10 Best Trainer Socks Tested & Fully Reviewed

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Most runners understand the value of having durable and high-quality running socks on hand. They protect the feet, keep them dry, and help you get the most out of your mileage. Socks are one of the most overlooked essentials in the running arsenal. A lot of runners don’t consider this until they’re halfway through a 5K and have a sock bunched up in their shoe or start developing blisters due to friction. Running socks are designed differently. They’re made to prevent these issues, provide padding in the right places, and support the feet.

We took this a step further and looked into the best socks for cross-training. This involves participating in a number of different sports and activities to improve your overall fitness level. Obviously, different sports require different types of gear. Fortunately, there are socks that can accommodate even the toughest cross-training program. We used strict criteria and research from every corner of the Internet to come up with a review list that brings you the best of the best in cross-training socks.

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By Sarah Coryell:

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Rockay Accelerate
  • Rockay Accelerate
  • 5 out of 5
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Balega Hidden Dry 2
  • Balega Hidden Dry 2
  • 4.5 out of 5
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  • Deep Heel Pocket
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Feetures Cushion
  • Feetures Cushion
  • 4.5 out of 5
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  • Moisture wicking capabilities
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10 Best Trainer Socks

 

 

ROCKAY Accelerate

New to the market but bringing wisdom, innovative design, and experience this sock is built to meet the expectations of runners, in any season. Of all places, we found a good write up on them here.

Nicely designed in compression plays a double role, you get the natural compressive performance enhancing benefits through the overall compressive FIT and you get targeted arch support. Heat combined with a build-up of moisture can result in friction and this sock is designed to prevent this from happening during those local or long rides.
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Comfort
There's no denying that Merino wool will give ongoing comfort, that this sock is made from high-quality organic Merino means you will get more performance enhancing comfort and stability. The wool is sourced from South America because if you want the highest quality, it has to be from a part of the world which is famous for this.

Breathability is designed ingeniously, strategic parts of the sock are thinner, this allows breathability and ventilation, the feet remain comfortable, dry and also less likely to encounter friction. Dry feet result in less likelihood of foot odor building up in the sock and shoe.

The sock has a discrete but effective reflective logo, if it's dark, get noticed. This is a sock which has been designed to work with a high performing shoe and, of course, the runner, it's all about assisting performance.

Strategic padding for the heels and toe area's comes very close to cushioning standard. The heel tab prevents the sock slipping while you run and this means no bunching and no friction.

Your shoe will have cushioning designed into it, even in minimal shoes, this sock comes with padding built into the heel and into the toe area, more support for cushioned comfort. This will work beautifully with your choice of running shoe.

How many times have we gone for a run and find the sock is slipping, this is followed by friction and a blister, these socks don't slip, they have a cleverly designed heel tab, this tab is protective and also prevents sock slip.

A good sock is going to offer a degree of compression, with this model you get the benefits of overall appropriately balanced compression which while also enhancing FIT, gives you subtle targeted foot arch support.

Organic Merino wool will promote optional temperature control, the temperature of the foot is regulated naturally, hot days mean cool feet, cold days mean a warm optimized temperature for the feet. Moisture will not build up as it gets wicked away naturally through the material and the innovative sock design which varies the material thickness. Through this design this means the sock has cool spots and warmer locations, this means a balanced distribution of temperature control. The result is good wick-ability when it is needed.


Durability/Quality

With top quality, you get longevity and durability, for any product seeking to use Merino it is known that to use Organic Merino wool that the quality and durability are taken higher.

This sock is fully constructed from a quality level for wool which assures runners they are absolutely getting the best deal at a reasonable investment.

Cost/Value

In Korea they have a saying, buy cheap shoes three times a year or buy good shoes once every three years, you actually save money when you invest in the right product. These socks are the right product.

Conclusion

If I go out and invest in a good performing brand of running shoe, I'm halfway there to having footwear which will enable and assist me to perform. Every cloud has a silver lining and every good running shoes must have a good sock as a silver lining. This is that sock, it is excellent. The innovative sock technology is out there, it is nice to see it being designed into socks for runners.
Pros

Performance-enhancing compression

Targeted arch support

High-quality construction materials

Cushioned padding for heels

Cons

Merino wool can be uncomfortable in warm weather

2. Balega Hidden Dry 2

These lightweight socks effectively wick moisture away from feet to help them stay cool, dry and blister-free whenever you are working up a sweat. Users are surprised by the comfort and durability provided by the thin material and minimal cushioning. If you are seeking a versatile, minimalist performance sock, these Hidden Dry socks are worth investing in.
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Construction:
These socks are made with Balega’s moisture-wicking Drynamix technology and a fabric blend of 48% polyester, 33% nylon, 17% microfiber nylon and 2% elastane. They feature a seamless toe and unique triple-Y deep heel pocket construction for a deeper and better-fitting heel.

