10 Best Crew Socks Reviewed & Compared

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Crew socks are one of the most common lengths of sock you can buy. They aren’t too long that you wouldn’t want to wear them with lower cut shoes and are tall enough to wear with boots and taller work shoes. Even as no show socks become more popular for everyday wear, crew socks remain a go-to length for athletic socks, as crew socks offer a balance of comfort, protection, and warmth.

When it comes time to purchase crew socks, the vast number of options is astounding. Since nearly every manufacturer of socks offers a crew length, it can be confusing to understand what options you have. We created this buying guide to help you explore the best crew sock options for most people. These crew socks prioritized durability, comfort, and utility, so any of these crew socks would make a good choice for you.

People Socks Premium Wool
  • People Socks Premium Wool
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Warm & Durable
  • Price: See Here
Gold Toe Cotton Athletic
  • Gold Toe Cotton Athletic
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Moisture Management
  • Price: See Here
Smartwool Hike Medium
  • Smartwool Hike Medium
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Elastic Reinforcement
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Crew Socks

 

People Socks Premium Wool

This 4-pack of hiking socks from People Socks is made predominantly from Merino wool. Individuals who enjoy hiking or trail running will appreciate the impressive durability offered by these crew socks as well as their fantastic comfort and heat insulation.
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Size

The available sizes for these People Socks is from men’s sizes 7 to 12, with no specific information given for women’s sizing. Customers should expect these crew socks to be slightly thicker than the average pair because of the material used. Some shrinkage may occur if these socks are washed with hot water.

Features

The most significant selling point to these crew socks is the fact that they are primarily made from Merino wool. This helps to insulate the wearer’s feet from low temperatures and provide a decent layer of cushion. Extra reinforcement has been added to the heel and toe of each sock in order to provide greater durability.

Specs

Made in America, these hiking socks are knit from a material that mostly consists of Merino wool, with elements of nylon, polyester, and spandex mixed in. Because of this, it is recommended to only wash them in cold or slightly warm water and to either air-dry them or tumble-dry them on a low setting.

Value

When compared to a massive 12-pack of generic white socks at a department store, these People Socks will seem overpriced. However, when evaluating the asking price for two pairs of well-made wool socks, this is a fantastic value. Hikers, trail runners, and individuals in colder climates will reap the biggest benefits from this product.
Pros
  • Impressive durability due to reinforced heel and toe
  • Fantastic heat insulation from Merino wool construction
  • Terrific value for the asking price
Cons
  • May shrink if washed with warm water
  • Can become damaged if tumble-dried at too high of a setting
  • May irritate the skin of individuals with sensitivity to wool

Gold Toe Cotton Athletic

As its name implies, these cotton athletic crew socks are all adorned with gold material around the toe, giving them a distinctive and visually appealing aesthetic. Looks aside, these socks deliver excellent cushioning all along the underfoot and feature an unobtrusive toe seam to ensure excellent comfort.
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Size

The vast majority of customers have attested that these Gold Toe socks run true to size. This means that anyone with a men’s shoe size anywhere from 6 to 15 can find a pair of these socks to fit them perfectly. Unfortunately, not all styles of these crew socks offer all sizes due to a limited inventory.

Features

The most immediately apparent feature of these socks is their gold-colored toe. This portion of the sock does contain a seam but it is placed in such a way that it shouldn’t cause any discomfort or run the risk of degradation. Additional cushioning has been added to the underfoot through the implementation of additional material and moisture control is managed through proprietary AquaFX technology.

Specs

Although these crew socks are primarily made from cotton, they also contain small amounts of polyester, nylon, and spandex. This makes them safe to machine wash and dry without running the risk of shrinkage or damage. For individuals who like the features of this Gold Toe product but dislike crew socks, they also offer similar models with a lower cut.

