The best running socks aren’t just an opinion, there’s a lot of data and science around what’s going to keep our feet blister free and possibly even feeling less tired from the pounding!
Unfortunately, we tend to overlook this piece of our running gear because the focus trends towards fancy tech gear….but guess what the right running socks have a lot going on.
Best Running Socks
Did I really just tell you socks are my must have gear?!
Runners are always thinking about what we put on our feet…I mean there are pink shoes and blue shoes and super speedy looking yellow shoes.
For first time marathon runners looking for advice I always start with the feet and while shoe fit is VERY important it’s not the only thing happening down there.
I find that even for us long time runners it’s good to be reminded that a few minutes of care can go a long way towards preventing blisters, increasing comfort and possibly recovery.
Running Socks: What You Need to Know
Skip the cotton, be ok with spending a bit more for the right technical material and fit.
A great pair of running socks will eliminate a few major issues:
- friction (blisters and black toenails)
- heat (discomfort, swelling, blisters)
- moisture (blisters, swamp foot bacteria, feeling cold)
- rubbing (blisters, raw skin)
Here are a few other key features that make them worth the price.
Just want an immediate answer? If I had to pick two styles, I’d go with these:
Look for Smell Proof Socks
You’ve probably seen the logo for Swiftwick in tons of my travel running photos and it’s because I can wear these socks for multiple days in a row and they’ll repeatedly pass the sniff test!
This means less to pack and I can take off my shoes on the plane without fear.
These are a very thin sock, which means they won’t be best for those who want some cushion. It does make them nice for long runs when your feet swell and are my go to for running all summer long.
Look for Natural Fibers
You might assume all socks feel the same if you’ve been living in a world of cotton…but they don’t! And when it comes to your running socks, bamboo socks, like EcoSox, are hard to beat.
First of all, it’s pretty awesome to wear a sustainable resource, but also bamboo fibers are twice as soft as cotton which is going to mean less friction and less chance of blisters!
The EcoSox No Shows are a go-to for warm feet thanks to the vented top and because bamboo is thermoregulating!! A fancy way of saying it keeps your feet cool when it should and warm when it should.
Ready to give ‘em a try? Use code “RunFinish20” for 20% off your EcoSox purchase at check out… your feet are going to thank you. ;-)
Enjoy Some Extra Cushion
🚫Generally the cushion will be on the heel and toes, which are the hot spots for most runners. Be sure to try on your shoes with different socks to ensure the fit isn’t too tight with something thicker.
Find Great Winter Running Socks
Winter means my toes often feel like popsicles and that isn’t terribly pleasant when you’re pounding the ground.
But super thick socks can mean sweaty feet, which also become cold…what’s a poor determined runner to do?!
I’m a fan of these Smartwool performance socks for keeping my feet both warm and dry.
The one thing to remember when looking at winter socks is as they get thicker you need to consider relacing your shoes to ensure they don’t become too tight and cause blisters.
When to Use Compression Socks
Most of you know about knee high compression socks by now (if not read this post on why compression socks work). I love wearing these on race day, but actually enjoy low cut compression socks on other runs!
Especially as I increase mileage I find wearing them after my long run for the rest of my day as I walk around feels great.
Issues with Toes Rubbing?
If you have an issue with blisters, then Injinji toe socks might be just want the running doctor ordered. For some reason these are what I prefer on trail runs, I’ve noticed less issues with big toes when I use them. And David swears by them for cycling.
Another thing to consider with rubbing is the height of your socks…I know that the look right now is no show socks, but if your ankles are being rubbed raw it’s very hard to keep the running habit going.
And if you’re hitting the trails a higher sock is designed to keep the pebbles from crawling inside.
Bonus: Don’t forget to CARE for this expensive workout gear the right way >>Who knew socks were so important to a good run?! #runchat #bibchat Click To Tweet
What About Running Without Socks?
Socks…they’re a very personal choice.
You’ve seen the hightop socks that are scrunched down, the cute little old men who wear black socks with everything, the socks with toes that we can thank the barefoot movement for and the socks with colorful characters that often shoe up in my holiday stockings.
Yet, there are some who would say socks are just unnecessary. Why?
- Socks prevent your toes from stretching out
- Socks reduce friction in the shoe, allowing your foot to move around in it
- The appropriate fitting shoe doesn’t require socks
I understand all of this…I will not be running without socks. I’ve done it on a few occassions when I arrived to the gym without them and found the entire experience icky. I know people who run without socks. I am not one of those people.
Ick, ew and really no thanks.
But some days you have to just take what life gives you, so I laced up hit the treadmill and then ran home to rip off those shoes and wash away the icky feeling. The truth is our shoes are washable, so if you run sans socks it’s possible to still feel clean, but not me.
The upside…I ran like hell to get that feeling over with as quickly as possible…hmm ideas for the race are percolating…no.
Do you splurge on good socks?
Or are you a crazy sockless runner?!
Looking for more reviews to find the best things for your run?
Checkout our full page of my best running gear reviews and guides to save you time searching and money! I share what’s worked for me and fellow runners, along with what wasn’t worth the price tag.
A few common requests:
- Best sports bras
- Best HR monitors (from watches to straps)
- Best compression pants for running
- Best sunglasses for running
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