The Best Running Socks For Road And Trails Reviewed
When runners are looking for a new pair of running socks, most of the time they simply go to the store and buy the first pair they see, as many believe that running socks are not of importance. This is quite untrue, as running socks determine a runners comfortability and can ensure no blisters will develop from chaffing on the shoe. A example of a quality running sock, is like a pair of running socks from Rockay, which are built to be durable, comfortable, and stylish.
Now lets say you have decided to do some research this time around and try some quality running socks, as you are tired of your socks wearing out or not being comfortable but are finding it difficult to find which socks will be best for you and the shoes you wear. Well, we have done the research for you and listed the top nine running socks and also the top ten trail socks of 2018, and why they made our list. We have also listed some criteria of what to look for when looking for your perfect pair of running socks. So next time you are running and feel that sense of comfort coming from your feet, know you got an excellent pair of running socks and enjoy your running!
- ROCKAY Accelerate
- Constructed with organic merino wool
- SmartWool PhD Run Light
- Run Dry moisture managment
- Balega Hidden Comfort
- Extra deep fitting heel pocket
10 Best Socks For Road Running
When you put your foot into this sock it speaks volumes about comfort blended with protection and support. The sock feels like you are putting on a perfectly fitted glove. It adjusts to a gently compressive FIT and as you get a sense of protection and stability.
Organic Merino wool sourced from the best producers in South America means that the feeling against the skin is softness personified, as you flex your foot the sock allows movement while retaining a reassuring gentle yet firm compression.
You will notice that the compression is gently channeled to focus on just the right amount of support for the foot arch. This is achieved by alternating the weave pattern to focus compression to where it is needed while also contributing to the overall structural stability of the sock/foot.
When we run, our toes and heels make a lot of contact inside a shoe and this sock has designed in padding to cushion and protect, a smart and creative design has also been included to ensure the sock gives consistent FIT and will not slip.
To get a combination of comfort and stability we need to acknowledge that this sock is made from the best possible high-quality organic Merino wool to ensure comfort. This is a material which optimizes and balances temperature so that you can wear this sock anytime throughout the year.
An optimized balanced temperature means that in the cold, the right amount of heat is retained for warmth. In hot conditions, the design and strategic material thinning of certain zones in the sock will actually disperse heat and moisture so the foot remains at a comfortable temperature. The result is an all year round high performance running sock which has strategic breathability designed into it.
You can put aside the unwanted expense of buying different socks for different seasons.
Stability is a must be if you want a high-performance sock which will work in partnership with your running shoe and push up your performance potential.
The weave is set at alternating thicknesses and patterns which cleverly distribute and radiate compression. When you look closely at this sock you can see the innovative style of a more enhanced and bold weave which channels more compression towards giving support to the foot arch. This results in a warm spot of compression for the arch muscles and we all know that performing muscles need consistent warmth and good blood circulation. But, you won't get an over the top sweat producing heat build-up because excessive heat moves towards the thinner sock zones and gets dispersed. Organic Merino wool has natural temperature optimization and this ability combined with creative design results in superb temperature regulation.
Ask any runner which part of a socks starts to quickly show wear and tear and he/she will tell you its the heel and toe area. You won't have that problem with this sock. Extra padding via a protective and thickened cushioning weave is thoughtfully designed in for these areas.
Something we all hate is when we are running and a sock starts to slip, we stop, pull it up, continue running and it slips again. None of us want the slip to result in friction and a nasty painful blister. This sock is designed not to slip, the protective rear tab is a very nice feature and much appreciated by runners.
When we want durability we have to choose a product which is made from known good quality durable materials. This running sock is made from the very best possible materials and assures providing durability and quality.
The price sits at a neutral moderate level and due to the high level of durability, the lifetime of this sock means you actually save money because wear and tear are minimized.
The designers of this sock have done hands-on research, the input for what is required from a high performing sock comes directly from runners with many years experience. This means that whatever negative experience you have previously had with a running sock has been taken on board during the creation of this sock.
Organic merino wool, 100% free of mulesing
Provides proper arch support, as well as compression in the right places
The merino wool helps to regulate temperature well
Great moisture management
The brand is new, so choices in different models are limited for now
SmartWool PhD Run Light Elite
Breathability: Ventilation is important for supporting the moisture control technology. One doesn’t go without the other. These socks have air mesh venting technology which will be keeping your feet cool while you are running by creating great airflow.
