Swiftwick FLITE XT Zero Tab
They have great grip along the heel and toe box (more on that a little later!) super soft cushioning under my arches, added arch support up top, and a breathable upper that wicks sweat and moisture away from my feet.
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.
Below, I wanted to really dive into how well these socks performed when I took them for a spin on a surprisingly warm September afternoon!
GripDry fibers for excellent grip inside of your shoes
Will not budge or slip down past your ankles as you run
Modest compression on your ankles for added stability
The ribbed band provides excellent arch support
Moisture-wicking materials keep your feet nice and dry
Invisible toe seam will not rub against your running shoes
Runs a little hot
Tara Summerville, RunnerClick Reviewer
When I took these running socks out of the package, I was quite surprised by the overall bulk of these socks. They have a nice and stretchy topside with a base that is a little dense and thick.
When I slipped them on my feet, that dense bottom side translated to an extra boost of cushioning and support. The topside is nice and stretchy, and contours really great to my feet and feels nice and supportive on the ankles.
The best part? The toe seam is completely flat and didn’t rub up against my running shoes when I hit the trails.
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.
When out on the trails, it meant that these socks stayed firmly in place on my feet, and didn’t shift around even when engaging in quick agility work.
At first, I was a little worried that these fit a little too tightly along the topside of my ankle. They offer a contoured compression fit for better ankle support, and you can really feel the compression when you first pop these socks on your feet.
However, once I was finished with my warmup, that slight tightness in the ankle was completely gone. To really put the compression of the ankles to the test, I ran a few stairs sprints and loved that added stability these socks lent to my ankles.
The flat toe seam along the top of the foot was also a welcome feature. I am very sensitive to bulky toe seams, and they can really ruin my run.
The invisible toe seam on the FLITE XT did not rub up against the sides or top of my feet, which felt like I wasn’t wearing any socks at all! A good toe seam is super important to me, and these socks get an A+ in my book!
I also love that these socks did not budge an inch as I ran. Ankle socks have a reputation of migrating past your ankles and down into your shoes, but this wasn’t an issue with the FLITE XT. This sock stayed firmly in place on my ankles, which meant that I never needed to adjust them in the middle of my run.
The biggest test for any sock that offers modest compression is how your feet feel at the end of the run. I was a little concerned that the super tight fit or the ankle of these socks would cut a red ring of pain into the top of my foot. After a 2-mile run, I peeled off my socks and there wasn’t even an indentation on my ankle.
In fact, I wore these socks for the remainder of the day and peeled them off without so much of a trace that I wore socks that day.
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.
Even without running shoes, the ample padding on my feet felt incredibly plush. When I was finished with my run, I continued to wear these socks for the remainder of the day because they were just so cushioned and comfy!
These socks also host a blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex that stretches over your feet for a contoured fit that locks in place. The thicker materials on the underside of the foot ran a little hot for me, but the Fiber First moisture-wicking blend helped to keep them nice and dry.
My feet sweat at the mere thought of putting them inside of a pair of socks, so I was pleasantly surprised that even though my feet were hot- they were perfectly dry.
The comfort level of these socks was insane. 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 stand out from the crowd is the construction of the bottom side of the sock. I really have never worn a pair of socks that deliver this amount of comfort. The Olefin-infused GripDry materials are grippy and tough but feel incredibly soft underfoot.
The black square of fabric that runs under my arches adds a lot of plush cushioning that I can really feel as I run. The performance of this sock almost feels like an orthotic insert that provides an extra layer of high-end cushioning and support!
With a high level of plush cushioning, the breathability of these socks suffers a bit. While the top side of my foot stayed impossibly cool, the underside of the foot got a little hot as I ran. It wasn’t a deal-breaker in the slightest, because I would gladly take a high level of cushioning in exchange for breathability.
While this sock ran a little hot, my feet were never soupy or sweaty. The blend of moisture-wicking materials in the base of this sock helps to move moisture away from your foot. When I popped off my running shoes, my feet were hot but perfectly dry.
Typically, when I am done with my run I take off my running shoes as well as my socks. However, these socks were so comfortable and kept my feet so dry that I continued to wear them throughout the course of my day.
The price of this sock is a little more expensive than your average pair of running socks, but for a very good reason!
These socks were built as if Swiftwick was constructing a pair of running shoes. Just like a pair of running shoes, the upper is built to be nice and breathable yet locking your foot in place and provides just enough compression to keep your stride nice and stable.
The outsole - I mean the underside - of the sock provides complex cushioning and excellent traction that locks in place to the midsole of your sneaker and the moisture-wicking properties keep your foot cool and dry. It may cost more than an average pair of socks, but the Swiftwick FLITE XT offers so much more than your average pair of socks!
I love ankle socks because they are lightweight and just look better with running shoes, but I gave up on them a few years back. I found that while they looked good, they always found a way to slip down over my heel and chill around my arches.
However, the Swiftwick FLITE XT ankle socks have renewed my love affair with ankle socks. I wore them for a quick 2-mile run around the neighborhood track, and later in the evening when I did a little circuit training with weights. No matter how much I moved, these socks stayed 100 percent locked in place.
The ample padding on the base of the sock felt incredibly nice but ran a little hot as I put a few miles behind me. While my feet felt hot, the moisture-wicking properties of the materials used helped to keep my feet impossibly dry. At the end of the day, I gladly welcome a little bit of heat for added stability and cushioning.
