Best Running Socks – 2021 Buying Guide
In our eyes, sock performance, support, protection, comfort, functionality, material, and breathability are the primary factors that contribute to the best running socks. But it's important to find what works for you during your exact running use case.
In this buying guide, we took everything into account to identify the top picks. But don't take our word for it. Order a few different pairs and test them out for yourself!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Best running socks for men and women need to be comfortable!
Comfort is high on our list of criteria because we want to know that the material they're made from is comfortable against the skin and doesn't create rubbing friction, allergies, overheat the feet, give unwanted compression effects, trap moisture on the skin surface due to lack of breathability, and offer wick-ability. We look for evidence of the use of fibers which allow the right amount of stretch for fit and movement of the foot and that the fibers weaved in allow the stretch factor to retract back to a comfortable fit. We look for how tight the sock will close at the top, too tight and blood flow is restricted, this can create discomfort when the blood supply to the feet gets restricted.
Comfort from a sock is very much enhanced if the designers thicken the material to give padded protection in areas where the shoe can meet the inner shoe surface and cause pressure. So it is the sign of a good product if padding is included for the heel and toes of the sock. We take a good look at the weave construction, the weave method can be created in a style which gives enough compression to provide support to foot muscles, the arch of the foot and promote the circulation of blood within the feet to ensure a feeling of comfort.
Padded socks for running keep your feet protected from impacts when you run. If you want to feel the ground you are running on, then we recommend you don´t use light padded running socks. Padding is very recommended for long distance running for sure, especially on hardtop and roads. So be sure you get the best long distance running socks for these runs.
Some socks for running provide extra ankle support by making the elastic material on the ankle area thicker. You may also want to try additional ankle support underneath your socks.
The same technology used for ankle support is also used for arch support. Elastic material thicker on your arches will provide that extra support you may need when running.
Dedicated Footed Socks
Some serious runners have said that dedicated footed runners socks can bring the best performance in their runs. They certainly provide an optimum fit you can’t get with other socks since they adapt to your left and your right foot specifically. Getting some of those only depends on how serious of a runner you are.
Achilles Heel Padding
This feature reduces friction that causes chafing and blisters in the heel area.
We took a close look at breathability as this is very important when choosing a pair of running socks. High-quality performance socks for running are characteristic through the synthetic fiber weave combinations used for making the sock. Good quality synthetic fibers are not only durable, but they also promote breathability because the fibers do not absorb moisture in the way that natural fibers will. This means that the fibers will not get wet and cling together in the way that wet cotton will do, wet natural fibers will swell in size and stick together, this will effectively reduce breathability. Another feature we look for is the designing in of ventilation zones which will allow hot feat to expel air and ensure a ventilative air flow.
High-quality none synthetic materials can allow for breathability and Organic Merino Wool is an example of the types of high-quality materials which can be used. Breathability is good and this type of natural fiber also gives an anti-bacterial performance.
A good combination of weaved fibers can include a natural fiber, but in a proportion measured against the synthetic fibers to ensure breathability. Therefore we look closely at the combination of synthetic fibers used in the weave construction of the sock, we want to see that the fibers are used in the correct proportion with an aim to ensuring breathability.
Mind the Season
Running during summer is very different than doing it during winter. We recommend you buy socks for running to use in the summer and some others to use during winter. It may sound obvious to keep the season in mind, but if you don’t pay attention to it, you can end up with blisters that can have you taking some time off from running.
For winter we recommend to use wool blends or double-layer socks. Thicker socks provide additional cushioning regardless of the season you’re in. They are also great, especially if you do off-track runs. For summer times, we recommend lighter runners socks with a lot of breathabilities. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and time looking for the best seasonal socks, there are also some options that work well for every season.
Our criteria involve looking at wick-ability in combination with breathability. By using the correct blend of none moisture-absorbing synthetic materials ( sometimes including a percentage of weaved in cotton or fine wool) breathability then in turn enables moisture to be wicked away from the skin surface, the fibers will not absorb sweat, they will enable the moisture to pass through the weave structure out onto the surface of the sock where it can naturally evaporate.