Performance:
Users report loving these socks for a variety of activity. The secure fit prevents the socks from moving around during exercise and the thin material and moisture-wicking capabilities keep feet cool and dry so they never develop blisters.

Comfort:
Reviewers are surprised by the immense comfort of these minimalist socks. They do not have much cushioning or structure but the impeccable fit and moisture-wicking material keep feet feeling comfortable through long workouts.

Style:
These socks are available in 7 neutral and neon color combinations. They barely show over the tops of sneakers but the diverse color combinations give you the option for something cute and bright or an understated black or white that will just blend in.

Value:
Similar to other Balega socks, the Hidden Dry cost around 13 dollars per pair. This is expensive compared to socks available in value packs but the lightweight, moisture-wicking capabilities, high performance and great durability make them worth the investment.
Pros

Fantastic sweat management

Great fit around the heel

Several different colorways

High performance capabilities

Cons

Disappointing stability and cushion

Expensive

6. Feetures Performance Cushion

6. Feetures Performance Cushion
These Performance socks from Feetures provide comfortable high-density cushioning for high impact areas on the foot. Although they feel very well padded, the high-density material reduces bulk and will not bunch up with activity. The iWick fibers effectively manage moisture to keep feet cool and dry. These need to be washed carefully to avoid shrinking and they are more expensive so stocking up will be a bit costly.
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Construction:
These Performance socks are made with a fabric blend of 79% Polyester, 18% Nylon and 3% Spandex. The high polyester content and iWick fiber technology work to wick moisture away from feet while areas of mesh add ventilation. High-density cushioning is strategically placed in high impact areas to provide extra protection without adding much bulk. The seamless toe, Y-heel, ankle tab and spandex band around the arch contour to the foot.

Performance:
The contoured fit of these socks hugs the foot and stays in place during any activity. The iWick fibers and mesh panels work well to keep feet cool and dry. These socks are great for running but the added cushioning translates well to a variety of cross-training activities.

Comfort:
Users find the anatomic design and extra padding to be very comfortable. The effective moisture wicking and seamless toe work well to prevent blisters so you can wear these socks all day.

Style:
These socks are available in standard black, white and heather gray as well as some vibrant neon colors. The tab and top of the cuff peaks up slightly over the top of shoes so color will not distract much from your trainers.

Value:
Around 13 dollars a pair, these are considered higher end socks. They do have the comfort and technology to set them apart from bargain brands but unfortunately, the higher price tag makes stocking up more expensive and they are not machine dryable so having them ready for the next tough training session is a bit more effort.
Pros

Contoured fit

Neutral and neon color options

High density padding for comfort without bulk

No show with ankle tab to avoid slipping

iWick fibers manage moisture

Cons

Cannot be placed in dryer

3. Bombas Men's Merino Wool Socks

Bombas is a brand that’s worked hard to make a name for itself in the athletic industry. Their Men’s Merino Wool Socks have all of the benefits of high-quality wool along with an integrated support system that gives athletes everything they need in a sock. The plush footbed combined with patented honeycomb support technology help your feet adjust to different levels of impact and pronation.
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-The Bombas Men’s Merino Wool Socks are made from a blend of 80% Merino Wool; 12% Nylon; 5% Lycra; and 3% Polyester.
-Merino wool and synthetic materials provide superior moisture wicking properties and keep the feet warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer.
-Breathable materials prevent bacteria and odor development.
-Made with a performance footbed that protects and cushions the feet during high impact activities.
-Complete with a honeycomb arch support system.
-These socks have a Y-stitched heel, seamless toe, and increased flexibility and elasticity.
-Calf length to protect the shin when doing things like box jumps or lifting weight.
Pros

Superior moisture wicking capabilities

Breathability

Advanced honeycomb arch support

Seamless and padded footbed

Cons

Pricing is too high for some

4. Injinji Sport Mini-Crew

4. Injinji Sport Mini-Crew
These odd-looking toe socks from Injinji are a great go-to training sock for those struggling with blisters or other toe issues. Keeping the toes separated reduces friction and prevents blisters from forming during activity. This Sport model is a bit less expensive than some of the more technical running socks and provides a reliable performance for a variety of workouts.
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Construction:
These socks are made from 75% Polyester, 20% Nylon, and 5% Lycra and feature separated, seamless toes.

