- The Changing Face of Running Socks
- Best Running Socks: The Contenders
- In-Depth Running Sock Reviews
- Saucony Men’s Performance No-Show Socks
- Balega Blister Resist Running Socks
- A-Swift Performance Compression Socks
- Thorlo Men’s Experia CoolMax Micro Mini Crew Sock
- PureAthlete Athletic Sports Socks Running, Cycling and Sports Quarter Length Socks
- Darn Tough Men’s Tab Light Cushion Socks
- Asics Quick Lyte Cushion Socks
- ListofFit Top Pick: A-Swift Performance Compression Socks
- Factors Considered in the Best Running Socks
- Why Quality Running Socks Matter
The Changing Face of Running Socks
For many years, whether you were a runner, hiker, walker or cyclist, you likely reached for cotton socks. Now, the socks of choice are synthetic, and for good reason. The blends of synthetic fabrics provide better moisture wicking, which means your feet will not be sitting in puddles of sweat or other moisture inside your shoes. Instead, the moisture can evaporate, which minimizes foot odor. Additionally, synthetics provide better temperature regulation, helping your feet to stay cooler in warm temperatures and eliminating those freezing feet that cotton caused due to soaking up and holding in that extra moisture. With so many different options available in synthetic socks, we decided to provide you with a list of the seven best running socks for men so you can decide which options will work best for your needs.
Best Running Socks: The Contenders
- Pros: Affordable running socks from a big name running shoe brand.
- Cons: May run too large for those with smaller feet.
- Pros: Features goat wool and Drynamix fabric to maximize moisture wicking capacity.
- Cons: Expensive: Costs upwards of $15 per pair.
- Pros: Socks not only that wick moisture, but also prevent common injuries such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
- Cons: Knee high style may not suit some runners' tastes.
- Pros: Thorlo socks have a blend of nylon and lycra that provide a snug fit.
- Cons: Extra heel padding can be felt by some runners during wear, and possibly cause blistering.
- Pros: Thin material makes these socks extremely comfortable for shorter runs.
- Cons: Same thin material may not offer the padding desired by some marathon or ultra runners.
In-Depth Running Sock Reviews
The Saucony Performance socks are made of a blend of 95% polyester, 3% rubber, and 2% spandex. This blend ensures a snug fit that does not slip and slide inside your shoe, and provides support around the arch. The socks are also machine washable for easy care.
These Performance socks are available in a package of six for around $14 or less, which equals out to approximately $2.34 per pair. This is one of the cheapest options available in high-quality men’s running socks, making them worth consideration for those who buy their gear on a budget.
Whether walking, running or hiking, the Saucony Performance socks provide a firm fit that does not restrict movement or cause chafing. The built-in Airmesh venting delivers quick moisture wicking and good breathability. The fast-drying material handles both sweat and moisture from puddles or dew, allowing it to evaporate quickly to keep the feet dry. The bottom is slightly thicker for additional padding and shock absorption, and even though they are a no-show design, they cover the Achilles area to protect against blisters and chafing. These socks fit well on those who wear a size nine or larger, but tend to run too large on smaller feet. They are available in black and white, which means the socks will work with nearly any color of workout gear.
Balega Blister Resist Running Socks
The Balega Blister Resist socks are made from a blend of mohair, which is goat wool, and Balega’s Drynamix fabric. The Drynamix provides fast moisture-wicking and enhanced airflow to keep the feet cool and dry. The mohair, which is a very smooth fabric, helps to prevent blisters caused by shear friction.
The Balega socks are more expensive than some of the other running socks available. Depending on the size, they range from under $10 per pair to nearly $15 per pair, which could be prohibitive for some users.
Blister Resist socks provide protection against friction from your shoes, and while they are designed to prevent blistering, these socks do not eliminate it for some people. The combination of materials results in a fitted sock that stays put, while the reinforced padding at the heel and toe provide shock absorption and durability. The ankle also features an elastic band that keeps the top of the sock in place, without causing restriction or digging into the skin. The size also runs small, making it difficult to figure out which option will work for most people. These Balega socks are also available in eight colors, making it easy to match them to your gear if you desire to do so.
A-Swift Performance Compression Socks
The unisex A-Swift Performance Compression Socks are made of compression fabric with silver fibers. These fibers control moisture by wicking it away so that it can evaporate quickly. The material also eliminates static and odor, and helps to reduce the growth of fungus and bacteria due to moisture.
The A-Swift Compression socks are a bit more expensive than traditional socks, but they are also designed to provide more benefits as well. The compression material helps to reduce swelling, cramping and lactic acid production both during and after exercise. Additionally, these socks help to prevent injuries by keeping the blood moving and the muscles in the feet, ankles and calves warm. When compared to other compression style options, the Performance Compression options are a few dollars cheaper.
These Compression Performance socks from A-Swift go up to just below the knee to provide graduated support for the lower legs and feet. The moisture-wicking silver fabric keeps the feet dry and free from odors. These socks can be used while walking, running, standing or even traveling for long distances, or after exercise to facilitate recovery. For those who require protection against swelling and lactic acid buildup, these socks provide the compression needed without being difficult to put on or take off after exercise.