Cushioning: The cushioning is light which means it is not suitable for running on a concrete trail. However, it doesn’t take much space in your running shoes and it is quite comfortable for wearing. The material is a combination of polyester, rubber and spandex. This synthetic blend is highly insulated and well supportive material which does not allow for blisters to be created while running. They are mainly made from polyester which is a material that has a tendency to smell if you are using them for few hours. However, these socks don’t have this issue; they do not cause bad odor and you can feel safe to train in them for more than few hours.
Comfort: The targeted arch support is adding to the comfort of these socks. It is acting by adding compression to the arch area which is keeping your foot stable and more secure. These socks are low in height which means they are likely to slip while running. However, the compression on the arch doesn’t allow this to happen which makes them the ideal choice for tough running training.
The socks are machine washable and they are very durable. The package includes 6 pairs of socks and the size is fitting perfectly. It is interesting to mention that they have an extra cushioning at the heel, which makes them extra comfortable. However, they are not intended for cold weather temperatures since they are thin and they are not suitable for keeping your feet warm. In fact, they have enough ventilation properties which qualify them as summer socks, rather than winter ones.
- Seamless toe
- High knit density
- The cushioning provides great assisted shock absorption
- The fit is tight for some
Breathability: The venting is also top notch with these socks. They won’t allow the temperature inside your shoes rise, even if you are hot inside. The material also doesn’t allow your feet to smell bad even though they are made entirely out of synthetic materials.
Cushioning: These socks are well-padded and they ensure that your steps are painless and secure. It has extra cushioning on the toes and on the heels which makes them suitable for running on any terrain. The thickness of the socks is medium which makes them suitable for mild temperatures.
Comfort: These socks are extremely comfortable and they provide you excellent protection from blisters. They keep your feet cool and dry and they are quite worth the price.
These Balega socks are durable, but the price is a bit more than expected for a pair of socks. The expensive price is due to the fact that they are provide excellent support while you are busy working out, which is the basis for avoiding injuries. They don’t feel tight at the arch like most socks, but they provide your foot enough compression and support. They have the perfect balance of thickness, compression, and stability! However, if the price seems too high for your budget, look through our other similar suggestions.
- Deep heel pockets allows superior fit
- The cushioning offered provides decent impact resistance
- Added elastane gives more structured support throughout the sock
- Fit might not be tight enough for some
Thorlos Experia XCCU
The material blend in these socks creates perfect moisture management which prevents the moisture from entering inside your socks to your feet, but it also offers you enough ventilation for the excess moisture to escape your feet to the outer layers of the socks. The polyester is responsible for directing the moisture away from your feet, while nylon prevents it from entering inside your socks.
Breathability This means that you have moisture protection in both directions. Although this is the perfect pair of running socks for wet weather conditions, they are not so suitable for extremely hot temperatures. Although these socks have venting technology, if this is the main feature you are focusing on, look through our other suggestions.
Cushioning and comfort
These Asics socks have a Y heel gore line fit that provides extra comfort and perfectly fits the shape of your foot. Needless to say, the Y heel gore line fits better than the regular gore line.
Comfort: the Y heel represents a specific style of knitting that is anatomically made in order to create a better fit to your foot. Even though this feature is responsible for the extra comfort you are feeling while wearing the socks, if you get the size wrong, it creates a greater discomfort. For this reason, make sure you double check the sizes and dimensions of the brand. As far as comfort goes, these socks also have an arch band that provides the user greater support and stability when stepping on uneven surfaces or running for a longer time.
These socks are made with medium thickness and they are very durable. In the package, there are three pairs of socks and they are all suitable for machine washing. For people who prefer socks without logos or visible design with your shoes on, they are the perfect solution. With regular running shoes, the logos are not at all visible even though there is a logo on the back of the sock just around the ankle. Other than this, the shades and design is perfectly shown on the photo through the link provided above.
- Achilles Tendon Padding helps protect against rubbing
- THOR•WICK® COOL technology offers exceptional moisture control throughout
- Flat Knit Seam in toe reduces irritation
- Fairly expensive price tag
Stance Line Up Tab Socks
Breathability: The ventilation on these socks is also great, and your feet will be able to stay dry. Dry feet help prevent uncomfortable rubbing and blisters.
Cushioning: Stance’s Line Up Tab Socks include a cushioned heel and enough stability and support to even help runners with injuries. You’ll feel the extra padding, which helps to absorb shock.
Comfort: The concept of having a right and left sock, like a right and left shoe, adds a lot of excellent comfort to these socks. These socks are made to fit extremely well.
