22 of the best running socks in 2021
Choosing the right pair of running socks will help reduce blisters and simultaneously improve running performance.
Whether you’re a complete beginner to running or have conquered several marathons, wearing a pair of high-quality running socks is essential, not only to look after your feet but to reduce blisters and perhaps even improve performance.
Despite this, many runners neglect to choose a high-quality pair of socks and instead opt for cheap pair (or their regular socks) to pound the pavement in. Much like running shoes, choosing a low-quality pair of running socks will result in blisters, discomfort, and a general lack of protection mile after mile.
On the other hand, a pair of high-quality athletic socks increases breathability, allows moisture to pass from your feet through your shoe and more. This is essential, keeping your feet comfortable, supported, and healthy.
The rest of this article will discuss what kind of socks you should wear when running, twenty-two of the best socks, and then finally will finish with a little more info on compression gear and how to choose the best socks for you.
What kind of socks should I wear when running?
If you haven’t already gathered, you should be wearing a proper pair of running socks instead of any old ankle or trainer socks. For those competing in longer distances or performing intense training, compression socks may also be of interest (we have a few pairs included in this article).
What are the best socks for running?
This is somewhat based on personal preference. However, you should look for a pair containing an anti-blister and moisture-wicking design, increased support, optimal cushioning, and a supportive fit.
So, let’s get on with it – here are twenty-two of the best socks for running:
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1. Rockay accelerate anti-blister unisex running socks
- Wicks sweat away from your feet keeping them dry, comfortable and blister-free
- Lifetime guarantee
- Anti-blister design
These socks from Rockay are created with 100% recycled fabrics, also containing a smart anti-blister design. The socks utilise smart ventilation zones and breathable fabric to wick sweat away from the body. This, paired with the padding in the toes and heel area keep you comfortable mile after mile, whether you’re running around the track or conquering your very first marathon.
Also, these socks contain a lifetime guarantee. As Rockay say themselves, “this is not the kind of sock you replace after 10 washes.” Highly durable and tested to the maximum, these socks are built to last. For this reason, alongside the many, many positive reviews from previous customers paired with their sustainable design, we rank the Rockay accelerate anti-blister sock in our number one spot.
2. Hilly unisex marathon fresh socks
- Moisture-wicking design to prevent blisters and increase comfort
- Under toe seamless construction
- Upper foot venting
This pair of socks from Hilly is perfect for long runs or even marathons. Designed with upper foot venting, under toe seamless construction, and a moisture-wicking design, these socks guarantee comfort mile after mile while also preventing blisters. Many users of the sock reported fewer blisters, fewer black toenails, and reduced irritation thanks to the re-inforced cushioning and smart construction of the sock.
Although the price tag is slightly higher than other socks for a single pair, the price certainly reflects the quality. Compared to other more affordable socks, such as the more mile women’s three-pack which costs similar (as seen at number sixteen in our list), the Hilly ankle running socks provides an overall better fit, increased breathability, and protection for those longer and more intense runs.
3. Danish endurance pack of 3 (unisex)
- Recommended by an Olympic athlete (Stina Troest)
- Optimal ventilation channels offer increased breathability
- Sweat-wicking and anti-blister design
- Compression design offers increased arch support
Danish Endurance is up there with other top brands (e.g. Rockay, Inov-8, and Nike) when it comes to creating high-performance running socks. This pair is no different, available in a pack of three and offering various benefits such as a near frictionless design, increased arch support thanks to the compression, and anti-blister properties.
Despite the many benefits, some users have reported these to run a little thin. However, this is based on personal experience and preference. However, there is ample cushioning (made for going the distance), with a further seal of approval from Olympic runner and athlete, Stina Troest.
4. Rockay Vigor compression socks
- Graduated compression for increased performance and recovery
- Anti-blister and anti-odour design
- Created using 100% recycled materials
- Performance cushioning and seamless design
The Rockay Vigor compression socks are the first compression pair included in our list. Compression socks (and other gear) is not for everyone, but it’s difficult to deny the impressive technology behind this pair from Rockay, and other’s currently on the market.
