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Top 10 Best Running Socks Tested

last updated Oct 22, 2018

Runners have a lot of things to consider when it comes to their gear—and that doesn’t exclude their socks! The wrong pair of socks can take away from your performance and cause unwanted blisters—so overall, they really matter!

Some runners like to use compression socks but they aren’t necessary if you don’t need them. However, it is important to find the right running socks for you!

When compiling this list, we looked at what every runner needs to look for—performance, protection, comfort, functionality, and breathability. Seam-free designs avoid irritation and innovative mesh systems that are now built into running socks ensure breathability. The best running socks also provide good arch support and are made of tightly weaved high-quality durable fibers—much like what Rockay has to offer.

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Last Updated: August 10, 2018
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By Maja Beier:

This update brings you the new Saucony Performance socks to the list! Saucony is a trusted name in the running community, and there's a reason why. This new sock is both affordable and known for the high quality. Be sure to check it out, and check back with any questions you might have. Happy running!

Sorting Options
Comfort Breathability Durability Materials Style By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Comfort
99%
Breathability
97%
Durability
96%
Materials
98%
Style
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$15.95
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Comfort
97%
Breathability
93%
Durability
96%
Materials
92%
Style
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$15.64
$20.00
Best Deal
$22.99
Best Deal
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Comfort
94%
Breathability
89%
Durability
95%
Materials
92%
Style
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$8.95
Best Deal
$12.99
Best Deal
$13.00
$13.00
Best Deal
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Comfort
90%
Breathability
89%
Durability
88%
Materials
91%
Style
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$14.39
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Comfort
90%
Breathability
91%
Durability
86%
Materials
85%
Style
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$17.00
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Comfort
88%
Breathability
86%
Durability
84%
Materials
85%
Style
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$10.98
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Comfort
86%
Breathability
89%
Durability
84%
Materials
87%
Style
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$19.98
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Comfort
87%
Breathability
86%
Durability
84%
Materials
83%
Style
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.18)
$40.00
In Depth Review Top 10
  • ROCKAY Accelerate
  • CEP Dynamic+
  • Balega Hidden Comfort
  • Stance Fusion Run
  • Feetures!
  • Tesla No Show
  • Thirty 48
  • Saucony Inferno
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Expert Interviews & Opinions
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

8 Best Running Socks

1. ROCKAY Accelerate

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
ROCKAY Accelerate
Comfort
99
Breathability
97
Durability
96
Materials
98
Style
95
best offer for today
$15.95
Pros:

Innovative sock technology

High-quality Merino wool construction

Friction-reducing design

Cons:

Higher price for a single pair

When it comes to running, you have to consider many details and understand how they can affect your performance. Rockay running socks, packed with innovative sock tech design and features to ensure that this no-show sock sits at the top of the performance ladder which is exactly your own personal performance target.

Read more

This sock has run into immediate popularity among those who have tried it out because it is constructed from quality materials such as Merino wool so you know you get comfort blended with durability and this Merino wool is organically sourced.

Comfort

All Merino wool socks are comfortable, we all know this, however, this brand take this to the next level and insist on the best quality organic wool available, so the Merino is sourced from South America.

A good pair of running shoes but you wish the heel and toe area were better padded in your socks for those long runs, these socks are superbly padded for the toe and heel to a level which is as close to cushion as it can get.

The sock is an innovative feat, giving good compression in combination with a subtle compressive arch support. The Organic Merino wool is the best quality to be sourced for a sock and this means longer durability blended with seriously nice comfort. The method for balancing foot temperature through breathability is very impressive, the thickness of the wool is strategically varied and this allows a ventilative action to promote breathability.

These socks are for any season because the tech and innovation designed into this model mean if its cold your feet are not cold if it's hot, the sock system aids you to keep cool feet. Moisture will not build up in the sock material and this means the risk for friction and blisters is much reduced.

The protective heel tab is a clever feature because while offering protection it also works to prevent the sock slipping and again this reduces the risk of bunched up material and painful friction.

Durability/Quality

When we think of Merino wool we think of quality, the Merino used for these socks steps up as a higher quality which is also organic, long durability working with prolonged comfort is assured.

Cost/Value

You will see deals which offer you a pack of three socks, these socks are not durable and before you know it you need to go shopping again. This sock is a fair price for a good quality sock and you won't need to go shopping for a long time.

