Best running socks in 2023
If you’re currently running in a pair of regular cotton socks or trainer socks, you’re at risk of increased blisters, hot spots, and other discomforts.
And while regular socks are often cheaper (and what you’ve already got), they could be costing you in the long run.
A pair of proper running socks will reduce blisters, improve comfort, and provide extra cushioning where you need it most.
Choosing a pair of the best running socks is not as simple as it used to be. But don’t worry — we’ve got 12 of the best options for you, including pairs for road and trail running. We’ve also got a couple of compression pairs.
1. Danish endurance pack of 3 (unisex)
- Compression arch brace protects against plantar fasciitis
- Anti-blister (non-slip) design
- Choice of 6 colours
- Developed with Olympic Runner, Stina Troest
- Free replacement (within 1 year if any holes)
- Feet may get too hot for some runners
This pair of three-quarter-length running socks from Danish Endurance is ranked number 1 on our list.
The socks are comfortable, the cushioning is in all the right places, and like many others, we’ve never encountered any blisters with these socks.
And if that’s not enough to receive a gold star, they were also developed with Olympic runner, Stina Troest.
Some runners found the socks to get too hot when running. We never experienced this, but thought it was worth noting.
2. Rockay accelerate anti-blister unisex running socks
- Sweat-wicking and breathable
- Built-in arch support
- Anti-odour technology
- Seamless toe design reduces blisters
- Created using recycled materials
- Some runners reported holes after 6 + months
“This is not the kind of sock you replace after ten washes.”
That’s what Rockay had to say about their most popular and best running socks.
So what makes these so great? Firstly, they’re incredibly breathable and provide impressive arch support.
The socks are comfortable to wear and stay that way even after many miles.
Similarly to the above pair from Danish Endurance, blisters should not be a problem.
Although, some runners reported holes after 6 + months of running. If, on the off chance, your socks fail due to manufacturing, they’ll send you a free replacement pair.
3. Hilly unisex anklet running socks
- Double-layer fabric prevents blisters
- Ergonomic foot shape for running
- Quick-drying and anti-odour
- Inner sock arch grip prevents friction
- Extra cushioning in the heel and toebox
- More expensive than other socks (1 pair)
These running socks from Hilly are custom-built for runners.
Like the previous pairs, they contain an anti-blister guarantee — you can thank the double-layer fabric construction for this one.
The sock is slightly thicker than others, making it a good option for colder weather, longer runs, and those harder training sessions.
And don’t worry, you’ll also benefit from a moisture-wicking design that is guaranteed to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
They are more on the expensive side, though. And you only get 1 pair.
4. Injinji toesocks (no show design)
- Separated toe design
- No friction, blisters, or hot spots
- Entire foot is engaged while running (unlike other socks)
- Each toe is wrapped in sweat-wicking material
- May feel more natural than regular socks
- The separated toe design is not for everybody
- Much more expensive than other options
You may recognise the Injinji socks design from the popular Vibram barefoot running shoes.
These socks take the same concept — they are quick and responsive. And, well, different.
Some runners will love them, others won’t.
If you’re a fan of minimal and barefoot running, these are likely a good choice for you.
And if not, we’d recommend another best running sock choice from our list.
The Injinj socks wrap each toe — that means even less chance of blisters and hot spots.
Your foot is thought to be more engaged when running, too. This could improve running form, may strengthen the tiny muscles in your feet, and more.
But take note: they are much more expensive than other options.
5. Inov-8 speed sock mid (men’s twin pack)
- Zoned compression
- Padded underfoot
- Nylon spandex blend wicks moisture effectively
- Reduced irritation and the chance of blisters
- No slipping
- Durability could be better
The Inov-8 speed sock mid is designed for both training and racing.
If you need to go fast, you can.
These socks are lightweight but provide improved cushioning and underfoot padded protection to reduce your risk of blisters and general discomfort.
With added compression, these socks aim to reduce swelling while also improving performance.
Although not quite as impressive as full supportive compression socks, they do provide much-needed support during training.