Value

Due to the fact that the material used to manufacture these crew socks is very affordable, the savings have been passed on to the customer. Because of this, these Gold Toe socks are listed at a very affordable price. Additionally, even better deals can be obtained if these crew socks are ordered in packs of 12 or 18.
Pros
  • Visually distinctive style with a gold-colored toe
  • Fully machine washable and dryable
  • Excellent moisture management due to AquaFX
Cons
  • Design contains seam near the toe
  • Some sizes unavailable for certain color options

Smartwool Hike Medium

With the aim of providing the best experience possible from a pair of wool socks, Smartwool designed these crew socks to provide amazing comfort, durability, and heat insulation. Its design heavily incorporates Merino wool and nylon with absolutely no cotton whatsoever.
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Size

The sizes offered by Smartwool in this package can accommodate anyone in men’s sizes 3 to 11½ and women’s 4 to 12½ according to the manufacturer’s size chart. For handy reference, the size for each sock is labeled clearly on its side. Due to the fact that it’s mostly made of wool, washing with warm water can cause shrinkage.

Features

Since these socks are made predominantly of Merino wool, the primary feature offered by this Smartwool product is heat retention. This makes it an ideal choice for running or hiking in colder weather. Aside from this, elastic was added to the arch in order to provide additional support for those with plantar fasciitis.

Specs

Containing absolutely no cotton whatsoever, these Smartwool socks are made from approximately ⅔ Merino wool, ⅓ nylon, and a very tiny amount of elastane. Because of this, anyone with an allergic reaction to cotton will love these crew socks. However, due to its particular design these socks cannot be machine washed with hot water or tumble dried on higher settings.

Value

Since these socks aren’t made from cotton, it makes sense that its price is higher than that of cotton-based crew socks. Smartwool offers enough features in a package of a high enough quality to justify the high cost for a single pair; however, the specialized nature of its design means that only a particular kind of trail runner will get the most out of this pricey product.
Pros
  • Specialized design made from no cotton whatsoever
  • Elastic reinforcement along the arch for added support
  • Excellent heat retention due to Merino wool construction
Cons
  • Cannot be washed in hot water or tumble dried
  • Utilitarian style may turn off fashion-oriented individuals

Darn Tough Hiker Micro

These socks were built to last and adorned lovingly with the title of Darn Tough. With a fantastic sense of style and an extremely sturdy wool construction, a pair of these crew socks can provide suitable protection and heat retention for even the toughest of hikes and trail runs.
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Size

Unfortunately, the manufacturers of these crew socks don’t offer much information regarding their sizing. Educated guesses made by reviewers and verified customers place the range of sizes anywhere from 5½ to 12½. Much like many other products listed here, lower cuts of this model are available for those who would prefer them.

Features

In addition to providing excellent insulation in colder environments, the heavy use of Merino wool in these Darn Tough crew socks provides anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. This helps to prevent skin irritation and foot odor, and blisters are avoided due to the highly specialized performance fit.

Specs

Darn Tough crew socks contain no cotton, making them ideal for wearers who have a sensitivity or allergy to it. Instead, these are primarily made of Merino wool with smaller amounts of nylon and Lycra spandex. Additional cushioning has been added to the underfoot in order to provide the extra comfort and protection often needed for challenging trail runs and hikes.

Value

As a sturdy pair of wool crew socks, these Darn Tough products are priced appropriately. They’re still on the higher end of the cost spectrum in terms of all socks but the price tag shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with this particular form of crew sock. Certain sizes will come at a discounted price when shopping online.
Pros
  • Extra cushioning in the underfoot that helps during hikes
  • Merino wool material provides warmth and anti-microbial properties
  • Variety of interesting and aesthetically pleasing styles
Cons
  • Care must be taken when washing in order to avoid damage or shrinkage
  • Higher cost in comparison to common cotton socks

Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool Micro

These are the same reliable and comfortable Merino wool socks as the last category, now in women’s sizes. In addition to offering the same cushioning, heat retention, and anti-microbial properties, these socks come with a lifetime guarantee.
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Size

As previously mentioned, the only real difference between these socks and the previous listing is the fact that it comes in women’s sizing. Depending on what specific size is picked, these shoes can accommodate feet in a size range from women’s 4½ to 11½.

Features

Many features are shared between the men’s and women’s models of these crew socks, including a performance-style fit and a predominantly Merino wool construction. One design aspect that sets this model apart from the men’s version is a wider variety of colors and styles.

Specs

The makeup of this crew sock’s construction is a familiar ⅔ Merino wool with a bit less than ⅓ of nylon and a small amount of Lycra spandex. Care must be taken when machine washing due to the heavy use of wool, but the lifetime guarantee that comes with every purchase should take care of any issues that arise in this department.