Thorlo Men’s Experia CoolMax Micro Mini Crew Sock
The Thorlo Experia CoolMax crew sock is made of a blend of 66% wicking polyester, 20% nylon, 13% polyester and 1% elastic. This material provides a lightweight sock that includes the Thor-Wick Cool fiber at the ball of the foot and the heel to provide improved moisture wicking to keep feet dry. The combination of nylon and Lycra ensures a contoured fit.
These Thorlo socks are more expensive than other options, with most sizes coming in at just under $15 per pair. This is comparable to other high-end performance socks, but since the socks are not recommended for those who are active but have foot issues, or who traditionally wear socks with medium to thick padding, the price seems a bit high.
The Experia CoolMax men’s running socks feature a moisture-wicking polyester that helps to draw moisture away from the skin so that it evaporates quickly. The socks have built-in mesh panels for added cooling, and sculpted pads at the heel and ball of the foot to provide shock absorption and protect against shear friction to minimize blisters. However, this additional padding is noticeable inside your shoes, and can cause significant blisters for some. Additionally, the high polyester content can make the feet feel hotter than normal, leading to increased sweat and odor. Due to this, these socks are best for those who tend to run shorter distances.
PureAthlete Athletic Sports Socks Running, Cycling and Sports Quarter Length Socks
The PureAthlete Athletic sports socks are a blend of nylon and spandex that makes them very lightweight compared to some of the other socks on our list and provides moisture wicking. They have additional padded areas at the heel and foot bottom for cushioning, and ventilation at the top that helps keep feet cooler when running or participating in other sports.
These socks are in the $10 range, landing them at the midpoint of our best running socks for men. They are lightweight and help to keep the feet dry. They are also thin, and at quarter length are slightly longer than most of the others. However, the extra padding is also thin, which provides minimal padding for a somewhat high price.
These PureAthlete socks do keep your feet cooler thanks to the thin design, but some wearers may find that they are actually too thin to provide enough padding for running or walking longer distances. The moisture-wicking properties are a necessity in a sports sock, and they do have a snug fit that keeps them in place. The lack of adequate padding to handle longer distances, however, makes these a less than great candidate for marathon runners.
Darn Tough Men’s Tab Light Cushion Socks
The Darn Tough socks are made from 51% Merino wool, 45% nylon and 4% Lycra spandex. This combination is designed to provide all-weather comfort in a sock that can stand up to the harshest conditions.
When compared to other socks on our list, the Darn Tough option is more expensive with the price ranging from the mid-teens and higher depending on the size. However, the durability and lifetime guarantee could make them worth the price for the right person, if they were perfect on every foot.
These socks offer light cushioning and plenty of moisture wicking to keep your feet dry. The wool blend does make them a bit too warm for some athletes, but is generally acceptable by most. While they receive high marks for durability, performance and the lifetime guarantee, they run very small. Additionally, during testing the lower cut allowed plenty of debris to collect inside when on the trails. While you can easily remove it, having to stop to do so eats up time, which could be problematic during some runs and other activities.
Asics Quick Lyte Cushion Socks
The Asics Quick Lyte are made from a blend of 74% nylon, 22% polyester, and 4% spandex. This combination provides moisture management that keeps your feet dry, while the built-in breathable mesh at the top of the foot keeps things cool. They also have a seamless design to minimize pinching and discomfort.
At less than $10 for three pair, the Quick Lytes are perfect for those who are on a budget. However, before opting for running socks based on price alone, it is important to consider your needs and their overall performance.
The Asics Quick Lytes are very lightweight, and have additional padding at the toe and heel. While the breathability and moisture-wicking are great, the high polyester/nylon content does cause increased sweating for some people. The socks also fit very tightly, with some users having to go up two sizes in order for them to fit properly. The socks also show signs of wear after only a few washes, which means the durability does not compare with some of the others on our list.
ListofFit Top Pick: A-Swift Performance Compression Socks
Given the boost in those that stand behind the benefits of compression during sports, and the overall comfort and value that these socks provide, they are more than worth the slightly higher price tag. With silver fibers that wick moisture quickly and prevent mold and bacteria growth, you’ll be able to take off your shoes after a hard run without needing to air out the room. Add in the additional benefits of improved circulation, less cramping and injury prevention, and you have a sock that deserves a place in your workout bag.
Factors Considered in the Best Running Socks
Synthetic materials have been proven a better option over traditional cotton, but not all synthetics are created equal. When choosing the best socks, it is important to consider how the material works, the conditions in which they will be worn, and your overall padding needs. Built-in features such as mesh and padded areas are also important for those who require additional cushioning, but do not want a thick sock.
Running socks vary widely in price, but that should never be the only consideration. The true value of any sport sock comes from its overall performance, comfort and durability. Runners who tend to go longer distances may require a more expensive option to meet their needs, while those who go short distances or walk may be satisfied with the lower-cost options.
Padding, moisture-wicking and overall fit are all worth considering when purchasing a running sock. Our tests also focused on comfort and the value versus the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Socks with poor reviews and performance rank lower, as do those that do not provide all the benefits that the manufacturer claims.
Why Quality Running Socks Matter
When you run, your feet are under a lot of strain. High-quality socks will help prevent blisters and pain, and can even help protect against injuries. Lower quality socks, however, can quickly result in a painful, blister-filled run that can affect your training for weeks to come. Based on that, choosing the best socks that fit within your budget and provide the benefits you need will protect your feet and make sure you are ready to hit the pavement when the time comes for the next race.