It’s no secret that a good pair of running shoes can improve your speed, technique and overall performance. However, the socks you wear while you run are just as important.
A great pair of running socks will keep your feet comfortable, insulated (or ventilated, if you live in a hot climate) and supported while you run, helping you improve your performance and avoid injuries.
Running socks are available in a huge range of styles, from old school cotton running socks that extend halfway up your shins to modern ankle socks. Many running socks include useful design features like built-in arch support, padded toes and heels and more.
If you’re in the market for a pair of running socks, choosing the right design, materials and brand can make a huge difference to your running experience. Good socks will help you avoid blisters, damaged toenails, fungal infections and even general wear and tear on your feet.
As a general rule, you’ll want to look for the following features in any good quality pair of running socks:
- Cotton/polyester fabric, which prevents sweat and other moisture from soaking into the socks and causing your shoes to smell.
- Padding around the heel and toes, which prevents your feet from feeling fatigued and sore after you finish running.
- A recessed or light toe seam, which stops the seam from rubbing against your toes as you run and causing blisters to develop.
- A non-slip design with a heel tab or separate toe compartments, which reduces the risk of your socks slipping and sliding around on your feet while you run due to moisture.
To help make buying your next pair of running socks as easy as possible, we’re compared and reviewed the top-rated running socks on the market.
To read our full reviews, just scroll down to the section of the page called “The 10 Best Running Socks.” You can also use the quick links below to jump straight to our favorite running socks:
- If you’re looking for the best running socks on the market and don’t mind paying $15 or more per pair, we highly recommend Balega Blister Resist Quarter Athletic Running Socks or Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Running Socks, both of which offer incredible comfort and support for your feet.
- If you’re looking for mid-priced running socks that offer a great mix of comfort and value for money, we recommend ASICS Cushion Quarter Running Socks, which fit well and cost about $10 a pair.
- If you’re looking for the best cheap running socks, we recommend Adidas Men’s Superlite Low Cut Socks and Under Armour Men’s Resistor No-Show Socks, both of which are good quality and priced at less than $5 per pair.
- Finally, if you want toe socks that won’t slip or move while you run, we recommend Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks, which are perfect if you prefer toe socks for comfort while you run.
Our Best Running Sock Picks
Balega Blister Resist Quarter Athletic Running Socks
Balega Blister Resist Socks are, in our opinion, the best running socks on the market. They’re packed with features, designed for an optimum mix of comfort and performance and make even the longest endurance runs a surprisingly comfortable experience for your feet.
These socks are made from a mix of mohair and Drynamix “air conditioning” polyester to keep your feet dry and comfortable while you run. The Drynamix polyester wicks away moisture and prevents your feet from feeling slippery. It’s also very effective at preventing athlete’s foot.
Because of the mohair used in these socks, they breathe well and provide a reasonable level of warmth in winter. These are good any season socks that you can wear while you run in summer, spring, fall or winter without ever feeling overly hot or cold.
Balega designs these socks for medium compression. They have seamless toes, which means they fit comfortably without ever cutting into your toes along the front crease. There are also two high heel tabs to hold the socks in place against your achilles tendon and prevent slippage.
If you don’t mind spending $15 for a pair of socks, these Blister Resist Socks from Balega are definitely worth buying. Available in four colors, these are unisex socks that deliver the perfect mix of comfort and performance for male and female runners and endurance athletes.
Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Running Socks
Another option in the $10 to $15 a pair range, Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Running Socks are made from a mix of polyester, nylon and spandex designed to wick moisture from your feet while you exercise.
Like the Balega socks above, these socks are anatomically constructed to provide support to the parts of your feet that need it most during a long run. The toe seam is set back an inch to prevent blisters, while the ankle area has a thin tab to prevent the socks from slipping.
Feetures claims that these socks will make your “feet and socks become one” while you work out — something that’s pretty accurate. These socks fit very comfortably and rarely, if ever, slip out of place while you run, even at a high speed or on rocky surfaces.
Available in more than 10 different colors, these are unisex socks that fit both men and women very comfortably. All in all, these socks are a great alternative to the Balega socks we reviewed above, with a similar retail price and build quality.
Swiftwick Aspire ZERO No-Show Endurance Compression Socks
Marketed as the “Best Sock You’ll Ever Wear,” these compression socks from Swiftwick are an excellent option for competitive athletes. They use Olefin fabric to reduce water retention, have sculpted toes and even use special compression to reduce hot spots and blisters.
All in all, these are excellent socks. The Olefin blend fabric retains less than 0.01% of its weight as moisture, making it great for wicking away sweat and preventing body odor. The sculpted toe and footbed make these socks very comfortable, even when worn for long runs.
Finally, the compression technology is tight enough to make a different, but not so tight that it’s going to cause discomfort. These socks even come with a lifetime warranty, meaning you can wear them hard for any endurance sport without having to worry about damaging them.
Swiftwick makes these socks in 14 different colors, ranging from the usual white and black to a variety of neon and pastel colors. At $12 to $21 a pair, these definitely aren’t low-cost socks, but their excellent material and lifetime warranty certainly makes them worth considering.
ASICS Cushion Quarter Running Socks
Priced at around $10 a pair, Cushion Quarter Running Socks from ASICS are a great mid-priced alternative to the more expensive socks we’ve reviewed above. These socks have all the useful features you’d get in a pair of premium at a very reasonable price.
