10 Best No Show Socks Tested
Ask any runner what the most important piece of running equipment, they will tell you, without even missing a beat, shoes! And we know that shoes are the bread and butter of a successful runner, and as runners we have accepted that our feet will travel hundreds of more miles than the average person. Why then, do we only think about shoes when we think about running? We’ll spend countless hours researching, trying on, and trying out different running shoes until we find the right fit, but then we will toss on any old pair of socks.
Running socks are often considered an afterthought when it comes to proper running gear. However, leading brands like Asics, New Balance and Nike have entire lines dedicated to running socks. There are even brands like Swiftwick and Injinji that are 100% dedicated to creating quality running socks. These leading athletic brands wouldn’t put so much time and energy into designing something that wasn’t pertinent to the success of a run. We believe that it is time that you take your entire foot into consideration when looking for top quality running gear, and that is why we compiled a list of the 10 Best No Show Socks!
- Swiftwick Maxus ZERO
- Superior moisture wicking
- Drymax Run Hyper Thin
- Anti-slip wedge in the heel
- New Balance Core Cotton
10 Best No Show Socks
1. Swiftwick Maxus ZERO
All Swiftwick socks are made with Swiftwicks patented Fiber First material. The Maxus also uses Hydrotec Yarns that are proven to be 42% better at wicking sweat than the leading brands. The sock’s main focus is keeping your foot dry and comfortable and the material that it has selected in its design reflects that goal.
This is a perfect sock for the runner who is looking for a little more cushioning than say, the DryMax Run Hyper Thin which is, as its name suggested, more thin than cushioned. The footbed is made using moisture wicking fibers and the upper is made from a breathable material. This means that the sock is simultaneously absorbing moisture and regulating temperature to keep the foot cool and dry. This sock also offers a compression fit that hugs the foot and helps promote efficient blood flow. They also guarantee that their socks will give you a blister free experience. They also come in four distinct sizing options to ensure that you are getting the perfect fit.
This sock comes in ten color options, including two new color combinations that are new to the Swiftwick line up.
These socks come with at an unbeatable value especially considering the quality.
- highest quaity
- superior moisture wicking
- secure and supportive fit
so popular that sometimes they are on back order
2. Drymax Run Hyper Thin
What sets the Dymax Run Hyper Thin Sock apart from other athletic socks is the special blend of materials. From the toes to the heel, this sock utilizes supreme wicking materials. The heel of the shoe is made using Drymax’s dual layering material. The inside layer features their patented wicking DryMax material while the outside layer is made using a moisture attraction material. Both work together to ensure that moisture is pulled away from the foot. This works to keep the foot both cool in warmer conditions and warmer in cool conditions.
Drymax is on a mission to reduce blisters through their seamless design and their wicking material. This sock is labeled as the world’s lightest running sock. It is only as thin as a dime, but it is designed to provide a superior fit for the runner. The shoe is designed with stripe vents to help heat escape to eliminate the risk of hot spots and discomfort. Another design element the sock includes to make it very comfortable is the anti-slip wedge that it has along the heel. This keeps the sock from disappearing down into the shoe. The socks stays put mile after mile! It also comes in 5 different sizes to ensure the perfect fit and keep extra material from bulking up in the toe or heel area.
This sock comes in 5 different vibrant color choices.
The Drymax Run Hyper Thin Sock are at the mid to higher price range. However, runner after runner raved about the sock and were more than happy with their purchase.
- extremely light and thin
- superior blister protection
- anti-slip wedge in the heel
- no added cushioning
3. New Balance Core Cotton
The New Balance Core Sock uses a combination of Lycra, Cotton, Polyster, and Olefin in its design. It is made using dry qicking fibers that pull moisture away from the skin and help the foot regulate temperature. New Balance's Patented Dry technology keeps the foot dry and comfortable regardless of the weather or duration of the workout.
This is a very comfortable sock. A variety of athletes from runners to golfers to tennis players reviewed this sock and said that it not only grips the foot in all the right places, it also provides added cushioning too. This sock provides the runner arch support and prevents blisters. The footbed of this sock is cushioned and the heel and toes provide extra durability.
This sock is only offered in black or white options.
One of the key reasons this sock made it into the top three on our list is because of its affordability and durability. The sock comes in packs of 6 and costs almost four times less than some of the single, leading products. Reviewers also commented that these socks hold up against wear and tear and need to be replaced less frequently than their competitors.
- lacks newer technology
4. Nike Elite
This sock uses a combination of Lycra and cutting edge Dri-Fit technology to ensure that the sock fits snuggly and wicks away moisture that can cause discomfort and odor. Nike’s patented Dri-Fit material pulls sweat away from the foot and it also is designed with air vents to keep the foot cool and dry regardless of the weather conditions.
