See Deal
Pros:

Ultra-Lite

Very Breathable

Arch Support

Super Comfortable

Soft Feel Against the Skin

Fits Like a Glove

Cons:

Plain Colors

Agile is the ultimate minimalist ultra-lite thin sock. Made with 100% recycled, super high density knit material, this makes them the most durable ultra-lite socks on the market. By using this new approved knit, this creates a softer feel, along with their mesh sections through the sock, this also allows runners maximum breathability and comfort. Perfect for those long busy warm days when you need to be on your A-game.

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Durability and Breathability

When reviewing the Agile, durability, and breathability are the first things that come to mind. Making them the lightest, odor-eliminating sock on the market. Made with a super high density knit and mesh sections throughout the sock allows you to a closer fit to your shoe, with maximum comfort. Adding to the sock, Agile has perfect arch support, and compression getting you through your long hard workout without any soreness afterward. Your feet will be comfortable and appropriately warm or cool for whatever season you choose to run in.

Materials

These socks are made out of 100% recycled regenerated nylon, polyamide, and elastane. Together these materials create a super high density knit giving these a very thin, ultra-lite feel. Its almost as if you're not even wearing them at all. With every purchase of this product, you help the environment by pulling garbage out of the ocean.

Cost/Value

These socks are sold at a great price considering their attributes. It will give you good value in terms of breathability, comfort, general fit, and performance. Matched with a lifetime guarantee, you will never have to worry about finding the perfect pair of socks again!

4. ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut
Amazon Link
Materials
97
Comfort
98
Breathability
96
Style
95
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$8.99
Pros:

Comes with a Lifetime Guarantee

Good for colder climates

Reduces potential for blister formation

Accurate sizing

Cons:

Some reviewers report shrinkage at the first washing

The ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut athletic sock is a smart choice for any runner who wants the best socks they can find. These socks are so comfortable, durable, affordable and stylish that you will not want to go back to your old trainer socks!

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Materials
Made of mostly polyester with just a little bit of spandex, these socks are flexible enough to get on and off but supportive and durable so they last and keep their shape month after month.

Comfort
The ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut athletic sock is designed for optimal comfort no matter how long of a run you are on or what terrain you are running on. The supportive cushioning design will keep the bottom of your feet cushioned and support the rest of your foot all day long.

Breathability
These socks also feature great breathability features and optimal moisture wicking capabilities. This helps to keep your feet cool and dry which helps prevent blisters, foot odors ad helps the socks last longer!

Style
The colors available for the ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut athletic sock are basic and easy to work into any wardrobe and can easily match with any outfit you already have on hand.

Value
These ASICS socks are very affordable and any runner can appreciate the comfort and durability they provide. The ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut athletic sock is for a known and trusted brand for runners and is a great investment into your running gear and wardrobe!

5. Saucony Performance Comfort

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Saucony Performance Comfort
Amazon Link
Materials
96
Comfort
95
Breathability
97
Style
97
Value
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.99
Pros:

Durable

Minimizes formation of blisters

Soft comfortable fabric

Ventilates well

Super lightweight

Nice amount of arch support

Affordable

Cons:

Some durability issues reported by some users

Saucony Performance Comfort is more than a name, it’s what literally is built into this athletic sock. It has performance technology running through every thread and offers the comfort of a second layer of skin without constriction or sweatiness. What’s more, they are super affordable.

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MATERIALS

Made with a 5% spandex/ rubber mix, you get durability and extreme elasticity with longevity. The rest is polyester, which wicks and evaporates sweat.

This material is made into a mesh design that allows for maximin air penetration, keeping the foot cool and accelerating the drying process. Even the sweatiest of feet stay dry with the Saucony Airmesh technology.

COMFORT

Performance Comfort athletic socks hug the feet tight and add compression as support. The cushioning is strategically placed for added shock absorption as well. Although they are snug they Saucony made them enough flexibility to accent the foot versus constraining it.

Extra padding in the sole of the sock gives these a softness that is unrivaled for the price and for how well they breathe. Furthermore, although they have all this extra padding, the sock is thin and slip resistant inside the shoe.

