The 8 Best Winter Running Socks of 2021

Keep toes toasty in chilly temperatures

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Our Top Picks
Protect feet without affecting the fit of your shoes.
Feature maximum fitness density padding.
Seamless toe eliminates discomfort.
Provide ample protection and insulation.
Best for Preventing Blisters:
Balega Blister Resist Crew Socks at Amazon
Ideal for keeping feet dry.
Fit your foot like a glove.
Best Temperature Regulating:
Smartwool Wool Performance Sock at Amazon
They'll keep you warm and blister-free.
Best for Plantar Fasciitis:
Sockwell Plantar Cush Crew Socks at Amazon
Designed to soothe and comfort your feet.

Your choice of running socks can make the difference between a comfortable, pain-free run and a painful one. Wearing the wrong type of socks can lead to foot blisters, chafing, corns, and other issues. Some runners run in the wrong socks for years before they realize how much better their feet could feel in the right type of socks. Running socks come in many different types of material, thicknesses, and sizes.

Here are the best winter running socks for all your needs.

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Best Overall: Drymax Crew Socks

Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks have a special Dual Layer Moisture Removal System, which instantly moves moisture from the skin, through the inner Drymax layer to the outer absorbent layer, keeping feet dry. The third layer of Drymax fiber insulation is along the front of the sock since that area gets coldest due to wind chill.

The socks also feature dense padding (rather than thick padding), as it protects feet without adversely affecting the fit of the shoes. These socks are designed for use in cold to cool conditions, keeping feet dry, comfortable, and odor-free.

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Best Budget: thorlos Max Cushion Crew Socks

Many runners swear by Thorlo socks for their cushioning, comfort, and blister protection. These socks feature maximum fitness density padding for better durability, as well as protection against shock and impact. The lightweight padding in the arch provides arch support and a better fit.

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Best for Women: Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks


Some winter running socks are more functional than fashionable, but these Bombas Merino wool socks are both adorable and well-designed for cold-weather athletic endeavors. Soft and flexible, they fit like a glove and feature Bombas’ Stay-Up technology, which keeps them right in place where you need them. The seamless toe eliminates the discomfort and chafing that often happens with regular socks. With a wide selection of both fun and neutral colors, plus the fact that Bombas donates a pair to someone in need for every one purchased, it’s tough to resist these socks. 

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Best for Men: Feetures Merino 10 Cushion Socks


Designed with runners in mind, these Merino wool socks from Feetures! offer the perfect combination of support and comfort. They’re thin enough that they won’t feel bulky in your shoes, but still provide ample protection and insulation for cold weather running. With targeted compression at the arch, these socks give you support right where you need it most. And the seamless toe construction means you don’t have to worry about developing painful blisters or chafing during your runs.

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Best for Preventing Blisters: Balega Blister Resist Crew Socks


If foot blisters have been an issue for you, these socks are great for your winter runs. They're made of Drynamix and mohair, which are ideal for keeping feet dry. The Drynamix pushes the moisture away from the skin and the mohair has the ability to hold moisture and still keep your feet warm in winter.

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Best Toe Socks: Injinji Liner Crew Toesocks

If you really love your summer running socks and still want to wear them through the winter, you could wear toesock liners, such as these from Injinji, under your favorite running socks. Built with five separate toe sleeves, the Injinji Performance Liner fits your foot like a glove. The blend of CoolMax, Lycra, and Nylon provides a custom fit that protects from blisters while keeping your feet comfortable, cool and dry.

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Best Temperature Regulating: Smartwool Elite Wool Performance Sock

Made with Merino wool, SmartWool PhD Running Socks regulate temperature and moisture, so they'll help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The "light" model offers a little more padding than the "ultra light" socks, making them a comfy choice for winter running. The socks' moisture-wicking capabilities will keep your feet dry, which means they'll also keep you warm and blister-free.

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Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Sockwell Plantar Cush Crew Sock

A bout with plantar fasciitis can definitely curtail your running habit, but getting some relief from the pain can be as simple as pulling on a pair of socks. These crew socks from SockWell are designed to soothe and comfort your feet, while giving the firm support that your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon need. Made from a blend of Merino wool, rayon, nylon, and Spandex, these durable socks will keep your feet dry and odor-free.

How to Choose the Best Socks for Running

By Christine Luff 

Your choice of running socks can make the difference between a comfortable, pain-free run and a painful one. Wearing the wrong type of socks can lead to foot blisters, chafing, corns, and other issues. Some runners run in the wrong socks for years before they realize how much better their feet could feel in the right type of socks.

Running socks come in many different types of material, thicknesses, and sizes. Here are some tips on what to look for to keep your feet dry, happy, and blister-free.

Synthetic Materials

When choosing socks for running, the most important factor to consider is the material. Try to avoid 100 percent cotton socks. Once cotton gets wet, it stays wet. When your feet sweat or you step in a puddle, the moisture doesn't move away from your skin and can cause your feet to feel cold and clammy in the winter and in the summer it increases your risk of blisters.

Pro Tip

The best running socks are ones that are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax because these fibers wick moisture away from the surface of your skin.

You may be familiar with these fabrics for technical running shirts, and they work great on your feet as well. Look for a breathable, anti-chafing material for all of your running clothes.

For winter running, modern wool blends such as SmartWool are also a good choice. These differ from old-school wool socks in that they are made with "itch-less" wool that is less likely to irritate your skin. In addition, these new wool socks are machine-washable and dryable. Wool has its own form of moisture management that works well for many runners. You can even find thinner summer-weight wool socks if you find that you prefer them.

Anatomic Shape

If you've been wearing shapeless tube socks for running, you run the risk of having the fabric bunch in your shoes and irritate your skin. Running socks are constructed to hug the contours of your feet so this potential source of blisters is eliminated.

Look for running socks that have an elastic arch lock to keep your socks in place. Some are designed specifically for men and women to match the typical shapes of feet for each gender. You can even find socks labeled for the left foot and right foot.

These socks may even provide the sensation of added arch support while running. The actual support they offer is minimal but they may be able to boost your comfort level.

More Running Sock Features

Double Layers

Some runners choose to wear double-layer socks (WrightSock is one brand) for additional blister protection. These socks are designed with inner and outer socks that are connected—providing an air layer in between to help with wicking moisture away from the foot.

Varied Thickness

Another great feature is padded soles, which can give your heels some extra cushion. Although some runners like thicker socks for additional cushioning, others prefer thin socks for a lighter feel, especially in warmer weather. Other things to look for are a seam-free toe section, which can further reduce your risk of blisters.

Different Heights

Running socks come in various heights, from no-show to knee-highs. If you prefer no-show socks, just make sure that they have a tab that goes above your running shoe and over your Achilles, so your shoe isn’t digging into or irritating your skin.


Compression running socks or compression sleeves have become popular with runners. These socks have a very snug fit and may take longer to put on. Some are even made out of medical-grade materials. They are designed to help return blood flow uphill to your heart. Compression socks are often used for post-run recovery, and while some runners wear them during workouts, you should get adjusted to using them regularly before committing to them for a long run.

When shopping for running shoes, make sure you try on shoes with the socks you're going to be running in because some socks will require you to go up a half-size.

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