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The one thing I hate more than a wet sock is when a sock slips down into my favorite running shoes or gets trapped behind my heel. One annoying sock is enough to slow me down to a walking pace. Two annoying socks will send me home to forget about running altogether.

But that’s the last you’ll hear about annoying socks, because we have a comprehensive guide to the best running socks for long-distance runs or sprints. This is more than your basic cotton socks. We’ve rounded up the best running socks for breathability, comfort, cushioning, and compression. You won’t have to worry about a subpar fit, sweaty feet, blisters, or chafing with these top picks from our expert product testers.

We Put Our Feet to the Test

Our expert team of product testers collectively tried a dozen different pairs of running socks and dragged them through long walks, vigorous runs, HIIT training, and even barbell workouts. We also made sure to wash and wear each pair multiple times before we gave the final verdict.

As a group of fitness professionals—ranging from Crossfit Level 1 Trainers to nutrition coaches—we’re fed up with socks falling down into our shoes. It was high time that we outfit our product testers with the best socks we could find and deploy that information to the public.

Best Running Socks

Best Budget Running Socks: Saucony Bolt

Good for: Anyone looking for budget-friendly athletic socks with a snug fit

Best Budget Running Socks

Saucony Bolt Rundry Performance No Show Socks

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Mesh ventilation
  • Arch compression
  • Cushioned sole
  • Moisture-wicking fabric

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Blend of polyester and spandex wicks sweat
  • Mesh ventilation for breathability
  • Costs less than $3 per pair
  • Lightweight cushioning underfoot
  • Arch support

Cons

  • Fabric can wear down over time
  • May feel too tight on larger feet
  • Some customers say they aren't a true "no-show" sock

Bottom Line

The Saucony Bolt Rundry Performance No-Show socks are a solid choice for budget-conscious runners who prefer lightweight but supportive socks. While they effectively wick sweat and moisture, durability may be a concern, as the material can deteriorate over time.

A good pair of socks isn’t usually cheap. However, the Saucony Bolt running socks are priced at $13.99 for a pack of six pairs. They’re made from a moisture-wicking blend of polyester and spandex. Rob Davis, GGR head of content Nicole Davis’s husband, tested the Bolt socks and reported that they “provide really nice cushion for the price and fit great with no weird bunching or gaping.” He gave them a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars for fit.

On top of the moisture-wicking capabilities, the Bolt socks offer arch support to help provide stability around the arch of the foot and prevent the material from bunching. They also feature mesh ventilation so your feet can stay cool and dry, especially when running in hot weather or in the rain.

Rob wore these socks while training for a half marathon and during the race itself. “They were great and comfy during the half. No issues! I consider that a win,” he noted. For this reason, the socks earned another perfect score for their performance.

That said, Rob does have some concerns about durability and only rated them 3.5 out of 5 stars in this category. He tends to get holes in the toes and heels of his socks, so time will tell if the Bolt socks will hold up through several wears and washes.

The Saucony Bolt socks are available in multiple colors, from a muted black and white colorway to bolder shades of yellow, lime green, and blue. The light cushioning is enough to protect against irritation in high-impact areas of the foot, but not so thick that the socks will feel too snug once you lace up your shoes for running on the treadmill or outdoors.

Price$14 for six pairs
Material 98% polyester, 2% spandex
HeightNo show
Size rangeMedium-XXL (U.S. Men’s 5-17, U.S. Women’s 7-14)
CushionLight cushioning underfoot

Best Moisture-Wicking Running Socks: Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Socks

Good for: Avid runners who log miles regardless of temperature or weather conditions

Best Moisture-Wicking Running Socks

Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Sock

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Ankle socks
  • Merino wool 
  • Available in 7 colors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Merino wool
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Virtually seamless
  • Indestructawool technology

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited sizes
  • Limited number reviews

Bottom Line

The Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Socks are extremely popular. If you’re willing and able to spend more money on socks, you won’t be disappointed with the performance of these socks.

The Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Socks provide cushion you can see and feel. Former GGR editor Amanda Capritto tested these Smartwool socks and described them as some of the best wool running socks she’s tried. She loved the compression arch support and mesh venting through the top, noting that the merino wool blend was the factor that made these socks stand out.

Amanda liked the fabric so much that she rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars. “They felt magical—the wool wicks moisture but is also capable of regulating your temperature to keep your toes warm in cold weather, too.”