In terms of comfort, this is a great sock. Nike added cushioning in key areas of the sock where the most friction and wear and tear are experienced including the toe box, the forefoot, underneath the laces, and around the heel. This sock also features a unique design element to add extra comfort, the contoured toe pocket. This keeps the feet secure and seamlessly provides a snug fit to reduce the risk of blisters. The socks also feature light arch compression. This sock comes in small, medium and large (and extra large for men).
The Nike Elite Cushioned No-Show Tab Running socks feature a unique dual colored style.
These socks are higher in price compared to some of its competitors. Reviewers did comment that these socks were on the pricey side, but they also said they were worth the price.
- trusted brand name
- seamless construction
- colorful options
5. Asics Kayano Single Tab
Asics uses only the best wicking agents in their sock designs. This sock utilizes Asics’s Soft Air Plus yarn. This yarn not only keeps the foot dry by wicking away moisture, it also adds durability to the sock. Another yarn that Asics uses in the Kayano is their patented NanoGlide anti-friction yarn. This is designed to eliminate friction in the sock, thus eliminating blisters and hot spots. Finally, Asics finishes with a ProTech material that keeps the sock firmly in place and reduces the risk of movement and hotspots.
Athletes love the overall comfort that these socks provide. For one, the sock includes added cushioning in high wear locations, the heel and midfoot. The socks are also made in anatomically correct left and right to ensure that all elements of comfort are considered. The entire sock is made with seamless conscrution which eliminates the risk of blisters. The sock is well ventilated and helps hot air escape to regulate temperature and keep the foot cool regardless of the distance or temperature of the run.
One down side to this sock is that it has been discontinued so the styles options might be limited. If you can find all the original colors, you have the option between 5 different brightly colored styles.
These socks come in single packaging and are slightly higher than the top two pairs on our list. Since they do last a long time, reviewers reported that they didn’t mind spending the extra money.
- Anatomical fit
- Multiple technological materials used
- Superior wicking
- Pricier than some other
- Discontinued so may be difficult to find
6. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light
The star of the SmartWool PhD Run is their patented 4 degree elite fit system. This means the the sock is made with 4 different types of elastic that ensure the sock won’t lose its shape and will provide superior grip and fit for the runner. The overall constitution of the sock is comprised of a combination of Nylon, Merino wool, and Elastare.
This sock is specifically designed for runners, and because of this, it is one of the most comfortable socks on the market today. The toe box is virtually seamless which eliminates unwanted friction that can cause blisters. It provides limited cushioning throughout so the foot feels more connected to the running experience. The sizes offered are the basic small, medium and large.
The Smartwool PhD Run comes in four fun color options: black, mountain purple, white, and light capri.
These socks are certainly a bit more expensive than others on our list. However, they do feature Smartwool’s Indestructawool material. This makes these socks virtually indestructible. They need to be replaced far less frequently than other socks, so in the end, they are an investment.
- highly durable
- fun styles
- superior fit
7. Adidas Superlite
This sock is made from a combination of synthetic materials: polyester, elastane, and latex rubber. It is also made with Adidas’s patented Climalite fabric which is super lightweight and does an amazing job of wicking moisture away from the skin.
This sock is very comfortable. It affords the runner the right amount of cushioning, but is also extremely lightweight as to not add any unwanted bulk to the running experience. It also is designed with a ribbed cuff. This serves a dual purpose. The first is that it provides added cushioning around the top of the shoe to reduce friction and rubbing between the skin and the shoe. The other is that it helps the sock stay in place so runners don’t have to worry about losing their sock into their shoe during workouts.
This sock comes in packages of 6, and it comes in two distinct color options. The first is two socks in each of your basic black, white, and grey. The second is one sock in pink, white and pink stripes, orange, orange and white stripes, green, and green and white stripes.
The value on these socks can’t be beat. They come in packs of six this greatly lowers the overall price tag. This is for the runner who not only cares about quality, but value as well.
- Fun color options
- less durable
8. Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light
The Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light sock is made with a combination of synthetic materials. It is part polyester, party nylon, and part spandex. It also features Feetures! Patented iWick fibers to pull moisture away from the foot. It is made with a mesh top to support ventilation and help regulate the temperature of the foot.
There are a few key elements that help to make this a highly comfortable sock. For one, the sock features what Feetures! call Power Bands along the top of the sock. They are made from Lycra and help keep the sock in place. Speaking of keeping the sock in place, this sock will not slide down into the shoe because of its Y-heel design. Although it is very lightweight, it does feature added cushioning in high wear and tear areas to help protect the foot against friction.
This sock is features in five color combinations ranging from basic (black) to fun (magenta).
Not only are these socks less expensive than their competitors, they also come with a lifetime replacement warranty. If you are ever unhappy with the product, just contact Feetures! And they will send you a replacement pair.