Plus, once I kicked off my running shoes my feet dried quickly, and I continued to wear them for the rest of the day.
Pam Berg, Running Coach & RunnerClick Reviewer
As a trail runner, I am always hunting for the perfect pair. These absolutely hit the mark!
David Monk, Experienced Runner
I’ve run well for my age in western New York, winning many age group and veteran races. My marathon PR was the 2002 Boston Marathon at 3:20:04 when I was 56.
To keep running I’ve had many surgeries, both major and minor including three arthroscopic surgeries, a complete knee replacement and surgery for plantar fasciitis which involved cutting part of the plantar fasciitis ligament to release the tension and relieve the swelling. In addition,
I’ve had platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy injections of my platelets to accelerate the healing of a torn hamstring. After my knee replacement in July 2020, I’ve been slowly getting back to running four days a week with my orthopedic surgeon’s approval. At one year post-op, I’m up to 25 miles a week. Hopefully, I will be able to run a half-marathon in 2022.
NOW, about the socks! I really like them. I’ve been running on Smartwool, Balega, and Feetures. All are good in their own design, fit and style, but Swiftwick is good in all the ways.
They stay in your shoes, very stable, no slide, especially when turning. Felt much support in the ankle and was very comfortable. Really like them. Best sock I’ve ran on—period-- not too thin, not too heavy, and a great feel!
Karina Saavedra, Experienced Runner
Let's start with the fit, they are snug and contour perfectly to my foot. This is an area a lot of other sock brands don't compare with as they have bigger socks that fit ""most."" The tab on the back is perfect to prevent chafing. The heel and toes have a bit extra material that cushions your feet just right.
Up next is the breathable material. The least amount of sweat the better and these socks didn't disappoint. I sometimes run prior to my muay thai class, where I train barefoot and there's minimal sweat and smell which is awesome for me!
All In all, I have discovered a new brand of socks to stock up on :-)
Amy Camp, Experienced Runner
Upon receiving my test pair, I immediately ripped open the package to see the super cute teal and black colored socks awaiting my wear. I must confess – teal is my favorite color, so I felt this was destined to be a great pairing from the beginning!
I put them on and wore them around the house. I wanted to make sure they fit my feet well and would stay in place through basic movements. I love that they are form-fitting – feels like a second layer of skin.
The support band around the arch of my foot was amazing and helped with after-workout ankle swelling – which surprised me greatly. The rubber grip on the underside of the toe box was an added bonus for “shoeless” wearing too.
The next day, I wore them for a 4-mile walk. The socks stayed in place – no slipping, sliding, twisting, or rolling under. Pretty sure the rubber toe grips helped with this. They stayed secure at my ankles too – no “eaten” socks by my shoes. It was a warm day (80 degrees Fahrenheit) and even a walk is sweaty work for me.
My socks were barely damp (something that rarely happens even in the winter months) – and that sold me on this product. They really did work the way they are marketed! Swiftly wicking away moisture so your feet stay nice and dry and chafing or blisters become a rare occurrence!
However, before I gave my full stamp of approval (and went out to buy more Swiftwicks), the final test for me was to see if they would work just as well after being washed. I also wanted to know if they would need more than one wash cycle to get athlete “aroma” out. So far, so good!
7 washes, 1 hour of weight training, 1 hour of cross training, a 5K race, 10k trail run, 15K race and a half marathon later these socks are so comfortable, well fitting, functional, and cute that I am a little sad to take them off at the end of the workout.
The only time they didn’t keep my feet dry was on the trail run – and that was because I ran through an ankle deep stream.
The socks are phenomenal but they are not miracle workers. However; after crossing the stream, taking my shoes off to empty the water and ringing out the socks, the swift wicking technology kicked in and did its job from that point on. No blisters at the end! This is the 4th year doing that trail race and I ended with blisters every other year.
After 7 washes they are getting a little frayed along the edges of the arch support – that may be because of my shoes/the way I run as all my socks look like this after a few wears and washes.
Regardless, I will be buying (a lot) more of these socks for me and for my sports friends. Okay, let’s be honest, everyone on my gift list will probably be getting a pair this holiday season!
Alyssa Eureste, Experienced Runner
After starting my run, my feet felt supported and I noticed something seemed to feel better. My left foot slipped just a bit in my shoe, even after lacing it differently, but with the Flite XT Zero, that smidge of a slip was gone. The support I felt was amazing and the cushion it provided was very encouraging.
I’ve been sidelined with a shin splint, so I was only able to run in the Flite XT Zero a couple of times. So, I have worn them on walks and to work. I am on my feet a lot, working in an ambulatory surgery center, and they really help support my feet and keep them dry.
Shayna Kefalas, Experienced Runner
The tab is much thinner than the tabs on other brands that I own. I was worried that this would mean the tab wouldn't stay in place or protect the back of my ankles, but it was actually perfect. The color options are beautiful as well. These are definitely the "pros" for the Swiftwick Flite XT Zero Tab.
There are a few "cons" that I noticed as well. The price tag on these is pretty high for a single pair of running socks, and while I do like them, I'm not sure that I'd pay the suggested retail price. They pill extremely quickly, which makes them look a bit old and run-down after only a couple of washes (see images attached - which were after 2 washes).
They are also sort of sticky on the bottom - everything from the floor ends up on the bottom of these socks. Overall, I think the pros outweigh the cons, especially if you're willing to invest a bit of money in some nice running socks.