Thick and padded
Not great in cold weather
Can feel bulky
Feetures! Elite Light
Breathability: Compared to other socks which are made with nylon materials that block part of the venting properties of the socks, these socks from Feetures! don’t have that issue. They are made with a combination of fibers of polyester, acrylic, and spandex. This allows the feet to breathe and ventilate properly.
Cushioning: These are summer socks and they are not to be used in cold weather. They are very lightweight and thin and they are most suitable for people who are sometimes running without socks.
Comfort: If you are a no socks runner, but have a blister issue, these socks would be the ideal choice for you. You practically don’t feel them on your skin, although you would enjoy the benefits of wearing them, by having a blister free foot!
It is important to mention that these socks are not suitable for machine washing. In fact, if you accidentally wash them in a machine, you would probably have to get another pair. If you mind this characteristic, look through our other socks suggestions. It is also advisable to double check the size chart and its dimensions since they are a bit longer than expected. You would probably have to get a size down to your regular one.
- Anatomical design provides support to medial side of the foot's arch
- Helps to eliminate blister causing friction
- Y-heel keeps sock in place
- Higher density cushioning in impact areas
- Not cheap
CEP Dynamic run socks
Breathability: Made to offer you plenty of great ventilation, you’ll get the breathability you need to air your feet out and prevent blister. You’ll always feel like your feet are dry with these socks.
Cushioning: Designed with extra cushioning in the heel, these socks offer ample support to help with shock absorption as you run. Your feet will feel comfortable each time you hit the trails.
Comfort: Designed to help increase your blood flow, these compression socks are very comfortable. They offer runners with injuries the level of support and stability they really need.
Can slip in shoe
Seams can rub
Darn Tough No Show Light
Breathability: The combination of merino wool, Lycra, and nylon manufactured into these socks also gives them great ventilation features. Your feet will be able to breathe easily, and stay very dry.
Cushioning: These socks are designed to have no cushioning in them, but their durable production quality does allow them to provide you with some extra support and assistance. So, if you prefer a sock with more cushioning, you may want to check some of our other options on this list.
Comfort: The wool fibers in these socks are not quite as comfortable as some of the other options on our list. Also, some people may find these socks less comfortable because of their lack of padding, while others may really like the lack of padding.
Seams can rub
Can feel slippery
Darn Tough Coolmax Vertex
Breathability: Because of the venting technology, they dry very quickly. However, they are warm enough for the winter months and for people with cold feet and bad blood circulation. They will keep your feet nice and warm at every temperature.
Cushioning: The material being used in the manufacturing of these socks is mainly polyester with additions of spandex and a small percentage of other fiber combination. The material is very pleasant to touch and it has all the elements of running socks. It has a nice arch support that is tightening the area. The tightening in the arch area is quite enough; it might even be too much for some people.
Comfort: Those of you, who prefer more loose arch support, look through our other suggestions. However, it creates a very pleasant feeling of stability when running. The socks also have a heel shield which is absorbing part of the impact on the heel while running on hard terrains. There is extra cushioning added as a shield that protects your areas of impact on your feet.
Once you try these socks with a heel tab, you will never want to return to regular ones again. The material is specific and it doesn’t allow any sagging. It is perfect for running since they are warm, soft, but they are not too bulky and they fit quite nice.
- Overall construction is ultra-lightweight
- Decent cushioning in a minimal design
- True seamless construction helps to eliminate irritation points and blisters
- These might not fit tight enough for some runners
DryMax Running Mini Crew
Breathability: DryMax’s Running Mini Crew socks are very breathable, and offer great ventilation properties. This again primarily has to do with the olefin fibers within the socks, which not only wick away moisture, but also provide great ventilation properties.
Cushioning: This sock does have a lot of padding in it, and certainly can help support your feet. So, if you are worried about shock absorption when you run, these socks will certainly help.
Comfort: These socks aren’t quite as comfortable as some of the other socks on our list, but much of that has to do with the olefin fibers manufactured into the socks to give them effective moisture control. Olefin fibers don’t feel as comfortable as something like merino wool, so if you don’t like the feel, you might want to opt for one of the other products on our list.
Can feel heavy
Fit can feel off
10 Best Trail Running Socks
DARN TOUGH VERMONT
Without adding bulkiness to increase the weight of the shoe, Darn Tough is able to implement enough cushioning along the bottom to offer enough comfort for your feet. Plus, the smooth fit minimizes the chances for blisters.
As this is crafted from Merino wool, it has a natural ability to wick away moisture which will enhance the breathability as your perspiration does not build up in the socks.
There are no seams in this sock which makes for a smooth performance fit. What this means to you is that your feet will not slip or bunch up during your run.
