The Best Socks for Running

Man running at Marathon race, Barcelona.
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Your choice of running socks can be 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.

Choose Synthetic Materials

When choosing socks for running, the most important factor to consider is the material. You want to stay away from 100% cotton socks. Once cotton gets wet, it stays wet. So, when your feet sweat or you step in a puddle, the moisture won't get wicked away. Wearing cotton socks in the winter will make your feet feel cold and clammy. And they'll cause blisters in the summer.

The best running socks are ones that are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax because they'll wick away moisture. Look for a breathable, anti-chafe material. For winter running, wool blends such as SmartWool are also a good choice. Some runners choose to wear double-layer socks (WrightSock is one brand) for additional blister protection.

Although some runners like thicker socks for additional cushioning, others prefer thin socks for a "lighter" feel, especially in warmer weather.

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.

Other Important Sock Features

Another great feature is padded soles, which can give your heels some extra cushion. Other things to look for are a seam-free toe section, which can further reduce your risk of blisters, and an elastic arch lock, which helps keep your sock in place.

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.