Performance:
These medium weight socks perform well in the gym, on the trail, and as everyday socks. The separated toe design is very effective for preventing blisters on toes that want to squish together.

Comfort:
Although many users are wary of the odd-looking toe socks, they are often surprised about how comfortable these socks can be. The Men’s Sport sock has a comfortable amount of cushioning through the sole and stays up well around the ankle.

Style:
Having all the toes separated creates a funny look for your feet but when bought in solid black or white they don’t appear too different from ordinary socks.

Value:
At around 10 dollars a pair, these socks are just a bit cheaper than higher-tech running socks. If you are struggling with blisters between your toes they are absolutely worth the investment.
Pros

Anatomical fit

Keep toes separated

Comfortable

Wick moisture

Medium cushioning

Cons

Cannot be placed in the dryer

5. New Balance Technical Elite Quarter with Coolmax

5. New Balance Technical Elite Quarter with Coolmax
The Technical Elite socks offer Coolmax technology to wick away moisture and keep feet cool and dry during any workout. Arch support and quarter-rise ankles create a secure and supported fit in these performance socks. Light cushioning through the sole and thicker material around the toes and heels comforts feet and adds protection to high-impact areas. With a price point that falls directly in between value packs and the high-end technical socks, these are a great option for solid performance and durability that will not break the bank.
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Construction:
The Technical Elite socks from New Balance are made with a fabric blend of 70% Coolmax polyester, 17% Polyester, 11% Nylon and 2% Lycra. They have a seamless toe design with reinforced toes and heels for added durability. Arch support and very light cushioning give these sock a minimalist feel.

Performance:
The Coolmax material in these socks combined with the thinner fabric on the upper helps wick moisture and keep feet cool during your workout. Users love the reinforced toe that provides a extra padding during exercise classes where feet move around.

Comfort:
Reviewers find the padding and snug fit provided by the arch support to be very comfortable for any activity. The quarter ankle rise keeps socks securely in place during your workout so you can forget you are wearing them.

Style:
These basic socks are available in black or white with a gray New Balance logo that does not stand out too much. They rise about an inch over the ankle bone and will be very visible with any shoe.

Value:
These socks are a good mid-range option when it comes to cost. They are more expensive than the budget options but still much less expensive than the high-end brands. With the cost comes improved durability and structure.
Pros

Moisture-wicking capabilities

Seamless design

Excellent durability

Cons

Lackluster cushioning

7. Balega Enduro V-Tech No Show

7. Balega Enduro V-Tech No Show
The Balega Enduro V-Tech is a moderately thick sock with plenty of cushioning through the sole to reduce foot fatigue from repetitive impact. Arch support and a deep heel pocket give these socks a comfortable and supportive fit that won’t move around during activity. Reliable moisture management and seamless toes prevent blisters. They are available in some fun color patterns but be aware they do show over your shoes. The excellent performance and great durability also mean these socks run on the more expensive side.
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Construction:
The Enduro V-Tech is made with Balega’s proprietary Drynamix moisture management technology and a fabric blend that is 80% Polyester, 18% Nylon and 2% Elastane. They feature seamless toes to decrease areas of friction and have a deep heel pocket with extra padding at the heel for a better fit and comfort. TECH arch support adds more structure to these socks for a snug and supported fit through the midfoot. These low rise socks have a tab at the ankle to keep them up during activity.

Performance:
The moisture-managing fabric, arch support and cushioning through the sole make these shoes well-suited for any activity. The medium thickness of these socks will fill out your tennis shoes and some users find they are a bit warm for hot days outside.

Comfort:
The deep heel pocket and compression around the arch provide a snug and comfortable fit for any athlete. Reviewers like the amount of cushioning through the sole and extra padding in the heel that prevents feet from becoming sore with repeated impact.

Style:
Despite the “No-Show” name, these socks do rise up above the ankles of your tennis shoes. They are available in 3 brightly colored options and the bright logo will be visible on the back of the ankle. The athletic look is fun and works great with any tennis shoe but these socks will not double as easily for casual wear.

