Best Running Socks 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
After picking out the best running shoes, the next most important piece of gear for any runner is running socks. Investing in a high quality running socks is completely worth it—it will make your runs much more comfortable and decrease the chance of blisters. Like choosing the right running shoe for your unique foot and gait, though, there isn’t one best sock for everyone. Instead, there are plenty of durable, comfortable and high-quality socks to choose from to find the perfect pair for you.
There are a couple of different factors that you should consider when choosing the best running sock:
- Materials - the materials are what make the difference between a running sock and the good old cotton socks you can buy in bulk at most clothing stores. When it comes to running, cotton is rotten. Cotton absorbs moisture, holding it up against the skin and causing more friction and blisters. When you look for a running sock, you want synthetic or wool (such as mohair or Merino wool) materials that wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
- Cushion - Some socks are plush with extra cushioning under the foot to give you more protection and comfort. The trade-off for the extra cushion is that, similar to added thicker clothes, they can be a bit warmer. Some runners will run in thicker socks, such as Balega Blister Resist Socks in the winter, and thinner socks, such as Feetures Elite Ultra Light Cushion. Also, if you have a higher volume foot, you may want a thinner sock, since it will take up less space in the shoe.
- Height - Running socks come in different heights, from no show socks to crew or even knee-high socks. Runners may prefer different sock heights depending on different scenarios—a no show sock might be ideal to prevent tan lines in the summer, whereas you may want to cover those ankles in the winter to seal the gap between your socks and tights. If you are trail running, a quarter-length or crew cut sock can help keep dirt and debris out of your shoe.
- Fit - Some socks have a bit of compression in the arch and have an anatomical fit (meaning they’re designed specifically for your left and right foot), while some are not. It depends on if you like a closer, more precise fit or don’t want something that constricts your toes as much.
Whether you’re running your favorite neighborhood loop or lining up for your latest marathon, we think these are some of the best running socks on the market. Here are our picks:
- Balega Hidden Comfort: Best for cushion
- Feetures Elite: Best for a precise fit
- CEP The Compression Run Sock 4.0: Best compression socks
- Swiftwick Aspire: Best for keeping feet dry
- Injinji Run: Best toe socks
- Smartwool - Best wool running socks
- Stance -best for style
- OS1st - best for pain relief
- Darn Tough - best for durability
- Wrightsock - best double layer sock
Balega Hidden Comfort
There’s a reason the Balega Hidden Comfort is one of the best-selling running socks on the market, and the secret is in its name: comfort.
Balega spins the Hidden Comfort from premium, moisture-wicking fibers that make the sock super soft and keep your feet dry. Designers also gave it a high heel tab to keep your Achilles covered and made a seamless toe to prevent hot spots (and blisters).
But maybe our favorite part about the sock is the cushioning. The Hidden Comfort adds thick cushioning around your entire foot for a cozy and premium feel.
Feetures makes its Elite socks for both of your feet. The socks are made with specific left and right shapes that conform to each of your feet and prevent any bagginess, which can cause blisters.
The Elite also has a seamless toe that won’t irritate your digits, and it sports a high heel tab to keep the sock from slipping down into your shoe. Targeted compression and moisture-wicking fibers make the Elite a premium running sock.
Feetures is a family-owned company that stands behind their products. Plus, each pair of socks is so durable that they have a lifetime guarantee.
CEP The Compression Run Tall Sock 4.0
We love compression, and CEP knows how to bring the pressure.
CEP knit their Run Compression Tall Socks 4.0 to help enhance both performance and recovery. The true graduated medical grade compression stabilizes muscles and accelerates the removal of lactic acid to keep your legs fresh.
Utilizing Smart Dry Extreme Air Technology, these socks will keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plus, they have been redesigned to make them more breathable than ever. Train and recover like a pro in the CEP Run Compression Tall Socks 4.0. Learn more about compression socks and how they work.
Swiftwick Aspire Zero
Swiftwick's Aspire Zero is a solid all-around running sock that also works for other endurance sports.