- Lifetime replacement guarantee
- Anti-slip features
- No left and right specific fit
- Less wicking than other
9. Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight
This sock features a combination of Injinji’s patented CoolMax material, Nylon, and Lycra. This combination works to wick sweat away from the foot and reduce blisters and irritation.
Some runners couldn’t get used to the 5 toe design of the Injinji Run. However, some runners found the fit to be superior. The five toe design eliminates skin on skin friction which is the leading cause of blisters. This is a perfect shoe for the longer distance runs on your training list. The heel tab works hard to keep the runner safe from chafing. It also helps the sock stay in place and guarantees that this won’t slip down into your shoe.
The sock certainly has a unique look to it and it also comes in 7 unique color options.
This sock is slightly less expensive than others on our list. However, runners reported that the single toe design tends to lose its shape more quickly than a traditional design.
- superior blister prevention
- ventilation to help regulate temperature
- can’t be tumble dried, most be line dried
10. Hanes Ultimate X-Temp
The Primary material in these socks is cotton. They do also come with a small amount of other materials to help with moisture wicking.
Cotton is king when it comes to comfort, but it can tend to get sweaty and it has a hard time releasing that moisture. However, Hanes works hard to create a comfortable sock via its seamless toe construction and ribbed cuff to help the sock stay put.
These socks come in basic white. They are not a sock for the athlete looking for wild color or style options.
The value on these socks cannot be beat. They are a fraction of the cost of other socks on this list and runners rave about how long lasting they are.
- Limited wicking abilities
- Simple style and color option
The Metrics We Used to Find the Best No Show Socks
Since most runners spend such little time thinking about which socks to put on, let alone purchase, it can feel like a daunting task to find the best running socks. We looked at the best options for runners and fit all of the unique needs that runners have. To find the best overall socks, we compared them based on the following criteria.
The key difference between an athletic sock and an everyday wear sock is the variation in fibers. A quality athletic sock will feature synthetic fibers and moisture wicking elements. In general, runners should look for a material list that contains synthetic materials and stays away from cotton. While cotton is soft and durable, it does manage moisture as well.
It doesn’t matter how cost effective a product is or whether or not it uses the right materials if it doesn’t feel right on the foot. Many athletic socks today go so far as to feature anatomical (right and left) design. Some even make socks designed for the unique needs of men and women. In general, you should look for a seamless, or limited seam design. Consider what design elements it offers. Does it come with a specific heel engineering to keep the sock in place? Does it features ventilation on the top of the foot to keep you cool and dry? Does it feature compression bands or a ribbed cuff? These are all elements that will increase your overall comfort.
This might seem like a moot point when dealing with a sock that is a no show design, but many runners still like to know that they look good, even if it isn’t obvious to those around them. We looked at color options and styling options for each of our socks.
In general, socks are one of the least expensive pieces of equipment in your running arsenal. Since you tend to spend over $100 on your running shoes, it is understandable that you want to keep the cost of your socks as low as possible. We looked at not just the initial price tag when we made our list, but also how long the socks last for. We also considered what the packaging options were as well.
Other Things To Consider
While most products are available in local retailers, some of the socks on our list might be harder to find. Products that are less main stream and designed specifically for athletes might need to be ordered online. Sometimes, these products are on back order and will take longer to arrive. These are all issues to consider when purchasing your next favorite pair of running socks.
Not all socks come in specific sizes. In order for running socks to be as comfortable as possible, the sizing options need to be more specific than your average casual sock. Look for sizing options with a smaller range. For example, stay away from socks that claim a small is anywhere from a size 4 to a size 7. There is a large difference there, and you certainly don’t want added material at the heel or the toe of your running sock.
Q: How much should I expect to pay for a high quality running shoe?
A: The socks on our list run the gamut from less than $3 a pair all the way up to $15 a pair. We don’t think there is any reason to spend more than that, and if you are spending less than that, your product might lack the basic elements that ensure comfort and durability.
Q: Do I need different socks for different activities?
A: Generally speaking, no. A high quality athletic sock should be versatile enough to take you through any athletic activity whethers its running, cylcing, hiking, or playing tennis. However, there are certain brands and certain models that are specifically designed for the unique needs of certain activities. We don’t believe it is necessary to purchase socks for different activites as long as you have a high quality athletic sock, but it doesn’t hurt to check out those options.
Q: Do I need to purchase a sock that is made by a company that specialized in athletic socks?
A: We have brands on our list that specialize in athletic socks. They spend all of their time and energy designing only socks for athletic, but we also have brands on our list that produce a plethora of high quality athletic gear and products. We don’t believe you must purchase from a sock-only brand, but there are pros to investing in a brand that lives and breathes athletic socks.
- Why Your Running Socks Are Just As Important As Your Shoes, Webpage, Mar 06, 2016 ,
- Why Runners Should Care About Their Socks, webpage , Oct 21, 2013 ,