The 9 Best Running Socks of 2023

Balega’s Blister Resist Quarter Socks help prevent blisters and chafing.

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Health / Reese Herrington

Running is a great form of exercise with extensive benefits, such as lowering your risk of heart failure. But if we want to reap the benefits of running, we need to make sure we’re doing it in a safe and effective way. Setting yourself up for running success goes beyond just finding a comfortable pair of shoes. In fact, a proper pair of running socks can be vital for making sure you’re not only comfortable but also protecting your feet when it matters most.

When looking for the right pair of running socks, you’ll want to consider if you are someone who needs more cushioning or if you are prone to blisters. Miguel Cunha, DPM, a podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare, recommends people seek out socks that are comfortable, breathable, anti-bacterial, moisture-wicking, and temperature dynamic. And when it comes to price, Dan LaMorte, an ultramarathon runner, tells us that any pair of socks that prevents blisters and protects your toes is a must-have if you are logging a lot of miles in a week.

To help you find the best pair of running socks that’ll keep you on your feet, we spoke to experts, conducted thorough research, and narrowed down the best pairs on the market. A podiatrist on our Medical Expert Board also reviewed this article for medical and scientific accuracy. Read on to find the pair that’s right for you.

Best Overall

Balega Blister Resist No Show Socks

Balega Blister Resist No Show Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair)


Why We Like It: They prevent blisters, and the fabric keeps you both cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 

It’s Worth Noting: They’re pricier than other options (but for a good reason). 

Balega’s Blister Resist Quarter socks are recommended by Dr. Cunha, as they’re sure to prevent sores and blisters (which is the most common skin problem faced by ultra-endurance runners), reduce shock absorption, and can be worn year-round.  

Dr. Cunha recommends running socks that boast protection around the heel, ball, and toe, as this can reduce shock absorption. Likewise, seamless toes can reduce chafing. The Balega Blister Resist socks provide all of these features plus an elastic grip construction—all of which combine to eliminate friction every step of the way.

But these Balega socks go beyond just abrasion elimination. By using Drynamix—the brand’s proprietary moisture tool made of recycled polyester—these socks keep you cool and dry in the summer while mohair keeps you warm in the winter. That means you can wear them all year round. While they are a bit more expensive than other options on this list, we think they’re well worth the price. 

Price at time of publication: $20

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Nylon, polyester, mohair wool, elastane

Best Budget

ASICS Women's Cushion Low Cut Socks

ASICS Women's Cushion Low Cut Socks

Courtesy of ASICS

Why We Like It: They’re budget-friendly without sacrificing quality. 

It’s Worth Noting: They are a bit thin.

While these socks from Asics may be less expensive than the other ones on our list, they don’t sacrifice quality. They include a seamless toe section to help prevent chafing and blistering, as well as specifically located cushioning in the sole to help you avoid getting aches and pains. Additionally, mesh vents on the top promote breathability.

While these socks run on the thin side, it’s what gives them great breathability to help you avoid sweaty feet. Overall, these are a great choice for anyone who is looking to buy some high-quality running socks without breaking the bank. In fact, you can get multiple pairs for less than the cost of one pair of many other socks.

Price at time of publication: $8

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Polyester, nylon, spandex

Best Compression

Vitalsox Equilibrium Sensory Technology Compression Socks

Vitalsox Equilibrium Sensory Technology Patented Compression Socks


Why We Like It: The compression can aid in reducing recovery time.

It’s Worth Noting: Because they’re a bit tight, they’re a little hard to get on. 

Research shows that compression garments have a handful of benefits when it comes to exercising, such as reducing vibration (which can cause pain and cramps) in skeletal muscles while working out.  

These compression socks from Vitalsox come recommended by LaMorte for longer and more difficult terrain runs. He notes that they provide excellent ankle support as a result of the compression, which Vitalsox can help improve balance and performance. In addition to these benefits, Dr. Kunha tells us that compression can also help with recovery by improving circulation of the blood flow in the feet and legs.

These socks also feature a polypropylene fiber, which is not only breathable but also antibacterial. It is worth noting, however, that the tighter fit of the compression material makes them a bit more challenging to put on. LaMorte suggests putting them on inside-out can help with this, though. 

Price at time of publication: $25

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: M – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Polypropylene, lycra elastane, polyamide nylon

Best Men's

Runderwear Anti-Blister Performance Running Socks

Runderwear Anti-Blister Running Socks Performance Running Socks


Why We Like It: They’re durable and long-lasting, thanks to lycra and polyamide.

