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Socks. They can be colorful, fuzzy, or hung by a chimney with care. They help protect feet from blisters and shoes from stink. They can be very much in style and very much worthwhile!

For runners, socks offer important comfort and protection. The wrong socks can leave feet soaking in a pile of sweat and blisters, while a good pair will wick moisture away and reduce friction.

With so many sock options to choose from, shopping for the perfect pair can feel overwhelming.

After all, a range of heights offers various levels of protection, different amounts of compression to help with blood flow and offer support, and an array of fabrics, both natural and synthetic, to wick away moisture.

To help you decide which ones to buy, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best.

When determining what socks should make the cut, we considered:

  • Materials. Not all materials are equal when it comes to running socks. The best running socks avoid cotton, which can absorb large amounts of water and cause blisters. Instead, we looked for Merino wool — the gold standard — or a mix of synthetic fabrics like nylon, spandex, and polyester that offer durability and value.
  • Fit. Personal preferences for ankle- and knee-length sock cuts can vary, so we included options for everyone. Plus, as some shoes require socks with more padding than others, our list includes socks of varying thicknesses.
  • Runner reviews. There’s nothing like knowing what fellow runners had to say about how their socks (and feet) held up after a run. Because we know you care about what other runners have to say, we highly valued runner feedback.
  • Vetting. The socks on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

Here are the 10 best running socks of 2022.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, list prices range from $13–$30, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = over $20

We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how products are sold on retail sites, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to one or the other. Choose the product with the fit, style, and features that work best for you.

Best compression running socks

SwiftWick Aspire Four

  • Price: $
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL (men’s 3–15, women’s 5–15)
  • Material: nylon, Olefin, spandex
  • Key features: arch support, compression, double-cuff

Designed for runners who like extra support around their feet and ankles, these Aspire Four socks are described as a tight hug for your feet.

What’s more, because the cuff sits 4 inches (10 cm) above the ankle, this hug also extends to your lower leg.

Runners note that their mesh weaving helps wick away moisture and keeps your foot ventilated. Although, the cuff doesn’t have this same ventilation and can retain heat.

The socks are made from 67% nylon, 28% Olefin fiber, and 5% spandex. This blend creates a softness that adds a slight amount of cushioning.

However, keep in mind that the socks have less padding than others on this list.

Pros

  • excellent moisture-wicking properties
  • firm compression
  • good elastic

Cons

  • cuff can get hot on long runs
  • minimal cushioning

Best toe socks

Injinji Ultra Run

  • Price: $
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL (men’s 5–13.5+, women’s 6–12+)
  • Material: Coolmax, nylon, Lycra
  • Key features: arch support, heel tab, toe-style

Finding that you’re getting blisters from your toes rubbing against each other during runs? Toe-style running socks can help.

Even if you don’t have toe blisters, toe socks allow your toes to move and grip freely, which can improve your running experience.

Injinji Ultra Run socks are adaptable for long-distance running or hiking thanks to their breathable design, ergonomic fit, and extra cushioning.

The socks are made from 28% Coolmax, 67% nylon, and 5% Lycra and comes in a variety of patterns and heights.

Pros

  • help reduce the likelihood of blisters forming between toes
  • lots of fun colors
  • available in long and short styles

Cons

  • take longer to put on (and may not fit each toe perfectly)
  • not the best choice if your running shoe has a narrow toe box

Best for long-distance running

Smartwool Athlete Edition Run Print Crew Socks

  • Price: $$
  • Sizing: men’s: M, L, XL (3–14.5), women’s: S, M, L (4–12.5+)
  • Material: Merino wool, nylon, elastane, polyester
  • Key features: breathable mesh, odor-resistant

Available in several fun prints, the Smartwool Athlete Edition socks are made with Merino wool — a gold standard in running sock materials — as well as nylon and elastane.

They have light cushioning underfoot with softer padding around the ankle and Achilles tendon.

While they work well year-round, if you live in particularly cold climates or are planning an Arctic trek, you’ll want a thicker sock, such as the Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Crew — which happen to be our choice for cold weather runs below.

Pros

  • naturally odor-resistant
  • reinforced, seamless toe
  • lots of fun print options
  • built to last

Cons

  • expensive
  • limited cuff height sizes available

Best for cold weather

Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew

  • Price: $$
  • Sizing: men’s: M, L, XL (3–14.5), women’s: S, M, L (4–12.5+)
  • Material: Merino wool, nylon, elastane
  • Key features: warm, odor-resistant

Unlike the Athlete Edition Run socks above, the Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew is designed to be thicker and retain heat during cold weather.

