No matter whether you’re a beginner in the world of running or training for a marathon, your footwear is important.
But whilst most of us will take the time to research the very best running shoes for our needs, few of us pay enough attention to our socks!
Yet your socks are almost as important as your shoes, offering comfort and support whilst wicking moisture away from your skin.
Choose a pair made from the wrong type of fabric and you can end up with hot, sweaty feet and an increased risk of uncomfortable blisters.
The good news is that we’ve done the work for you and tracked down the ten best socks for runners on the market right now.
We’ve also outlined the reasons we recommend them and the things you need to think about when making your choice.
So let’s get started!
The 10 Best Socks for Runners in 2023
1. Best Minimalist Design – Balega Ultralight Athletic Running Socks for Men and Women
2. Best Runners Socks for Cold Weather – SEALSKINZ Unisex Waterproof Sock
3. Best Runners Socks for Preventing Blisters – Danish Endurance (3 Pack)
4. Best Runners Socks with Targeted Compression – Stance Run Crew Socks
5. Best Moisture Wicking Socks – Swiftwick- MAXUS ZERO (3 Pairs)
6. Best Toe Socks – Injinji Run Midweight
7. Best Value for Money – Thorlos Experia Xccu Running Socks
8. Best Runners Socks for Daily Training – 1000 Mile Running Anklet
9. Best Socks for Trail Runners – Bridgedale Lightweight T2 Merino Performance
10. Best Socks for Runners Overall – Balega Unisex Hidden Comfort Socks
Features to Look for in The Best Socks for Runners
The best runners socks are those that are so comfortable you hardly notice you’re wearing them.
And there are several factors that influence that:
Cotton socks may be your go-to in day-to-day life, but they’re not cut out for running as they hold on to moisture and can cause blisters.
Instead, look for socks made from lightweight fibers designed to wick sweat away from your skin.
Suitable fabrics include synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, or natural fabrics like Merino wool.
These will prevent chafing and ensure that you stay dry from start to finish.
The best socks for runners should be breathable, too, ideally with mesh panels to keep you cool.
#2: No Friction
Blisters are every runner’s number one enemy and can seriously derail your training!
Choosing the right fabric can help eliminate the risk of them developing, but the size of your socks is important, too.
They need to fit you perfectly so that they won’t bunch up and start to rub.
Ideally, they should be seam-free, as this helps prevent discomfort around your toes.
Alternatively, consider toe socks (I’ve included a pair in this guide).
Each toe is enclosed in its own little section, which stops them from rubbing together.
#3: Other Features
If you are looking for the best socks for sweaty feet, you’ll not only need to look for moisture-wicking fabric but you may want a pair that uses odor-reducing technology, too.
Or if you regularly run off-road, then the best runners’ socks will provide a bit of extra coverage and should be durable enough to withstand harsher terrain.
Be sure to consider the cushioning, too.
Personally, I like the ‘barely there’ feel of very thin, lightweight socks.
Some of my clients, however, prefer the comfort provided by extra padding in high-impact areas like the heels and toes.
The 10 best socks for Runners
#1. Best Minimalist Design – Balega Ultralight Athletic Running Socks for Men and Women
Material: 78% Drynamix Polyester, 20% Nylon, 2% Elastane, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: No Show
|Comfortable and supportive||Prone to pilling|
|High heel tab to prevent slipping||Run small|
|Ventilation panels for breathability|
Available in heaps of cool colorways, these sheer and incredibly lightweight socks provide a winning combination of minimalism and comfort.
That’s thanks to the cushioning at the heel and toe (which also adds to the durability) plus the wide elasticated band at the arch and ankle to provide support and stop the sock from slipping.
The Drynamix fibers are great for wicking away moisture (making these some of the best socks for sweaty feet) and the hand-linked seamless toe cuts down on chafing to keep you blister-free.
#2. Best Runners Socks for Cold Weather – SEALSKINZ Unisex Waterproof Sock
Material: Outer: 90% Nylon/10% Elastane; Inner: 38% Merino Wool/38% Acrylic/22% Polyester/2% Elastane, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: Knee Length
|Protection from wind and water||Expensive|
|Elasticated support zones|
|Four-way stretch for a perfect fit|
Offering you the ultimate protection on wet and chilly days, these socks will keep your feet warm and comfortable whilst still allowing them to breathe.
The three-layer construction includes a hydrophilic waterproof membrane which resists moisture pretty well, although I found that a little water did seep through after a real downpour.
The Merino wool lining and plush terry loop stitching keep you cozy and comfortable, whilst the flat-toe seams recessed within the yarn loops prevent friction and blisters.
#3. Best Runners Socks for Preventing Blisters – Danish Endurance (3 Pack)
Material: 65% Polypropylene, 33% Polyamide, 2% Elastane, Sizes: Small to Large, Type: Quarter Length
|Ideal for all types of running||Toes are not very durable|
|Protect even the most sensitive skin from blisters|
|Good value for money|
These socks were designed and tested with Danish Olympic Runner Stina Troest, which will give you some idea of the quality and comfort to expect.
The breathable fabric wicks away sweat effectively and features ‘cooling lanes‘, designed to move heat out of the sock so you stay comfortable.
