The 9 Best Socks to Buy in 2018 for Exercising in All Conditions

The right fit for all your workout needs

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The topic of socks may sound boring and not very important in the world of sports gadgets and new technology to help athletes perform at their peak levels, but they are one of the most important pieces of exercise gear you can own that will make your workouts comfortable and blister-free. Take a look at these most popular and highly recommended socks for all kinds of exercise.

Our Top Picks

Best Toe Socks: Injinji Toe Socks

Injinji Toesocks
Injinji Toesocks. Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

Injinji toe socks are like little gloves for your feet. If you've ever had trouble with blisters on long runs or hikes, you'll probably appreciate these socks. Designed to help prevent foot blisters by reducing friction and wicking moisture away from the feet, Injinji socks are great for runners and walkers. When you start using them, you may find that you no longer have to tape specific toes to avoid blisters caused by one toe sliding under another.

Best Mens Running Socks: Thorlo Experia Thin Padding Running Ankle Socks

Men's - Women's Trail Running Moderate Padded Ankle Socks
Courtesy of Amazon

These ultra lightweight socks are designed for running in moderate to hot weather on varied to rugged terrain. They have lightweight padding in the heel and ball of the foot to protect you from impact forces & blisters.

Best Budget Socks for Women: ASICS Cushion Low-Cut Sock

Perk-up your workout with these bright high-performance socks available in a three-pair pack at a bargain price. The acrylic/polyester/spandex blend wicks away moisture while mesh panels allow better airflow. This will help keep your feet cool and dry as you build up a sweat.

The low-cut design has a heel tab so the socks won’t slide down into your shoes. The spandex fibers help the sock stay in place, preventing bunching that can be uncomfortable and lead to blisters. The cushioning in the sole will help absorb some of the impact while you’re enjoying a run or a high-impact exercise routine. They aren’t too thick or too thin. Buyers on Amazon.com overwhelmingly give them five stars.

Best Budget Socks for Men: ASICS Intensity Quarter Socks

At the gym or out for a run, these socks team well with your athletic shoes. The three-pack is a bargain price for performance socks. You may have grown up thinking cotton tube socks were the only choice, but anatomically-shaped socks are much better for preventing bunching in your shoes that can lead to blisters. These socks are made with polyester/nylon/spandex fiber that doesn’t hold sweat the way cotton does. They are woven with an arch band that helps support your arch and keep the sock in place. The Y-shaped heel gore also ensures a better fit in your shoe without bunching. There is no seam at the toes, eliminating that source of irritation.

Best Cycling Socks: Thirty48 Low Cut Cycling Socks

Cyclists prefer a thin sock that fits well in their cycling shoes. This unisex design gets rave reviews from both men and women who use it for road cycling or spin class. If you like a thinner sock in general, it will perform well for many activities. The fabric is COOLMAX, which is one of the original blends that wicks away sweat. They weave it in a way they say increases the airflow to help keep prevent hot, sweaty feet. The socks fit snugly and have an elastic arch support that also serves to keep the sock in place without bunching. These socks are foot-specific and labeled for the left foot and the right foot, another feature that can help prevent having excess fabric in one area. They also provide padding and abrasion protection in the metatarsal area, Achilles tendon, and the heel.

Best Double-Layer Anti-Blister Socks: Wristsock Coolmesh II Crew

If you are putting in high miles running, walking, or hiking, blisters can seem inevitable. Wrightsock has been favored for years by endurance athletes because of their double-layer design. The old-school trick was to wear an inner liner sock with an outer sock over it. That is often less than ideal as you can get wrinkles and bunching. Wrightsock puts those together into unisex socks made of polyester/nylon/lycra spandex. Wrightsock gives a no-blisters guarantee as this two-layer design helps reduce friction that can cause blisters. Having the two layers traps air, which helps with temperature management in both heat and cold. They aren’t padded, so you may find the fit is the same as single-layer socks. They stand by their socks. Save your receipt and Wrightsock will refund.

Best Endurance Training Sock: Balega Enduro

Balega makes great socks that can really go the distance for runners and walkers. You can choose between crew length, quarter, low cut, or no-show heights. They are unisex but you can get woman-labeled colors in the low cut and no-show versions. Balega has a proprietary mix of moisture-wicking fibers and they pair that with mesh ventilation panels to help keep your feet dry as you sweat through the miles. If you like a crew-length sock, this one is designed to stay up but not constrict your calves. The foot is designed with arch support built in and a deep heel cup. Both of those features help prevent the sock creeping down. These socks have medium cushioning that is good for running and other impact activities.

Best Wool Running Sock: SmartWool PhD Run Light

If wool socks make you think of thick, itchy winter socks, SmartWool will be a revelation. This non-itchy Merino wool, nylon, and elastane blend is thin and light. Unlike old-school wool socks, they are machine-washable and dryable. They perform well for running, walking, and other exercise activities because wool has its own natural way of keeping moisture away from your skin. Some find this is the solution for preventing blisters. These socks are designed for running with cushioning in the heel and metatarsal area while still being lightweight. They come in a women-specific design with a narrower fit as well as designs for men.

Best Athletic Compression Socks: Swiftwick Aspire Twelve

Many runners have taken to wearing compression socks, believing that they improve performance or reduce fatigue. Swiftwick designs these knee-high socks with firm compression in the calf. The olefin fiber wicks away moisture and these socks dry fast. They come in a variety of colors you can coordinate with your running outfit—perfect for races where you want to wear a fun costume.

Buyers say they give you just the right amount of compression, yet you don’t have to struggle to get them on. Of course, this will vary by the dimensions of your calf. Many people like wearing them all day as well as when running or enjoying sports such as soccer. Swiftwick also has crew, quarter, and ankle socks in the Aspire line.

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