Some runners found these socks to feel thin. Therefore, if you prepare thicker socks, you may prefer our top 3 options instead.
6. Rockay Vigor compression socks
- Graduated compression increases performance & recovery
- Anti-blister and anti-odour
- Performance cushioning and seamless design
- Very durable
- Socks can run a little high
- More expensive than other socks
The Rockay Vigor compression socks are the first compression pair included on our list.
Wearing compression socks may improve performance and recovery.
The Vigor compression socks are lightweight and feel like a second skin. You’d expect minimal cushioning — but this is not the case. They’re comfortable to wear, contain ample protection, and your feet stay dry.
And like other Rockay products (including the accelerate running socks), the socks are made using recycled materials. It’s great to see more brands adopting a sustainable manufacturing process.
You can also read our full review of the Rockay Vigor compression running socks for more details.
7. Danish endurance anti-blister, low cut socks (unisex pack of 3)
- Anti-blister design
- Choice of 8 colours
- Increased ventilation and cooling
- Very breathable
- Do not slip when running
- Could have more cushioning
- The fit can be a little awkward
If you prefer thinner socks, then this pair from Danish Endurance is a fantastic option.
They are low-cut, anti-blister, and highly breathable.
But because they do run a little thinner, you may favour a more cushioned option for longer runs or hard workouts.
Although, for everyday running (and life), these are a great option.
8. Rockay Razer max cushion trail running socks
- Maximum cushioning for extra support and protection
- Polygene anti-odour fabric
- Designed exclusively for trail running
- Made from recycled materials
- No overheating
- Extra arch support
- More expensive than other options
The Rockay Razer max cushion running socks are an updated version of the previous Razer trail socks.
Since the previous model, this pair have benefited from even more cushioning, providing a more stable, protective, and comfortable run.
They are also slightly thicker, ideal for trail runs and cold winter outings.
And if you’re familiar with the previous model, you’ll get the same benefits, such as the polygene anti-odour fabric, anti-blister design, and sustainable construction.
Oh, and each purchase removes an estimated thirteen bottles of plastic from the ocean.
They are a little costly, though. But in our opinion, worth the added price.
9. Nike men’s trail running crew socks
- NikeGrip yarn secures your foot in place
- Heel tab reduces irritation
- Breathable wool blend for warmth year-round
- Achilles heel tab is very comfortable
- No rubbing, chafing, or irritation
- Might cause blisters
If the Rockay Razer socks didn’t catch your eye, the Nike crew trail running socks might.
You might have noticed the “sock within a sock” look. This helps lock your foot in place and provides a little extra cushioning.
But overall, this pair from Nike is very similar to the Rockay Razer.
And while the design may look innovative, the extra fabric might cause blisters.
10. Danish Endurance graduated compression socks (unisex)
- 14-18 mmHG compression
- Added ankle support
- Skin-friendly organic cotton increases comfort and reduces irritation
- Increased blood circulation improves reduces fatigue
- Developed with Olympic runner, Stina Troest
- The black sock colour is greyer in person
- Some runners found them a little long
We have another pair of compression running socks, this time from Danish Endurance — also coming in the same price range as the previous pair from Rockay.
These compression socks are slightly thicker than the Vigor and come up to just below the knee.
The fit is tight (as it should be) but not too tight — this makes them a great option not just for training, but for travel and for those who spend a lot of time on their feet.
Some runners found these to be more knee high compression socks — running a little too long.
If you get a hole in your socks within the first year of purchase, you’ll get a replacement pair sent for free.
Related: The Best Compression Running Socks.
11. Cotill men’s running socks (3 pack)
- Designed to hug the heel
- Excellent cushioning
- Sweat-wicking material
- No blisters or chafing
- The sock stays in place and fits well
- May run a little thin
This pair is one of the more affordable options on our list.
There’s nothing too special about this 3 pack. You get the same features as others — they wick moisture from your feet and hug the heel for a secure and comfortable fit.
And while other socks may be better for running long distances, these are a good sock for everyday running.
