Best Running Socks of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Running is a fantastic form of exercise that comes with a great number of benefits. However running is not all fun and games, especially when your feet are concerned. Your feet do of course take the brunt of the force when you run, and they are the things that decide whether you can drive forward or have to stop in your tracks. A good way to ensure the health and comfort of your feet for the duration of your run is to wear a great pair of running socks.

The best running socks around can do a whole lot for your feet, yet you have to find the right pair first. That is exactly why we are here, to help you find the best pair of running socks that money can buy. The benefits of running socks, what to look for when buying them, some controversy, and a long list of possible favorites are all things we’re going to talk about, all in the hopes of helping you make the right purchase the first time around.

Summary: The Best Running Socks

What To Look Out For When Buying Running Socks

A good pair of running socks can bring you a whole lot of benefits for all of your running experiences. The trick is of course to find the best running socks that money can buy. To find the best socks for you, there are a few things that you need to consider before making your purchase.

Cushioning

One of the most important things to pay attention to when it comes to running socks is the cushioning which they offer you. Running without adequate cushioning or padding will result in painful feet.

This is because each step you take, especially when running on hard surfaces, sends an impact throughout your feet and up your legs, impact that translates into pain. A good amount of cushioning, especially on the heel which is where you land with each step, will help to absorb that impact and thus keep your feet pain free for as long as possible.

Support

Another thing that a good pair of running socks should provide you with is adequate arch and heel support. Your feet obviously have arches, and when you run a lot those arches get stretched and strained, something that can end up being painful, lead to swelling, and even more permanent injuries. In order to help your feet deal with increased pressure, strain, your own body weight, and impact, a good support system for your arches is quite necessary.

Keeping your feet in place and reinforcing their natural anatomical shape is absolutely essential for running long distances. On that same note, your heels should also be well supported in order to minimize foot movement within the shoe and to reinforce the natural stride pattern that you should have while running. Also, the sock in question should have some kind of heel cuff to keep the sock from slipping down while you run.

Ankle Cuff

The next important thing that makes a good running sock, at least in some cases, especially when doing trail running that involves a lot of dirt or mud, is a tight ankle cuff. A tight ankle cuff will ensure that dirt and grit cannot get into your sock, which is of course a huge nuisance when you want to run a long distance.

Compression Capabilities

Yet another important feature to look out for when buying running socks is their compression capabilities. A good pair of running socks can aid in both running and recovery, but to do that they need to be able to offer you compression.

Compression is key because it helps to force blood to circulate throughout your feet and legs. More blood circulating prevents blood from pooling, especially when sitting down after running. Increased circulation means that more blood, oxygen, and nutrients flow to the muscles in your lower extremities, thus supplying them with more energy and the things they need to keep working for longer.

A good compression running sock helps to prevent muscle fatigue, it prevents the buildup of lactic acid (the stuff that causes the burning sensation in your muscles), and it can help prevent running related injuries or also prevent pain from pre-existing foot conditions. Compression running socks are very important to have after a long run because they help to prevent soreness, swelling, and fatigue.

Weight, Thickness, & Breathability

Running will of course cause you to heat up and that goes for your feet too. A good pair of running socks should be breathable, and perhaps have some kind of mesh design or at least some mesh pockets. This will ensure proper air ventilation so your feet don’t sweat too much and overheat, both things which are less than ideal for running.

On that same note, your running socks should have moisture wicking capabilities to wick away sweat and water, things that can cause slipping, discomfort, and blisters to occur. Moreover, you don’t want socks that are too heavy or too thick, which is the case when running in summer, but this may not be the case for winter running when you want thicker socks to provide you with some warmth.

How thick and breathable the socks are, or how much they should be, depends on the climate you are running in. Winter calls for thicker socks and summer calls for thinner socks. Whatever the case may be, socks that don’t absorb moisture are always good because nobody wants painful blisters.

The Benefits Of Wearing Running Socks

There are several different benefits that come along with wearing a good pair of running socks compared to normal socks.