BREATHABILITY

Saucony Performance Comfort athletic socks are thinner mesh, lined with mesh. They are similar to having a window unit in the front of your shoe, they are that cool. One of the highest consumer ratings on this athletic sock is breathability.

Air-mesh venting gives these advanced sweat-wicking athletic socks a boost in dryness and breathability. As we mentioned, the material is designed for performance and is like a second skin, a new layer that absorbs and rids the foot of sweat instead of creating it. The only thing the Saucony Performance Comfort athletic socks are creating is thousands of admirers.

STYLE
Low cut, supportive and arid; a perfect trifecta of style and athletic design. Saucony made these low cut and snug for a slight compression style that targets the arches.

They come in black with fluorescent highlights or white. Either way, you choose, they are low cut and don’t show much. The fluorescent accents on the black second as a small high viz element without the reflection.

VALUE

We’d have to say that these are a top in the value department. You get a high-end athletic sock in a pack of 12 at the price some cost for two pair. Furthermore, thousands of reviewers wouldn't lie, you’re getting a lot of sock for a low cost and if that should make for some happy feet and a happy wallet.

6. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro (Women)

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.2
Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro (Women)
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Comfort
94
Breathability
96
Style
96
Value
92
best offer for today
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Pros:

Attractive design

Breathable

Won't slide down

Great fit

Comfortable

Cons:

Thinness means they're not as durable as thicker socks

Not great for colder weather activity

The Smartwool Women's PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Sock is a super thin sock made for those who want very little protection. The thin construction of the sock means it's extra breathable and won't weigh you down. The snug fit stays put and won't break down easily.

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Material

Made up of Merino Wool and Nylon with some elastane for stretch. Merino wool has anti-microbial properties and is a soft material. The sock is thin but resistant to wear. A seamless forefoot eliminates the potential for unwanted friction and a heel tab protects the rearfoot.

Comfort

The minimally cushioned sock fits snugly. Made for running, the lightweight material helps keep the foot cool.

Breathability

The PhD sock wicks sweat well and feature's quick-drying material.

Style

Super cute designs are available for purchase in this style.

Cost/Value

The Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Sock comes at a pricey cost. If you are into aesthetic appeal and comfort, then it's definitely one to consider.

7. Balega

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Balega
Amazon Link
Materials
92
Comfort
94
Breathability
93
Style
93
Value
90
best offer for today
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Pros:

A lot of people said that they fit like a glove

Praised for design and quality

Antimicrobial features

Less probable to get blisters

Cons:

They could be less expensive

Here we go with one more product from Balega. These are a little bit different as they provide a compression fit. They have also antimicrobial features. Supportive and comfortable aren’t the only words that can describe these socks.

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Material

Thanks to silver sock locks in special areas, you can easily move your toes. The toe box is seamless makes is less probable to get blisters. There’s high tab heel so the socks won’t slide down. The socks have also medium cushioning, a great choice for runners who want a little more comfort.

Comfort

The antibacterial ions prevent the bacteria growth, keep your feet dry, clean and there’s no unpleasant odor. The Balega socks provide the right tension but they don’t restrict the movement.

Breathability

As it has antimicrobial features, it’s made of high-quality polyester and nylon, it wicks the moisture in the proper way.

Style

Well, if you’re a fan of color and you want a wide choice, this product is for you. There are many coloristic options, the socks look good on the feet and don’t look boring.

Cost/value

The Balega Sock gives good value in terms of its design and quality. Considering other products of the same range in the market, its price is a bit more expensive.

8. Under Armour Resistor III Lo Cut

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Under Armour Resistor III Lo Cut
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Comfort
92
Breathability
92
Style
92
Value
90
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$20.99
Holabird Sports Link
$18.95
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
$21.99
See Deal
Pros:

Breathe great

Extra padding

Support

Keep shape well

Absorb well

Cons:

Cost More

Durability

Under Armour is proving more and more they really know feet and their Resistor III Lo Cut athletic sock is proving this. It is a simple looking sock with a lot of protection. They keep the sweat and smell away while adding protection and cushioning to the whole foot.

