The 7 Best Socks of 2022

BOMBAS Women's Marls Ankle Socks are cushioned and keep moisture at bay

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Best Walking Socks

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Choosing the right socks 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 can lead to painful blisters and scrapes.

Reviewed & Approved

Made of soft, durable fibers, BOMBAS Women's Marls Ankle Socks are our top pick because they support your arch and are comfortable to wear. For a budget-friendly, odor-fighting option, we recommend Under Armour Women's Essential No Show Socks.

When looking for a pair of quality socks, make sure they wick away moisture to avoid sweat and odor buildup, offer cushioned support, and are the appropriate size for your feet.

To find the best socks on offer, we evaluated dozens of pairs from top brands for quality of material, price, comfort, and breathability. We also spoke to four experts—including three podiatrists and one running coach—to get insight on what to look for in socks for every type of activity.

Based on our research, here are the best socks on the market.

Best Overall: BOMBAS Women's Marls Ankle Socks

4.9
BOMBAS Women's Marls Ankle Socks

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Cushioned

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Come in various colors

Cons
  • Not the most breathable sock

We chose these socks as our top pick because they're super cushy and soft, thanks to the performance footbed and long-staple yarns. They also keep moisture at bay.

Testing Notes: "Unlike many 'ankle socks,' these actually sit right at the ankle—not covering it and not too low that they slip. These socks are cozy as can be, and I did enjoy wearing them around the house and even out for errands or shorter walks with my pup. For longer walks, though, I’d definitely go with socks that have less cotton."

The honeycomb structure at the center provides midfoot support with a slight bit of compression. We also like that Bombas makes a variety of styles for men and women, but we’re still a big fan of this original ankle silhouette.

Material: Cotton, polyester, rubber, spandex | Length: Ankle | Sold As: One pair | Moisture-wicking: Yes | Price at time of publication: $13

Bombas Women's Marl Ankle Socks

Verywell Fit / Stephanie Vermillion

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

Under Armour Women's Essential 2.0 No Show Socks

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Soft and stretchy

  • Odor-fighting

  • Moisture-wicking

Cons
  • Tend to slip down

For a super affordable but still high-quality sock, we recommend this Under Armour pack to get the most bang for your buck. The pack includes 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 weightlifting or making a grocery run for meal prep.

Material: Polyester, nylon, elastane | Length: No show | Sold As: Six-pack | Moisture-wicking: Yes | Price at time of publication: $22

Best Ankle Sock: Thorlos Women's Socks

4.5
Thorlos Thin Cushion Walking Ankle Socks

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Cushioned

  • Anti-chafing design

Cons
  • Expensive

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

Testing Notes: "These Thorlos ankle socks are definitely some of the priciest in my drawer. But as a runner, walker, and all-around active person who hates blisters, I totally see the value. The brand promises that this material feels like cotton but keeps you cool at the same time—a promise I found to be true. I didn’t get a single blister while wearing these, even on longer runs (around 60 to 80 minutes)."

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.

Material: Polyester, nylon, elastic | Length: Ankle | Sold As: One pair | Moisture-wicking: Yes | Price at time of publication: $17

Thorlos Women LWMXW Walking Lite Cushion Ankle Socks

Verywell Fit / Stephanie Vermillion

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

4.7
Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Stay in place

  • Come in various colors

Cons
  • Run large

  • Expensive

If you're looking for a sock that is comfortable and supportive, then we recommend Balega's 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 weightlifting.

Material: Polyester, nylon, neofil, elastane | Length: No show | Sold As: One pair | Moisture-wicking: Yes | Price at time of publication: $18

Best Compression: CEP Women's Athletic Compression Run Socks

CEP Women's Athletic Compression Run Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Footbed molds to feet

  • Breathable

  • May reduce post-exercise soreness

Cons
  • Can be difficult to put on

  • Expensive

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

For athletes, the idea is that 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. We love that 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 these socks are no exception.

Material: Polyamide, elastane | Length: Knee-high | Sold As: One pair | Moisture-wicking: Yes | Price at time of publication: $60

Best Wool: Darn Tough Solid Basic Crew Light Socks

Darn Tough

Courtesy of Darn Tough

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Anti-chafing design

Cons
  • Run small

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. We love that 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.