Temperature & Moisture Control

First off, normal socks will probably make you sweat a lot if you wear them for running. This is because normal socks usually do not allow for adequate airflow, but a breathable pair of running socks will keep your feet cool and dry for the duration of your run, thus ensuring comfort and preventing the formation of blisters. Keep in mind that a good pair of running socks does not have to keep your feet cool because when running in the winter you probably want something to keep your feet warm, something that certain running socks can also provide.

Absorbing Impact & Providing Support

Normal socks also do not offer your feet any protection in terms of impact absorption or arch support. Running socks usually have arch support that helps to reinforce the natural shape of your foot in order to prevent pain. Moreover, good running socks offer you a certain amount of cushioning to make it feel like you are running on a cloud, thus dispersing the impact you take with each step.

Increased Blood Flow & Less Pain

Furthermore, some running socks, unlike normal socks, will also offer you with some compression. This helps to increase blood flow so that your muscles get more of those nutrients and oxygen they need to keep working and heal fast. Compression is a great aspect that can help prevent pain, prevent foot injuries from occurring, lessen the effects of injuries that already exist, decrease muscle soreness and fatigue, and much more. The compression factor is probably the biggest benefit that you can get from a good pair of running socks.

Repelling Dirt

The final benefit of wearing running socks that needs to be mentioned is that they can help to keep dirt out of your socks thanks to tight cuffs that create a snug fit around your ankles.

A Little Bit Of Controversy

There are some things that you do need to be aware of before you buy a good pair of running socks. First of all, everybody’s feet have different shapes, therefore a sock that has a high level of arch support is ideal for someone with high arches, but someone with flat feet might not feel comfortable when the socks have too much arch support. It is up to you to figure out what kind of support your arches need.

Moreover, some people like running socks with a really tight fit to increase snugness, stop slipping, and make it feel like they aren’t wearing anything at all. However, this may not be ideal for everybody. Some people may have circulation problems, in which case a tight fit might actually obstruct circulation, thus making the problem even worse.

This also goes for compression running socks. They can help increase circulation in some cases, but on others, it can actually have the opposite effect, especially if you already suffer from circulatory problems. To put it in simpler terms, there is a fine line between enough compression to stimulate blood flow and too much compression that hinders blood flow. This is something that you will have to figure out through some trial and error.

Another thing to be aware of is that there is a fine line between too much cushioning and too much weight. A good running sock that has a lot of padding will probably be fairly heavy and not very breathable. On the other hand, a sock that is breathable and lightweight probably won’t offer quite as much support or durability as a thicker sock. This is a tradeoff that you should definitely be aware of.

The point we are trying to make is that everybody’s feet are different, everyone has different ideas of what is comfortable, and everyone has different needs when running. Therefore a good pair of running socks does not mean the same thing for me as it does for you. This is not a one size fits all kind of situation. A pair of running socks that provides enough compression for me might squeeze your feet too much. Just keep this in mind when reading our various running sock reviews.

Running Socks Reviews

Our Rating

A fantastic option to go with, the Vitalsox Performance Socks are ideal for training, racing, and recovery time. They have a great number of features, each of which has their own benefits that they bring to you.


Design

These are some great running socks to go with, mainly because of the ideal mix of materials that they are made of. These socks are made of Silver Drystat, spandex, nylon, and lycra, each of which has beneficial qualities for your feet and your running endeavors.

First of all, the Silver Drystat helps to wick away sweat and moisture, something that is great for preventing wet feet, overheating, and bad odors from occurring. Even better is that the Silver Drystat is shown to prevent the growth of fungus or bacteria, plus it helps to stop blisters from occurring too.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Vitalsox Running Socks is that they feature the perfect amount of compression for your feet while running. These socks offer 12 – 20 mm Hg of compression from front to back. This is great for running and recovery because it forces an increased amount of circulation to your feet, thus delivering them with more nutrients, blood, oxygen, and the energy they need to not get fatigued.