Contoured compression dials in the fit so the Aspire hugs the unique shape of your foot. That means there's no dead space and no bunching that can lead to chafing and blisters, since it is touching your feet. This sock also draws moisture away from from your skin. Each sock is knit with a blend of nylon, olefin and spandex, so they wick moisture and feel soft against your skin.
The no-show length sits just below the ankle, so it stays out of sight and out of the way.
The first thing you notice about Injinji socks is that they have individual compartments for each of your toes. Traditional socks can squeeze your toes together, which can cause more friction. Injinji socks eliminate this skin-on-skin friction to help prevent blisters and hot spots from forming. They are made from moisture-wicking materials to help keep your feet dry and blister-free.
Injinji socks also help your toes' natural alignment and splaying while running, helping you to engage your entire foot and toes and promoting your natural movement.
Smartwool socks are known for their comfort. Each pair of socks has a Merino wool combination. Merino wool is a fiber that is naturally soft, moisture-wicking and anti-odor. It is also temperature regulating, meaning that it will keep your feet warm in the cool winter temperatures and cool during those hot summer months.
Best known for their taller hiking and trail running socks, Smartwool also makes a variety of no show and other options to make sure you can find the perfect pair to fit your running situation and personal preferences.
No one said that running socks have to be boring. Combine fashion and function with Stance socks. These eye-catching socks are made with performance materials to make sure every run is comfortable.
Each pair of socks from Stance’s run line is breathable, moisture wicking and comfortable. Stance has a variety of colors, lengths and cushion levels, so you can find your perfect running sock.
OS1st socks are made with the purpose of helping you stay active. While they have a variety of socks, some of the most popular are their plantar fasciitis and bunion socks. The OS1st Plantar Fasciitis sock helps strengthen the foot structure with precise, targeted compression levels and cushioning to give your foot support and help reduce pain and increase blood flow to the feet.
The OS1st Bunion socks combine toe spacers and bunion pads directly into your socks to help with pain associated with bunions thanks to the split-toe design. There are also four zones of targeted medical-grade compression to help with pain relief*.
With a name like “Darn Tough” you know these socks are going to hold up for miles. The Merino wool in the run line of Darn Tough socks wicks away moisture and helps keep your feet smelling fresh.
These socks are made for comfort and performance, enhancing every mile of your run. They have a contoured fit to make sure that they do not slip or bunch. Plus, each pair is made in the USA.
Wrightsock socks are made to prevent blisters and even have a 100% blister-free guarantee. They have a double layer system that helps regulate moisture and temperature while also reducing friction. The interactions between the outer and inner layers of the sock absorb friction and shearing forces that would take place between the outer layer of the skin and sock. The result is that you can focus on your run and not your feet.
How We Tested the Best Running Socks
With over 250 stores in communities across the country, Fleet Feet is the largest running store in the U.S. with over four decades of experience outfitting runners with the best running shoes, apparel and gear. We focus on running and walking gear, so we can be the experts and bring you the best running and walking advice possible.
Through our personalized Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting process with 3D foot scanning technology, we use data from over 5 million foot scans (and counting) to give us unique insights into how today’s top running shoes fit and perform on a wide variety of feet. Additionally, thanks to 100,000+ runners participating in our local running clubs and training programs each year, we can see firsthand how running socks perform for all different types of runners, each with different goals in mind.
Collectively, our experienced team of Fleet Feet editors has tried, tested and fallen in love with running socks from the top running brands. With this knowledge, we meticulously pour over the smallest details like performance, materials, durability, price and weight, to decide which running socks are the best. From running shoe and gear reviews to workout tips and inspiration, we are your go-to source for running knowledge and motivation.
Standing Behind Our Picks
Fleet Feet knows running.
We picked the best running socks based on over four decades of experience outfitting runners of all abilities, ages and sizes. If you buy gear from us and you don’t like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund. Plus, we offer free shipping & returns on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.
*While we at Fleet Feet aim to provide our customers with the best information possible, nothing beats the expertise of a medical professional. If you experience new or worsening pain, consult a doctor or physical therapist before taking any further action.