Conclusion

It's time that runners were given another high-quality option, these socks take comfort, performance, style, and protection up a notch to a higher level. Giving an overall compressive support, especially for the foot arch and an innovative material thickness variation which ensures consistent breathability, your feet will be comfortable and appropriately warm or cool in reaction to whatever season you choose to run in. Well worth trying out.

2. CEP Dynamic+

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
CEP Dynamic+
Comfort
97
Breathability
93
Durability
96
Materials
92
Style
94
best offer for today
more shops
$15.64
$20.00
Best deal
$22.99
Best deal
Pros:

Gender specific

Great arch support, formatted

Good ankle support

Mesh, moisture fighting material

Form fitting, contours well

Cons:

Hard to size just right

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/ankle issues. They are form fitting, help fight plantar fasciitis and generally improve blood flow. A great sock to add just that tiny extra percentage to your performance.

Read more

Comfort
Their ankle compression system improves circulation providing the best comfort.They have extra padding in the heel that has been medically tested.

Durability/Quality
Socks are made up of synthetic materials that are odor resistant plus moist absorbing.

Value
Their cost is affordable but a bit higher than the rest of the products on this list.

Conclusion
These socks will do just fine if you want that extra cushioning and support in your ankles and heel. It can also be used in cold weather.

3. Balega Hidden Comfort

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Balega Hidden Comfort
Comfort
94
Breathability
89
Durability
95
Materials
92
Style
88
best offer for today
more shops
$13.00
$8.95
Best deal
$12.99
Best deal
$13.00
Best deal
Pros:

Warm and extremely comfortable

Guaranteed for life

Optimum airflow

Highly durable

Reasonably priced

Cons:

Probably not ideal for trail running

Forget about sweat and moisture with this synthetic mesh, which is available in various colors. These socks have special elastane designed to fit perfectly and stay there. Placing your feet in one of these socks comes very close to walking over clouds.

Read more

Forget about sweat and moisture with this synthetic mesh, which is available in various colors. These socks have special elastane designed to fit perfectly and stay there. Placing your feet in one of these socks comes very close to walking over clouds. Thanks to sock’s elastaine construction and its plush under sole, the Hidden Comfort is key in this product for giving an overall excellent experience to users, plus the synthetic quick wicking drynamix material will absolutely keep those moist areas dry. It´s also very worth noting that Balega is not only about clothing and accessories, they also have a serious commitment to social responsibility. The company helps and works with children from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa,that are physically disabled and visually impaired. You will feel good, look good and will be helping a worthy cause.

Comfort
The name says it all "Hidden comfort". The word hidden relates to the no-show design, because this is more of a blatant comfort.

Durability/ Quality
These socks last a lifetime. After several washes, the material will still look as good as new. Feedback from our users back up these claims.

Value
The socks have an average cost, but an enormous value

Conclusion
If you´re looking for a mixture of low cost and high value, this is your choice.

4. Stance Fusion Run

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Stance Fusion Run
Comfort
90
Breathability
89
Durability
88
Materials
91
Style
92
best offer for today
$14.39
Pros:

Durable construction

Seems don't cause irritation

Decent breathability through engineered channels

Style?... Well, that's what Stance is all about

Cons:

Tough to get the right sizing from sock to sock

A subtle blending of comfortable high performing fibers which coat the foot protectively ensuring dryness and coolness. This sock is serious about outperforming the competition, you get an innovative system of networked venting from the foot arch all the way up to the sock top, this means circulating all around breathability factor.

Read more

For increased airflow and padding check out the articulated-footbed designed into the sock. The tight-weave is set at two hundred needlepoint for FIT and comfort and protection is taken further with a reinforced toe and heel. Stance design socks for right and left foot anatomical FIT.

This is more than just a running sock, it is a running sock full of innovation for the benefit of runners.

Comfort

A top performing sock with a seamless design, a logo giving reflection, a blend of elastane, combed cotton, polyester and nylon, designed in mesh to ensure breathability, light-weight cushion, both toe and the heel area are reinforced, designed in arch support for right and left sock.

Durability/Quality

The blend of fibers/fabrics ensures a high degree of durability combined with unquestionable comfort.

Value

Not cheap but not too pricey and a really sound investment

5. Feetures!

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Feetures!
Comfort
90
Breathability
91
Durability
86
Materials
85
Style
88
best offer for today
$17.00
Pros:

Solid arch support

an anatomically correct foot design

Ventilating panels

Good cushioning system

Specified foot design

Cons:

Sizing is tough

Everyone likes a clever name, and the good news is there is far more to like about these socks than wordplay. These 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

Comfort
The extra heel cushioning and arch support make this a pretty comfortable and stable set of socks.