Nonetheless, the Vigor pair feels lightweight and almost second-skin-like, so much so you would expect minimal cushioning. However, this is not the case – the socks provide more than ample cushioning, keeping your feet comfortable, blister-free, and dry no matter how long you’re on your feet for.
The sustainable design (also seen with the Rockay accelerate and Razer socks) is something many users appreciate, including ourselves – we expect more brands to follow suit shortly. Overall, these compression socks are great and excellent value for money, but some users may have difficulty putting these on. The trick is to turn these inside out first – Rockay has created a video on this to help.
You can also read our full review on the Rockay Vigor compression running socks by clicking here.
5. 1000 mile men’s fusion running anklet socks
- Padded Achilles tendon protection
- Ventilation zones for increased breathability
- Padded zones for increased comfort & protection on the heels, toes, and ankles
- Sweat-wicking material
Ranked a best seller on Amazon, these socks are great for those suffering from tight/sore Achilles or alternatively coming back from an injury.
The increased padding offers enhanced comfort and protection during your run, something many socks are missing. Finally, the combination of both the sweat-wicking material and ventilation zones throughout the socks keep them dry, comfortable, and breathable, regardless of the terrain you’re running on.
6. Hilly women’s marathon fresh socklet
- Polygene fabric reduces and removes nasty odours
- Supportive and comfortable fit
- Upper foot venting reduces moisture build-up and reduces irritation
The marathon fresh women’s running socks from Hilly are designed for going the distance. These socks are designed with polygene fabric (the same material used for the Rockay Vigor compression socks), eliminating those nasty odours and allowing multiple uses of the socks before washing.
Also, as these socks are designed for going the distance, they are created with more cushioning than other regular ankle socks, ideal for those looking to reduce impact, or perhaps for those who find other socks too “thin.” This is further complemented with the supportive fit, almost compression-like but instead providing a durable and comfortable ride.
One of the only potential downsides is the price. However, these still come in cheaper than other competitors boasting excellent properties.
7. Inov-8 race elite pro running socks (men’s, twin pack)
- New & improved fit for increased ventilation and support
- Ideal for long-distance running
- Durable and long-lasting
- Small compression band offers increased protection
As you likely already know, Inov-8 specialise in trail running gear – this pair of socks is no different, a great trail running sock but also equally as good and intended for racing. Thanks to the new and improved fit, the race elite pro delivers improved protection in the heel and arch of the foot. Also, similar to other non-compression socks (such as those from Danish Endurance), there is also a small compression band to further increase protection and stability.
The addition of the vented panels is also a welcomed addition, providing a breathable and sweat-wicking ride while offering maximum comfort. Users have reported these socks to maintain shape well throughout use, also performing excellently in colder conditions (as this is a thicker sock), both on the fells and roads. One potential con though is the higher price tag, definitely a premium choice of running sock.
8. Inov-8 race elite pro running socks (women’s, twin pack)
- New & improved fit for increased ventilation and support
- Ideal for long-distance running
- Super durable
- Pack of two
Next, is a pair of women’s running socks from Inov-8. Identical to the men’s pair above, apart from the different colour options, these running socks deliver increased cushioning and protection throughout the entire duration of your run.
9. Coskefy cushioned running socks (unisex pack of 3-6 pairs)
- Odour-free technology
- Reinforced heel tab improves cushioning and reduces irritation and blisters
- Thicker than other socks
- Excellent value for money
The Coskefy cushioned running socks are similar to other ankle running socks, including the Rockay accelerate and the Danish Endurance low-cut anklet socks. However, what sets these apart is the noticeable price difference, a mid-range sock available at a much more affordable price than others.
Besides this, the socks offer a surprising amount of cushioning, also thicker than other socks – providing great underfoot protection. Unlike race-specific socks, such as the Inov-8 race elite pro (as seen above), the Coskefy ankle running socks are designed for everyday training – something to consider before purchasing.
