The 9 Best Socks of 2021

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."
"Alongside temperature regulating and sweat-wicking material, these ankle socks have a cushioned instep and arch."
"Made with an odor-preventing technology which helps stop odor-causing bacteria in its tracks."
Best for High Intensity Workouts:
Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks at Amazon
"Cushioned in all the right places to keep your feet supported."
"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 for Barre and Pilates:
Alo Yoga Pivot Barre Sock at Aloyoga.com
"Features a no-slip grip, cushioned sole, and secure elastic straps."

Choosing the right socks for your feet is crucial. Not only are they your first line of defense against blisters, but they also add much needed support to the soles of your feet. But if your socks don't fit properly, they can slip and bunch up, which sets the stage for rubbing your feet as you walk, and can lead to painful blisters and scrapes.

When looking for the right sock for you, it's important to invest in high quality socks that are anatomically designed. You'll want socks that will wick away moisture to keep your skin from softening, offer cushioned support, and will help manage moisture build-up from sweat. So whether you're jogging, breaking a sweat, or just moving around, we've researched the best socks on the market.

Here are the best socks to keep your feet supported and blister-free.

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 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 Running: Lululemon Light Speed Tab Anti-Stink Sock

Light Speed Tab Sock Anti-Stink

The simplest of sports sometimes requires the most technical of gear. Running is such an inherent, natural movement, yet we need the exact shoe for our particular gait and physiology, the gear that won’t chafe, the headband that won’t dig, and yes—the socks that work with our running shoes.

The Lululemon Light Speed Anti-Stink Sock was designed specifically for runners. Made with sweat-wicking yarns to prevent soggy, sweaty feet, these lightweight socks have mesh construction ventilation for breathability. They’re also made with an odor-preventing technology called Silverescent, which helps stop odor-causing bacteria in its tracks. The 360-degree arch support gives a small bit of compression, and the seamless construction minimizes any excess material while giving you a chafe-free fit.

Best for High Intensity Workouts: Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

Balega Hidden Comfort No Show Running Socks

If you're looking for a sock that is comfortable and supportive, then check out The Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks. These unisex socks are cushioned in all the right places to keep your feet supported throughout your workout. They also have a moisture-wicking fabric and mesh ventilation to keep your feet dry.

The extra cushion on the heel keeps the sock from falling down, while the seamless toe construction protects your feet from blisters and friction. With a 200-needle count, this sock delivers on comfort and performance and is perfect for any intense workout, whether it's HIIT, running, cycling, or weight lifting.

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

Darn Tough

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.

Best for Barre and Pilates: Alo Yoga Pivot Barre Sock

PIVOT BARRE SOCK

When it comes to barre and pilates workouts, it's important to find a sock with proper traction to keep you supported. We recommend the Pivot Barre Sock from Alo Yoga, since it features a no-slip grip, cushioned sole, and secure elastic straps.

These comfy socks will keep your feet supported throughout your workout, and the grip on the bottom will keep you from slipping. Available in pink, black, or gray, you can mix and match with your favorite workout gear. While it does boast a higher price tag compared to other socks on the market, this high-quality pair will hold up through several washes and wears.

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