Value:
Balega socks are more expensive, running around 13 dollars per pair. However, the excellent comfort, performance, and durability have athletes happily investing in their brand.
Pros

Arch support

Extra cushioning in the heel

Ankle tab

Moisture wicking

Seamless toe

Durable

Cons

Visible above shoes

Too warm for hot days

Expensive

8. Darn Tough Merino Wool Light Cushion

8. Darn Tough Merino Wool Light Cushion
These Darn Tough Athletic socks are made with 51% Merino wool which offers excellent moisture wicking ability and has natural antimicrobial properties to keep feet dry and odor free. The snug fit and seamless design keep socks securely in place during activity without ever feeling too tight. They are more expensive but Darn Tough offers a very durable construction with a lifetime warranty, so look at these socks as an investment in your feet.
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Construction:
These Darn Tough socks are made with a blend of 51% Merino Wool, 45% Nylon and 4% Lycra Spandex. They have a truly seamless design to reduce areas of friction. They feature thinner material through the upper for breathability and a thicker sole for added cushioning.

Performance:
The Merino wool in these socks offers outstanding moisture wicking performance. Merino wool also has natural antimicrobial properties which help fight odor and athlete’s foot. Users report these socks stay in place during activity and keep feet cool and dry.

Comfort:
The fit on these socks is snug without being too constricting. They draw their comfort from the close fit that does not slip or slide inside the shoe. Their ability to wick moisture also keeps feet cool and comfortable on long, hot days.

Style:
These socks are available in white or black with gray detailing. Despite being described as No Show, they do peek up significantly over shoes in the front and back.

Value:
These socks are priced around 16 dollars, making them some of the more expensive socks on this list. However, Darn Tough’s durable construction and lifetime guarantee make the price more palatable.
Pros

Great moisture wicking

Breathable

Antimicrobial properties

Good for hot weather

Cushioned through the sole

Snug fit

Durable

Lifetime guarantee

Cons

Expensive

Not much cushioning

9. Nike Performance Cushion Low Rise

9. Nike Performance Cushion Low Rise
These Performance socks from Nike are great for gym workouts and cross-training. Reinforced areas in the heel and toe increase durability and add protection to high-impact areas. The stretch cotton blend and thicker material make these socks cozy to slip on but a bit cumbersome for running workouts. Added arch support and ribbed ankle cuffs keep these socks from slipping down.
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Construction:
These Nike socks are made from a stretch cotton blend that is 75% Cotton, 22% Nylon, 2% Polyester and 1% Spandex. They feature thicker material in the high impact areas such as the toe and the heel for improved durability as well as ribbed cuffs and arch support.

Performance:
These socks are great when you plan to be tough on your feet. Reinforced toe and heel areas are great for gym workouts, sports and walking. The ribbed ankle cuffs and arch support provide a snug fit that stays in place during activity. The thicker, cotton material does not wick moisture as well and may not be your best bet for long runs.

Comfort:
The high cotton content gives these socks a soft and breathable feel. These socks seem to run small and are a bit tight on larger feet.

Style:
The Performance socks are available in white or black with a large contrasting Nike swish. The low rise will show above gym shoes so everyone will know you are wearing Nike.

Value:
Available in value packs of 6, these socks come down to less than 4 dollars per pair.
Pros

Soft feel

Breathable

Arch support

Reinforced toe and heel areas for durability

Good value

Cons

Not ideal for long runs

Sizing runs small

10. ASICS Cushion Low Cut

10. ASICS Cushion Low Cut
The ASICS Cushion is a great value sock that offers breathable mesh detailing for ventilation and substantial cushioning through the sole. The ankle tab and Y-heel keep socks fitting well so they stay in place during your training session. Many users love the moisture wicking properties of the high polyester percentage but some find it makes socks a bit too slick inside their shoes. These socks are available for a pretty low price. But be aware– they may need to be replaced sooner than the higher-end options.
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Construction:
These ASICS socks are 98% polyester and 2% spandex. They have a knit-in mesh upper for ventilation with cushioning through the sole for comfort. A seamless toe, Y heel and ankle tab provide a comfortable fit that reduces chafing.

Performance:
Users report these socks are breathable and stay in place during any activity. The polyester material wicks moisture effectively but some reviewers find the fabric to be a bit too close-knit, resulting in more friction with the insole of their shoes.

Comfort:
The sole of these socks offers comfortable cushioning to protect feet from impact while the mesh detailing on the uppers allow feet to breathe. Reviewers find these socks very comfortable for gym workouts and other activity.

Style:
These socks are available in value packs of black, white or heather gray. The mesh uppers are almost see-through but the ankle cuff does not rise much above your shoe.