To accommodate a wide range of feet, you have the option of choosing between small all the way up to XX-large.
Not too many colors are at play here but Darn Tough did design enough to at least give you a minor selection. This includes black, oatmeal and olive.
Simply put, it just does not get much better than this with an unbelievable combination of comfort, breathability and fit. About the only aspect, you could possibly complain about is the cushioning as sure, there could have been more.
Overall, they keep your feet warm and cool (depending on the weather outdoors)
When these socks get wet, they do not feel too heavy on your feet
After long runs, your feet will not be sweaty
Some may want a bit more cushion, but it is pretty good
In the ball and the heel of the foot is Light Elite cushioning and this provides enhanced shock absorption when you slam down on your feet. In addition, the high-density cushioning maintains your weight masterfully.
Smartwool uniquely located mesh in specific areas of this sock to provide an ideal amount of ventilation and breathability when the temperature rises outdoors. Plus, this manages moisture very well.
Because there are two elastics that Smartwool integrated into this shoe, the result is a stretchy exterior that not only enables freedom of movement but also keeps the sock in place.
While there is no option for small, at least on Amazon, you do have the choice between medium, large, and extra-large.
There is a strong amount of color options to select from and this includes black, bright blue and dark blue, charcoal, graphite, light gray and black, among others.
Smartwool proves their admiration from the world when they design products like this. As with the previous pair of socks, it is really difficult to come up with reasons not to invest in these.
These are designed specifically for runners
Integrated Indestructawool technology delivers incredible durability and comfort
Smartwool designed these socks for performance in the highest degree
Are terrific for colder weather but may be too warm for summer
These socks resist and prevent two of the worst issues for a long-term runner. With hexo-padded technology that is designed in the toe and heel area, these socks are able to provide impact absorption and prevent blisters from developing on your heels.
The special polyclone fiber that is crafted into these socks does a superb job of managing moisture and keeping your feet dry no matter the condition outdoors.
With a seamless toe, light support in the arch area, and an anatomical fit not only provide a perfect fit but they also manage to stay in place when you are running for long distances.
Some users have claimed that these socks fit smaller than they were expecting. As far as options go, you can select from small to large.
There is a fairly strong amount of colors to choose from that should satisfy just about everyone. For example, colors such as black, gray, hot pink, sporty blue, and white.
If you are a fan of socks that are thin, almost feeling as if you are running without them on, then it is hard to go wrong here. But, on the contrary, for those looking for something thicker and substantial, it may be wise for you to pass on this one.
These will keep your feet at optimal temperatures at all times
Is backed with the manufacturer’s non-satisfactory guarantee
The integrated polyclone fiber is engineered to wick away moisture
Overall, they are thinner in girth than some may prefer and may fit small for some
Besides the fact that the heel and toe have been reinforced, there is enough cushioning under the sole to provide comfort and protection for your feet.
Both the mesh construction and the drynamix synthetic material manage to provide enough ventilation on hot days and wick away moisture when your feet sweat.
Balega chose a new and improved elastane design throughout the socks and it allows for a more structured fit. In addition, the integrated heel tab prevents the sock from slipping. But, due to its low nature, you may have to pull it over the shoe collar.
This is designed for both men and women and the sizes should fit according to normal. With options from small to extra-large, most people should be able to find a size for them.
Both men and women should find a color that suits their style with options for atomic mango, black, charcoal, purple, dynamic blue, electric blue, shocking pink, screaming green, etc.
As great as the heel tab is, it is awkward at first as you must pull it over your shoe collar. If you do not, it will defeat the purpose of the tab and the sock may end up slipping down your heel. However, it still is an awesome feature and in conjunction with all the others, makes this an easy thumbs up.
Balega tests and runs with all their products
It is specifically designed with a medium volume construction
The integrated heel pocket ensures the sock does not slip during runs
The heel tab is a little low and needs to be pulled above the collar of your shoe
CLOUDLINE MERINO WOOL
The softness of this particular wool is off the charts and while others can be itchy, that is not an issue here. Past its softness, there is reinforcement at the heel and toe zones for enhanced comfort.
As merino wool has a natural ability to wick away moisture and handle odors, you are given a sock that will not build up with sweat or smell potent when you conclude your run.
Really, most notable here is the fact that it is an ankle sock, meaning that it will not show when you are running.
Once again, this is a sock that has sizes for both men and women. The options are available for small to X-large, with each option adapting for both men and women.
Visually, this sock is very impressive and with color choices of glacial blue, granite, hi-vis orange, neon green, raven black, and wildflower pink, everyone should be able to find one for them.