ASICS makes these socks using a mix of polyester, nylon and spandex, with over 90% of each pair made of polyester. Despite the largely polyester construction, these socks breathe well and provide plenty of ventilation for people in hot climates.
The toes of these socks have a seam that’s set back slightly from the front, preventing blisters that can occur while running. There’s also a light amount of padding along the bottom of these socks to provide support.
Like the two pairs of socks we reviewed above, these are unisex socks (although ASICS only markets them to men) that can be worn by men or women. If you want great performance at a good price, these simple but effective socks are definitely worth considering.
Adidas Men’s Superlite Low Cut Socks
If you’re looking for high quality, inexpensive running socks, you’ll definitely like these Superlite Low Cut Socks from Adidas. These socks are priced from $10 to $15 per three pack, depending on the size and color you choose, making them some of the cheapest on the market.
Made from a mix of polyester, cotton and spandex, these socks feel comfortable against the skin and provide a good level of breathability. They have light cushioning in the heels and toe to keep your feet comfortable and protected against impacts, as well as mesh on top for ventilation.
From a performance perspective, these socks don’t quite match the more expensive Balega or Feetures socks above. However, for $10 to $15 per pack of three, they’re some of the best low cost running socks on the market.
Nike Dri-Fit Half Cushion Quarter Socks
These old school half socks from Nike are perfect for people that prefer a classic look instead of the no-show socks that are common today. Made from Dri-Fit fabric, these socks use a blend of cotton and polyester to keep your feet dry, comfortable and supported while you run.
Nike have fitted these socks with a variety of useful features to make running more comfortable and less likely to result in injuries. They have arch support, reinforced heels and padding around the toes to stop blisters from developing. They also have recessed toe seams to reduce friction.
Thanks to the Dri-Fit construction, Nike claims these socks are 300% more durable than similar socks from other brands. While we can’t confirm this, these are undoubtedly good quality socks that outperform most other running and athletic socks in their price range.
Prince Men’s Low Cut Performance Athletic Socks
Prince Men’s Low Cut Performance Athletic Socks are amazingly cheap, surprisingly well made and very comfortable. At $18 per pack of six pairs, they’re also some of the best priced running socks we’ve seen from any manufacturer.
These socks are made from a mix of 96% polyester and a small mix of spandex and rubber for flexibility and comfort. From a comfort perspective, they don’t quite feel as nice as the Balega or Feetures socks we reviewed above, but they certainly aren’t uncomfortable either.
Like most running socks, these socks have cushioned soles and moisture wicking breathable mesh on the top for improved breathability. They also have smooth toe seams to prevent your toes from developing blisters due to friction and pressure.
Each pack of these socks includes a variety of colors. To keep things simple, Prince only offers one size — a generic size that fits men’s shoe sizes six through 12. All in all, these socks deliver incredible value for money and work great as all-purpose, everyday running socks.
New Balance Men’s Performance Ankle Socks
Another great mid-priced option, New Balance Men’s Performance Ankle Socks come in a pack of three pairs for under $15. Made from a mix of polyester and spandex, these socks fit well and have a soft, comfortable texture that makes them pleasant for gym training and long runs.
These socks include all of the standard running sock features, like moisture wicking fabric and a pair of mesh top panels for ventilation and breathability. They also have antimicrobial treatment, which prevents sweat from causing them to smell after a long run or hard workout.
Finally, these socks have seamless toes, which means you’re far less likely to develop blisters wearing these than with most cheap socks. Priced at under $15 for three pairs and available in three different color sets, these are some of the best mid-priced running socks available.
Under Armour Men’s Resistor No-Show Socks
These socks from Under Armour are cheap, comfortable and built to last, making them another great choice if you want good quality running socks that don’t cost a fortune. At $20 to $30 for a pack of six pairs, these socks almost match the Prince socks when it comes to value for money.
Made from a mix of 82% polyester, 16% acrylic and 2% spandex, these socks feel comfortable and fit well. They use a slip resistant fiber blend that prevents them from sliding around in your shoes, have light padding at the toe and heel, and use a set back toe seam to prevent blisters.
Instead of the variety of colors you can choose from for other socks, these socks only come in two colors: white or black. As you’d expect from Under Armour, they’re well made and designed to last, making them a great buy if you’re looking for good, highly affordable running socks.
Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks
Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks are light, comfortable and — as you’d probably expect from their name — designed to fit around your toes.
Toe socks are designed to reduce the level of friction that can build up between your shoes and your socks while running. By fitting into the gaps between your toes, they grip more strongly to your feet and prevent blisters and slippage that’s common with regular running socks.
If you’re a fan of toe socks, you’ll definitely like these. They’re made from a mix of polyester and nylon for a comfortable fit, and use Coolmax Xtralife technology to wick sweat and prevent body odor from developing.
These are ultra-thin socks, meaning they don’t provide a huge amount of padding. Available in a variety of colors, these are unisex socks that fit both men and women. If you’ve haven’t tried toe socks before, these are probably the best choice out there for getting started.
The Best Running Socks: Quick Recap
All of the socks on our list offer a good mix of comfort and performance. Some even offer great value for money. Since running socks are so important for your athletic performance, it’s worth investing in several pairs that you can trust to stay comfortable for years to come.
Do you have a favorite pair of running socks that you think belong on our list? If so, let us know the brand and product name in the comments and we’ll add them to our “to test” list for a future product review, roundup or buyer’s guide.