These things help to stop the production of lactic acid, which is the substance that occurs when your muscles get fatigued. It’s that substance that makes your muscles burn. These socks stop lactic acid in its tracks so that you can run for longer thanks to muscles that don’t feel like they are on fire.

Even better is that the light compression that these socks offer stops blood from pooling in your legs while you sit down after running, thus forcing blood to return to the heart, in turn causing fresh blood to circulate to your legs, thus aiding in the recovery process.

The compression that these socks offer for your midfoot is also great because it supports your plantar ligaments, your arches, and your heels. This is great for giving your feet the support they need when running long distance, something that is especially good for people who suffer from flat feet or feet that start to hurt quickly when running. These things also help to prevent injuries caused by plantar fasciitis, shin splints, calf cramps, Achilles tendon issues, and more. The bottom line is that these socks help blood circulation, stop blood pooling, they offer support for your feet, and they aid in recovery time too.

Value for money

The Vitalsox Compression Running Socks cost around 20 dollars per pair, which is not very much considering how much good they can do for your feet. Preventing numerous injuries, increasing blood circulation, decreasing blood pooling and recovery time, stopping blisters and wicking away moisture, and giving your feet running support are all valuable aspects of these socks.

Build quality

There is nothing to complain about when it comes to the build quality of these socks. These things are made out of various materials, each of which has a number of benefits, and even better is that the mix of materials used is extremely strong and durable. When it comes to compression socks for running and recovery, these ones are definitely an option to consider.

Pros

  • Stimulates blood circulation – lessens fatigue
  • Prevent lactic acid build up – stops muscle burning and soreness
  • Wick away moisture – prevents blisters
  • ​Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities
  • ​Support the important parts of your feet
  • ​Prevent running related injuries
  • Help to relieve cramps

Cons

  • Hard to get a good fit
  • May develop holes in the bottom after prolonged use

Our Rating

If you are looking for a good pair of medium length running socks, you are definitely looking at the right ones. These socks are ideal for running and for recovery too. They have a number of different features that prove to make them some of the best around.


Design

One of the things that make these socks ideal for running, especially on hot days, is their fairly lightweight design. These socks feature mesh pockets in several places, mesh that helps to provide ventilation in order to keep your feet cool for as long as you run. Not only do these socks keep your feet cool, but dry as well. They feature special moisture management fibers that help to wick away moisture instead of absorbing it, something that helps to prevent irritation and blisters, prevents bad smelling feet, and also aids you by reducing the growth of fungus or bacteria.

Another thing that makes the Balega Running Socks an ideal choice for all is that they feature non-constrictive compression bands. These bands help to provide arch and heel support, both things which are necessary for preventing pain and discomfort when running long distances. Your arches need support and these socks offer that much-needed support without question. These things even have a specially designed deep heel cup to keep the socks in place for the duration of your run.

Even better is that the Balega Running Socks also offer an adequate amount of protection from impact. Every time you take a step while running, your feet absorb the impact, something that is less than ideal and can cause pain and fatigue. These socks have a pretty well-padded bottom in order to reduce the impact that your feet take with each step.

Value for money

A single pair of these socks costs under 15 dollars, which is quite affordable when you consider how many different benefits that they hold for your feet. Less odor, fewer bacteria, less heat, less pain, more blood flow, and more support are all things that these socks can do for you while running, all things which should be sought out in a good running sock.

Build quality

The build quality of the Balega Running Socks is just fantastic. The materials that they are made of offer the perfect combination of comfort and support to keep your feet as comfy as can be, not to mention that the materials are also fairly durable, making these socks quite the durable choice to go with. We also can’t ignore the impact absorption capabilities of these socks.

Pros

  • Padding for impact absorption capabilities
  • Fairly lightweight and breathable – no blisters or excessive sweating
  • Help to reduce foot pain – well supported
  • Special heel cup for non-slip features

Cons

  • Have a slightly uncomfortable seam on the top of the foot

Our Rating

The ASICS Intensity Socks are ideal running socks for various reasons. They are good for the summer time, they are lightweight and breathable, and they offer a good amount of support to keep your feet in top shape while running, all for a very low price.