At this point, any sock with merino wool is worth your investment. But, because this specific sock also has an appealing design and a no-show tab, it may adapt to a wider range of people.
These are designed for long-lasting softness
This specific wool is not itchy or irritating to your skin
Great for all outdoor activities
Would have been nice if they could stretch more
Can be somewhat narrow in the toes
Over the long haul, these socks are built to prevent blisters from occurring at your heel and overall comfort throughout the day.
The top portion integrates mesh to not only increase your comfort but also cool your feet off on hot, summer days. Plus, when they get wet, they do an adequate job of draining and wicking away water.
As a personal preference, you may take issue that these socks are not overly tight to your skin. While they are no means baggy, some may have preferred them to be even tighter than they are.
Use discretion when you choose the size, but there are options from small to large for both men and women.
For those who appreciate several color options, you may be a bit disappointed with the selection here. But, all things considered, the options for black and orange, gray and black, and green and black are all great.
While not the best pair of trail running socks you can get, nobody would blame you if you went with these. There are some issues that may bother you and they do, you must decide if they are enough to ruin the experience.
These are designed for all outdoor activities
With the medium ankle design, debris has a harder time of entering in
Wick away moisture and water very well
While not baggy, are not as tight as other brands
Some may feel the end portion of the socks move around too freely
INJINJI MIDWEIGHT CREW
The five-toe system that is integrated into this sock is what provides your feet protection no matter the pair of shoes that you have on, while also preventing hotspots and blisters.
Whether you want to run in the winter or summer, for ten minutes or two hours, it does not matter as superior moisture management is delivered.
Besides the obvious five-toe system which provides a section for each toe, the elastic cuff holds the sock in place.
Nothing noteworthy to speak of here, just the fact that you can select from sizes small to extra-large.
A strong amount of colors is headlined by brick, diamond black, emerald, granite, meadow and oatmeal.
You will either love or hate this toe design. On one hand, providing individual slots for each toe will improve your toe’s range of motion. But, this also means it can be a pain to properly fit each toe in the sock in the first place.
Is engineered for uneven and unpredictable terrain
Features many different color options
They are ideal for not only trail running but various other activities
After you use it several times, holes tend to open where your toes are slotted
MINUS33 MERINO WOOL
While the seamless design enhances comfort, there is also protection provided for your Achilles and at the bottom of your feet.
In conjunction with the mesh designed top for proper ventilation, Minus33 decided to use merino wool which, as you know, wicks away and superbly handles moisture build-up.
Besides the merino wool, a touch of elastane has also been integrated into this sock which allows them to gently hug over your feet.
With options from small to extra-large, there are many sizes to select from. But, some users have expressed their displeasure with the sizing stating the socks are larger than they should be.
Do not be too picky here as you can only select from autumn red, deep water and wild orchid.
Yes, sizing and durability can be a concern which can scare you away. While this is viable, it secured a spot on this list which should give you an idea of how great it is.
The seamless toe design is extremely comfortable for runs
It is both machine washable and dryable
The top integrates mesh for superior ventilation
Users have complained that these socks run large
Fraying can be an issue
FEETURES ELITE MERINO QUARTER
Thanks to the sock-lock technology, in areas where you need it the most, there is targeted compression. In addition to this, the anatomical design enhances the fit which then enhances the overall comfort.
The iWick fibers are to thank for this sock’s ability to wick away moisture and keep your feet dry. But, what also aids in breathability is its ultra-thin construction which takes up less room in your shoe.
Again, as was mentioned in the comfort section, the anatomical design enhances the fit.
Being designed to fit for both sexes, Feetures! claims that their socks will fit according to your shoe size. For the size options, you can select from small to extra-large.
As this is unisex, there are varying colors that appeal to both men and women. This includes black and reflector, white and black, blue lagoon and cobalt, graphite and reflector, and white and iris.
No matter what list you ever read, the number 10 selection is not going to be one that you are most impressed by. After all, there are nine others that are better. Still, this specific sock deserves recognition thanks to its terrific technology and comfort.
The lightweight design aids in breathability and a cooler feel
Integrated sock-lock technology targets compression where it is needed
Backed with a guarantee that if you are not unsatisfied, you can get a full refund
Over a few uses, you may notice them starting to wear out
The manner in which Thorlos designed their sock allows it to match your foot’s natural heel and ball pattern. This, in conjunction with the thin padding, aids in the overall comfort. But, the Achilles tendon pad is also highly noteworthy as it protects your feet from chafing.