RELATED: Tips for Running in the Rain

Smartwool has a patent-pending design on these socks to support optimal durability and comfort. The brand even has a durability guarantee, which is coined “Indestructawool.” If you were to have a problem with a pair of Smartwool socks, you will need to head over to the company website to submit a claim.

Amanda did mention that the $21 price tag for just one pair is a little high and only gave them 3.75 stars for value. Still, she considers them a worthy investment if you’re someone who runs a lot of miles. She wore these socks through workouts, runs, bike rides, and just doing errands—she was smitten with the fit, comfort, and temperature control during all activities. She gave them a perfect 5 out of 5 stars for performance.

The Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Socks come in seven colors. Men’s and women’s colorways and sizing are a little different, so be sure you check out the size guide before you buy.

Price$21 per pair
Material 56% merino wool, 41% nylon, 3% elastane
HeightAnkle, mini crew (3.25”)
Size rangeU.S. Women’s 4-12.5, Men’s 6-14
CushionTargeted at ball and heel

Best Compression Running Socks: Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Relief Sock

Good for: Anyone who needs targeted compression due to discomfort from plantar fasciitis 

Best Compression Running Socks

Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Relief Sock

GGR Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plantar fasciitis pain relief socks
  • Anatomical design
  • 5 colors available

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Anatomical design
  • iWick fibers to keep foot cool and dry
  • Compression design
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • 30-day return policy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • May have to size up
  • Reviews state socks hard to get on
  • Some users report made pain worse
  • Shipping took a long time

Bottom Line

The Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Relief Socks are an expensive sock that many people found worth the expense because it decreased their pain. Other buyers found them uncomfortable and didn’t help with their pain. There is a 30-day return policy so you can find out which camp you are in.

The Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Relief Socks look a lot cuter than they sound. Looking at them, you’d never guess how much compression they offer. They are super low-profile and sleek.

Although I’m not currently struggling with plantar fasciitis, I have experienced similar heel pain and discomfort from years of neglecting to wear supportive footwear. As soon as I put the Feetures socks on, I could feel the intense and targeted compression through not just the arch, but around the heel as well. I’ve had these socks for a year, and the compression is still pretty strong. They get a perfect 5 out of 5 stars for durability.

The website warns you that the socks are meant to have a snug fit, but I’d say these socks suction your feet. I actually had a brief cramp after walking around because my feet are quite flat and my arches aren’t used to being pulled into the correct position all the time. I still give them 5 out of 5 stars for performance; I don’t think they’ll ever fall down inside my shoe.

The Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Relief Sock is one of the best compression socks for running I’ve worn and I love the fact that it’s an ankle sock, not an over-the-calf design. The nylon and spandex blend also lend itself to sweat-wicking to keep your feet cool and dry during sweaty running workouts

I did only rate them 4 out of 5 stars for value because $25 per pair is steep. But the price can be worth it if you have plantar fasciitis or flat feet and think the right pair of socks can provide some relief.

Price$25 per pair
Material 91% nylon, 9% spandex
HeightLow cut, no-show with tab
Size rangeWomen’s 4-13, Men’s 6-15.5
CushionLight cushioning 

Best Running Socks for Blister Prevention: Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew Sock

Good for: Runners with sweaty feet who are prone to blisters

Best Running Socks for Blister Prevention

Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew Sock

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Anatomical design
  • iWick fibers for breathability
  • Targeted arch compression

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Anatomical design for reduced risk of blisters
  • Seamless toe
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Targeted arch compression
  • Available in a wide range of colors and sizes

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Collects dirt and debris when walking around the house
  • Some reviews say the socks get holes after a short time

Bottom Line

The Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew Socks are soft and lightweight and conform to the feet to reduce the risk of blisters. Some customers question their durability, but Feetures' lifetime guarantee covers holes, material thinning, and stretching or shrinkage.

The right pair of running socks can help your feet remain blister-free so you can keep racking up the miles. We like the Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew socks as the best running socks to prevent blisters because their anatomical design conforms to the foot, which means they won’t slip or bunch or cause friction against your skin.

GGR head of content Nicole Davis tested these socks and gave the fit 5 out of 5 stars. “It’s definitely true that they hug your foot,” she commented. “There’s no loose fabric or bunching in the toe box.”

These Feetures socks consist of iWick fabric that keeps your feet cool and dry. There’s also no toe seam, so you don’t have to worry about skin irritation. The targeted compression and light cushioning offer the right amount of support and comfort without feeling too bulky inside your shoe.