The moisture will evaporate and this process is enhanced through choosing a good pair of shoes for running with ventilation and breathability. None moisture absorbing fibers, body temperature from the feet and the ventilative movement of air work together to create wick-ability. This means that the runner will not experience a buildup of sweaty moisture in the sock material ( pooling moisture). When moisture builds up in a pair of socks for running, this will lead to discomfort, friction, and blisters.
We know that when the correct blend of materials is used in a running sock that all the other criteria needed for a high performing sock usually come along with it. For example, the inclusion of a small percentage of Lycra in a sock weave structure will ensure the needed stretch for fit and flexible movement, a high percentage of a durable synthetic fiber will ensure better durability, wick-ability, and breathability. Many brands will add a small percentage of cotton or wool into the weave structure to give an added edge of comfort against the skin.
We know that low-grade synthetic materials can cause all types of problems when used in the construction of running socks, such as overheating the feet, lack of breathability and a tendency to create painful friction, so our criteria for assessing looks closely for the use of high-quality synthetics.
Specialist socks can be constructed from wool or cotton, with a percentage of Lycra weaved in for stretch, for specialist socks for running we look for the use of the highest quality cotton, if wool is used, we look for the use of organic Merino wool which has good durability and gives the required feature performances needed for runners socks.
We compare the durability factors through the sock design and which materials are used in the making, modern synthetic high-quality fibers are very durable and can withstand a ton of wear and tear. None synthetic fibers such as cotton or wool are themselves made from a close weave of natural fibers, and as these encounter friction the fiber strand will break down and holes will appear in the sock at the areas where the foot gives most pressure inside the shoe. Further breakdown can occur through the absorption of sweaty moisture which creates harmful bacteria and natural fibers expand when they become wet, then, they dry out and contract, this starts to further break down the strands of natural fiber. This gradually breaks down the actual durable structure of wool and cotton.
Synthetic fibers are more resistive to constant wear from friction, they cannot absorb moisture, and so synthetics retain shape, consistency, thickness, and structure which results in a good level of durability. We look for socks with features such as thicker materials at the high points of wear for the toe areas and the heel areas of the socks for running, the thicker material is not only protective but it prolongs the durability of the runners socks.
Socks come in different shapes, colors, lengths, and motifs. One important thing to have in mind if you prefer no-show socks is to buy some with a band that goes above your running shoe and over your heel. This way your shoe does not create friction directly with your skin and irritate it, or even create a blister.
Preventing blisters should always go on top of the list when you are trying to buy socks for running. We recommend you choose a non-stylish pair of socks that will keep you away from blisters rather than a very stylish pair of socks that will make you regret that lovely run you planned.
Why Do Good Running Socks Matter?
9 Top Running Socks
1. Rockay Quarter Flare
Imagine a quarter length running sock, made from a super high-density mesh and 100% recycled materials. Well, those are the claims with the Flare from Rockay, which all appear to be valid so far. This is actually a solid go-to everyday kind of sock that happens to also be awesome for running (the brand was started by runners).Read more
This unique sock is sturdy and made with comfort in mind. Flare comes with cushioning under the toe and heel area for added support where it is required most.
These jogging socks increase the equilibrium between breathability and keeping your feet feeling alive with the knit that helps with arch compression and to regulate temperature.
Rockay took the designing process very seriously with Flare performance running socks. In addition to the sock’s length, which helps with keeping the foot warm, this sock comes up high enough to contribute added protection and performance.
Although value tends to differ from person to person, we feel like these have a lot to offer, as they are not only perfect for running, but also great for everyday stuff in general.
2. Swiftwick FLITE XT Zero Tab
These socks boast all of the hallmarks of a great pair of running shoes in a sleek and super comfortable pair of socks. They boost stability, provide modest compression to keep your feet feeling fresh, and look great.Read more
The topside of the sock runs fairly par for the course. It is composed of super light and stretchy fabric that feels cool and breathable.
It even has a ribbed band that runs on the topside of your arches for extra compression and support. The toe seam is top-notch, and the ankle band provides modest compression without feeling too tight or constricting.