Besides utilizing fabric that manages moisture very well, such as polyester, there is also mesh integrated into the sock that adds an ideal amount of ventilation when your feet begin to overheat.
The best way to describe how this sock fits is “glove-like” Instead of restricting your feet from moving at all, which some socks will do, this fits in a way that easily allows your toes to move freely.
There are sizes for both men and women alike and while each will vary a little, the sizes range from extra-small to extra-large.
While there are a decent amount of color choices to choose from, they will not blow you away. For example, this includes black, white, royal, white and navy, and electric yellow.
Everything seems to be just about perfect here, but when you dig a little deeper you will find something you may prove that ignorance is bliss. While these are breathable, they do not handle odors very well and can take a very long time to dry. But, sometimes, even the greatest of products have minor caveats that you must deal with.
The pads in the ball and the heel areas provide resistance to friction
They do an admirable job of wicking away moisture
Thanks to the Achilles tendon pad, the sock will not slip
After long runs, they tend to stink
They can take a long time to fully dry
Here’s What We Looked At in The Best Running Socks
Clearly, comfort is important when you are analyzing a product such as trail or road running socks. But, one important thing to note before any comfort features are addressed is that if your shoes are not comfortable, comfortable socks will not help you all that much. As such, you need both of them to provide comfort. But, as this is focused on socks, that is what we will focus on. For comfort, there are three categories that need to be addressed. Firstly, in no particular order, is the heel design and if it will prevent blisters. When you are running for an extended period, blisters will develop on your heels before any body part as every time your foot raises pressure is put on your heel. Without a proper design with the socks, blisters are nearly impossible to avoid.
Past this, shock absorption also comes into play. While you would not think a pair of socks would offer protection against impacts, they actually can. But, it depends if the heel and toe areas have the proper technology to do so. Lastly, are they actual feel of the fabric as you clearly do not want to deal with a type that causes irritation to your skin.
Moisture Control and Breathability
This is a subcategory to comfort, but it is one that deserves its own special recognition. Trail running can be partaken in during all seasons, no matter if there is snow on the ground or if it is 100 degrees outside. Honestly, it is your preference when you run. But, no matter, breathability should always be a point of emphasis for running socks. It really comes down to two areas: ventilation and moisture handling. Ventilation is fairly self-explanatory as when your body is running, it will overheat quicker than it normally would. As such, you do not want your feet to overheat and become clammy. With design features such as mesh, airflow is allowed to enter in and it allows your feet to breathe.
But, the manner in which the fabric handled moisture is just as important. Again, when you are running, your feet will perspire before too long and when this happens, if the sweat builds up it can not only provide extreme discomfort but also a potent odor. This is where fabrics such as merino wool hold an advantage as it has a natural ability to wick away moisture and handle odors.
When you are choosing running shoes, the most important factor you should consider is how to keep your feet dry at all times. The reason is simple; you are preventing blisters and nail issues. When it comes to this logic, there are two different theories between runners. The first one supports that natural materials are the best ones for the skin since they are allowing it to breathe. However, natural materials are not as good at ventilating the moisture from your feet. Nevertheless, some runners prefer wearing cotton socks or a synthetic cotton blend. Runners who are allergic to synthetic materials also prefer cotton. Others believe cotton is a bad solution because of its absorption properties and it is a slow drying material, so they are turning to synthetic materials.
As mentioned before, padding is an important criteria in running socks. However, the padding of the running socks could be placed on a different part of the foot. The padding location that you are going to choose should depend on your own foot. The first thing that you need to know when choosing padding is that more padding wouldn’t make your shoes too tight. Padding actually increases the density of a certain material by adding a different type of material in the weave spaces.
Some runners prefer wearing thicker socks throughout the whole year because it provides them with extra cushioning. Thin socks, on the other hand, give you a lighter sensation while wearing them. It is also essential that you try on your running shoes with the socks that you are planning on running with. The thickness of the socks could make the running shoes comfortable or too tight.
However, when it comes to running socks, the recommendations are clear. Some people who prefer better cushioning should focus towards socks with dense cushioning which are also thicker, at least at the bottom. For those of you who prefer light running socks, liner ones with little padding might be more suitable. The socks with more padding are known to reduce the fatigue of the foot. The ones with less padding are usually used for running on softer surfaces.
One of the best advantages to choosing between socks, in terms of sizing, is that there is some leeway. As opposed to shoes which need to be a specific size no matter what, you could get away with a pair of socks that are a little tight or too small. Clearly, you want them to fit as well as possible and the only surefire way to ensure they will is to do a little research. Unfortunately, a huge caveat to ordering online is you can’t physically try on the socks. But, if you know for a fact that people have complained that a specific sock is larger/smaller than the actual size then you can properly accommodate it. As far as the size options, your size must be there or you may have to go another way. It really is as simple as that.