But be aware: they do run a little thin.
If you’re looking for a similar pair for women, check out the pair from Higher State at number 15.
12. More Mile running socks
- Padded protection absorbs impact
- Cushioned heel and toe design
- Breathable and sweat-wicking
- Great value for money (pack of 5)
- Arch brace provides a more supportive fit
- Durability could be better
- Some runners reported blisters
If you’re shopping on a budget, it’s difficult to go a foot wrong with the More Mile running socks.
The standard padded protection will reduce friction, and they do a good enough job of preventing blisters.
Don’t expect the world’s best running socks. But do anticipate a budget option that does everything you need without breaking the bank.
The durability could be better (and you may find yourself replacing them more often).
13. SEALSKINZ waterproof running socks
- 3-layer construction (warmth, durability, waterproofing)
- Anti-blister design
- Merino wool provides thermal regulation
- Also great for cold weather runs
- Waterproof construction
- Could be too warm in summer
If you’re running on the trails or in the rain, these waterproof running socks are a must.
They are quite thick, so are likely too warm for the summer months. But during winter and spring, they will keep your feet dry and warm.
You could wear a normal pair of trail running socks — but these are often not waterproof. Think of this pair as the ultimate winter sock.
14. 1000 mile women’s anklet socks
- Padded zones provide extra cushioning
- Y heel design improves fit
- Added ventilation zones to keep your feet dry
- Padded Achilles tendon protection
- Extra padding & cushioning to avoid trouble spots
- Could be slightly thicker
- Some runners may prefer slightly longer socks
If you suffer pain in the Achilles tendon, this pair from 1000 mile is likely a good fit.
They contain extra padding and cushioning in those troublesome spots to improve comfort and reduce your risk of injury.
Although they do have the extra support, they are still a little thin and are not very long. But if you don’t mind a low-cut pair of ankle socks that do the trick, then try them out.
15. Higher State women’s running anklet socks (3 pack)
- Performance fit provides increased movement
- Anti-chafing & eco-friendly construction
- Pack of 3
- Wide choice of colours
- Great value for money
- Some runners found them a tiny bit big
Finally, we have the Higher State running socks for women.
With a standard design — anti-chafing, a performance fit, and superior ventilation, you know you’re in for a comfy run.
When it comes to value for money, these are difficult to beat. They make for a fantastic everyday running sock.
But if you’re looking for something with extra padding or intended for racing, then we suggest another pair on our list.
What is a running sock?
If you’re new to running, you might be tempted to run in your everyday cotton socks.
But wearing a proper pair of running socks is a must. Not only do they contain extra padding, cushioning, and support, but they effectively wick sweat away from your feet to prevent blisters and improve comfort.
All too often, the importance of a good pair of running socks is not discussed. Instead, most people are too busy looking for the best running shoes.
Although, even with the best pair of shoes, a thin pair of socks with poor ventilation often equals an uncomfortable run. So it’s essential to get your sock game on point.
What kind of socks should I wear when running?
You should wear a proper pair of running socks instead of any old ankle, trainer, or other regular cotton socks.
We have 15 pairs of the best running socks included in this blog post for you to choose from.
How do running socks differ from regular socks?
Regular cotton socks are not good for running.
For starters, they are poor at wicking sweat and cause excess heat and friction. That means more blisters, hot spots, and general discomfort.
Your feet will also be a sweaty hot mess (and not the good kind).
On the other hand, proper running socks use technical fabrics to reduce moisture and better wick sweat from your feet. They also contain padding for extra protection when running.
They are a must for running.
What are the different types of running socks?
There’s almost as wide a variety of running socks as there are shoes — there are compression socks, trail running socks, socks with compression bands, and toe socks. And that’s just the beginning.
Other types of running socks include:
- Waterproof running socks
- Anti-odour socks
- Compression socks
- Anti-blister running socks
- Trail running socks
For regular training, look for an anti-blister pair with good cushioning. The rest is self-explanatory — if you’re running on the trails, wear a pair of trail running socks (or waterproof socks), and if you’re running a long distance, consider an anti-odour pair.