What makes the FLITE XT unique is that it boasts GripDry Fibers. These proprietary fibers are what is responsible for that very unique grip on the heel and toe box. This blend utilizes Olefin materials for higher overall durability, grip, and comfort.
The price of this sock is a little more expensive than your average pair of running socks, but for a very good reason!
They have great grip along the heel and toe box, super soft cushioning under my arches, added arch support up top, and a breathable upper the wicks sweat and moisture away from feet.
If you plan on sliding across your hardwood floors like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, you are in for a bit of a surprise. The toe box and the heel of this design are made from a thick and super grippy material that sticks to the floor, and the inside of your sneakers.
These socks are certainly a winnner when it comes to the best running socks on the market.
Everyone likes a clever name, and the good news is there is far more to like about these socks for running than wordplay. These runners socks have many runner friendly traits such as ventilating fabric panels to wick moisture, seam-free toes, an anatomically correct foot design, extra heel cushioning, and arch support.Read more
The extra heel cushioning and arch support make this a pretty comfortable and supportive set of socks for running.
Durability and Quality
The materials such as polyester and spandex make this a strong set of good running socks.
This product come at a reasonable, average price for products on our list. They offer great value since they are specifically designed for your comfort and needs while running.
These Feetures! socks for running definitely come with many features that will keep your feet dry, protected, and ready to take on the road.
4. Thirty 48
This next product is adored by the runners for its low cut design. These are available in so many color versions that it may be really hard for you to decide which one you want. This is high-quality footwear and if you want to know more about these running socks, check out the details below.Read more
Comfort and Stability
Your metatarsal, Achilles tendon, and heel are the places where extra cushioning has been added to boost your comfort while running. Rubbing and abrasion won’t be also a problem in these socks for running. You can easily forget about blisters and bruises after running. There’s special Coolmax Fabric that keeps your feet dry as it helps to move the moisture away from your feet. There’s boosted airflow so you won’t have problems with sweaty feet. Additional arch support helps to prevent injuries and gives you more stride control.
Durability and Quality
This is a blend of nylon, polyester, and cotton so this product is rather durable. The colors don’t fade even after many washes.
These socks for running have a low cut stylish look and they're breathable, lightweight and comfortable at the same time. Give them a try and even if they’re more expensive than other options, they’re an investment in more comfort while running.
5. Tesla No Show
If you look for running socks which have a low cut, aren’t very visible and are perfect for running, Tesla has something for you. These are available in many colorful options so you can be fashionable and feel comfortable at the same time. See What are the features of these socks for running.Read more
These socks for running have special venting breathe mesh that provides more airflow and your feet are less likely to sweat. These have additional cushioning at the heel and toe to give you more protection while running. They have a special cuff to prevent them from slipping down. There’s a lot of arch protection in order to avoid injury. They have this special band structure which provides more stability to your feet. They’re available usually in 3 sizes.
Durability and Quality
It’s mostly made from Polyester and cotton so it’s a high-quality product. These runners socks are supportive even in very harsh weather conditions. They are a little bit thicker than the other pairs on our list.
These runners socks are high quality and not too expensive at the same time. They usually come in a 6-pack so it’s great deal.
These socks have everything that good running socks need to have. They’re breathable, comfortable and they’re not expensive.
6. Saucony Performance Comfort
What's great about these running socks is that not only do they provide a well-rounded set of features, but it does so at a great value price. You can only buy these in a 6-pack, but you can get 6 pairs for the price of what some products on our list cost for one. Despite all that value, Saucony has still produced a great product that reviewers love.Read more
Comfort and Stability
Reviewers raved about the overall comfort of this product. Several said they had forgotten or never known in the first place what it's like to wear a good pair of socks for running until they bought these. They also have targeted compression in the arches that give extra support and stability to this crucial area of your foot.
Durability and Quality
We couldn't find many issues related to durability with this product, even though the material is pretty thin. There were several comments about it being difficult to find the right size, but overall customers seem to be really happy with the quality of this product.
Cost and Value
These are probably the best value buy on our list, as they're a high-quality, name-brand product that's available at a great price when you buy six pairs at once. And it's never a bad idea to have plenty of running socks so you can always have a clean pair when the others are in the wash.
