The 7 Best Socks of 2020

Protect against blisters with these expertly designed socks

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Our Top Picks
"They’re super cushy and soft thanks to premium cotton."
"The six pack of Essential No Show Socks rings in under $20 with anti-odor technology and a bit of arch support."
"These no-show socks provide a bit of cushion and have a nice small heel tab in the back to keep your socks in place."
"Alongside temperature regulating and sweat-wicking material, these ankle socks have a cushioned instep and arch."
"The arch support in the midfoot section prevents your feet from fatiguing when you’re on a strenuous hike or long trail."
"The CEP Women’s Compression Socks have graduated compression that helps deliver more blood to your muscles."
"The Darn Tough brand has “undetectable” seam fusion to prevent chafing and discomfort, and a fitted silhouette to prevent slipping."

Best Overall: BOMBAS Women's Marls Ankle Socks

There’s just so much to love about Bombas. For starters, before we even get into the quality of the socks, you should know about how amazing their one-for-one program is. To date, the brand has donated over 38 million socks to those in need. For every pair purchased, they donate a new pair of socks to the homeless community in the United States. Couple this philanthropic business with a comfortable, high-quality product, and you’ve got a best-in-class sock.

They’re super cushy and soft thanks to the “performance footbed” and supersoft “long staple yarns” made from premium cotton with moisture-wicking properties. The honeycomb structure at the center provides midfoot support with a slight bit of compression. Bombas makes tons of styles for men and women, but we’re a big fan of the original ankle silhouette.

Best Budget: Under Armour Women's Essential No Show Socks

For a super affordable but still high-quality sock, opt for Under Armour to get the most bang for your buck. The six-pack of Essential No Show Socks rings in under $20 (an absolute steal!). That’s six pairs of soft, stretchy socks with anti-odor technology and a bit of arch support.

They’ve got a scooped welt design that follows the lines of your shoes a bit more, as opposed to cutting a straight line across your ankle. And the sweat-wicking material ensures you’ll have dry, comfortable feet whether you’re weight lifting or making a grocery run for meal prep.

Best For Walking: ASICS Women's Cushion Low Cut Socks

Choosing gear for walking can be tricky. With walking, you don’t necessarily put as much thought into the exact specs and features of a shoe as you would with running. If you’re doing a lot of walking, you want to make sure you have adequate cushioning and socks that don’t slip down (we all know how annoying it is to have to keep fixing your sock that slid down your heel).

The Asics Cushion Low-Cut sock does both of those things: provides a bit of cushion and has a nice small heel tab in the back to keep your socks in place—not bunched up around your arches. They’re also no-show, so they won’t interfere with whatever outfit or walking shoes you’re wearing.

Best Ankle Sock: Thorlos Women's Socks

No-show socks aren’t for everyone. If you prefer the additional coverage and security of an ankle sock, look no further than the Thorlos Lite Walking Padded Ankle Sock. The made-in-the-USA piece is made from “cotton-like” yarn, which is a proprietary Thorlos “THOR-WICK COOL” blend.

Alongside temperature regulating and sweat-wicking material, the Lite Walking Ankle Sock has padding in the ball and heel, as well as a cushioned instep and arch. Wear these for anything from intramural soccer to a mixed format class like Orangetheory.

Best For Hiking: Merrell Women's Cushioned Zoned Light Hiker Socks

What better sock for hiking than a specifically crafted “Hiker Sock” from one of the world’s best hiking brands? This crew sock should keep you covered under ankle-height hiking boots (no calf blisters here!), and they’re the perfect combination of Merino wool, lycra spandex, polyester, and nylon (stretchy, comfortable, and breathable).

This blend of fibers is part of Merrell’s MerinoMax technology that provides a super quick-drying fabric and moisture management. As for the “zoned” sections? The arch support in the midfoot section prevents your feet from fatiguing when you’re on a strenuous hike or long trail, and the NanoGLIDE technology— reinforcement in the heel and toe area—adds additional protection and durability. The toe is also seamless, reducing any chance of chafing, so you can focus on your hike—and enjoy the great outdoors for a little longer.

Best Compression: CEP Women's Athletic Compression Run Socks

Compression socks are a must in any fitness fanatic’s arsenal, and CEP makes some of the best in the biz. Compression socks are known to help with circulation, reduce swelling, and can even reduce post-exercise soreness.

For athletes, the idea is that the improved circulation can help oxygenate muscles to speed up recovery. The CEP Women’s Compression Socks have graduated compression that helps deliver more blood to your muscles. The sock footbed molds to feet to give sculpted support without restricting the toes, and the knit design allows for greater airflow, so even though you’re getting a snug and secure fit, you won’t get too hot or sweaty.

CEP prides itself on medically-based, athletically driven technology, and they’re made in Germany with superior craftsmanship.

Best Wool: Darn Tough Solid Basic Crew Light Socks

The Darn Tough Element sock is “merino wool at its finest.” These socks have a mesh forefoot (hooray for breathability!) and naturally regulated temperature thanks to one of the best natural materials out there: merino wool. They’ll be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This material is also sweat-wicking, drawing moisture to the surface of the fibers so it can evaporate away from the skin.

The Darn Tough brand has “undetectable” seam fusion to prevent chafing and discomfort, and it has a fitted silhouette that prevents slipping, bunching, and blisters. The light cushion variety gives just enough oomph on the base of the footbed without being too bulky.

What to Look for in Walking Socks

Support: Ergonomically designed socks can help support your feet while walking, minimizing any pain or discomfort. Some key features to look for include padding on the instep, heel, and sole, as well as arch reinforcement around the center of the foot.

Material: The fiber your socks are made of plays a big role in how well they breathe and wick moisture away from the skin. Polyester and other synthetic fibers are known to be cool, breathable materials that are ideal for walking socks. Cotton, on the other hand, retains too much moisture, which can lead to damp, uncomfortable feet. 

Fit: Socks are typically sold in just a few broad sizes, so it can be challenging to find a pair that fits well. However, it’s important to buy socks that fit properly in the toe and heel—otherwise, they may bunch up or slide down while you’re walking.

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Article Sources
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  2. Coza A, Dunn JF, Anderson B, Nigg BM. Effects of Compression on Muscle Tissue Oxygenation at the Onset of Exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(6):1631-1637. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318254885b