#4. Best Runners Socks with Targeted Compression – Stance Run Crew Socks
Material: 73% Nylon, 22% Polyester, 5% Elastane, Sizes: Small to Large, Type: Crew (Mid-Calf)
|Very durable||Compressive fit – consider sizing up|
|Reflective detail for visibility at night|
|Sustainable, with recycled packaging|
Compression technology is designed to boost blood flow and oxygen delivery, thereby enhancing the efficiency of your muscles.
Though the jury’s still out on just how much difference compression socks can make to your performance, there’s no doubt that these are incredibly comfortable, with support for your arches and no seam at the toe for a chafe-free fit.
They are made with INFIKNIT – the company’s proprietary blend of fibers that targets high friction areas for increased strength – so these are some of the best runners’ socks in our guide for lasting the distance.
#5. Best Moisture Wicking Socks – Swiftwick- MAXUS ZERO (3 Pairs)
Material: Nylon, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: No Show
|Fully cushioned footbed||A little heavy for speedwork|
|Thin, breathable upper and seamless toe|
|Micro tab to prevent friction at the heel|
Made with a high volume of lightweight Hydrotec fibers, these are some of the best moisture wicking socks I tried and kept my feet dry even on longer runs.
They also offer maximum cushioning, with a comfortable footbed designed to absorb impact with every stride for softer landings.
Whilst there is an elasticated band under the arch, its looser-than-usual fit contours to the curves of your feet, making these ideal if you prefer more relaxed support.
#6. Best Toe Socks – Injinji Run Midweight
Material: 67% Nylon/30% Coolmax/3% Lycra, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: No Show
|No skin-on-skin friction||Unique look/feel won’t suit everyoine|
|Toe splay encourages even weight distribution across the foot||Can be tricky to put on|
|Heel tab to prevent sliding|
There are two big benefits to toe socks – they allow your toes to splay naturally and they wrap each toe individually, which stops them rubbing together and prevents blisters.
Ideal for wearing with barefoot running shoes, this pair from Injinji – a Californian toe sock company committed to enhancing the freedom and natural function of your foot – is one of the best you can get.
They feature cushioning on the footbed for comfort on longer runs and are made with sweat-wicking fabric to keep your entire foot cool and dry.
#7. Best Value for Money – Thorlos Experia Xccu Running Socks
Material: 79% Polyester, 20% Nylon, 1% Elastic, Sizes: X-Small to X-Large, Type: Low Cut
|Ventilation panels for breathability||Can be tight on wider feet|
|Precise sizing chart for a great fit|
|Massive choice of colorways|
These form-fitting socks provide light padding in the places you need it, meaning they feel comfortable while remaining light and thin.
The Thor-Wick COOL fibers used in the heel and under the ball of the foot help keep your feet sweat-free, and there’s a lightweight pad in the heel area to stop your foot from rubbing on the back of your shoe.
The no-rub toe seam ensures your toes stay free from blisters too, while the elasticated arch keeps the sock in place from start to finish.
#8. Best Runners Socks for Daily Training – 1000 Mile Running Anklet
Material: 58% Polyamide, 39% Polyester, 3% Elastane, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: Ankle Socks
|Fabric blkend reduces friction||Can feel too warm on hot days|
|Arch bracing for a firm grip|
If you’re looking for a reliable pair of socks for your everyday training, look no further than these running anklets from 1000 Mile.
The padded zones around the heel, toes, and ball of the foot cushion you from the stress of impact, plus a little extra padding at the back protects your Achilles tendon.
The moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric helps keep you cool and the breathable mesh provides ventilation.
#9. Best Socks for Trail Runners – Bridgedale Lightweight T2 Merino Performance
Material: 54% Polyamide, 18% Merino Wool, 27% Polyamide, 1% Elastane, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: 3/4 Crew
|Made with warm, moisture-wicking Merino wool|
|Well ventilated and cushioned|
That translates to supportive compression under the arches helping with proprioception, and also around the ankle and midfoot to help keep you stable on uneven ground.
There’s also extra padding in key zones for comfort, T2 anti-shock cushioning to protect you from impact, and a wide, unrestrictive toe box to allow for natural toe splay.
#10. Best Socks for Runners Overall – Balega Unisex Hidden Comfort Socks
Material: 84% Drynamix Polyester, 11% Nylon, 3% Neofil, 2% Elastane, Sizes: Small to X-Large, Type: No Show
|Moisture-wicking fibers and ventilation panels||Little arch support|
|200 needle-count yarn|
|Lots of colorways to choose from|
It’s no surprise that Balega has taken the top spot for the best socks for runners, since the brand excels in providing pairs that are exceptionally comfortable, durable, and reasonably priced.
The Hidden Comfort line is one of my favorites (and also Balega’s bestseller), offering a high level of cushioning and with a glove-like fit that feels plush and luxurious.
The hand-linked seamless toe prevents chafing, whilst the deep heel pocket and high heel tab keep the sock sitting firmly in place, so it won’t slip into your shoe mid-run.
The 10 best Socks for Runners: Key Takeaways
A good pair of running socks is just as crucial to your performance as your shoes, keeping you cool, dry, and comfortable mile after mile.
I hope you’ve found this guide to the best socks for runners useful and it’s helped you identify the perfect pair for your next race or training session.