What are the best socks for running?
This is based on personal preference — similar to how you would choose a running shoe.
Our favourite pair is the number 1 option by Danish Endurance on our list. But other options are available.
You can use our “what should I look for when buying a pair of running socks guide” below for extra advice on choosing the right pair for you.
What should I look for when buying a pair of socks for running?
A proper pair of running socks will improve comfort, reduce blisters, and may even improve performance.
But what should you look for when choosing a pair?
Look for extra padding
You have a choice: extra padding or a more lightweight and minimal design.
Unless you’re barefoot running or your shoe of choice is a pair of Vibrams, chances are you’ll want extra padding. Or, at the very least, extra padding in the right places (heel, toes, arches of the foot).
Typically trail running socks contain more padding and cushioning than standard running socks.
But more running socks are adding extra cushioning to those high-impact areas.
Choose a technical fabric
Cotton is not built for performance — it is terrible at wicking sweat and removing moisture. It causes hot feet, blisters, chafing, and other problems.
Instead, look for a technical or synthetic fabric such as Nylon, Polyester, or acrylic.
Merino wool is also a good option — it is extremely breathable, sweat-wicking, and anti-bacterial. It is also typically warmer than other options.
The thickness of the sock
Some socks are thicker than others. We prefer thicker socks as this usually means more cushioning.
But some runners prefer a more minimal, lightweight design.
If you don’t know which one you prefer, we recommend starting with a thicker pair.
Most running socks no longer contain seams. However, the occasional pair do — so just be careful.
Seams cause chafing, blisters, and other problems.
So choose seamless if you’re given the option.
Make sure the socks fit properly
This may sound like a no-brainer — but if your socks don’t fit properly, they may cause blisters and other discomforts.
The wrong size might slip in your shoe, rub on the heel and forefoot, and not provide cushioning in the right areas.
For this reason, we recommend you try before you buy (but that’s not always possible).
Try before you buy, if possible
Some running stores allow you to try sample pairs before you buy them.
If this is not possible, measure your foot and refer to each socks sizing guide for the best fit.
And if you like a particular sock and it fits well, it’s a good idea to stick with that brand — you know what you’re getting and you know it will fit well.
This way, you’ll avoid blisters, hot spots, and other troubles.
Why wear compression socks?
Compression socks are thought to increase oxygen and blood circulation to the working muscles (or at least’s that’s the theory).
In fact, a pair of compression socks might speed up the removal of lactic acid (that burning feeling you get during/after a hard interval session).
Compression socks are also thought to be good for recovery. Finish your run, put on a pair, and fast-track your recovery. The process is the same — blood is sent to your muscles to remove by-products.
Some runners love compression technology. They swear by it — that includes the likes of now-retired, Paula Radcliffe. Although, scientific evidence is still lacking.
Our advice to any runner is: each to their own. If compression socks work for you, then that’s great. If not, it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t need to wear them.
How to look after your running socks
Caring for your running socks is essential.
Washing them on the wrong setting may result in them shrinking in the wash. They may also develop those dreaded holes we all fear.
Like most sports gear, we recommend washing your socks at a low temperature — 30-40 degrees Celcius seems to work best.
Turn your socks inside out before washing, and avoid fabric softener. Air dry for the best results, and do not tumble dry your socks.
What are the best running socks to prevent blisters?
Blisters are a common symptom of poor-quality running socks.
To reduce your risk of blisters (and improve comfort) you should:
- Look for socks with moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax
- Ensure the socks fit well and do not rub or move when running
- Look for increased padding and cushioning on areas you’re most prone to picking up blisters
Are expensive running socks worth it?
Some running socks are a lot more expensive than others. But they are often worth it — they contain technology to protect your feet, improve comfort, and even help avoid injury. More expensive socks typically mean fewer blisters, better durability (no holes), and improved shape retention. And in some cases, you’re paying for extra features such as waterproofing.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.