The 4 Best Summer Running Socks of 2021

Keep your feet cool and prevent blisters

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Wearing the right running socks is critical to your comfort and endurance when running in the summer months. Whether you're hitting the beach, trails, or pavement, a solid pair of socks makes all the difference in keeping your feet cool and dry—in conjunction with good running shoes. When the temperature is hot and the humidity is high, details to look for include ventilation, material, and blister prevention.

You may have been able to get away with cotton socks during the cooler months, but you'll discover why they are the wrong choice for preventing blisters and regulating your temperature in warm weather. Synthetics and wool that wick sweat away from your skin are better choices. You may also want to try double-layer socks that can help reduce friction.

No matter where you log miles or your style preferences, we've rounded up the best summer running socks here.

Our Top Picks
Developed to improve comfort by cushioning your every step, they're extremely breathable and comfy, wicking away heat and sweat.
These socks provide unique 360-degree mesh ventilation for maximum airflow and breathability and lycra bands for snugness.
The double layer socks feature two totally separate layers that allow movement in between, and keep heat away from your foot.
These socks feature additional padding right where you as a runner need more protection—in the arch, ball, and heel.

Adidas Men's Climalite X II Low Cut Socks

adidas climacool low-cut socks

These socks were developed to improve comfort by cushioning your every step while pulling heat and sweat away from your foot. They're extremely breathable and comfy, with additional cushioning in the heel, ball, and toe.

Feetures Elite Light Cushion No-Show Tab

Feetures! Elite Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks

You can avoid painful blisters with Feetures patented Coolfeet ventilation system and seamless toe. These socks provide unique 360-degree mesh ventilation for maximum airflow and breathability. The socks also feature bands of Lycra that hug the foot and keep your socks in place. Your feet will stay cool, dry, and fresh.

Wrightsock Double Layer Running II Lo Quarter Socks

WrightSock 'Anti-Blister ' Double Layer

WrightSock double layer socks feature two totally separate layers that allow movement between the layers. As a result, heat and friction stay between the layers, not between the sock and your foot. The socks' Dri-WRIGHT multi-channeled yarns wick moisture away from the foot. This allows the moisture to spread out over a larger area from which to evaporate. For a runner, this means you should have blister-free runs every time you hit the road.

thorlos Light Running Thin Padded Ankle Socks

Men's Lite Running Thin Padded Ankle Socks

Thorlos Lite Running Coolmax socks are designed for athletes who prefer a thin sock. The blend of Coolmax and stretch nylon in these socks provides superior wicking characteristics. They also have great padding for a lightweight sock. These socks feature additional padding right where you as a runner need more protection—in the arch, ball, and heel. Thorlos is known for its sports and activity-specific socks.

Final Verdict

A pick that can be worn year-round, but is especially beneficial in the summer due to its moisture-wicking material, the Adidas Men's Climalite X II Socks (view at Amazon) doesn't disappoint. And if you typically sport a low-top athletic shoe, you'd probably be suited for the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Socks (view at Dick's Sporting Goods), which offer a no-show design and compression.

What to Look for in Running Socks

Purpose

Socks should stave off blisters and keep your feet dry and cool. You need wicking fabrics that move sweat away from your feet, otherwise you could develop painful blisters that will make running much more difficult.

Cushioning

Running socks' cushioning levels can be based on personal preference. Do you prefer thin or thicker socks? You don't want socks that are too thick or you could experience blistering and sweaty feet.

Fit

Socks shouldn't slide down your feet. They should stay snug on your feet throughout your run. You might want to try out socks one size larger than you typically wear for non-physical activity, as your feet can swell when you run.

Support

Look for a good, solid construction in the middle and heel of the socks, as you often strike harder in this area of the feet.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need compression socks for running?

    You do not need to wear compression socks for running. You can run without them and still run well. Compression socks are designed to enhance your running ability, especially at the endurance level, but they aren't necessary for routine exercise.

    In a comprehensive systematic review on the effects of wearing compression socks during exercise, researchers found that wearing compression socks allowed participants to cover greater distances in high-intensity activities, as well as promoted lower perceived muscle soreness. The socks benefited muscle function, but you can still run without them.

  • How are running socks different from other socks?

    Running socks are made with either thick or thin material; you choose your preference. However, the material is different than standard cotton socks. Running socks are also designed to wick sweat away from your feet, allowing the feet to stay cool and dry, and they help prevent blisters. They may also be designed to fit the shape of your feet more closely, which again helps prevent blisters and discomfort.

  • How do you protect your feet when running?

    You can protect your feet when running by wearing appropriate clothing, such as proper fitting shoes and socks.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends looking at the inside of your shoes before you put them on to ensure the lining remains smooth and you don't find any outside objects. If you're going to run regularly, make an appointment with a podiatrist to create a foot care plan that best protects your feet.

  • Can running socks help prevent blisters?

    Running socks are designed to help prevent blisters. The textiles can cause less friction against the plantar skin at the bottom of your feet.

    New sock technologies were invented to make some running socks friction free and double layer for extra protection against blisters.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Certified running coach and fitness writer Christine Luff has spent years researching, testing, and recommending fitness and athletic products and knows that the right gear can tremendously improve performance and comfort.

Luff is always testing running socks for her own personal workouts, and looks for what is best for her different clients' needs.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mota GR, Simim MA de M, dos Santos IA, Sasaki JE, Marocolo M. Effects of wearing compression stockings on exercise performance and associated indicators: a systematic reviewOpen Access J Sports Med. 2020;11:29-42. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S198809

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and you: Healthy feet matter. Updated January 2014.

  3. Tasron DN, Thurston TJ, Carre MJ. Frictional behaviour of running sock textiles against plantar skinProcedia Eng. 2015;112:110-115. doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2015.07.184

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