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MATERIALS

Polyester, nylon, and Spandex make the Resistor III durable, flexible and breathable. The material wicks and drys while adding odor protection in every stitch. The anti-microbial fabric keeps the smell away while the wicking accelerates drying and sweat evaporation.

Under Armour Resistor III athletic socks are made with extra soft material and they left out the dreaded toe seam. This prevents the material from being abrasive and causing unwanted irritation or blisters.

COMFORT

Comfort is an understatement in the Resistor III Lo Cut athletic sock. Not only does the material dry fast, but the cushioning is also extra in areas of high-impact, like the heels. That extra cushioning also adds support to the Achilles while absorbing shock.

It’s actually impressive how much thought went into the sock. The 2% spandex and 1 % nylon is just enough to give the UnderArmour Athletic sock a huggy secure fit that is extra durable and doesn't lose the elasticity.

Making comfort even more advanced is the sewn in arch support. Small yet effective, this not only comfort the arches, but it also assists in preventing fatigue. UnderArmor knows what makes a 10 best athletic sock.

BREATHABILITY

Due to the wicking material, the Resistor III Lo Cut keeps the feet dry. As a thicker athletic stock, they aren't designed with mesh panelings, leaving them less arid feeling. However, they breathe.

These are a perfect athletic sock for colder climates or colder gyms. We’ll blame it on all that awesome padding throughout the sock. Moreover, with the anti-odor technology built in you won't have to worry about sweaty smells.

STYLE

Under Armour Resister III Lo Cut athletic socks are ankle socks that cushion, support, reduce stress and impact while hugging the foot. They are well designed and have a simple look. Under Armour focused more on what went into the sock than how it appeared; it all goes in the shoe anyways.

To add, they made the toe seamless, preventing blisters and smart heel construction prevents internal slippage. Under Armour made this athletic sock Durable and dependable. Who would've thought so much went into athletic sock design?

Value

These run more pricey as some consumers have lamented, however, they also offer a lot. They are thick, comfortable, and supportive and come in a pack of 6 or more. These are similar to adding a thin insole to your favorite running shoes that cradle the entire foot.

Price hasn't kept hundreds of people from buying and we feel this popularity is a testament to their above-standard design. If they weren’t made right, there wouldn't be any hype.

9. Feetures! Elite Light Cushion

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Feetures! Elite Light Cushion
Under Armour Resistor III Lo Cut
Under Armour Resistor III Lo Cut
Under Armour Resistor III Lo Cut
Amazon Link
Materials
89
Comfort
93
Breathability
91
Style
90
Value
91
best offer for today
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Pros:

Very supportive fit

Comfortable

Great for blister prone runners

Fresh design

Lightweight

Cons:

Sizing issues

The freshly designed Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab Sock is a low cut sock with a slight amount of cushioning where it's most needed. A seamless design means blisters are kept to a minimum in this sock.

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Material

The sock is made up primarily of nylon fabric with spandex to provide stretch. Unique left and right socks ensure an exceptional fit on either foot. A seamless toe eliminates the possibility of friction.

Comfort

Light cushioning all over with slight extra padding in forefoot and heel areas. The sock protects against blisters and is very supportive.

Breathability

Excellent breathability thanks to wick fibers which pull away moisture from the foot.

Style

Features a cute design with lots of fun colors.

Cost/Value

Feetures! Elite Light Cushion Sock goes for a reasonable price. If you are looking for style coupled with comfort, then you are going to find value in this product.

10. Adidas Superlite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Adidas Superlite
Amazon Link
Materials
87
Comfort
91
Breathability
92
Style
88
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.40
Pros:

They won’t make your feet sweat

They’re thin enough to be great for summer

Added cushioning on the toe, heel, and ball

Comes in three pairs a pack

Cons:

Could be more durable

Adidas is a brand that we don’t need to introduce. But, we want to show you one of their top socks- Superlite. They’re very comfortable and thanks to mesh on the upper, you get more air flow. Let’s check the other features.

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Material

The material is very soft, it’s a blend of polyester, cotton, and elastane. The construction enables to prevent any unpleasant foot odor and stay fresh.