Value

When compared to the cost of other wool crew socks, the price for these are around the average going rate. However, the addition of a lifetime guarantee helps to increase the value in this particular package. All things considered, it’s still a hefty price for a pair of socks.
Pros
  • Protection from damage due to a lifetime guarantee
  • Variety of colors and styles available in many sizes
  • Fantastic fit ensures excellent support and comfort
Cons
  • Intimidating price point for a pair of socks
  • Care needs to be taken when machine washing

Nike Dri-Fit Half-Cushion

Aside from providing heel and toe support and excellent arch compression, what sets these Nike crew socks apart from others is the specified fit for each foot. Although it may sound like a minor change, this small design feature provides a more specific and comfortable fit tailor-made for each foot.
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Size

Something that may be cause for concern is the lack of accurate information for the smaller sizes. Although this will affect those with smaller feet, anyone with feet size medium and up can find accurate info through Nike’s size chart. According to their size chart, their socks fit shoe sizes from 6 to 15.

Features

Moisture management is handled through Nike’s proprietary Dri-FIT technology which is helpful for preventing athlete’s foot or blisters. The specific formula used to design these socks also help to make them breathable and supportive with extra compression placed around the arch. This makes them the ideal crew socks for runners with a predisposition to sweating and plantar fasciitis.

Specs

The material used by Nike to create these crew socks is nearly equal parts nylon and cotton with a bit less polyester and a tiny amount of spandex. This is how they are able to breathe so well while also providing comfortable compression and compatibility for machine washing.

Value

Whether they’re ordered in a 3-pack or a 6-pack, the cost of these crew socks is incredibly reasonable when considering the features included. The cherry on top with this Nike product is the fact that it specifically designed each single sock to fit one specific foot, which is a very rare find in crew socks.
Pros
  • Terrific moisture management due to Dri-FIT technology
  • Competitively priced due to cost-efficient construction materials
  • Extra support and comfort due to tailor-made shoes for each foot
Cons
  • Poor heat insulation due to construction materials
  • Inaccurate sizing info for smaller foot sizes

Hanes

This pack of crew socks made mostly from cotton is the best budget pick in terms of value for volume. It may lack some fancy features present in more costly offerings on this list but enough is included in the package to make these excellent casual footwear.
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Size

Anyone in the range of men’s shoe size 6 to 14 will be able to find a size of these Hanes crew socks that fit them comfortably. Finding the proper size for the customer’s feet will also result in the secondhand benefits regarding comfort and durability, so this step is important.

Features

These socks are far from the warmest or most durable on the market. However, they do offer some impressive features for a budget crew sock, including reinforced material around the heel and toe and some rubber for a more tight-fitting collar.

Specs

The cost-effective formula that went into these socks is predominantly made from cotton with bits of polyester mixed in. Additionally, some rubber was added around the collar in order to provide an extra secure fit. As a result of this design, these crew socks are fully machine washable.

Value

This is far and away the best deal for crew socks in terms of volume. Customers will be hard-pressed to find a better deal on socks with comparable features. They’re not the best on the market and are easily surpassed by many wool offerings but they are priced according to their ability.
Pros
  • Fully machine washable due to being made mostly from cotton
  • Excellent value in terms of cost for volume
  • Rubber placed in collar to provide a tighter fit
Cons
  • Limited durability and heat insulation properties
  • No support for individuals with weaker arches

Thorlo Thick Cushion Running

For those looking for an alternative to both cotton and wool-based crew socks, Thorlo has created a product with a radically different design to both of these common offerings. Made primarily from a proprietary acrylic-based material, these socks are highly resistant to damage while also providing excellent comfort for the wearer.
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Size

This product comes in unisex sizing, meaning that one model will work for either men or women’s feet. In the standard size offerings, feet with a men’s shoe size of 6 to 11 or a women’s size 7-13 are covered. The unfortunate downside to this is that men with larger feet will need to order extra-large sizing, which may have limited availability.

Features

The primary selling point of these crew socks is that they are made from a primarily acrylic-based material. Known by the manufacturer as Thor-Lon, this fabric is extremely dense and does a fantastic job providing durability and cushioning. This is especially true around the heel and arch since the extra supportive material was placed in these key areas.

Specs

The exact formula of materials used for these crew socks is almost 90% Thor-lon with small amounts of stretchy nylon and spandex. This has the benefit of providing lightweight cushioning but it also requires more care to be taken when machine washing in order to ensure a longer lifespan.