Design

One of the best features of these running socks is that they have a Y heel gore fit. This means that the ASICS Intensity Socks keep your heels well supported to reduce movement inside of your shoe and to reduce pain as well. Moreover, this specialized heel also means that the socks won’t constantly slip down off of your feet as you run.

Another great part about these socks is that they have a mid-foot arch support band. Your arches are parts of your feet that always need support, especially when running long distances. The arch support band provides you with the perfect amount of support to keep your arches pain free while running, therefore preventing a host of running related foot injuries.

The next good part about these running socks is that they feature a soft cushion layer along the bottom. This cushioning makes it feel like you are running on a very soft surface, something that helps to prevent pain caused by excessive impact which occurs when you run, especially on hard surfaces. These socks have an increased amount of cushioning in the heels, which is where your feet land with every step, thus also preventing heel pain.

Yet another great part about the ASICS Running Socks is that they are lightweight and very breathable. The partial mesh design of these socks makes ventilation problems an issue of the past. They help to keep your feet cool so you don’t overheat in the middle of your run. Moreover, the special moisture wicking technology employed in these socks helps to keep your feet dry, odor-free, and free from blisters too.

Value for money

We really could not expect any more in terms of the value that you get with these socks. They cost around 10 dollars, and for those 10 bucks, you actually get 3 pairs of these awesome running socks. These things are supportive, comfortable to run in, and quite durable too. You really could not want anything more for the awesome price that they come at.

Build quality

We have nothing to complain about when it comes to the build quality of the ASICS Running Socks. They are made out of some fairly durable materials that will last for a long time to come. There is also the fact that these things are very supportive, they provide you with a cool and comfortable run, not to mention that they can absorb a fair amount of impact as well.

Pros

  • Mesh design for breathability
  • Help to wick away moisture – fewer blisters
  • Seamless toe for comfort
  • Arch support for a pain-free run
  • Absorb a decent amount of impact
  • Specially designed heel means they won’t slip down

Cons

  • Could be more durable – may develop holes after prolonged use

Our Rating

These are some good simple running socks that are ideal for both men and women. They aren’t the most advanced socks around, but they are some good ankle length socks that do give you some benefits for running. They come in at a fairly low price and will improve your running experience no doubt.


Design

We like these particular running socks because they are ankle length. Sure, sometimes knee length socks are appropriate for running, but when it’s really hot outside, ankle length socks like these are the ideal. Something that we like about the Feetures Running Socks is that they are made of a combination of nylon and spandex.

The spandex in these socks helps to offer your feet support in the vital places. They offer a little bit of compression for your plantar ligaments, your heels, and your arches, which all need support when running. This helps to prevent pain caused by repetitive impact, plantar fasciitis, flat feet and more.

These anatomically designed socks provide a comfortable ergonomic fit with a good level of support. There is also the fact that these socks are quite thin and lightweight, so it’s almost like you aren’t wearing anything at all. Moreover, the materials that these socks are made of help to wick away moisture, something that is important to remain cool, comfortable, and for preventing blisters too.

Having cool, comfortable, and dry feet is vital to running for long periods of time, not to mention that these socks also have a seamless design which adds more comfort than ever. Something that is quite convenient about these socks is that they can be machine washed for easy cleaning.

Value for money

One pair of these socks costs around 15 dollars, which is relatively cheap for such a beneficial pair of running socks. These things help to wick away moisture, they are cool and lightweight, and they offer a little bit of compression and support too. These socks bring you quite a bit of value for the low price that they come at.

Build quality

We’ve got nothing bad to say about the build quality of these running socks. They are very lightweight, cool, and comfortable, plus they are designed to wick away moisture, and support your feet too. The materials that these running socks are made of are durable, comfortable, and ultimately ideal for running, plus the seamless design makes them better than ever.