Most runners socks don't have much style to them, but these are available in several fun colors we know you'll love, or you can just go for the classic black. They also are a true no-show sock, which can be hard to find, especially for people who get annoyed by the slightest bit of sock showing above their running shoes brands.
Overall, Saucony Performance Comfort are some of the best cushioned running socks on the market.
7. Rockay Razer Trail
An innovative enhancement to the trails is the Razer. This trail running sock made with 100% recycled materials; Razer is the trail sock that creates the perfect symmetry connecting protection and performance.Read more
The cushioning arrangement was created to produce comfort where it is needed most—from the heel to the toe. The snug fit that you will enjoy comes from the arch compression and interlock technology. We have confidence that your foot will feel cool, fresh, and dry.
Also, at the perfect length, this running sock aids in keeping rocks and other debris away.
Quality is high on the list at Rockay, and this sock was created of a high density knit that guarantees stability and strength, which also combines a softer feel.
If you are a runner, you have come to demand more from a running sock. And someone who is seeking an everyday sock will have a different expectation and price point. With that in mind, Razer are good socks for running because they grant both exceptional quality and support at an affordable price.
8. SB SOX Ultralite Compression
When you want a good pair of socks for running for an affordable price without sacrificing comfort or durability these are a great option to consider.Read more
When it comes to comfort you can find affordable running socks that can still deliver on comfort and reliability. The SB SOX Ultralite Compression socks may not be the best socks on our list but they are still comfortable and are good running socks for any runner to have in their running gear collection.
These runners socks have decent breathability and will keep your feet cooler and dryer than standard socks will so your feet will be able to ensure more. You won’t feel as tired and sore with these socks and though they aren’t the highest rated on our list, they are still a good pair of socks with good breathability features.
With thin and stretchy materials these compression socks offer a good fit that bring with them the benefits of compression and support that you want and need in a good pair of running socks. The SB SOX Ultralite Compression socks are made of soft, flexible, and supportive materials that runners are falling in love with!
Runners can be rough on their running gear and your socks take a lot of abuse run after run after run. These SB SOX running socks are made to hold up and will serve you well for a long time to come. They are a smart choice for runners looking for affordable and durable runners socks.
The SB SOX Ultralite Compression socks are stylish and are perfect for runs as well as every day wear and use! There are many colors to choose from and you should have no problems finding a pair that match well with your shoes and the rest of your running gear!
9. Drymax Run Hyper Thin
These socks for running have a lot of great features that have made it a favorite among runners. If breathability is your biggest concern, this is the one for you, as its thin synthetic fibers, mesh vent panels, and anti-blister system all combine to make the best thin running socks on the market today.Read more
These got rave reviews from customers regarding their comfort. They are 100% synthetic, meaning that moisture cannot be absorbed by them and passes quickly to the outer layer where it can dry naturally. Because of this several reviewers said that problems they'd had with blisters for years had finally been solved because of this sock, and on top of that it's just a really comfortable product.
Durability and Quality
Despite being really thin, these socks for running score high in durability. Duramax is able to achieve this because of the high-quality synthetic material they use, as well as being made with pride in the USA. Usually, you have to sacrifice durability for thinness, but this one is an exception.
While these runners socks are a bit more expensive than some others on our list, most reviewers said the price was more than worth it and that they were looking forward to buying another pair or two.
10. CEP Dynamic+
Rounding out our list is a truly top of the line sock from CEP. These are a shortened compression sock that are great for people with foot and/or ankle issues. They are form-fitting and help to fight plantar fasciitis and generally improve blood flow. Really good socks for running to add just that tiny extra percentage to your performance.Read more
Their ankle compression system improves circulation providing good comfort and better recovery. They have extra padding in the heel that has been medically tested.
Runners socks are made up of synthetic materials that are odor resistant plus moisture absorbing.
Their cost is affordable but a bit higher than the rest of the products on this list.
These running socks will do just fine if you want that extra cushioning and support in your ankles and heel. They can also be used in cold weather.