Value

Despite being made of an exclusive and high-quality material, these socks are priced very competitively in comparison to other high-end crew socks. It isn’t unrealistic to find a pair or a pack of multiple pairs with a lower price than socks made from Merino wool. This is an even better deal when considering how long these socks can last with the proper care.
Pros
  • Excellent support on the heel and arch due to extra material
  • Thor-Lon material lasts longer and provides more cushion that cotton
  • Reasonable price make these socks cost less than wool-based crew socks
Cons
  • Care needs to be taken when machine washing in order to avoid damage
  • Limited effectiveness in managing sweat or moisture

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light

For the men’s offering of Merino wool socks, Smartwool implemented similar features to ensure parity with their women’s versions. However, some aspects are a bit different aside from the sizing, such as the different color styles and visual elements incorporated into this version of their popular wool crew socks.
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Size

Unfortunately, men with smaller shoe sizes are going to have a tough time tracking down a pair of these Smartwool socks that fit them due to a limited availability online. However, anyone who wears shoes in a men’s size from 6 to 14½ will be able to find a pair of these that fit them comfortably.

Features

Since these are mostly made from Merino wool, the number one benefit to their design is excellent heat retention. This makes them the ideal choice for hiking, trail running, or just standard casual activity during extremely cold weather such as snow. Another nice feature is a lack of seams around the toe area, providing extra comfort and reducing the risk of skin irritation.

Specs

Much like the women’s version, this men’s model of Smartwool crew socks is made from mostly Merino wool with a decent amount of nylon and a tiny amount of elastane mixed in. The wool provides insulation, the nylon adds durability, and the elastane helps to create a tight fit on the wearer’s foot. Due to the large amount of wool used, these socks must be machine washed carefully.

Value

When determining value through volume, Merino wool-based socks are going to be among the priciest options available. However, when considering the level of comfort and warmth offered by this model as well as the impressive lifespan, this cost seems like more of a solid investment in high-performance running hardware.
Pros
  • Seamless toe reduces risk of skin irritation and chafing
  • Higher durability due to large amount of nylon used in construction
  • Excellent insulation and comfort from Merino wool material
Cons
  • Higher cost per sole unit when compared to Thor-Lon or cotton socks
  • Must be machine washed carefully to avoid damaging or shrinking

Thorlo Thick Padded Hiking

In order to provide the level of comfort and environmental resistance required for heavy-duty hiking, Thorlo designed these crew socks with the highest possible amount of comfort and resistance while keeping the weight and cost low. The result is a reliable and desirable accessory for any serious outdoors enthusiast.
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Size

Depending on what color option a customer chooses, the size options for each model are disappointingly limited due to scarcity. Because of this, it may be very hard to track down smaller or larger than average sizes in the desired style. However, women with shoe sizes between 6½ and 13 shouldn’t have too much difficulty.

Features

As is to be expected from Thorlo, these crew socks are made from Thor-Lon, a proprietary material that is acrylic-based. This material is very dense and provides a great deal of cushion in addition to targeted support to sensitive areas of the feet. Additional compression is provided in these key areas through the use of stretch yarn as well.

Specs

Almost ⅔ of the material used in these Thorlo crew socks is Thor-Lon. The rest is primarily nylon for the purpose of providing greater durability and a smattering of other fibers such as spandex and polyester. While some care needs to be exercised when machine washing these socks, not as much is needed when compared to those made from Merino wool.

Value

There’s no denying that these aren’t exactly a budget pick in regards to crew socks. For the same price as one pair, customers can obtain 10 or more pairs of standard cotton socks. However, this single pair of Thorlo socks can easily outlast all 10 pairs of those cotton socks with the proper care, giving them the superior value.
Pros
  • Excellently dense cushioning through the use of Thor-Lon material
  • Extra compression around the ankle and arch for a better fit and increased support
  • Long-lasting durability with the proper care
Cons
  • Some care must be exercised when machine washing
  • Limited sizes and color options available due to scarcity

 

The Criteria We Used to Find the Best Crew Socks

Because of the sheer number of options, we needed a way to narrow down the list to the top ten pairs of crew socks from any manufacturer. We utilized industry publications, customer reviews, and product descriptions as a starting point to see what crew socks were the most popular and why.

