10 Best Athletic Socks Fully Reviewed & Compared
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
Comfort zones of alternating thickness
Anti-slip heel tab
Compression provides arch support
High-quality durable material
Our Favorite Athletic Socks
1. ROCKAY Accelerate
Comfort zones of alternating thickness
Anti-slip heel tab
Compression provides arch support
High-quality durable material
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. Check out this article from Business Insider.
With Rockay's Accelerate running socks, the work is done for you, this is a product which will complement the performance you expect from your running shoe while also ensuring you get the high performance you expect from your running socks.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Balega Hidden Comfort
Socks stay put and down move
Seamless design helps eliminate the chance of blisters
Soft feel against the skin
Some reviewers had durability issues
The Balega Hidden Comfort No Show Unisex Sock features a seamless comfortable construction that will banish blisters, cushion in the right places, and help your foot breathe even as it sweats.Read more
Hand-sewn, seamless forefoot area reduces the chance of blisters while elastane material provides a supportive fit. The sock's forefoot and rearfoot are made of a more resistant material to protect against the formation of holes. A rearfoot heel tab helps sock stay put and helps protect against any rubbing that may occur between your skin and your shoe.
The sock features cushioning underfoot which provides a bit of extra comfort. In terms of thickness, the Balega sock falls in the middle.
The sock's mesh material enhances breathability. The sock uses DryNamix technology giving it superior wicking ability.
Sock comes in a variety of colors to suit varied tastes.
These socks are sold at a high price owing to their attributes. It will give you good value in terms of breathability, comfort, general fit, and performance.
3. ASICS Unisex Cushion Low Cut
Comes with a Lifetime Guarantee
Good for colder climates
Reduces potential for blister formation
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 socks!Read more
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.
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.
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!
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.
These 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!
4. Saucony Performance Comfort
Minimizes formation of blisters
Soft comfortable fabric
Nice amount of arch support
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Wigwam Hiker Pro (Men)
Don't bunch up
Versatile, great for various activities
Some reviewers found they made their feet a bit too warm
The Wigwam Men's Hiker Pro Quarter Sock isn't just for hikers. It's a great moderately cushioned sock for anyone wanting a bit of extra padding and warmth while they workout. A bit of arch support is helpful for those who need it.Read more
The sock is made up of 57% special Tencel material, 22% stretch nylon, 20% X20 Acrylic, and 1% spandex. It also features a seamless toe area. The sock won't stretch up easily and is backed by a Lifetime Guarantee.
Medium cushioning is paired with arch support for a comfortable fit. A few reviewers found the socks ran small so be careful with sizing.
A mesh area is located on top of the foot for breathability and the sock features Ultimax technology for enhanced wicking ability.
The sock comes in various colors that feature nice fresh designs.
The sock is considerably expensive yet its value can be realized in terms of versatility and quality.
6. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro (Women)
Won't slide down
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.Read more
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.
The minimally cushioned sock fits snugly. Made for running, the lightweight material helps keep the foot cool.
The PhD sock wicks sweat well and feature's quick-drying material.
Super cute designs are available for purchase in this style.
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.
A lot of people said that they fit like a glove
Praised for design and quality
Less probable to get blisters
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.Read more
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.
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.
As it has antimicrobial features, it’s made of high-quality polyester and nylon, it wicks the moisture in the proper way.
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.
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
Keep shape well
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.Read more
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 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.
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.
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?
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
Very supportive fit
Great for blister prone runners
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.Read more
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.
Light cushioning all over with slight extra padding in forefoot and heel areas. The sock protects against blisters and is very supportive.
Excellent breathability thanks to wick fibers which pull away moisture from the foot.
Features a cute design with lots of fun colors.
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
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
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.Read more
The material is very soft, it’s a blend of polyester, cotton, and elastane. The construction enables to prevent any unpleasant odor and stay fresh.
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.
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.
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.
The Adidas Superlite Sock comes at a great price and an attractive bargain at three pairs a pack.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 that will keep you comfortable.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
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.
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
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
- How to Choose the Right Running Socks, Running Specific Website ,
- Pick the Right Athletic Socks, A Case Against Cotton, Health & Fitness Website ,
- Do Compression Socks Really Work?, Running Specific Website ,
- Socks: How to Choose, REI Expert Advice Page ,