Comfort

The socks have a cushioning, the thickest in the areas which need the biggest amount of support. There’s a cushioning on the ball, heel, and toe so the areas which are the most sensitive. These feel very lightweight and sometimes you can forget that you’re wearing them.

Breathability

Wicking properties are very important for the athletes as we don’t want to end up with sweaty, wet feet. Adidas pays attention to this aspect, this sock has implied 360-degree ventilation technology. Appropriate air flow is essential for wicking ability, it makes your feet not only dry but also cool.

Style

The low cut design is great if you don’t want to show your socks, it looks very good on your feet. The brand can offer many different colors. However, all of them are in dark, grey and white tones.

Cost/Value

The Adidas Superlite Sock comes at a great price and an attractive bargain at three pairs a pack.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

When referring to construction, we’re talking about the actual physical condition of a sock, and the materials used to make it. A sock needs to be made of materials that can breathe, that is durable, and some materials may even offer unique abilities like anti-bacterial properties, extra cushioning, or compression.

If you’re choosing a sock for any athletic endeavor, you should choose a synthetic fiber. Cotton might sound like a comfortable option, but it is a poor choice for athletes. It fails when it comes to moisture management, and isn’t a good choice if you’re going to be working up any kind of sweat. Like other parts of our bodies, our feet do sweat, and it’s important to choose a material that can handle sweat. Synthetic fibers are much better at dealing with moisture and tend to dry a lot faster than non-synthetic ones.

Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule. Merino wool is an often used material for athletic socks providing excellent moisture management, comfort, and antibacterial properties. It also can keep feet warm when it’s cold out and cool when the weather is a bit steamier. Merino wool is also easier to care for than other fabrics, and it doesn’t hold onto odors like other materials. Which is a pretty big bonus when we’re talking about sweaty feet. Many will prefer a material like Merino since it’s more natural and comes from sheep making it a renewable resource.

Apart from the material of the sock, the way the sock has been sewn together is also important. Choosing a sock with minimal seams will ensure that you’ll stay blister free. Seams increase the chance for friction between your foot and the sock which is something all runners and athletes want to avoid.

Comfort

Of course, comfort is subjective. Not everyone will have the same favorite sock. Comfort depends on what kind of material you prefer. Some folks will opt for natural fibers over synthetic ones. It depends on proper sizing (more about that later). It also has to do with whether you prefer to have cushioning or none at all. So how did we evaluate comfort? We simply took a look at what people had to say about a particular sock. Did most people find it comfortable, or were there glaring issues like blister formation, too many seams, or itchy fabric? Those were deal breakers, obviously.

Some materials can cause allergic reactions in some. While Merino is an excellent fabric choice for most, some can become irritated by it, so make sure you choose a fabric that feels nice against your skin.

Breathability

Moisture management is one of the most important things a sock needs to do. It is basically its #1 job besides staying on your foot. If a sock can’t actually wick moisture, then it’s not a good choice. We all sweat and our feet sweat too. Without a moisture wicking sock that can sop up all our sweat, the chance that blisters and hot spots will form goes up exponentially. The wicking ability usually depends on the combination of materials that make up the sock. Most synthetic materials are pretty good at mopping up all your nasty sweat. It’s a good idea to avoid cotton because it’s pretty bad at wicking moisture away from the body. It doesn’t dry quickly either, so you’ll end up with a heavy wet sock at the end of your workout. The socks on this list are all made of breathable, quick-drying materials. No cotton in sight.

Style

Most runners and other athletes will deny that they consider style when choosing gear, clothing, and accessories. Let’s be honest, though, it’s always nice when you get a choice of colors. We’ve settled on socks that offer a bit of variety, have attractive designs, and that won’t look like your grandpa’s socks peeking out from your athletic shoes.

Value

Many runners and athletes are quite shocked the first time they head out to buy a pair of running or sport-specific socks. If you’re used to buying 3-packs of socks at Costco, you’re in for a surprise when it comes to athletic socks. They are indeed pricier, but that’s because they’re made with durable materials meant to last, and they are made up of technical fabrics perfect for runners that will keep you comfortable.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Proper care will extend the life of your Favorite Athletic Socks.