Nicole had a lot of other positive things to say about these socks. “I wore these during my recent half marathon and they felt great,” she commented. “No blisters, my feet didn’t get noticeably sweaty, and I was comfy the whole time.”

RELATED: Half-Marathon Training Plan

Both the men’s and women’s socks are available in several colorways. You can choose basic colorways, like black and gray or black and white, or go for an option with pops of more eye-catching colors, like red and orange.

At $18 per pair, the Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew socks aren’t exactly budget-friendly. Nicole rated them 3.5 out of 5 stars for value but said they offer “slightly higher value than average” because of their excellent fit. She also loved the fabric, which she called “soft and buttery,” and rated the material a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

Price$20 per pair
Material Nylon, spandex
HeightMini crew
Size rangeWomen’s S-L (U.S. shoe size 4-13); Men’s M-XL (U.S. shoe size 6-15.5)
CushionLight targeted cushioning

Best Low-Rise Running Socks: Bombas Solid Ankle Socks

Good for: Those looking for ankle socks that are comfortable for running

Best Low-Rise Running Socks

Bombas Women’s Solids Ankle Socks

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • One purchased = one donated 
  • Everyday ankle sock
  • Extra-long staple cotton

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Honeycomb arch support
  • Comfortable
  • Bombas replacement program for 1 year
  • 100% happiness guarantee

Cons

  • Multiple reviewers had holes in socks
  • Expensive
  • Users struggled with socks slipping down

Bottom Line

The Bombas Ankle Socks have mixed reviews on comfort and ability to stay in place. If you don’t like them or they get damaged, you can utilize the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

We were pretty hype to get our feet into a pair of Bombas. Other reviewers have called these popular running socks some of the best they have ever worn. But are they good for running?

Let’s start with material: These are 69% cotton, 27% polyester, 3% rubber, and 1% spandex. Cotton isn’t a material we’d recommend when searching for the best socks for long-distance running. In fact, while our product tester Amanda Capritto said it makes for “soft and comfortable socks,” she only rated the fabric 3.5 out of 5 stars. She didn’t think it wicked sweat well and was too thick for running in warm weather.

The signature Bombas “honeycomb” design along the arch is intended to provide support by cradling your foot. Amanda appreciated this feature and rated the fit 4 out of 5 stars. These also feature a seamless toe; if you’ve ever gotten a toenail stuck in a seam during a run, you know just how important this is.

You can find these ankle socks in a wide variety of colors and sizes S, M, and L. One of the reasons people love Bombas is the brand’s philanthropy—every time you buy a pair of socks, they donate a pair to the homeless.

It’s worth noting that Bombas ankle socks are about $13 a pair; which may feel pricey for some people. For that reason, Amanda gave them 2.5 out of 5 stars for value.

Price$13 a pair
Material 76% cotton (Supima®), 21% polyester, 3% elastane
HeightAnkle socks
Size rangeWomen’s S-L (U.S. shoe size 4-13), men’s M-XL (U.S. shoe size 6-16)
CushionMedium cushioning

Best No-Show Running Socks: Balega Hidden Dry No-Show Athletic Sock

Good for: Anyone who prefers a discreet running sock but wants to prevent chafing on the ankle

Best No-Show Running Socks

Balega Hidden Dry No Show Athletic Sock

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Microfiber arch band
  • Seamless toe
  • Extra-deep heel pocket
  • Mesh ventilation panels

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Drynamix fibers wick away moisture
  • Elastic grip for support around the ankle
  • High heel tab to prevent slipping

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not as soft as other running socks
  • Some reviews say they are too thin

Bottom Line

The Balega Hidden Dry No Show Athletic Sock is a high-quality, moisture-wicking running sock that offers a blend of comfort and support. Its seamless design helps reduce the risk of blisters, and the high heel tab plus the enhanced elastane prevent it from slipping inside your shoe. Some customers wish the material was thicker, but others say the thinner fabric keeps their feet from getting too hot.

Chafing along the back of the ankle is common in runners, especially if you wear low socks that don’t offer protection for that sensitive area. The Balega Hidden Dry Moisture-Wicking No-Show socks offer the best of both worlds. They’re discreet even in minimalist running shoes but feature an ankle tab that helps prevent the heel tab of the shoe from rubbing against your skin.