Pros

  • Great for warm weather running
  • Cool and lightweight
  • Offer support in the right places
  • Wick away moisture – prevent blisters
  • ​Ergonomically designed anatomically correct fit
  • ​Seamless toe for comfort
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Offer too much arch support for some people

Our Rating

This is a great pair of running socks for people who really like to get down and dirty. These things are extremely rugged and durable, comfortable to wear, and are ideal for cross-country running and for dirty, muddy, and rough terrain.


Design

One of the very best aspects of the MudGear Trail Running Socks is that they are made out of extremely tough materials. These things have been designed to stand up to the toughest of running routines, the most punishing terrains, and things like intense obstacle courses. These socks are made with materials that aren’t going to rip or develop holes, something that is necessary if you like to run through forests, deserts, or run obstacle courses too.

Even though these socks are very tough and built to last, they are still very comfortable to run in for long periods of time. They are very soft and help to absorb quite a bit of running and jumping impact that would otherwise cause pain to your feet. The material is partially spandex, which is good because it helps provide a snug fit and socks that don’t slip around too much.

They also have special moisture wicking capabilities so that your feet don’t get wet and sweaty while running, or absorb too much moisture from those puddles you are running through. Moisture causes your feet to slip around and that can cause blisters, something that nobody wants when running. Moreover, having dry feet also helps to prevent bad odors, bacteria, and fungal buildups. There is also the point that these socks are fairly lightweight and breathable to prevent excessive sweating and overheating. They even have a vented mesh top to increase the breathability of these socks even more.

Finally, something that makes these running socks great for cross country running, running through nasty terrain, and for obstacle courses, is that they have a special ankle compression band. This band does not provide normal compression features such as increased blood flow or other such benefits, which is because the band is around the anklebone.

However, this compression band does serve a great purpose, which is to keep dirt, grime, and grit out of your socks as you run. Dirt flings up from your heels when you run, and that dirt can get in your socks, something that ends up being very uncomfortable.

Value for money

One pair of these MudGear Running Socks costs around 25 dollars. Once again, this may seem like an unreasonable price for one pair of socks, but just keep in mind that this is one of the favorite socks for athletes who like to run ridiculous events such as Tough Mudder or the Iron Man races. These socks bring a whole lot of value to the table, which is something that any professional trail or obstacle course runner will tell you without a doubt.

Build quality

The build quality of these socks is perhaps the best of all of the socks on this list. Simply put, these things are made for tough conditions and to keep your feet dry, cool, and very comfortable in those conditions. The high-quality material is sure to last for a very long time, it keeps grit out of the socks, and ultimately provides for a great cross country running experience.

Pros

  • Ideal for cross-country and rough terrain running
  • Ankle compression to keep dirt out of the socks
  • Wick away moisture for dry feet
  • Breathable for cool feet and good ventilation
  • Extremely durable
  • Made in the U.S.A
  • Machine washable for easy cleaning

Cons

  • Could have a more snug fit – may slip around a little bit

Our Rating

If you need a good pair of running socks for those cold winter months, the Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks are an option to keep in mind no doubt. These things help keep your feet dry and warm, not to mention that they also offer a certain amount of compression and padding too.


Design

Perhaps the best part about these socks is that they will keep your feet warm no matter of the outside temperature. The dual layer design of the Drymax Socks helps to warm up your feet in double digit negative degree weather. Nobody likes having cold feet when they run, and these socks help solve that problem without question.

On that same note, the dual layer of these socks also wicks away moisture, probably better than most other pairs. Your feet are going to sweat when you run, but if you are running in cold weather that will make your feet cold. Therefore, these socks help keep your feet warm by wicking away moisture and keeping them dry, something which is also convenient because wet feet often develop blisters, especially when running long distances.

These things are also knee high, which is yet another bonus for winter running. All of these features are necessary from preventing painfully cold feet when running in subzero temperatures. When it comes to running in the cold, the Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks are an option to be considered without a doubt.

