Author: The Adventure Lab Staff
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Running socks are an often overlooked but critical item in any serious runners kit. Finding the right pair can at the very least improve your level of comfort, and in some cases reduce the occurrences of blisters and other foot related injuries.
After the summary table below, we discuss some of the key things to keep in mind when shopping for running socks, followed by our detailed reviews.
Choosing the Best Running Socks
You may need to go through a few types of socks before you find the perfect pair for you, but it’s a great help if you know what to look out for when you start your search. Below we look at the key considerations you should keep in mind when trying to find the best running socks to meet your needs.
Comfort and Fit
Comfort is obviously a huge factor when choosing running socks. How the sock shapes around the foot is a big part of this, and like shoes, not every sock is a good match for every foot.
Also key to comfort is the material and construction. We want to avoid socks that are made from abrasive materials, or have poorly located seams.
Cushioning isn’t necessary in all running socks and really comes down to personal preference. Runners more likely to opt for cushioning are those who need the extra padding to help with blisters or bruises, or those who run long distances or over rocky terrain.
The material a running sock is made from plays a key role in both comfort and performance.
High quality running socks are generally made from some combination of polyester, wool, nylon, spandex, elastic, and lycra. These materials are used as they are the best at wicking sweat and other moisture away from your skin, reducing the likelihood of blisters.
Cotton has poor wicking properties and you should therefore aim to avoid this material in your running socks.
Wool is a natural material that performs better than cotton in terms of wicking. It also provides added warmth so is a good option for winter runners.
Length is really personal preference but a couple of things to keep in mind are:
1. If you are generally running in warmer temperatures you may prefer lower cut socks to reduce the amount of skin covered on the ankle and calf and improve heat regulation.
2. If you often run on bush trails you may want higher socks to prevent small stones getting in.
Running Sock Reviews
#1 Balega Blister Resist Running Sock
BUY AT WILDfire sports
One of the most popular pairs of socks on the market, the Balega Blister Resist manage to achieve that perfect balance of being both soft and comfortable as well as high performance and moisture wicking.
This is made possible through their trademarked Drynamix material combined with super soft mohair.
It’s really hard to find fault with these socks from Balega and the thousands of happy runners around the world using these socks lay testament to that.
- Super comfortable yet moisture wicking
- Seamless toe for extra comfort
#2 Balega Ultra Light No Show Sock
BUY AT amazon
Another great offering from Balega, the ultralight sock has less bulk than other models, utilising Balega’s Drynamix Polyester for its lightweight moisture wicking properties.
In contrast to the Blister Resist, these socks have no mohair or wool, reducing their warmth rating but also reducing moisture retention, perfect for warmer climate running. They also have a reinforced microfiber toe, sensitive rib top, and mesh ventilation panels.
These socks will suit runners who want a very comfortable, high performance, low volume sock with no extra cushioning or warmth.
- Super lightweight
- Moisture wicking
- May not be warm enough for runners in colder climates
#3 Thorlo Experia Running Socks
BUY AT THE ATHLETES FOOT
A high performance, minimalist running sock designed to be ultra lightweight but still delivering the key features required by serious runners.
The Experia is made mostly from Tholo’s trademarked Thor-Wick material designed to wick sweat away from the foot. They also come with a small amount of well placed padding to provide additional support and comfort in high impact areas.
Finally, the Experia is very breathable, making for a more comfortable run, and reducing smell.
- Great breathability and wicking
- Well placed padding
- Fairly low cut sock may not be for everyone
#4 Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks
BUY AT WILDFIRE SPORTS
Injinji’s unique toe socks are designed to provide better grip and balance inside shoe while increasing toe mobility to promote stronger, healthier feet.
Their Lightweight Non-Show product is an ultra thin, minimalist running sock designed to provide a comfortable fit with moisture wicking properties.
Other features include a breathable mesh top to maximise ventilation, and ankle length that is designed to stop the sock slipping into your shoe.
- Separate toes improve stability and reduce toe blisters
- Mesh top for ventilation
- Separate toe design not for everyone
- Minimal insulation so may not be suitable for colder conditions
#5 Feetures! - High Performance Cushion Review
BUY AT amazon
Feetures! are well know in the USA for producing some of the best no frills, high performance socks on the market.
The High Performance Cushion Crew Sock comes with high-density cushioning in high-impact areas and Feetures! iWick fibers to reduce moisture contact around the foot.
These socks are also available in low cut design.
- Moisture wicking design
- High density cushioning
If you’re after running socks at a lower price point than those listed here, you may want to look into the products offered by the likes of Nike, Asics, and Adidas. Just be sure to avoid cotton blends where possible.
One other option not discussed above is compression socks. They are becoming increasingly popular in the exercise world, however as discussed here, the verdict is still out on whether there is a material benefit available to athletes from wearing compression socks. So for now, it really it just comes down to personal preference and whether they are something you think you may get benefit from.
If we could only choose one pair of socks from this list we’d go with the Blister Resist sock from Balega. For us, they provide the perfect balance between comfort and performance, with high tech materials assisting with moisture control, and a wool blend to provide extra warmth and comfort.