The socks also go a few inches above the ankle for added protection and offer light cushioning in the heel and toe.

Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew socks are made from 56% wool, 41% nylon, and 3% elastane.

Because of the high amount of Merino wool, the socks wick moisture well and keep odor down.

Plus, even when they’re wet, runners note that the socks do a good job keeping your feet warm.

Pros

  • retain heat well
  • stretchy

Cons

  • may be too thick for tighter shoes
  • not great for warm weather runs

Best for hot weather

Drymax Extra Protection Hawks Hot Weather 1/4 Crew Socks

  • Price: $$
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL (men’s 3.5–13, women’s 5–14.5)
  • Material: Drymax Olefin, PTFE, polyester, spandex, nylon
  • Key features: mesh ventilation, friction-reducing PTFE fabric

Thinner socks may sound appealing for warm weather runs, but many fail to provide appropriate padding for longer runs or trail runs. That’s where these socks stand out.

While the top of the socks have a mesh weave to release heat, there’s an extra layer of padding underneath that runs from the toe to the heel.

The socks are made from 36% Drymax Olefin, 26% polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), 22% polyester, 12% spandex, and 4% nylon — a combination that makes them durable but not particularly soft.

Pros

  • mesh weave helps release heat on the top
  • extra padding
  • long-lasting fabric

Cons

  • don’t work well on cold days
  • not the softest option

Best for stinky feet

Balega Silver

  • Price: $
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL (men’s 4.5–14, women’s 6–13+)
  • Material: Drynamix, nylon, elastane
  • Key features: odor-resistant, arch support, extra cushion

Dealing with stinky feet? The Balega Silver socks are designed with moisture-wicking fibers covered in silver ions to help cut down on the germs that lead to odor.

In fact, runners report that the socks can actually go several runs without starting to stink, though we still suggest washing your socks regularly.

The socks are made from 75% Drynamix, 23% nylon, and 2% elastane, and include a thicker cushioning underfoot with a breathable panel on top of the foot.

These no-show socks are available in several neon colors, though, you can’t buy higher cuff sizes.

Pros

  • reduce foot odor
  • feature cushioning underfoot from toe to heel

Cons

  • low cuff height not suitable for trail running or adventurous hikes

Best ankle-length socks

Bombas Merino Wool Running Ankle Socks

  • Price: $$
  • Sizing: men’s: M, L, XL (6–16), women’s: S, M, L (4–17)
  • Material: Merino wool, nylon, spandex
  • Key features: arch support, odor-resistant, heel tab

While the Bombas Merino Wool Running Ankle Socks are more expensive than the standard Bombas Performance Running Socks, thanks to a mix of Merino wool and nylon, we think they’re worth it.

The improved fabric means better odor control, extra softness, and improved durability.

The socks also feature cushioning in the heel and toe with targeted compression in the arch of the foot. Plus, they still include Bombas’ signature honeycomb knit in the midsection to give a light airy feeling.

Furthermore, for every pair of socks you purchase, Bombas donates a pair to people affected by homelessness.

Pros

  • targeted compression arch
  • wide variety of color options available
  • matching program to provide socks to individuals affected by homelessness

Cons

  • run a bit warm due to the Marino wool

Best for avoiding blisters

Runderwear Anti-Blister

  • Price: $$
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL (men’s 5–13.5, women’s 6.5–11+)
  • Material: CoolPlus, Tactel, cotton, polyamide, polyester, elastane
  • Key features: double-layered, heel tab

If you’re prone to blisters and not a fan of toe socks, you’ll want to check out the Runderwear Anti-Blister socks.

The socks are double-layered, so the layers of fabric rub against each other and reduce blister-causing friction on your feet.

Additionally, the socks have a reinforced heel and toe to minimize seams and provide comfort.

Specific left and right foot constructions help keep the socks in place, while moisture-wicking fabric works to keep your feet feeling dry.

The socks are made from a blend of 31% CoolPlus, 12% Tactel, 36% cotton, 13% polyamide, 5% polyester, and 3% elastane.

Just keep in mind there are many causes of blisters, so buying these socks isn’t a guarantee that your blister issues are gone for good.