RELATED: Xero 360 Shoes Review

The Hidden Dry Moisture-Wicking socks are made with Balega’s proprietary Drynamix material, which keeps your feet dry and comfortable. Rob Davis, the husband of GGR head of content Nicole Davis, says he has sweaty feet but found that these socks wick moisture well.

The Balega socks also have a seamless, reinforced toe and an enhanced elastic grip construction to prevent them from slipping inside your shoe. A microfiber band offers a bit of support along the arch of the foot. Rob rated the fit a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

The material of the Balega Hidden Dry Moisture-Wicking socks is thin, so if you’re looking for the best cushioned running socks, you’ll need to look elsewhere. They cost $16 a pair, which is on par with other high-quality athletic socks. But while Rob was impressed with the feel of the fabric (which he rated 4.5 out of 5 stars) and thinks these are a durable pair of socks, he didn’t think they stood out much compared to others he’s tested. He only gave them 3.5 out of 5 stars for performance.

Price$16 per pair
Material 30% Drynamix recycled polyester, 66% nylon, 4% elastane
HeightNo-show with tab
Size rangeUnisex S-XL
CushionLight cushioning

Best Running Socks for Wide Feet: Darn Tough Men’s Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock

Good for: Anyone who needs a running sock to hold up to tough weather and longer runs

Best Running Socks for Wide Feet

DarnTough Men’s Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Available with and without cushion  
  • Ultra-lightweight merino wool 
  • 7 colors available

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Arch support
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Made in Vermont

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Run smaller than other Darn Tough socks
  • Tight and hard to get on

Bottom Line

The Darn Tough No-Show socks are solid yet expensive running socks but not the most popular of Darn Tough’s line of socks. Many people preferred the Quarter and Standard socks.

Darn Tough is an American company manufacturing socks in the mighty state of Vermont. Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and product tester, wore the Darn Tough Men’s Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock while training for outdoor activities, including grueling trail runs and lengthy hikes. He rated their performance 5 out of 5 stars, saying he “barely noticed them while they were on.”

These socks feature a seamless toe design, which is ideal for wide feet or anyone who just doesn’t like the feeling of the traditional seam running through the toe box. 

In addition to comfort, Anthony was happy to report these Darn Tough socks held up to the name. He gave the fabric a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. “These are wool socks but they don’t feel overly warm. They kept my feet cool and felt comfortable in my running shoes.”

Anthony also boasted about the brand’s lifetime guarantee—all you need to do is go to the Darn Tough website and complete the steps on the warranty page. The warranty does not cover animal destruction, burned socks, or just one sock (it needs to be a pair). 

These running socks will cost you $17 per pair, which may sound like a lot of dough for a running sock. Still, Anthony gave them a score of 4 out of 5 stars for value and said if you want the best, it’s worth the price. If you prefer socks with extra cushioning, it’ll cost you an extra dollar. Men’s and women’s colorways are different and both have the option to go with or without cushioning.

Price$17 for no cushion, $18 for cushioning (per pair)
Material 48% nylon, 48% merino wool, 4% lycra spandex
HeightAnkle, no-show socks
Size rangeMen’s U.S. shoe size 8-17; Women’s U.S. shoe size 4.5-11.5
CushionOptional, provides cushioning underfoot and through the heel tab

Other Running Socks We Tested

Lululemon Power Stride Tab: GGR product tester and writer Caroline Lubinsky was not impressed with the size range for these socks and thought a pair of women’s large was pushing the limits for her size-9 feet. 

Balega Silver No-Show Compression-Fit Running Socks: I really liked these Balega compression socks and the minimal toe seam design. However, I thought the Feetures brand had superior compression on the arch and heel.  

Runderwear Anti-Blister Running Socks – Low – Performance Running Socks: Kate thought these were comfortable but ultimately too thick for her preference on running socks. She mentioned that the extra thickness would certainly protect against blisters forming. 

How We Picked and Tested

Our product testers considered everything from the ease of ordering to how the running socks held up after washing. Here are the main factors we considered when picking our top choices:

  • Price: We know that moisture-wicking and comfortable running socks aren’t cheap, but we wanted to make sure that we tested socks that were going to be worth your hard-earned money. 
  • Fabric: For a running sock, we wanted a fabric that could wick sweat, reduce hot spots, and keep feet dry. We choose socks with a blend of synthetic materials or wool to get the best results. Cotton socks didn’t make this list.
  • Fit: We made sure to pay attention to the size, how the sock fit around the toe box and heel, and how it felt inside of a running shoe. 
  • Cushion: For trail runners and road runners alike, we wanted to make sure that we tested running socks that offered cushioning in high-impact areas like the heel and forefoot. Some of the best thin running socks can still provide a decent amount of cushioning, so we also included options in a range of thicknesses.
  • Appearance: Although socks are hidden inside running shoes, we also considered the style and color options because we know a cool pair of socks just feels good.