Durability/ Quality
The materials such as polyester and spandex make this a strong set of socks.

Value
The socks come at a reasonable, average price. They offer great value since they are specifically designed for your comfort and needs while running.

Conclusion
The Feeture socks definitely come with many features that will blow your mind and keep your feet dry, protected and ready to take on the road.

6. Tesla No Show

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Tesla No Show
Comfort
88
Breathability
86
Durability
84
Materials
85
Style
83
best offer for today
$10.98
Pros:

Lip on the heel prevents from rubbing on the back of the ankle

These socks are lightweight and breathable

They don’t roll down

The pricing is really reasonable

Cons:

There are some reported sizing issues

If you look for socks which have low cut, aren’t visible very much 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.

Read more

Comfort
These socks 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 rua nning. They have special cuff to prevent 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/Quality
It’s mostly made from Polyester and cotton so it’s high quality product. These socks are supportive even in very harsh weather conditions. They are a little bit thicker than the other pairs on our list.

Value
These socks are high quality and not too expensive at the same time. They usually come in a 6-pack so it’s great deal.

Conclusion
These socks have everything that good running socks need to have. They’re breathable, comfortable and they’re not expensive.

7. Thirty 48

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Thirty 48
Comfort
86
Breathability
89
Durability
84
Materials
87
Style
83
best offer for today
$19.98
Pros:

Many users liked the cushioning of the heal area

A lot of color options

The socks are thick but soft and they help to prevent blisters

Cons:

Some people said that there was a rubbing on little toe

Next great socks with adored by the runners low cut design. These are available in so many color versions that it may be really hard for you decide which is the one you want. This is high quality footwear and if you want to know more about these socks, check the details.

Read more

Comfort/Stability
Metatarsal, Achilles, and Heel are the places where’s extra cushioning added to boost comfort while running. The abrasion won’t be also a problem for these socks. 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 air flow so you won’t have problem with sweaty feet. Additional arch support helps to prevent from injuries and gives you more stride control.

Durability/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.

Conclusion
These socks have low cut stylish look, they are breathable, lightweight and comfortable at the same time. Give them a try and even if they’re more expensive, they’re an investment in bigger comfort while running.

8. Saucony Inferno

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Saucony Inferno
Comfort
87
Breathability
86
Durability
84
Materials
83
Style
78
best offer for today
$40.00
Pros:

Comfortable and supportive

Air mesh venting, keeps you nice and cool

Extra cushioned sole

Durable

Cons:

Not available in single pairs

Another trusted name in the runner’s world, Saucony has created a pair of socks for women that do exactly what you need to do. Keep you dry, protected and comfortable. Coming in a 6 pack, these socks are a steal for the price!

Read more

Comfort/Stability
Its arch cushioning, breathable air mesh, and moisture management system make this very comfortable socks.

Durability/Quality
This is top notch technology and quality that is designed to last.

Cost/Value
Since it is a six pack, the cost per pair of socks is lower than many others in this list.

Conclusion
The different colors in these socks are lively and young. Once you put one of these on your foot you will know why they are well worth your money and time.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

Comfort from socks is high on our criteria for comparative assessment, we want to know are the materials comfortable against the skin and do not create rubbing friction, allergies, overheat the feet, give unwanted none compression effects, trap moisture on the skin surface due to lack of breathability and 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.

Padding
Padded socks 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 socks. Padding is very recommended for long distance running for sure, especially on hardtop and roads.

Ankle support
Some socks 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.
ankle support

Arch support
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.
arch support

Dedicated footed socks
Some serious runners have said that dedicated footed 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 depend on how serious is our run.

Achilles Heel padding
It reduces friction that causes chafing and blisters in the heel area. Since the heel was a semi god´s weakest part of the body, be warned, the Greeks were probably on to something.
Heel

Breathability

We took a close look at breathability as this is very important when choosing a pair of running socks. High-quality performance socks 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.

Breathability

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 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 the season you’re in. They are also great, especially if you do off-track runs. For summer times, we recommend lighter 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.

Moisture Control
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 running shoes 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, this will lead to discomfort, friction, and blisters.