For some users though, the socks may be a little too thick for wear in summer, causing overheating, increased sweating and general discomfort. Although, for regular training, it’s difficult to find a better value for money entry-level running sock.
10. Rockay Razer max cushion trail running socks
- Maximum cushioning for further support and protection
- Polygene anti-odour fabric and recycled design
- Designed for trail runs and for those who require more cushioning
- Anti-blister design
The Rockay Razer max cushion running socks are an updated version of the previous Razer trail running socks. Since the previous model, this pair have benefited from double the cushioning throughout the sock, providing a more stable, protective, and comfortable ride. Also, this provides a warmer fit, ideal for trail runs and cold winter outings.
Nonetheless, the Razer sock also contains the same properties customers loved previously, including the polygene anti-odour fabric, the famous anti-blister design, and recycled and sustainable material construction. Each purchase removes an estimated thirteen bottles of plastic from the ocean, protecting our environment and doing your part to ensure a sustainable future.
11. Danish endurance anti-blister, low-cut anklet socks (unisex pack of 3)
- Anti-blister design
- Choice of four colours
- Breathable design & sweat-wicking material
Another pair from Danish endurance, these low-cut pro anklet socks contain an anti-blister design making use of anti-friction zones in the heel and toe areas.
Likewise, the breathable design and sweat-wicking material utilised ensures a comfortable and dry ride all-day long.
12. Injinj unisex toesocks
- Increased comfort and protection compared to regular running socks
- Moisture management material
Yes, they may look odd, but these toesocks by Injinj have increased comfort and protection than regular running socks. Including moisture management material and a no-show length, you’ll remain blister-free while nobody can see your fantastic socks.
13. Inov-8 speed sock mid (men’s twin pack)
- Increased compression
- Padded underfoot and the breathable design reduces general irritation and blisters
- Ideal for both racing and training thanks to the padded but lightweight design
Similar to the Inov-8 race elite pro socks, the speed sock mid is designed for both training and racing. These socks are lightweight but provide enhanced cushioning and underfoot padded protection, reducing your risk of blisters and general discomfort when out stomping the pavement.
With the added compression, these socks aim to reduce swelling while simultaneously improving performance, not quite as impressive as full supportive compression socks, but certainly enough for that added support during training. However, it should be mentioned that some users reported these socks to run and feel slightly thin – just something to watch out for if you prefer thicker socks, such as the compression pair from Danish Endurance.
14. Danish Endurance graduated compression socks (unisex)
- Increased blood circulation improves performance, reduces fatigue, and lessens swelling
- Skin-friendly organic cotton for increased comfort and reduced irritation
- Recommended by an Olympic gold athlete (Casper U. Mortensen)
The Danish Endurance graduated compression socks come in at a similar price range to the aforementioned mentioned pair from Rockay. However, the materials are slightly different but both offer the benefits of compression technology. Compression gear is designed to increased blood circulation, flushing out harmful toxins, reducing swelling, and where possible, improving performance, too.
Not only are these compression socks ideal for running (and other sports), they are also great for everyday activities, whether working a desk job, travelling long hours or spending a long time on your feet. This makes them super universal, allowing you to get the most out of each pair.
These compression socks are thicker than other pairs available, including the Rockay Vigor, great for winter but maybe not the best for spring and summer (depending on your personal preferences). Also, unlike the previously mentioned pair from Rockay, these are not created using recycled materials – perhaps something to consider if you’re particularly environmentally conscious.
15. Cotill men’s running socks (3 pack)
- Perfect for beginners
- Optimal cushioning throughout the sock
- Sweat-wicking material to prevent blisters while increasing comfort
If you’re a beginner at running or don’t want to splash too much cash, this 3 pack pair of running socks from Cotill is a great place to start. With maximum cushioning throughout the sock alongside sweat-wicking material, these socks will prevent blisters without sacrificing on comfort.
16. More mile women’s running socks (3 pack)
- Perfect for beginners
- Ergonomically shaped
- Wick sweat and moisture away from the body
- Available in a wide variety of colours
Also perfect for those new to running, these women’s socks from more mile are ergonomically shaped and designed to wick sweat and moisture away from the body. Coming in a fun range of colours, these socks are super affordable and a great alternative to some of the more pricy options while still getting the job done.