All of the features mentioned above don’t matter if your socks are not fitting you right. Even the ones with highest quality will create blisters if they are too large or too tight. Be careful when choosing socks sizes because different manufacturers have different measurements for the same size. For this reason, it is always wise to read the fitting scores and reviews. Also, when you are choosing socks with more padding make you sure you have this into consideration. Although you are not required to wear a different size of running shoes with these socks, you might need to loosen up the laces a bit. If they are still too tight after doing so, they are simply not the right choice for you.
You may have wondered why fitting and sizing were split up and it is because you must look at them from two different perspectives. Sizing, which will be addressed soon, is merely the sizes that are available and if they run large or small. But, the fitting, not only refers to the manner in which in contours to your feet but also if the heel will not slip off. For runners, socks that do not have integrated technology to prevent slipping can be a major hassle. Plus, this is also what causes massive blisters and discomfort on the back of your heel. This is the clear advantage that running socks have over traditional everyday socks as they are designed to stay up on your heel.
But, also, while minor compared to the heel, how tight and the amount of dexterity between your toes comes into play with fitting. Some may prefer super tight socks, while others may like a little room. Also, with your toes, you may not want them restricted.
Other Important Things To Keep In Mind
Cotton – The fact is that when cotton gets in contact with water, it absorbs it and retains the water for a longer time than any other material. Following this logic, the sweat from your feet will be retained by your socks and it could cause fungus growth and bad foot odor. Cotton socks also make your feet feel colder. In this case, wool comes very useful. It makes your feet warm at any temperature and wool is not a moisture absorbing material.
Merino wool – If you prefer natural materials, wool is your safe choice for socks. Wool socks are usually not popular because their fibers cause an itchy feeling which is very unpleasant on the feet. However, merino wool is made from softer fibers which are not at all itchy and they are quite comfortable for wearing. In winter days, wool is the first choice because of its thermostatic properties. Even though wool is known as a material that is suitable for wet weather, it is a relative subject. It absorbs less moisture than any other natural material. On the other side, it dries much slower than synthetics. Wool is also the most expensive socks material on the market.
Synthetic – When it comes to running, synthetic socks are the ones you should stick with. Acrylic and polyester are the most recommended synthetic materials because they don’t chafe and they are highly breathable. They are also not moisture absorbing materials which means your feet would be dry throughout your running, therefore there is a lower possibility of developing blisters. However, they have their downsides. They are much less comfortable in hot conditions and if your feet tent to sweat a lot, these materials are not recommended for you. When they are wet, they tend to lose their insulation properties and they become perfect for developing blisters. Nevertheless, when using synthetic materials, usually the manufacturer combines synthetic blends which are most suitable for certain sport or sock style. The ones with a better quality use one synthetic blend used as cushioning and other synthetic materials for supporting your ankle.
Silk blend – Silk is usually known for its high price. However, its high price comes from the features it possesses. Silk is also a natural material which is an excellent insulator. For this reason, it is being used in the production of liner socks. When you are running your feet sweat; it is only natural process that occurs in your body. Nevertheless, the moisture will make you feel less comfortable and it might help in creating blisters. For this reason, runners are trying to avoid the moisture.
That said, silk is a material that wicks the sweat away from your feet and it gives you a nice and dry feeling while you run. It is also an extremely lightweight material which is very convenient for producing summer running socks. Nonetheless, it has few downsides that are making runners consider some of the other options on the market. Silk is not as durable as synthetic fabrics and considering the price, this is a feature that plays a great role in choosing the best socks for running.
The height of the socks is simply a matter of preference. It is only important if you are wearing high shoes instead of running shoes which is not a subject of discussion in this article. Having this in mind, with running shoes you could choose the sock height which seems adequate to you. If you choose higher socks they could keep you too warm and cause your feet to sweat more. However, if you choose ones that are too short, for instance below the ankle socks, they could feel like they are about to slip. For this reason, if you don’t have your own preference for running socks, you should start with mid height running socks and see how you feel.
Q: Does a Sock’s Thickness Require an Increase in Your Shoe Size?
This can be the biggest concern for some people as you may wonder if your sock’s thickness will require you to increase your shoe size. Honestly, it solely depends on how small your shoes are on your feet. As Thorlos, one of the manufacturers that made an appearance on this list, states in around 80 percent of the cases the answer to this question will be yes. This “80 percent” that is in question here, again according to Thorlos, is referencing studies that have been conducted to conclude if people wear there running shoes too small.