Material: Merino wool, nylon, lycra spandex | Length: Crew | Quantity: One pair | Moisture-wicking: Yes | Price at time of publication: $23

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

4.8
ASICS Women's Cushion Low Cut Socks

Courtesy of ASICS

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 gear. If you’re doing a lot of walking, though, 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).

Testing Notes: "These socks are built to wick moisture, making them perfect for blister prevention. I had zero rubbing after multiple wears!"

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-shows, so they won’t interfere with whatever outfit or walking shoes you’re wearing.

Price at time of publication: $10

Asics Cushion Low-Cut Socks

Verywell Fit / Stephanie Vermillion

How We Selected the Best Socks

After examining dozens of pairs from the most trusted and popular retailers, we selected the best socks based on a few different criteria. First, we consulted four different experts to gather insight on how to find the best socks. We spoke with Evan Lynch, a running coach, Saylee Tulpule, DPM, a podiatrist, William D. Spielfogel, DPM, a podiatrist, and Melissa Prestipino, PT, DPT, the clinical director of Therapeutics Unlimited.

Then, we considered the cushioning and support in each pair of socks, plus how they fit the wearer's feet. We also considered the material each pair was made out of and how much they cost. And, we researched how the socks held up throughout a day of wear, including whether they wicked away moisture and kept odor at bay.

What to Look for in Socks

Support

Finding support for your feet when walking or running goes beyond the shoes you wear. Socks can also provide moderate support to minimize pain or discomfort when engaging in physical activity. Check for padding on the instep, heel, and sole before buying a pair. 

Evan Lynch, running coach and manager at Jackrabbit in New York City, says that the correct pair of socks should have varying degrees of compression in the mid-foot and should leave your arch feeling supported. “Most shoes don’t have an insole with a lot of support, so a good pair of socks can help,” he says. 

With that said, Lynch says that socks that fall under the “compression” category aren’t necessary for most people. But “if you’re recovering from an injury or you have plantar fasciitis—something a lot of people deal with when city walking—then a compression sock may be a better option," he says. The best pair of compression socks on our list are the CEP Athletic Compression Run Socks.

Material

The material of your socks plays a major role in how well they breathe, their moisture-wicking properties, and how they feel in your shoes. “You want to find a pair made with synthetic materials because they will draw moisture away from your skin and help fight against blisters,” Lynch says. 

Lynch recommends looking for blends of polyester, nylon, and Spandex as they’re lightweight and breathable. While many socks on the market are made with cotton, Lynch recommends avoiding them, noting that in addition to giving you blisters, they can lock in and absorb moisture—making them generally uncomfortable.

Fit

Socks are often sold in a size range instead of a specific size, so it may be challenging to find a pair that fits well. However, Lynch says that following the size recommendation on the packaging is a fairly safe bet. If you’re on the cusp of a size recommendation, Lynch recommends to always size up—the socks should be fitted to your running shoe size, which is typically a half-size larger than your go-to shoe.

More often than not, socks for running and walking have an anatomical fit—meaning they have a left and a right sock. Each one is stitched to perfectly fit the shape of each foot so that it doesn’t slide around and provides support in the right areas. In terms of thickness, Lynch says that most options should be thin enough to fit in your shoe comfortably.

Cost

A pair of high-quality walking or running socks will likely cost you more than your average pair of cotton socks. The performance fabric in addition to the longevity typically correlates with the price tag. “I’ve seen people come in with socks that are five years old because they decided to make the initial investment in a sock made with good material,” Lynch says. Generally, he explains, budget-friendly options are lower in quality. A good budget option are Under Armour's Essential No Show Socks.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should you wear socks while walking?

    "Yes, you should definitely wear socks while walking," Saylee Tulpule, DPM, a podiatrist in Washington, DC, and Maryland, says. “Socks will provide cushion to the bottom of the feet, absorb moisture and sweat, and can act as a barrier between the foot and shoe to prevent blister formation,” Dr. Tulpule adds.

    In addition, "you should wear socks made from a material that wicks away sweat from the foot to help prevent fungal infections and odor," William D. Spielfogel, DPM, a podiatrist in New York, NY, and foot and ankle expert for The Good Feet Store, says.

