Running socks are an often overlooked but critical item in any serious runner’s 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 reviews below, we discuss some of the key things to keep in mind when shopping for running socks.
Our top pick: Balega Blister Resist
One of the most popular pairs of running socks globally, 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.
They’re also available in three different models (crew, quarter, no-show) so there’s something to suit all runners.
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.
Best low-cut: Balega Hidden Comfort
Balega’s Hidden Comfort socks are a great choice for anyone who wants to keep their feet comfortable while they’re on the move.
This sock is constructed with reinforced heels and toes to ensure comfort and durability, and it also has a mesh ventilation system that keeps your feet from getting too hot or sweaty during physical activity. It even has plush under-sole cushioning for extra comfort.
These socks have a new more structured fit, which means they’ll stay put in your shoes without any slipping. This is in addition to the heel tab that serves the same purpose.
Feetures Elite Max Socks are the perfect choice for anyone who wants to keep their feet comfortable and blister-free.
These socks have patented Sock-Lock technology that provides targeted compression, so you can get a customised fit that helps to eliminate blisters and friction.
The anatomic design gives you an enhanced fit, and the ultra-thin construction means you retain control and get a better feel of the road or trail.
The socks also feature moisture-wicking technology to help keep your feet dry, as well as no irritating toe seam to prevent chafing.
While they may look gimmicky, many athletes swear by toe socks for both performance and blister prevention.
These socks free your toes to splay naturally, allowing them to move independently on uneven terrain. Each toe is individually protected and there is no contact between them, which prevents blisters.
The Injinji toe socks are made from COOLMAX fibre that keeps your feet dry and comfortable. The integrated arch support provides extra comfort and support.
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.
This Power Stride is an ideal choice for you if you’re looking for a sock that stays put and provides the support you need.
The sock was designed with integrated micro-cushioning for comfort, and it has a shaped fit that conforms to your foot as you walk or run.
The ErgoToes foot-specific design ensures that your toes have room to move as they should, while also providing 360º arch support so you can stay comfortable throughout your workout.
The reflective detail on this sock makes it easy for people to see you when running in low-light conditions.
These UA socks are made with ultra-fast drying ArmourDry yarn technology. The material disperses moisture evenly, so it can evaporate faster, which keeps your feet dry.
The mesh panels on top and bottom of the sock help keep your feet cool with added airflow while medium cushioning in high-impact areas protects your feet on long runs.
They feature extra arch support or a more fitted heel contour and the material is embedded with anti-odour technology.
The Stance Run Crew Socks are the perfect running socks for anyone who wants to feel supported and comfortable while they’re hitting the pavement.
They feature a seamless toe closure and enhanced airflow thanks to Stance’s Channeled Air Cushioning. They also feature performance arch support to reduce fatigue on long runs.
Running Socks Buying Guide
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 for 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 a 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 from getting in.