Materials

We know that when the correct blend of materials are used in the construction of a running sock that all the other criteria needed for a high performing sock should follow on and be evident. 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 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 running socks.

Durability

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, the thicker material is not only protective but it prolongs the durability of the socks.

Style

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. 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. You can also get both features, that´s what we’re here for.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Margaret Spring
Ultra-Marathoner

Highlighting Rockay's Accelerate Sock: I have been on the lookout for the perfect running sock for years. These guys nailed it. I love a sock that is lightweight, stays in place for the entire run, and you never notice you are even wearing it. Plus it comes in fun colors. I have had no problems with blisters when wearing this sock. it's my new go to.

Most Important Criterias (According to our experts opinion)
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Comfort
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Breathability
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Durability
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Natural or synthetic?

If you have a bit of both, you're on the right track. Higher quality manufacturers will put the energy into getting the best of both worlds.

For example, the natural breathability, as well as moisture and odor control of merino wool work beautifully when combined with some of the benefits you get from synthetic material such as elasticity for even compression.

Is breathability really as important in cooler climates?

Of course. Feet sweat in all climates when running. Keeping all of that moisture trapped in your sock can lead to even more problems than stinky feet. That sweat can cultivate bacteria when it sits, which can cause a plethera of unwanted issues.

Other Factors to Consider

Protection

A particularly important feature we look at is the socks ability to stop the entry of fine dirt, grit, and debris from entering the sock through the top, we like to see a gentle elasticated fit to the top of the sock to keep out unwanted entry by irritating dirt, fine sand, dust etc. We look for evidence to show that an elasticated closer at the top of the sock is comfortably tight but not so tight that it limits blood circulation. When we assess socks, we like to note that the designer may have included reflective technology into the sock so that the sock can alert car drivers to the runner’s presence on dark nights, it is a good feature and it can be designed into the sock as a reflective logo.

Value

is a factor which gets the attention of everyone. It is natural to be attracted to what we call a “bargain deal” but we need to understand that a deal can mean skimping on quality materials, the use of low-grade materials which can lead to all types of unwanted problems, lack of performance, durability, comfort, wick-ability, breathability, and protection.

The rules for cost rarely change, it is true to say that all of us get what we pay for and with this thought in mind we should go for mid-range up to higher prices if we want a pair of socks which will be problem free and give the standards which we want.

Features

A sock is more than a comfortable slip on which we wear over our feet in a pair of shoes. We look for features which have been designed into the sock to promote comfort, enhance performance and give protection.

For example, does the sock have a weave feature which focus gentle compression to areas such as the foot arch and if it has, does the feature work effectively. We like to see features which target wear and tear, therefore the evidence of thickened material for the heel of the sock and for the toes will reduce wear factor while also giving another feature which is padded protection. Socks can give overall gentle compression which will promote the circulation of blood, so we take a very close look at the weave structure to see that it works to give gentle targetted compression to the overall foot and especially targets areas where promotion of blood supply is needed. An attractive and very functional feature for socks is the designing in of “vent zones” which enable a constant flow of air and stops warm air from being trapped and overheating the feet.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are there different levels of cushioning in socks?
a:

The levels of cushioning range from ultra light to max cushioning. Ultralight cushioned socks are great for keeping feet cool in warm weather. Max cushioning socks do exactly that – provide a maximum amount of cushioning underfoot. However, this type of cushioning can be too warm if used in warm weather.

q: Will compression socks increase my running performance more than regular socks?
a:

Compression socks might not be for everyone, so results tend to be based on the individual. However, many runners feel that they recover faster when using compression socks. They also might help runners who suffer pain or soreness in their calves.

q: I use therapeutic socks, can I find therapeutic running socks?
a:

Yes, you can. Brands like Feetures! offer a line of socks that incorporates technology that will make your feet run as comfortable as they can. High density cushioning, extra support in the arch, extra ventilation and a non-binding top are some of the features you can find. Now nothing will stop you from running!

q: Is the overall construction of running socks really so important?
a:

Absolutely. Investing in quality socks for running is very important, because lower quality socks or socks made of the wrong material may not provide enough breathability and/or can cause blisters and other irritations on the foot. A good, high-quality sock will help prevent blisters, wick moisture and perhaps provide additional support that you may need.

Sources

  1. Very Well, How to Prevent and Treat Foot Blisters When Running , Online Health Publication, Feb 02, 2016
  2. Runner's Need, The Ultimate Summer Running Gear Guide, Running Gear Website,