It’s Worth Noting: Because they’re thick, they may not be great for anyone with tight shoes.

Runderwear’s Men’s Recycled Anti-Blister Running Socks come recommended by Dr. Cunha, and they are optimal for anyone who wants cushioned support while also avoiding blisters. It’s made with polyamide, which gives the sock durability. Plus, the double-layered fabric rubs against itself and not your feet to help avoid painful blisters. The lycra arch provides support while also creating a sock that maintains elasticity and strength. We also like that these have ergonomic boosts, which work to prevent toe bunching while adding extra comfort. 

In addition to the polyamide’s resilience, the reinforced heel and toes (which are generally the first place to show wear) help to make sure these last. It is important to note, though, that the thicker nature of these socks can be a problem if you have shoes that are already tight. 

Price at time of publication: $20

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: M – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Polyamide, tactel, elastodiene, elastane

Best for All Day Wear

Nike Multiplier Running No Show Socks

Nike Unisex-adult Nike Multiplier Running No-show Socks


Why We Like It: They’re great for running on the trail as well as walking around town. 

It’s Worth Noting: People with wider feet may find them tight.

Nike’s Multiplier Running No-Show Socks have a stylish, no-show look, making them great for everyday wear. Not to mention they’re made from polyester, nylon, and spandex—three synthetic fabrics that are known for their moisture-wicking abilities, meaning they’ll keep your feet cool as you run. 

In terms of comfort, they offer excellent support due to an arch band located in the midfoot area. Additionally, a linked toe helps to prevent bulk, creating a thinner profile that only adds to the overall comfort.

The durability and quality of these socks make them ideal for anyone who wants to do more than just run in them. The only potential drawback is that people with wider feet may find them too snug.

Price at time of publication: $40 (two pairs)

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Polyester, nylon, spandex

Best Thick

Rockay Flare Max Cushion Quarter Socks



Why We Like It: Odor control technology means that you don’t have to take them off post-run if you don’t want to. 

It’s Worth Noting: They aren’t great for people with larger feet.

LaMorte tells us that thicker socks are better for tougher running trails as they can provide more support and durability. Rockay’s Flare Max Cushion Quarter Socks are the thickest ones sold by the company. Its cushioning is made up of Econyl, a regenerated nylon that’s also known for its strength and durability. And while some thicker socks may overheat your feet, these feature a breathable mesh and moisture-wicking zones.

In addition to the comfort and quality, Rockay’s odor control technology means you don’t have to swap these socks with a fresh pair post-run if you don’t want to. But, people with larger feet should be aware that these are tighter fitting.

Price at time of publication: $26

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: S – L
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Econyl, modal, cotton, polyamide, elastane

Best Thin

Feetures High Performance Cushion No Show Tab Sock

Feetures High Performance Cushion No Show Tab Sock


Why We Like It: They’re thin (which can help prevent blistering) and have a lower profile for anyone who prefers a no-show look.

It’s Worth Noting: Some find they’re particularly snug around the ankles. 

While functionality and comfort are vital, so is having a pair of socks that fits your own style. For those who like the sockless look, these from Feetures are a great choice. But don’t let the lower profile fool you—they still feature a tab in the back to protect you from blistering. 

Additionally, the company’s “Y-heel” construction is designed specifically to fit snugly around the heel and prevent the sock from sliding down, while Lycra power bands contour to your own personal dimensions, enabling them to accommodate your individual needs.

These socks are thinner in nature, which can help you avoid irritation, blisters, and overheating. They’re also a great choice for the summer months, as they’re made of nylon and spandex, which are two highly moisture-wicking fabrics. These are a bit snug around the ankles, so if that is an area that is sensitive for you, be aware before purchasing.

Price at time of publication: $15

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Nylon, spandex

Best with Arch Support

Bombas Merino Wool Ankle Socks

Bombas Men's Merino Wool Ankle Sock 4-Pack


Why We Like It: A cushioned footbed provides additional sole support.

It’s Worth Noting: They run large.

We love these socks for their serious arch support. The footbed also features extra cushioning to help with support while adding comfort. In addition to the arch support, they’re made from merino wool, which is recommended by Dr. Cunha for its breathability and cushioning, as well as its antibacterial, moisture-wicking, odor-reducing capabilities. 

