Best Running Socks of 2018


SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro Socks

SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro Socks

Running requires a pair of high-quality socks which protect your feet and keep them dry. This is especially important if you run longer distances, for example (half) marathons. Nevertheless, runners sometimes forget how uncomfortable it is to have wet and moist feet, and thus use ordinary cotton socks. Cotton socks are not suitable for running or other aerobic activities because cotton absorbs a lot of moisture (sweat) and therefore cotton socks often cause blisters and discomfort – wet socks increase the friction between the skin and the fabric. Furthermore, cotton socks also dry very slowly.

For running you should wear a pair of moisture-wicking and quick-drying socks which efficiently pull the sweat from your feet and transport it to the lining of your running shoes where it can evaporate into the air. Therefore, running socks are typically made of synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester or natural materials such as Merino wool. These materials absorb very little moisture and thus such socks keep your feet dry and comfortable. In the following we selected and reviewed the best running socks. We only listed high-performance socks which are moisture-wicking, breathable and durable.

1. Buying Running Socks – What is important?

Material:

Running socks are made either of synthetic materials (polyester, nylon etc.) or Merino wool mixed with synthetic fibers.

Synthetic running socks are very durable and dry very fast because synthetic materials absorb very little moisture. For example, polyester absorbs only up to 0.4% of its own weight in water. Merino running socks dry slightly longer and do not provide as good durability as 100 % synthetic running socks, but they are more breathable. Furthermore, Merino wool is also naturally antimicrobial and thus Merino socks rarely get smelly.

As you see, both types of running socks have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, consider what is more important to you. If you want a long lifespan, go for synthetic running socks and if you prefer a pair of very breathable, comfortable and antimicrobial socks go for Merino socks.

Cushioning:

Running socks also provide cushioning – the thicker they are, the better cushioning they provide. However, in warm weather you should wear thinner socks as thick socks will be too warm. All running socks have slightly thicker fabric on the heel for better cushioning. Note, that the thickness of the socks also affects the fit of your running shoes.

Construction:

Many running socks have a seamless construction to eliminate chafing. Seamless socks are more comfortable than other socks.

Height:

Whether you choose long or short socks depends on your personal preference. However, keep in mind that long socks might not be the best option for running in warm weather as they cover more of your calves.

Durability:

Running socks are subject to extensive abrasion and therefore they should provide good durability. Synthetic running socks have a longer life span than Merino running socks. However, Merino running socks also provide good durability. Typically, the content of Merino wool fibers is only up to 60% (the rest are synthetic fibers) because Merino wool is on its own simply not durable enough. To learn more about the durability of Merino wool check out our article How durable are Merino garments.

2. The Best Running Socks Review

Best Running Socks

Best Running Socks

The Best Running Socks – List

  1. CEP Short Socks
  2. SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro
  3. Stance Uncommon Solids Crew
  4. Balega Hidden Comfort
  5. Asics Nimbus Single Tab

Comparison

Feature/Product CEP Short SocksSmartWool Run Ultra Light MicroStance Uncommon Solids Crew Balega Hidden Comfort
Asics Nimbus Single Tab
Material85% Nylon, 15% Elastane48% Merino Wool, 48% Nylon, 4% Elastane58% Polyester, 16% Nylon, 14% Spandex, 12% ElastaneSynthetic Materials (n/a)65% Nylon, 19% Polypropylene, 14% Nanoglide, 2% Spandex
HeightMini CrewMicro CrewCrewMicro CrewMicro Crew
Type Synthetic Merino Synthetic Synthetic Synthetic
CEP Short Socks Running Socks

CEP Short Socks Running Socks

1. CEP Short Socks

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Lightweight hiking
  • Cycling

The CEP Short socks are very popular among runners because they are very comfortable and provide great fit. They are made of Nylon for good durability and moisture management, but they do also contain elastane fibers for better stretch. The CEP Short running socks have an anatomically padded foot section which provides a tight fit and thus eliminates blisters. Due to the unique design they also reduce swelling on long runs. They might be slightly more expensive than other synthetic socks, but they are very comfortable to wear and thus a great option for those who often run long distances.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Fit
  • Moisture management

Cons:

  • /

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SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro Socks

SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro Socks

2. SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Lightweight hiking
  • Cycling

The SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro socks differ from the other running socks in this review by material – they are made of a Merino wool blend. Besides from Merino wool they also utilize synthetic fibers (nylon and elastane) for better durability and stretch. Due to the Merino wool fibers these socks provide great breathability and odor resistance. They also efficiently pull the moisture from your feet and transport it to the lining of your running shoes. The SmartWool Run Ultra Light Micro socks utilize a 4-degree elite system for perfect fit. On the upper side they are equipped with mesh panels for superb ventilation. These socks are perfect for runners who want very breathable and odor-resistant running socks which feel ultra-comfortable against the skin.

 

Pros:

  • Breathability
  • Odor resistance
  • Fit
  • Moisture management

Cons:

  • /

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Stance Uncommon Solids Crew Running Socks

Stance Uncommon Solids Crew Running Socks

3. Stance Uncommon Solids Crew

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Lightweight hiking
  • Cycling

The Stance Uncommon Solids Crew running socks are higher than the Smartwool and CEP socks listed above and thus best for running in cold weather. These socks are made of polyester, nylon, spandex and elastane. Therefore, they are durable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying. They are also anatomically shaped for the left and right foot respectively and equipped with mesh vents for better breathability. The fabric is reinforced in the toe and heel area for a longer life span. The Stance Uncommon Solids Crew socks are a great option for running in spring, fall and winter.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Fit
  • Moisture management

Cons:

  • /

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Balega Hidden Comfort Socks

Balega Hidden Comfort Socks

4. Balega Hidden Comfort

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Lightweight hiking
  • Cycling

The Balega Hidden Comfort running socks are very comfortable and breathable. They are made of synthetic materials for good durability, stretch and moisture management. The fabric is thicker on the foot for good cushioning and has mesh vents on the upper side for better ventilation. The socks are also reinforced in the heel and toe area for longer life span. They are equipped with heel tabs which prevent them from slipping into your running shoes. The Balega Hidden Comfort running socks are perfect for running on warm summer days. They come in no less than 13 different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Fit
  • Moisture management

Cons:

  • /

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Asics Nimbus Single Tab Socks

Asics Nimbus Single Tab Socks

5. Asics Nimbus Single Tab Running Socks

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Lightweight hiking
  • Cycling

The Asics Nimbus Single Tab socks are very popular among runners, not least because they are produced by one of the most well-renowned brands for running shoes. The Nimbus socks feature a seamless design for maximum comfort and Nanoglide fibers for longer life span. These running socks also have an anatomical left/right construction for ideal fit. In the high-impact areas they are equipped with high-density cushioning material. The Asics socks are also moisture-wicking, breathable and durable. They are, however, best for running in summer as they don’t provide much warmth.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Fit
  • Moisture management

Cons:

  • /

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