Another good part about these socks is that the dual layer adds a certain amount of thickness to them, and that means that they have the ability to absorb a fair amount of shock and impact. Your feet will get painful if they take too much running impact, something these socks help prevent without question.

Moreover, these socks are also fairly tight, especially around the arches and the calves, which actually serves dual purposes. First of all, the tight compression around the arches helps to provide much-needed arch support in order to reduce pain, especially for people that have flat feet. Support is a necessary part of any running sock, and these socks do that very well.

Second of all, the compression feature of these socks also helps to increase circulation in the legs and feet, something that is great for reducing fatigue, reducing the buildup of lactic acid, and reducing recovery time. More blood and oxygen flowing to your feet is a very beneficial thing for any runner.

Value for money

One pair of these winter running socks costs around 20 dollars. You may think that 20 bucks for one pair of socks is a lot to be paying, but when you consider that they keep your feet extremely warm and dry during winter running routines, the price is nothing to complain about. Not to mention that they provide adequate amounts of shock absorption and compression too.

Build quality

The build quality of the Drymax Running Socks is quite good. If you need socks to keep you warm and dry during the winter, then you’ve definitely found a quality pair. There is no denying that these things are some of the best winter running socks out there, ones that help increase blood circulation, decrease pain, absorb impact, and help to aid in recovery time too. Quality is not an issue when it comes to the Drymax Socks.

Pros

  • Exceptional warmth and comfort
  • Moisture wicking capabilities for dry feet
  • Adequate arch support for a pain-free run
  • Slight compression for increased blood flow and less fatigue
  • Knee high socks ideal for winter running

Cons

  • Quite stiff
  • May be too thick for some shoes

Our Rating

These are some very unique running socks in the sense that there are individual toes. Even though they are different, many people seem to prefer them for running due to a natural feel. They are fairly comfortable, they keep your feet warm, and dry as well.


Design

Of course, the best part about the design of these socks is that each toe is individually wrapped, something that provides for a very natural feel, almost like you are running in bare feet. This helps your feet adjust to any terrain that you may be running over, plus they help to reinforce proper toe alignment.

Another great part about these socks is that they have a double elastic ankle cuff. This is ideal for trail running and for running on any surface with dirt and grit. The cuff helps to keep dirt out of your socks, something that ends up being quite uncomfortable. This cuff also helps to keep the sock in place and prevents it from slipping down while you run, a very convenient feature indeed.

Even better is that these socks have a partial mesh design with hotspot prevention technology. This means that your feet won’t get too hot while you run, something that is also quite uncomfortable. They help to prevent overheating and excessive sweating which can cause blisters, irritation, and general discomfort. These socks are also quite lightweight, yet they also help to provide a certain amount of cushioning to prevent too much shock from being transferred to your feet.

Value for money

One pair of these running toe socks costs around 15 dollars. This is a fairly low price considering what these socks can actually do for you. While they are not the very best running socks on this list, they are still more than valuable enough to make this list. They are comfortable, they provide for proper toe alignment, and they prevent overheating and blisters too.

Build quality

The build quality of these running socks is pretty good indeed. They are made out of some fairly durable materials that help keep your feet comfortable no matter what. These socks are especially good for trail running in harsh conditions, they will last for a long time, and they will help your feet last for a long time too.

Pros

  • Keeps your toes properly aligned
  • Moisture wicking capabilities for blister prevention
  • Mesh design to prevent overheating.
  • Slight impact absorption capabilities
  • Reinforced cuff to keep dirt out

Cons

  • Individual toes may be uncomfortable for some
  • No arch or heel support

Conclusion

There is a great number of running socks to choose from, but in your eyes, not all of them are going to be the best running socks. Like we said before, everybody’s needs are different and so are their feet. It’s up to you to weigh your own needs against the specifications of various socks to decide what is best for you.

Compression, support, cushioning, temperature, and moisture control are all things you need to keep in mind, as well as the weather you are running in too.

If you have any questions about finding the best running socks for you, feel free to ask us anything and we will get back to you as quick as we can!

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