17. Nike men’s running racing anklet socks
- Breathable yarns provide optimal ventilation
- NikeGrip technology
- Reflective design for increased visibility
The Nike men’s anklet socks are similar to other performance and racing socks, such as those from Danish Endurance, also providing a design with increased grip, ventilation and ample cushioning packed into a lightweight design. Unlike other running socks, this pairs feels thick and durable, mainly thanks to the polyester fabric. This makes them ideal for trail running and racing, able to tackle various terrains with little to no interruption.
Despite this, there is only one choice of colour: citron pulse, which may not be to everybody’s liking, even with the increased reflectivity.
18. Under Armour Heatgear breathable training sock (3 unisex pairs)
- Sweat-wicking material
- Comfortable support
- Intelligent cushioning
Coming in a choice of black or white, these running socks from Under Armour utilise intelligent cushioning while delivering expert breathability with their sweat-wicking material.
Expect lasting freshness as a result of their clever design, whether running on the fells, through a muddy field, or stomping your local streets.
19. SLS3 unisex running socks
- Supportive and comfortable fit (especially around the heel)
- Increased heel cushioning makes these a great choice for those suffering from plantar fascitis
- Variety of fun colours
These socks from SLS3 come in a variety of fun colours. From neon green to pink and yellow, you’re sure to stand out from the crowd whatever your taste. Secondly, these socks provide a supportive and comfortable fit, especially around the heel area of the foot – great for those suffering from plantar fasciitis.
To reduce blisters, SLS3 have also included an in-step hugging arch band. This, paired with the moisture-wicking sock material, will keep your feet healthy and happy regardless of the distance.
20. Nike men’s elite cushioned running socks
- Compression fit & design
- Increased arch support
- Dry-fit technology
Coming in two different colours, white or black, this elite pair of socks from Nike are great for those looking to go the extra mile.
Utilising Nike’s signature dry-fit technology alongside increased arch support and a compression fit and design, increased performance is certainly possible. You might even feel like an elite athlete in the process…
21. Unisex compression socks
- Compression socks increase blood flow and reduce fatigue while running
- Pack of two
With compression socks also rumoured to reduce recovery times between runs or workouts, it may be a good idea to invest in a pair. This two-pack may increase blood flow, reduce pain from shin splints, relieve fatigue, and reduce swelling.
22. Karrimor women’s running trainer ankle socks
- Meryl and Nylon to reduce blisters and increase comfort
- Stylish colour scheme
If you’re looking for a cheap yet high-quality pair of socks for running look no further than these from Karrimor. Created with Meryl and Nylon, your risk of blisters will be reduced with no sacrifice of comfort. In a stylish pink and light blue colour scheme, you can rock these round the house, while working out, or of course while running.
Why wear compression socks?
The theory behind compression socks is that they increase blood circulation and oxygen to the working muscles. In fact, they may even speed up the removal of lactic acid. While many runners swear by them, including the likes of now-retired Paula Radcliffe, 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 do not need to wear these.
What should I look for when buying a pair of socks for running?
It’s time to ditch those ankle socks and opt for a proper pair of running socks. However, you may be wondering: what should you look for when purchasing a new pair?
- Look for padding in high-impact areas such as the arches, heels, and toes
- Moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax
- The socks should be a good fit, similar to your running shoe – not too big nor too small
How to look after your running socks
Once you’ve gathered together a few pairs of socks for running, it’s essential to look after them properly to prevent them from shrinking in the wash. Therefore, like most running and sports gear it’s advised not to tumble dry and instead air dry.
What are the best running socks to prevent blisters?
With blisters being a common result of poor quality socks, there a few things we can look out for to reduce our risk of blisters while increasing our comfort. These are:
- Look for socks with moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax
- The socks should be a good fit
- Look for increased padding and cushioning on areas you’re most prone to picking up blisters
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.