Not all socks are created equal, especially when it comes to running. Just like how running shoes are designed for specific mileage (short vs. long distance), applications (trail vs. road) and support (stability vs. neutral), you might be surprised that running socks are designed in a similar fashion. Gone are the days when cotton tube socks were the only option—the performance running socks currently on the market fight bacteria, provide blister protection and come in a variety of thicknesses for different temperatures.
By choosing the right pair of running socks, you'll be able to enjoy mile after mile of comfy running. We gathered seven pairs of running socks from a variety of brands (and with a variety of different features) to consider before heading out on your next run.
Feetures High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab
Feetures is one of the most popular running sock brands out there, and it's no surprise why. This high performance sock is its bread and butter; it has power bands of Lycra for support and blister prevention, all the cushioning right where you need it most and the Y-Heel construction keeps the sock from sliding around in your shoe. You'll also notice what isn't there—the seamless toe is a nice touch and keeps irritation to a minimum.
Balega Blister Resist Quarter Running Socks
Made by runners, for runners, these socks by Balega are a must-try for anyone putting in some serious miles. These Blister Resist socks do just what their name implies: prevent blisters (duh!). The Drynamix material and mesh ventilation panels keep feet cool and dry, and when paired with the seamless toe and arch support band, worrying about blisters will be a thing of the past. We also enjoy the extra-deep heel pocket, and the wide range of color options are a fun way to coordinate with different shoe colors too.
Lorpen T3 Trail Running Ultralight Padded
Known for its hiking socks, Lorpen's line of trail running socks shouldn't be overlooked. This ultralight trail sock is infused with cushion in the sole for a more comfortable experience when the miles increase. The combination of nylon and Lycra keeps the socks held firmly in place (and increases durability), the layer of Tencel material is not only soft against skin but is also biodegradable, and the Coolmax fibers keep the feet cool and dry by wicking perspiration away. The blister-preventing tab on the heel is a nice touch too.
Swiftwick MAXUS Zero Tab
Who says you need an ankle-high sock to get all the blister protection you need? The MAXUS Zero Tab sock by Swiftwick features a micro tab that prevents contact with the heel of the shoe while still keeping a low profile. The compression build keeps the sock from sliding while in the shoe (and therefore prevents blisters), and the plush footbed is especially appreciated during high-mileage running. If you're looking for a running sock with all the modern features and a classic look, this pair checks all the boxes.
Smartwool PhD® Run Ultra Light Low Cut Socks
There's a lot of impressive tech built into these PhD® Run Ultra Light Low Cut socks from Smartwool. They feature its 4 Degree Elite Fit System, which includes a flex zone at the ankle joint, the Shred Shield to keep your toenails from wearing through the toe box and the Indestructawool (sounds like a superhero, right?) construction boosts not only durability but also comfort. These socks are light but not too light, with plenty of padding in the ball and heel of the foot to help alleviate the effects of pavement pounding.
SockGuy Trailhead Black 4" Socks
Calling all trail runners! These socks from SockGuy were designed with trail runners in mind, from the high ankle to keep out debris to the honeycomb padded foot bottom and cuff to help lessen the effect of demanding mileage on the trail. The mesh upper allows for plenty of ventilation on hot days, the seamless toe keeps irritation to a minimum as you climb and descend and the snug arch is not only comfortable but also keeps the sock from slipping on demanding routes.
Wigwam Attain Ultralight Low Socks
Don't let their price fool you (cheapest on this list); these ultralight socks from Wigwam do it all. If you're not a fan of bulky socks, the Attain socks are non-cushioned, so you'll feel your running shoe footbed that much more. The instep is made with breathable mesh, they feature a seamless toe closure and are lightweight and low cut. Better yet, the REPREVE sole is made from recycled plastic bottles, so you can run knowing you're making less of a footprint (get it?).
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