It is recommended to use mild detergents, skip the fabric softener and air dry your athletic socks to extend the life of the high quality materials used in the construction.

Barely seen, but such an important part.

Your socks are barely seen at times but think of them as essentially part of the foundation that supports your entire body. Foot injuries and discomforts affect everything you do. Do your research and buy what best suits your needs.

Other Factors to Consider

Shock Absorption

Again, this comes down to preference. Some socks will actually feature specific padded areas in the forefoot and heel to dampen the forces of impact that occur during physical activities such as running. This type of padding is good for those with sensitive feet, or those with lingering injuries. It gives it an extra bit of protection. The thickness of a sock can act similarly to add a layer of protection for wearers. A thicker sock is also likely going to be warmer and better for cold weather endeavors. When deciding on the thickness of a sock and whether you want additional padding, be careful to consider how your current athletic shoe fits. If your shoe is already pretty snug and you've been wearing a thin sock, extra padding may affect the fit and make things very uncomfortable.

Use

Depending on the activity you're planning to do, your sock choice may change. Thicker warmer socks are best for cold weather sports or hiking. Thicker socks will provide warmth, won't rip easily, and will even provide an extra layer of protection for your feet. Thinner socks are an excellent option for warmer weather or those who sweat excessively.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: I workout in both hot and cold weather. Is there a sock that I can use all year round?

a:

Even in the most freezing weather conditions, most athletic socks will work just fine since your feet heat up quite a bit. If running is your sport of choice, most socks will do since running will generate quite a bit of body heat. Thinner socks may cause your feet to feel a bit cold if you’re hiking or walking outside in colder weather. For those activities, you’ll want a thicker sock. Merino wool is a good choice for year-round wear. It sounds counter-intuitive, but Merino is an awesome material that can promote both warmth and cool your feet down depending on the ambient temperature.

q: What’s the best way to care for my new athletic socks?

a:

The absolute best way is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They know best! Barring that, it’s a good idea to avoid the dryer at all costs lest you end up with a super shrunken sock. Washing is fine in most cases but use a sports detergent and wash on a gentle cycle.

q: Why is cotton so bad? Can’t I just use the socks I already own to workout?

a:

You could but you will probably end up regretting it. Cotton socks are known to hold in heat, sweat, and can cause blisters on your feet. It is important to get a pair of socks that is breathable, and will wick away sweat, not hold it in. You will end your run with a soaking wet sock, and nobody likes wet socks.

q: Do I need to try socks on before buying?

a:

If you can, then it’s absolutely recommended. Not all sock brands are the same size, just like it depends on the brand if you need a size small shirt or a medium. If there’s a local running shop nearby, chances are they allow customers to try socks on before purchasing them. They’ll help you get the right fit, and if you’re buying shoes at the same time, you can kill two birds with one stone. Just be courteous and make sure you arrive with clean feet.

q: How do I know if a sock is fitting correctly?

a:

It will stay in place, but you won’t feel like it’s too tight. It won’t bunch up even as you slip on your shoe.

q: I constantly get blisters. Is there a sock that’s particularly useful for blister prevention?

a:

Some socks are made specifically to prevent blisters from forming. There are some double layered socks on the market that claim to eliminate friction. Instead of the sock rubbing your foot, the two layers rub together. Some folks will opt to wear two socks, but that’s an imperfect solution especially if you’re working out in hot weather. Some say that thicker socks will help protect against blisters but really the best way to prevent them is a snug fit and superior wicking ability.

q: Where does Merino wool come from?

a:

Merino wool comes from Australian Merino sheep. The cute critters actually grow a new coat every year meaning it’s an environmentally friendly fiber choice.

Sources

  1. David Dark, How to Choose the Right Running Socks, Running Specific Website
  2. LAURA SCHWECHERL, Pick the Right Athletic Socks, A Case Against Cotton, Health & Fitness Website
  3. Kelly O'Mara, Do Compression Socks Really Work?, Running Specific Website
  4. Lauren Reynolds, Socks: How to Choose, REI Expert Advice Page