Size

Traditionally, crew socks are designed with the same general size; they cover the entire foot and extend past the ankle to the mid-calf region. When evaluating the sizing of these particular crew socks, we evaluated the range of individual foot sizes available and whether they were accurately measured.

Features

A crew sock is designed for the primary goal of protecting the wearer’s foot while inside a shoe. However, many modern socks implement other interesting features such as moisture management, microbial resistance, and additional comfort and support. We’ve compared the special features of each product on this list to determine what, if anything, about them stands out.

Specs

This is the nitty-gritty. In this category, we determine what specific materials were used to construct each crew sock as well as how they were designed in specific areas. Some common factors that go into this category are whether or not a sock is designed with seams or if they feature extra reinforcement in key areas.

Value

No one’s happy when they pay a high price for a lemon. We use this section of the buyer’s guide to determine what justifies the cost of each product. If there’s no justification for the cost, we will let you know.

Other Important Factors to Consider

While all of the criteria listed above are important when deciding on a pair of crew socks, other factors can be important to consider as well. These aren’t always relevant or necessary but you should be aware of them regardless.

Package Size

If you’re purchasing a pair of socks, you aren’t going to want to pay an arm and a leg for postage. It’s always important to find out exactly how big and how heavy the package is for these products; failing to do so can result in an unpleasant surprise at final checkout.

Return Policy

While all of the products listed in this buying guide will perform as intended, there may be circumstances in which a refund is still necessary. Before pulling the trigger on a costly purchase, it never hurts to make sure that the supplier offers a reasonable return policy.

Anti-Blister Technology

No one likes foot blisters. In fact, that’s one of the most common reasons for wearing a pair of socks in the first place. While most crew socks are designed to prevent skin irritation, some go above and beyond by implementing specific design traits and materials in order to provide superior blister protection. If you have especially sensitive feet, this is one factor you will want to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to wear socks whenever I wear shoes?

A: Some types of shoes don’t require you to wear socks with them, such as sandals and boat shoes. However, it is recommended that individuals wear a pair of socks every time they wear any pair of shoes. Failing to do so could lead to foot odor, foot injury, or the development of blisters and bacterial infections.

Q: What are blister-free socks?

A: While most socks are designed to prevent the development of blisters on the wearer’s feet, some are more effective at it than others. Blister-free socks are designed around providing the most effective protection from blisters possible, often featuring moisture management and anti-microbial properties. These are a good choice for individuals who are more prone to foot blisters while running.

Q: How often should I replace my sock collection?

A: There is no exact time when you should replace a pair of socks. A general guideline is to replace running socks after using them for 300-500 miles but this isn’t backed by any research and can vary depending on the sock’s material. You only really need to replace socks if they no longer fit snugly or feel comfortable.

Q: Can I wear my crew socks for running?

A: You can absolutely wear crew socks for running. Even though ankle socks are a more popular running accessory, full-size socks can be helpful in colder environments. However, individuals who notice that their feet tend to become sweatier or smellier while running in crew socks will likely want to switch to a different style.

Q: Are there different types of cushioning available?

A: Depending on the manufacturer and the material used for construction, different levels of cushioning and support can be found among crew socks. For example, socks with a focus on supporting runners with plantar fasciitis will use tighter compression-stocking material around the arches. Check the reviews for each sock to find out what kind of cushion they provide.

Q: Why does the quality of socks matter?

A: A good pair of socks can make or break a running session. If a runner chooses a poor pair of socks during their run, they are likely to be hampered by discomfort through obtrusive seams and stitching, accumulate foot odor through improper moisture and heat management, and potential develop bacterial infections such as athlete’s foot. A good pair of socks can avoid all of these issues and deliver a comfortable running session.

Sources

  1. Top Value Reviews, Top 10 Best Men’s Socks 2017, Website, Feb 14, 2018
  2. Keep Inspiring Me, 10 Best Athletic Socks For Running, Website, Feb 14, 2018
  3. Andy, What's My Vertical, https://www.whatsmyvertical.com/best-basketball-socks/, Website, Feb 14, 2018
  4. Switchback Travel Staff, Best Hiking Socks of 2017, Website, Mar 24, 2017
  5. The Soxperts, Best Socks for Women, Website, Aug 07, 2017

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