Breathable, comfortable, non-slip, and personally recommended by women who run almost every day, these socks will take your runs to the next level.
While running socks tend to get overlooked easily, they actually play an important role in your fitness wardrobe and even have the ability to make or break your run. Wearing the wrong type of socks will not only be uncomfortable, but can also distract you by slipping off your heels, causing blisters, or getting soaked with sweat—and no one wants to deal with these annoyances while trying to focus on getting a killer run in.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you’ll want to do your research ahead of time and invest in a pair of the best running socks that are comfortable, supportive, non-slip, and quick-drying. But if you’re not sure where to start on your search for top-quality running socks, we’re here to help—we tapped four avid runners to ask about their all-time favorite running socks. Their suggestions range from warm wool socks that are great for cold weather runs, highly-durable waterproof options, comfortable cushioned ankle socks, breathable socks best for long-distance runs, and more.
With these recommendations in mind, we’ve compiled a list below of the six best socks for running that include a wide variety of fits, brands, and price points. Hard-core runners know that you should never underestimate the importance of a good sock—and with these choices, you can embark on your next run without any uncomfortable distractions. Wear your new socks with a pair of the best running shoes and your favorite running leggings, and you’ll be ready to give it your all—distraction-free—next time you pound the pavement.
Best non-slip running socks: Balega Hidden Comfort Athletic Running Socks
Health senior editor Sarah Klein recommends these seamless, no-show running socks by Balega and calls them her “absolute favorite socks to run in.” When searching for running socks, she looks for “a cushion-y heel tab to protect my Achilles and prevent slipping, and support through the arch”—which these have. Given that Balega’s socks have over 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s safe to say that Klein isn’t the only runner who absolutely loves them.
Case in point: “These socks will make you feel as though you're walking on marshmallows, without the sticky feeling. I cannot say enough about how extremely comfortable these socks are. They are designed in a way so that you have cushion specifically in all the right places without the sock being too bulky or thick,” says one Amazon reviewer. “I especially like the cushion on the back where your heel might otherwise rub the back of your shoe. The socks breathe very well. I wear them for running in a warm and humid climate, and they stand up well to regular wear.”
Best sweat-wicking: Nike Dri-FIT Cushion No-Show 3-Pack Socks
During her winter runs, former NCAA Track & Field athlete Brittani Cotton only wears Nike’s Dri-FIT running socks. She specifically loves these no-show ankle socks because they’re “great at absorbing sweat.” Aside from the superior moisture-wicking capabilities, these lightweight-yet-supportive socks also feature cushioning and compression on the arches for added comfort without the bulk. Customers love the fit and feel of these Nike socks—one reviewer said they give “the perfect amount of compression and cushion.”
Best for marathons: Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks
Health senior fitness editor Rozalynn S. Frazier, an avid marathon runner, is also a fan of Balega socks—she specifically loves the Enduro V-Tech socks and wears them when she runs marathons. These super supportive, quarter-length socks feature slight compression and cushioning for shock absorption and comfort. They also have a reinforced heel pocket and mesh material for ventilation and breathability, so it’s no wonder Frazier favors them for long-distance runs. “They feel comfy, and my feet don’t hurt after [the marathon] when I wear these,” she adds. Balega socks are a favorite among runners—who say the unbeatable quality is worth the price tag—and this pair is no different. Nearly 200 reviewers gave them a perfect five-star rating, with one customer calling them “the best fitting, most comfortable feeling, and durable sock I have found.”
Best for winter runs: Darn Tough Vertex Micro Crew Cushion Sock
Shape executive editor Liz Doupnik, who typically starts training for spring half-marathons in the winter, calls these running socks a must for her outdoor winter runs. “Getting out the door and facing that first frigid face blast is legit more than half the battle when I'm getting my training runs done in January and February,” says Doupnik. “Having a high sock that protects that awkward gap between your leggings and shoes—with a peppy color and saying to boot—reminds me of my goals.” She adds that the wool fabric blend of the socks keep her feet warm and dry, so she doesn’t have to worry about anything except logging miles.
Best compression socks: CEP Ultralight Performance Running Socks
If you’re bouncing back from a foot or ankle injury, or just want some extra support, compression socks are your best bet. When Frazer had to wear compression socks to recover from a recent ankle injury, she loved this pair by CEP. She started out with the taller pair—CEP’s athletic long socks ($40, amazon.com)—for extra support, and then transitioned to the low-cut, ultralight running socks. “These helped keep my ankle from swelling and just made it feel secure as I was returning to running,” says Frazier. CEP’s line of compression socks are loved by many runners, who rave over how well they work for swelling, pain, injuries, or long hours on your feet.
Best cushioned running socks for comfort: Under Armour Run Cushion No Show Tab Running Sock
The best cushioned option, Frazier recommends these no-show running socks by Under Armour because of their superior comfort. They feature strategic cushioning throughout that adds comfort without the bulk and includes extra support in the arches. They’re also made with a moisture-wicking material that drys quickly and uses anti-odor technology—so you’ll never have to worry about sweaty, smelly feet in these socks. Frazier loves these because they feel “luxe and high-end”—but without the expensive price tag. One customer said, “This thing hugs your foot. It fits PERFECTLY. I'm not talking about the length or width—but below your arch, around your foot, and on your heel.”
Best for distance running: Thorlos Experia Multi-Sport Padded Low Cut Sock
Doupnik, who’s prone to blisters after longer runs, says these padded socks—which feel super plush and breathable—are the key to keeping her feet “happy and healthy.” Doupnik adds, “I love the extra cushioning around the bottom of the heel and ball of the feet, and the secure feeling of the elastic around the arch of the foot.”
With more than 2,000 customer reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, it’s clear that Doupnik isn’t the only runner who considers these a favorite. “These are pretty much the only socks I wear, especially running. I stopped getting blisters on long runs once I started wearing these. They are worth every penny!” says one shopper. “I also have found them incredibly useful for when I wear heeled boots or ankle boots that need a little extra cushioning to feel comfortable walking around in.”