Pros

  • double-layered
  • reinforced heel and toe

Cons

  • too thick for tight-fitting shoes
  • blisters may still occur

Best nonslip

Feetures Elite

  • Price: $
  • Sizing: men’s: M, L, XL (6–15.5), women’s: S, M, L (4–13)
  • Material: polyester, nylon, spandex
  • Key features: arch support, extra cushioning, heel tab

If you find that your feet slip despite wearing appropriately fitted running shoes with tightly tied laces, you’ll want to consider the Feetures Elite running socks.

The Elite line has targeted compression zones and a high amount of cushioning, which helps prevent the slippage some runners experience with other running socks.

The socks also feature a deep heel pocket and a snug arch around the foot that helps keep the sock in place.

Plus, they’re made using yarn from recycled plastic bottles.

Additionally, all of Feetures’ socks are seamless and designed with specific left and right foot constructions for optimal fit and maximum comfort.

Just keep in mind Feetures Elite running socks don’t offer the same level of moisture-wicking effects as some of the others on our list.

Pros

  • specific left and right foot helps with fit
  • padding covers tops of toes
  • wide variety of color options

Cons

  • limited leg support or coverage
  • poor moisture-wicking properties for sweaty feet

Best knee-high

Pro Compression Marathon

  • Price: $$
  • Sizing: XS, S/M, L/XL (men’s 5–13, women’s 4–14)
  • Material: polyester, nylon, spandex
  • Key features: compression, moisture-wicking

These knee-high socks stand out because they offer graduated compression to help improve circulation and reduce pain in your feet. Plus, they offer strong moisture-wicking properties.

The Pro Compression Marathon socks are made of a polyester, nylon, and spandex blend and have a wide top cuff to allow maximum circulation. They also come in a large variety of style options.

They work well for people who enjoy biking and running, and reviewers mention that these socks are comfortable enough to wear all day long.

Pros

  • graduated compression for pain relief
  • wider calf widths also available for a custom fit
  • lots of style options

Cons

  • expensive

Feeling overwhelmed about selecting the perfect pair of running socks? Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Intended use. Think about the type of running you intend to do — long distance, sprinting, trail, etc. You’ll want to choose a sock that’s designed to support this.
  2. Specific needs. Identify any specific problems you’re hoping to address with running socks, such as blisters or sweaty or stinky feet.
  3. Fit and style. Determine your ideal sock height, fit, and style. For example, some runners prefer ankle-length while others desire a knee-high pair.
  4. Current running shoes. One of the best ways to determine the right sock is by trying it on with your current running shoes. This will help you better identify the fit and amount of cushioning you need.
  5. Budget. Consider how much you’re willing to spend on a pair of running socks. It’s also worth taking the time to look for sales and do a little price comparison.

One last thing to keep in mind is that your perfect running sock may change if you switch up your running shoe — but don’t be scared by the change! It might take just a little trial and error to find the next sock that’s right for your new shoes.

What’s the difference between running socks and regular socks?

To help support and protect your feet, running socks typically have more compression around the arch and extra cushioning at the toe and heel than regular socks do. They may also have extra padding around the back of the heel to help prevent blisters.

Plus, running socks tend to be made from moisture-wicking fabric like Merino wool or have mesh panels, which can help keep your feet from getting too sweaty during long, hot runs.

Should running socks be thick or thin?

Sock thickness is largely a matter of personal preference.

Dr. Adam Hotchkiss, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon, explains that one of the purposes of running socks is to help “reduce friction between your skin and the interior surface of the shoe.” So the right sock thickness for you will also depend on what running shoe you plan to wear.

If your running shoes are a little roomy, you may want a thicker sock to keep your feet from moving around. If your shoes fit snugly, a thinner running sock may be a better option.

Should you wear compression socks for running?

Compression socks are probably more beneficial “during recovery rather than while actively running,” says Hotchkiss.

When you run, the muscles in your legs experience microscopic tears that may be accompanied by inflammation and fluid buildup.

By improving “venous and lymphatic return from the leg to the body,” compression socks can help reduce inflammation and move fluid out of your legs, which means quicker muscle recovery.

That said, some runners like the feeling and added warmth of running with compression socks, so choose the socks that feel most comfortable to you.

Socks are useful for keeping your feet warm and holding gifts by the chimney. For runners, they provide necessary support and protection.

With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, by using this list as a guide and testing out a few pairs, we’re confident that you’ll find a pair of running socks that works for you.