Value:
These socks are sold in value packs of 3 for just over 3 dollars a pair. This is a great value for comfortable performance socks but they will wear out more quickly than the more expensive options.
Pros

Comfortable cushioning

Mesh uppers for breathability

Moisture wicking

Ankle tabs

Good value

Cons

Not very durable

Not as soft as cotton

 

The Metrics We Used to Determine the Best Trainer Socks

Cross-training involves a lot of different movements and activities. This means that you’re putting more stress on your abused runner’s feet. The last thing that you want to do is put yourself out of commission because you injured your foot or overworked the muscles and tendons. This is part of what makes finding an excellent pair of cross-training socks so important. Socks play a huge role in supporting the different parts of your feet as you exercise and move. The distribution of padding can protect you from blisters and help to improve your form. Elasticity can increase your response time, and help you bounce back from strenuous activity faster. Cross-training socks need to keep your feet dry, allow flexibility, improve breathability, and protect you in all the right places. The following criteria were used when creating this review list.

Construction

Runners may have overlooked the importance of training socks, but the athletic industry hasn’t. There are plenty of big-name brands who have devoted time and technology to designing the very best socks for training. As simple as a sock may seem, there’s a lot of thought that goes into the way that it’s made. There’s a big difference between a dollar store six pack of cotton socks and the types of socks included on this review list. The construction is key, and many of these socks include seamless toes, Y-seam heels, mesh materials, and even spandex arch support. We considered the construction of each sock, and the way that it can improve performance.

Performance

The performance of each of the socks on our review list was carefully tested and reviewed by a variety of athletes. A sock can have the most impressive pedigree anywhere and still be useless when it comes to a high intensity workout. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that your cross-training sock can deliver when it counts. The items on our list prevent slipping, increase support, and help improve your workout. The best cross-training sock is one that you don’t have to think about during any activity. It should be so comfortable and supportive that you can forget you’re wearing it.

Comfort

Cross-training isn’t exactly a walk in the park. The purpose of purchasing specialized socks is to keep your feet as comfortable as possible while you push your body to the limit. As soon as you slide them on, you should be happy with how they fit. The seams shouldn’t be an issue, the socks shouldn’t be too tight, and the material should stay in place. The real test comes when you go through your first workout wearing them. Good cross-training socks should keep your feet dry in even the most extreme conditions. The sweat shouldn’t have an impact on the way that the fabric moves, and the material should be breathable enough to keep your feet cool and free of blisters.

Style

Sometimes having a bright pair of workout socks can boost your mood as you head into a training session. On the other hand, you may just want some simple socks that can be worn with any shoe. Regardless of your preference, it is good to have options.

 

Other Things to Consider 

Your training schedule

Who says your sock drawer should be filled with the same uniform sock? When considering socks for training or running, give some thought to their intended purpose. It may be nice to just reach in your sock drawer and go, but if you are hesitant to spend the big bucks on stocking up on expensive socks, consider investing in one or two pairs to reserve for particularly tough training days. You can mix and match value socks with higher end socks based on the activity to keep your feet happy and wallet full.

Your training shoes

Socks are little good without a solid pair of supportive cross-training shoes. If you are working out in your running shoes it may be worth considering a pair of cross-trainers to provide more lateral support and foot protection for the wider range of activities. When choosing socks, you will want to consider the fit of these shoes to ensure the socks have the proper thickness and features for a comfortable fit with your shoe.

Some shoes provide support to different areas of the foot. Understanding the way that your cross-training shoes fit can help you to choose socks that can pick up the slack in any areas where there’s not enough padding or material. At the same time, socks shouldn’t be so bulky that they cause your shoe to feel awkward and increase friction. The socks and shoes should work in harmony to support your feet and give you the best experience possible.

 

FAQs

Q: Should I buy socks specific to men or women?

This depends on you and your feet. Women’s socks tend to run a bit smaller where men’s run wider and may feel a bit thicker. If you have particularly wide or narrow feet and struggle to find socks that fit, it may be beneficial to consider socks specific to men or women. However, if your feet fall in the “normal” sizing range, don’t pay too much thought to the gender. Oftentimes, the biggest difference is the color options when it comes to gender-specific socks. So, find the fit that works best for you and don’t worry what it says on the label.

Q: Can I wear cross-training socks for running?

Yes, typically cross-training socks work well for running as they have many similar features of running-specific socks. Running socks will tend to be even lighter and may have more targeted padding for a runner’s foot strike than cross-training socks. Some runner’s find these features beneficial for longer runs but as long as your feet are happy and you have a good fit with your running shoes, you should be fine with any sock.

Sources

  1. Lauren Dilly & Pete Smith, REI Experts, How to Choose Socks, Web Article,
  2. Annie Smock, Why Picking Great Workout Socks is Super Important, Web Page, Jul 18, 2016
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