In addition to the benefits of merino wool, these socks are blended with polyester and spandex to provide a balance of stretch and tension. To top it off, Bombas donates a pair to the homeless community. The only drawback is that they tend to run a bit large.

Price at time of publication: $80

Product Details: 

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Merino wool, polyester, spandex

Best with Cushioning

Thorlo Maximum Cushion Crew Running Socks

Thorlo Maximum Cushion Crew Running Socks


Why We Like It: The cushioning is great for people who are on their feet all day.

It’s Worth Noting: The elastic may be a little loose for some. 

For people that experience foot pain, a pair of socks with extra cushioning can be vital while you run. Thorlos’ Maximum Cushion Crew Running socks have awesome cushioning, specifically in the arch, which is designed to help reduce pressure on the entire foot. Additionally, they feature extra cushioning in the toe to help prevent runner’s toe. 

These USA-made socks are also made with Thorlon, an acrylic yarn that is designed for maximum moisture wicking. While those with smaller calves may experience minimal issues with these socks staying in place, we think the comfort, cushioning, and support more than make up for any sag that may occur around the calves. If you are someone who experiences foot pain and needs extra comfort support, these are a great choice.

Price at time of publication: $17

Product Details 

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Material: Acrylic, nylon, elastic

How We Selected

To narrow down our list of the best running socks on the market, we spoke with experts to better understand what features to look for when shopping for a new pair.   

Experts we spoke to include: 

After speaking with experts and performing our own thorough research, we looked for running socks that had the appropriate materials, cushioning support, compression, breathability, and cost. We also took special care to avoid options that weren’t as comfortable or long-lasting and didn’t provide the necessary support that avid runners need.

What to Know About Running Socks


Running socks should be made of fabrics that are breathable and moisture-wicking, such as polyester, model, nylon, and merino wool. Nylon and spandex also allow for stretchiness without destroying the structure of the sock. Conversely, while cotton may be very comfortable, Dr. Cunha recommends avoiding it when shopping for running socks. Cotton traps moisture and holds it against your skin, which may cause chafing and blistering. 


Much like how shoes can help you avoid pain through support, socks can also provide it in a few different areas. Dr. Cunha recommends looking for socks with arch support to reduce potential pain and fatigue. Arch support can be achieved either with cushioning or by using specific fabrics in the arch of the foot. 

Socks can also provide ankle support, which Dr. Cunha says can increase stability and comfort as you run. This can be helpful for improving performance but also for keeping your body safe. Brands can achieve ankle support through methods like compression or by using thicker materials.


If you are looking to upgrade your running, compression is a good potential option. In regards to compression, Dr. Cunha explains that consistent pressure along the feet and legs, in addition to physical movement, will promote blood flow, which will reduce fatigue, aches, and pains. Research also finds that compression can improve endurance performance by improving factors such as muscle temperature.


Running socks can cost as little as $10 or as much as $40. While the average will fall somewhere between these two extremes, the good news is that there are quality products all along the spectrum. While anything over $10 may seem excessive for a pair of socks, LaMorte tells us that spending the money on socks is a good investment to keep yourself safe.

Your Questions, Answered

What kind of sock is best for running?

Finding the best socks for running will come down to personal preference and the kind of running that you do. Dr. Cunha highly recommends socks made of merino wool for their dynamic insulation and antibacterial nature. If you’re someone who frequently runs long distances, LaMorte recommends searching for something thicker to keep your feet protected. Additionally, if you frequently face soreness after running, you should opt for a pair of compression socks.

Is it better to run with thick or thin socks?

The thickness of your socks will depend on what trails you’re running on. If you’re running on an easier trail that has less elevation change, you can opt for socks on the thinner side. But if you’re running on a tougher trail, experts recommend thicker socks as they provide more ankle support and durability. 

Are expensive running socks worth it? 

If running is a big part of your life, then it’s wise to swing for a good pair of socks as an investment. Poor-quality socks will potentially harm your ability to run due to an increased likelihood of blisters or injuries from a lack of support.

Who We Are

As an everyday exerciser, Jack Byram is a freelance writer who is focused on all things health and self-improvement. He has interviewed countless medical professionals and written articles for The Spruce and mindbodygreen concerning topics like sleep and overall health. He is constantly researching to try and find ways to optimize his own performance and to help others elevate their exercise and health habits.

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