  • Are thick socks better for walking?

    Thick walking socks generally have more cushioning than thin socks, so they may feel more comfortable when you’re walking. However, thick socks may cause your feet to overheat and sweat in warmer weather, so very cushioned socks may not be a good choice for summer walking.

    They also may not work for people with wide feet who won’t have a lot of extra room in their walking shoes.

  • Should you wear compression socks while walking?

    “Compression socks help to promote vein circulation and blood flow in the legs and feet back to the heart,” Melissa Prestipino, PT, DPT, clinical director of Therapeutics Unlimited in Sparta, NJ, says. “Wearing them while walking and standing can help to prevent blood clots, swelling, and varicose veins in the legs.”

    If you don’t have issues with varicose veins, calf swelling, or blood clots, you probably don’t need to wear compression socks while walking, but they typically won’t cause any adverse effects. Talk to your health care provider for advice on when to use compression socks and how long you can safely keep them on.

  • Is it better to wear thin or thick socks?

    The thickness of your socks depends largely on preference. Both thin and thick socks have their advantages. You should also consider the weather conditions and type of activity you’ll be doing while wearing socks.

    Opt for thick socks if warmth, cushioning, and support are important to you. They’re suitable for outdoor activities during cooler months. Some thick socks also provide more compression for those looking for a constricting fit. Thick socks are generally recommended for activities like running. They help prevent blisters and can even wick moisture.

    Thin socks are an option for those prone to overheating. They tend to offer more ventilation to keep you cool, especially during the warmer months. Reach for a pair of thin socks if your activities are high-intensity, such as HIIT workouts. They may also be more comfortable if you have snug-fitting shoes.

  • What should walking or hiking socks be made of?

    Wool is generally regarded as the best sock material for walking and hiking. It may sound like it would lead to overheating, but it’s the opposite. Wool helps regulate your temperature, keeping sweating at bay. This can help prevent blisters. Wool also provides cushioning for comfort and support.

  • How do socks prevent blisters?

    Socks prevent blisters in a variety of ways, but primarily from their moisture-wicking properties. Too much moisture can lead to the formation of blisters, so preventing a buildup of sweat helps prevent them.

    Some socks are made with two layers—an inner and outer layer. The inner layer wicks moisture to the outer layer, keeping the foot dry. Double-layer socks also help reduce friction. The friction between your foot and single-layer socks can sometimes cause blisters. Socks made with two layers help reduce that friction.

    Sock material also contributes to the prevention of blisters. Materials like cotton, which absorb sweat, stick to your feet, and increase friction, aren’t the best choice for anti-blister socks. Opt for socks made of wool, polyester, spandex, or silicone instead.

  • Can you wear running socks for hiking?

    Compression socks usually reserved for running can also be used for hiking. Hikers also swear by wearing two pairs of socks at once or wearing a thick pair of wool socks to regulate temperature, wick moisture, and prevent blisters.

    Some running socks, however, may not be best geared for hiking. Certain types of running socks may be too thin or low cut. Thin socks can increase friction and ankle socks can be uncomfortable to wear with tall hiking boots. The best socks for hiking are long, thick, and made of wool.

  • How much do quality walking socks cost?

    You can expect to pay between $10-$60 for quality walking socks. Cheaper options may lack in support and durability, both of which are important when choosing a pair of socks for walking or running. Higher-priced items are great when you're looking for a more specific type (like compression) or name brand. The cheapest pair of socks on our list is often available for $10, while our top recommendation, the BOMBAS Women's Ankle Socks, was $13 when we published this list.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Dominique Astorino has authored more than 5,000 stories on health, fitness, and wellness since graduating from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Journalism. She formerly worked at PopSugar Fitness as an on-screen host and fitness editor, and she now has bylines at a variety of health publications and runs her own consultancy, DOMINIQUE Media.

She is also a first-time author of her forthcoming book "The Life Reset," which focuses on mental health and the effects of chronic stress.  

2 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. Brophy-Williams N, Driller MW, Kitic CM, Fell JW, Halson SL. Effect of compression socks worn between repeated maximal running bouts. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017;12(5):621-627. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0162

  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