Guess what, thick socks do add girth and you can’t accommodate for space that is not there. But, if you have a little breathing room in your shoe then you may be in the clear as you can adapt to the extra space that you will need.
Q: What is the Difference Between Coolmax and Merino Wool?
Through this guide, you have become very familiar with the material of merino wool. But, another common fabric that you will see utilized in trail running socks is Coolmax. Users have often asked what the difference is and while there are slight differences, they are both superb materials. Merino wool, as you already know, has a natural ability to wick away moisture and is also anti-microbial meaning odors will not be an issue. In addition, the material itself will keep you insulated in the winter but cool in the summer thanks to its breathable membrane.
Coolmax, which is fairly similar in nature, also is a fantastic agent when it comes to wicking away moisture. But, as opposed to merino wool, it is ideal for warmer temperatures and may not be sufficient enough in chilling temperatures. But, no matter, if you happen to be allergic to wool (or really have something against it) then this is a great alternative.
Q: Are fleece socks a good choice for running?
These are not recommended for the usual runner type. However, there are some climates and conditions where they are popular. Fleece socks are able to wick the moisture away from your feet to the upper layer of the sock where the sweat could evaporate. However, they create a temperature inside your running shoes. For this reason, the only weather they are recommended for is when the temperatures drop, but you are still deciding to go for your morning run. The fleece socks will make you feel like you are still in bed.
Q: When should I consider using toe socks?
Toe socks are the perfect type of socks made for runners who have problems with sensitive toes. They are made from a blend of synthetic materials and they provide the user the perfect cushioning to his toes. They prevent you from getting blisters on your toes as well. Although this is their main role, they are useless against blisters between your toes. Toe socks are ideal for running on terrains with a downwards inclination. These types of terrain could be quite challenging to the toes even though you have no problems in that area.
Q: When should I consider waterproof socks?
These types of socks are most convenient for wet weather conditions where the need to keep your feet dry is on a different level. They are usually used when running on a rainy weather or if you are running on a wet grass. The main purpose of the socks is to act as another protective layer. Normally if you are running in such weather conditions you are prepared with waterproof running shoes.
Q: Is there any downside to using waterproof socks?
Waterproof socks have a thick external material which is made of dense fibers that act as a barrier between the moisture and the inner layer. The inner layer however, is made of fleece material which is there to keep your feet warm while running. Its only downside is that the breathability in the waterproof socks is usually at a lower level. However, there are those who use these instead of fleece and have a synthetic blend with high insulation properties.
Q: What materials should I use for arch support?
Lycra or nylon are materials which are used for retaining the shape of the socks and providing better arch support. They are usually used in specific styles of socks, such as ergonomic support socks.
Q: Do padded socks take up more space in your shoe?
People usually consider that padded socks means that they also take more space into your shoe, which is not true. When looking for padding you should also consider the type of padding that you are going to need. Some socks have heel padding, others have toes padding. You should choose your padding by paying attention to your most sensitive areas of the foot and by considering the terrain you are running on.
After reading the features to consider and going through our best running socks suggestions you probably at least have an idea what you are looking for. However, keep in mind that whichever socks choice works for one season might not work for another. The same goes for different terrains. For this reason, you should get yourself running socks for each season. By doing so, you would ensure that your feet stay dry during your run and you will avoid the painful blisters which are a common runners’ problem. Nevertheless, if you are not keen on changing stuff, there are always the all season socks you could choose. Although they are not suited for all temperatures, for those areas that don’t have high temperatures variations, the all season sock is your most logical choice.
It is also important to remember that cotton socks are the last running choice you should purchase. Even though they are very comfortable and they make you feel like you are stepping on feathers, they are the main reason for runner’s blisters. When it comes to running socks, it is wise that you consider every choice on the market and choose according to the most important features for you! Also, when certain pair of socks has all the features that you need and desire, but they simply don’t feel as comfortable on your feet, don’t hesitate to look for another option. Sometimes, the shape of your foot will be the main reason that will eliminate even the features with the highest quality!
As always, if you have any questions or doubts about which running socks are the best for you, leave us a comment in the comment section below. Our runners will get back to you as soon as possible. Have a good run everyone and always stay safe and comfortable!
All of you fellow runners out there should try to remember that when you are shopping for gear for the new year, you must not forget about your socks. Proper socks will hold up on the heel, have adequate moisture handling and be comfortable enough for long stints.