Benefits of Running Socks

When it comes to the benefits of a good sock, don’t just take it from me. Certified personal trainer and former GGR editor Amanda Capritto says she is someone who “typically purchases budget equipment, so I can vouch for the fact that high-quality socks designed for runners make a positive impact.”

Here are some benefits you might see from ordering a pair of running socks of your own:

Sweat and Moisture Control 

A high-quality pair of running socks will likely not be made from cotton. Although cotton is breathable, you’ll want the benefits of moisture-wicking materials like polyester, nylon, or merino wool. This is especially important when looking for the best trail running socks or socks to wear during rainy weather. If you step in a puddle or have to cross some water, quick-drying materials will help prevent blisters.

RELATED: Best Trail Running Shoes

Comfort

Sweat control lends itself to comfort. If your feet can stay dry, you’ll be more comfortable overall. “A good pair of running socks can prevent a number of common running discomforts that come with sweaty feet including blisters and sore arches,” says Amanda. 

Compression

Compression can offer additional support and even help bring more blood flow to your feet. In a running sock, compression is most commonly located through the arch and sometimes in the heel. Compression also helps keep the sock in place even while you run. 

Performance 

When you’re not facing a slipping sock or sweaty feet, you’ll have more important running metrics to focus on. “Socks—just like your shoes, shorts, and running pack—can make or break your performance, especially when you’re tackling longer distances,” adds Amanda.

RELATED: Best Backpacks for Runners

Running Socks Buying Guide 

Before you buy your next pair of running socks, consider the following:

Price

In our experience, buying a non-cotton sock is going to cost a little more than you think. Most socks we tested started at $15 per pair. However, the cost of ditching cotton socks for your runs probably outweighs potential blisters, sweaty feet, lingering odors, and the dreaded falling sock. 

Material

For running, it’s ideal to find a sock with sweat-wicking capabilities. You’ll find that blends of materials like polyester, nylon, or lycra are the most common synthetic options for wicking moisture away from your body. Merino wool blends are exceptional at moisture-wicking but often cost you a few more bucks per pair.

Merino wool is also good at regulating body temperature. This is why many of the best winter running socks—and even socks more suited for summer running—feature this material.

Seamless

If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand annoying clothing tags or bulky seams sitting on your skin. Or perhaps you have wide feet or bunions. Either way, a seamless toe box allows feet of different shapes and sizes to spread out without a thick seam getting in the way. If the freedom of your toes is important to you, make sure the socks you’re shopping for check that seamless box.

Comfort

There are a few factors to consider, but when it comes to your comfort it’s highly subjective. For example, I personally love a quarter-length sock and don’t particularly like no-show socks because I like my ankle covered. The thickness of your socks also depends on your personal preference. Some of our product testers prefer thin socks for running without a whole lot of cushion while others thought cushioning was an added bonus.

Compression 

A lot of running socks will offer light compression around the arch, but some brands provide enough cushioning to help support your arch (not just give it a hug). Compression is another subjective factor and depends on what you like and what kind of support you expect from your running socks. If you want high compression, be sure to read the product details on the website while you shop. 

RELATED: Best Stability Running Shoes

FAQs on Running Socks

What type of socks is best for running?

You’ll want to find a moisture-wicking sock made from either a merino wool blend or a synthetic blend like polyester, nylon, or lycra.

Should running socks be thick or thin?

The thickness of your running sock is highly subjective. It also depends on your needs. If you’ve experienced blisters from running, a thicker sock might solve that problem. 

What makes running socks so special?

Running socks made from merino wool blend or synthetic blends wick moisture away from your foot much better than average cotton socks. These types of materials are often better at staying in place and not slipping down into your sock during runs. 

How tight should running socks be?

Running socks should feel snug but comfortable. Your toes shouldn’t feel squished—you should be able to move them without straining them too much. The ideal running sock should also offer some compression around the arch of the foot, but it shouldn’t cause excess pressure or discomfort. If you experience pain or tingling in your feet, your socks are probably too tight.

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