It is extremely important when exercising to always use the right gear, even if you’re only a casual runner. The comfort of your feet determines how long your runs can be and for how long you can exercise before your soles start hurting. Interestingly enough, the quality of your footwear can also have a major effect on your fatigue, not to mention how easy it is to clean and maintain.
We should also point out that quality running socks also have better pressure points than regular socks, along with a better arch strain and ventilation. With this in mind, let us find out what are the ten best running socks the market has to offer at this point in time.
Best Running Socks (For Men & Women) – Reviews
7ASICS Kayano Single Tab Socks
Given their Nanoglide Nylon/2% Spandex construction, these socks are highly flexible and easy to put on. They also have a Y heel gore fit that makes them extremely comfortable when worn for long periods of time. Not only that but their arch band also provides an improved fit whereas their seamless construction will surely make them more comfortable overall. Considering how affordable they are, these are perhaps the perfect budget solution for anyone who is conscious about overspending on running gear.
6Smartwool Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks
As a result of their strategically placed mesh ventilation zones, these socks offer a much better temperature and moisture management than most running socks out there. They also do this thanks to their 63% merino wool / 34% nylon / 3% elastane construction which also makes them quite flexible. Not only that but these socks also benefit from a flat knit toe seam of the highest quality.
5Drymax Run Hyper Thin No Show Socks
These are perhaps the most lightweight and flexible running socks on the market today. Made of olefin, polyester, nylon, and elastane, they will stretch around your feet without causing any discomfort whatsoever, even if you have oddly shaped feet. They also benefit from a low-cut construction intended to provide good ventilation along with an equally high standard of comfort in motion.
4Balega Hidden Contour Athletic Running Socks
What makes these running socks stand out from the rest is their hand-linked seamless toe closure which has the purpose of providing a good airflow and breathability. They also benefit from reinforced heel and toe areas for added durability and an improved Elastane construction throughout their entirely for a more structured fit. Furthermore, these high-quality socks boast a plush under sole cushioning design aimed at offering extra protection.
3Thorlo Men’s Running Mini-Crew Socks
Thorlo Men’s Running Mini-Crew Socks stand out through their Thor-lon fiber construction, one that guarantees a superior softness, resilience, durability, and moisture wicking than most running socks out there. At the same time, they excel at cushioning over the toes to protect against runner’s toe and a multitude of other common afflictions. Also worth mentioning is that they have a flat knit instep and cushioning which offers a much better fit for those of you with unusually shaped feet.
2Thirty 48 Running Socks for Men and Women
These are among the best running socks for men and women by virtue of their quality cushioning and above average airflow. They also benefit from a Coolmax fabric which aims to remove moisture as efficiently as possible without causing any discomfort whatsoever. Not only that but they also offer extra padding on the metatarsal, Achilles, and heel areas, which is why they are commonly used in conjunction with medical legwear.
1Saucony Men’s Performance Comfort Fit No-Show Socks
With these surprisingly affordable yet high-quality running socks from Saucony, you get comfort and flexibility like no other. Made of polyester, rubber, and spandex, they are perhaps the most flexible running socks on the market, or at least in this price range. Durable and extremely comfortable, these particular socks are 100% machine washable, which may explain why they’re so popular in the first place. Last but not least, their no-show construction allows them to be worn with virtually any type of running shoes.
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What To Look For When Buying Running Socks
Anyone who takes their exercising seriously will eventually be interested in proper gear for the job, which is why a basic understanding of what to look for when shopping for sports footwear comes in handy.
Now, we should point out that when it comes to running socks, there are certain criteria than any pair of socks should meet in terms of comfort, flexibility, and airflow. For just the right combination, you need to first educate yourself about what makes a good pair of running socks as far as materials and construction go.
In principle, you should always consider the following:
Design – The design of a pair of socks should always tell you everything you need to know about their overall quality, which is also applicable to running socks. For the most part, you want to look for a pair of socks with a low-cut that doesn’t smother the ankle too much, yet high enough to prevent any rubbing against the shoe. You also want these socks to be seamless so as to prevent chafing of any kind.
Construction – The overall construction of a pair of socks should also be considered, especially if you’re the type who goes for a run on a regular basis. If possible, you should look for socklets more than any other shape or form because socklets are designed to stop at the ankle bone, thus forming a barrier between the foot and the shoe. This also makes it look like the runner isn’t wearing any socks. Looks aside, these type of socks will surely prove their worth in warm weather, even more so if your running sessions are a bit long.
Features – Along with a reliable construction, running socks will also boast a host of useful features. These additional and sometimes optional features broaden the range of uses a pair of running socks may have. In this respect, you can choose the type of running socks that best suit your running needs. Depending on what type of runs you go for or how often you do it, you want your socks to boast some of the following features:
Anti-blister technology – A useful feature to have, anti-blister technologies involve a two-layer system aimed at preventing blisters of any kind. This is done by preventing the skin from rubbing against the sock material by dissipating the friction over to the interior layer of the material. In turn, the two layers will then rub against one another, reducing the stress on the runner’s skin.
Padding – It is common for high-end running shoes to boast some sort of padding. While some runners prefer padded socks, there are still plenty of those who do not, mostly because padding tends to lessen the ‘feeling’ runners have over the course and the terrain they’re running on. For the most part, however, good padding can make all the difference in the world, especially when it comes to comfort over time.
Ankle support – Another feature to look for is ankle support, be it when it comes to low-cut socks or traditionally shaped footwear. These socks offer the benefit of gripping the ankle tightly, often with an elasticated material, thus reducing the strain your ankles feel when tired. Not only that but socks with ankle support are also known to stimulate blood flow and reduce the risk of muscle problems.
Individual toes – There are also running socks out there with individual toes. These socks tend to place the runner in full control of their running by improving their ‘feel’ on the terrain they’re running on. We should also point out that some runners dislike the restrictive feeling of wearing socks. Running without socks, however, can cause an awful lot of problems for regular runners, which is where toed socks come into play.
Running Socks Materials
Like we already pointed out, the quality of the fabrics can make all the difference in the world, both for experienced and casual runners alike. While regular socks tend to involve natural fibers for the most part, with running socks the situation changes to some extent.
In fact, it would be safe to say that running socks are more about flexibility than comfort, which is why flexible materials make up most of what quality running socks are all about.
Natural fibers – Everyone should know by now just how comfortable pure cotton is when it comes to socks of any kind. Compared to polyester fibers, pure cotton as both cool and comfortable during the summer. Even so, this isn’t what runners usually look for, because it tends to dry out slowly. Cotton socks are also less durable than synthetic socks, not to mention how easy it is for cotton to lose its stretchiness over time.
Synthetic fibers – This is the way to go when looking for running socks, be it part of a combination of various synthetics or as a stand-alone material. Among synthetic fibers, polyester, nylon, and lycra ar by far the most popular and understandably so. Polyester is a hard wearing synthetic which promotes the dispersal of moisture while nylon is more of a silky-textured polyamide aimed at providing a good airflow. While lycra fabrics aren’t strong enough to comprise a pair of socks on their own, they will usually be used along with nylon and polyester as part of a quality blend.