Best Athletic Socks
You know that dreadful feeling when you’ve let the laundry go for too long and you’re down to your last, most despised pair of socks? Do you know what makes that feeling even worse? Having to engage your sport of choice in those old socks. Not only is this a bad feeling, but it is also harmful to your feet. Not having a proper pair of athletic socks when engaging in physical activity can cause blisters, discomfort, and odor. Let’s fix this issue once and for all. On this list, you’ll find ten of the best padded, breathable, and comfortable sock options for athletes. What is even better is that many of these options are available in packs, meaning that you can do a complete sock overhaul. Next time that you get down to the last pair, there will nothing to cry about.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10.75 hrs of research
They do a great job of wicking away sweat
Each of the color options is well-designed
Padding is featured in both the heel and toe areas
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST ATHLETIC SOCKS
1. Rockay Accelerate
They do a great job of wicking away sweat
Each of the color options is well-designed
Padding is featured in both the heel and toe areas
They can be hard to put on
The material tends to get fuzzy after washes
Consider this the best option that you have never heard of. Perhaps you have and already know how great it is but for those of you who have not, let’s take a closer look.Read more
These are designed to fit tight and snug and they do that very well. Even though they can be difficult to get on, they are sized fairly well and also stay on very well.
In addition to the fact that these have been designed of merino wool from South America, every inch of them has been tested for durability and longevity.
With padding in both the toe and the heel areas, these provide exceptional comfort and support during your long runs or trips to the gym.
Due to the merino wool itself and also the built-in ventilation zones, these are quite breathable and optimal for use during the hotter months of the year.
In addition to the quality, you can’t help but be impressed by the visual design of these. Each of the available options is fantastic but both the black and red and black and purple variations may be the best.
Now that you have become a witness to the Rockay Accelerate Socks, you are aware of one of the best models available on the market today, period.
2. Madsportsstuff Lax
There are tons of different color options available
The construction is top-notch
Several performance features are on full display
Quite a few users have noted that these run small
Right from the get-go, you will probably notice that these run all the way to your mid-calf. They are also designed with both arch and ankle compression for reduced fatigue.Read more
Overall, quite a few buyers have noted that these run small. As was mentioned, also, they do run all the way up to your mid-calf which means they do not stop at your ankles.
Due to the combination of polypropylene (which comprises 77 percent of these), nylon, elastic, and spandex, you can’t help but be impressed with the craftsmanship on display here.
As mentioned, the compression integrated here will reduce your fatigue but also worth noting here is the double welt top and blister control properties.
First off, these control bacteria and odor very well. Secondly, they feature moisture-wicking properties which allow them to be breathable when your feet begin to sweat.
Each of the color choices is far from subtle but they are also not overly outlandish to be ridiculous. In fact, most of them are quite appealing.
If you are not looking for mid-calf socks then, clearly, you will want to seek other options. If you are, however, it may not get better than this in the world of athletics.
3. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro
Comfortable and flexible fit
Great color options
Cushioning could be improved
Our next addition is catered to women and has a narrower construction. They are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and elastane, making them highly comfortable and impressively breathable. While there is a small amount of cushioning in the sock, if that is your main concern, this may not be the best option for you.Read more
These little wonders are available in three different sizes, Small (US size 4-6.5), Medium (US size 7-9.5), and Large (10-12.5). Happily, almost every single reviewer claims that they fit true to size. SML 90% say they fit true to size. They are specifically designed for the narrow foot of a woman. They feature a 4-Degree Elite Fit System to keep them in place but also allow them to move with your feet. At their tallest point, they measure 1.5” tall.
The material construction of this garment is 48% merino wool, 48% nylon, and 4% elastane. They are made with 200 needle construction, giving the knit a high density while keeping the weight of the product low. This item can be machine washed on the gentle cycle.
It’s the name of the game, right? If this garment is uncomfortable, your whole routine can be thrown off. Luckily, with the Ultra-Lite Micro Socks, you don’t need to worry about that. They feature a virtually seamless toe, convenient heel tab, and are lightweight. Many reviewers have been impressed with the fact that this item doesn’t ride down your foot as you exercise, it comfortably stays in place.
While merino wool is a naturally breathable material, it easily wicks away moisture and is also naturally antimicrobial and anti-odor. There are additional mesh ventilation zones built into the socks for even more breathability. These features make these socks great for athletes or travelers.
There are many color options available here. Depending on which online retailer you choose to support, the color options differ. Currently, on Amazon, there are nine great color choices. You’ll find everything from blue, gray, pink and white. However, if you want a more unique color, on Backcountry, you’ll find meadow mauve, bright coral, and blue steel.
What’s not to love about this sock? They come with a two-year warranty from Smartwool and provide great overall comfort. A few reviewers would have liked to see more cushioning, but it hasn’t seemed to be a deal-breaker.
Many buyers have noted that these run true-to-size
These are available in multiple packs
The breathability is superb
The interior stitching of each sock could be improved
It is arguable but this option right here could offer the best value on the entire market (not just on this list). The brand is also Saucony so that always helps.Read more
Amazon has a neat feature where they allow buyers to claim if a particular product was true-to-size or not. Well, for these socks, thousands of users have noted that these do fit true-to-size.
These are mostly comprised of polyester (95 percent) but there is also a touch of rubber and spandex implemented. Overall, the interior stitching could be better and so could the durability as a whole.
To provide a bit of impact protection, there is light cushioning that has been implemented. In addition, the arch support system prevents these from bunching and causing discomfort.
What more could you say other than these excel when it comes to breathability? This is thanks to the run dry moisture management system and also the mesh ventilation construction.
In various colors, this option is available in packs of 6, 12, and 18. And, even though you can’t separately choose the colors, the variety is pretty good.
If you look at each sock individually, you may be only somewhat impressed with this option. You can’t do that, however, as it needs to be viewed as the amazing value that it truly is.
They are really comfortable to wear
The color selection is strong
Designed with medium ankle compression
The fit can be pretty darn snug
A product like this simply allows the quality to speak for itself. From top to bottom, you should be more than compelled to buy this option.Read more
Like others, these are designed to fit snug and this has been noted by a few buyers. But, for some of you, the fit might be just a little too snug.
These are made for outdoor sports and their blend of polyester (95 percent) and spandex (5 percent) is proof enough of that.
There is no need to worry about getting uncomfortable with these as they are designed with comfort in mind. They breathe very well and also prevent blisters from arising.
In spite of the medium ankle compression, these are not really optimized for compression as a whole. However, as mentioned earlier, these do breathe exceptionally well.
Each of the available color options has their own distinct appeal and, quite frankly, each one of them will be visually appealing to most of you.
Though the fit is a bit snug, can you see why these are so popular? MudGear deserves a lot of credit for their design, don’t you think?
The cushioned heel and toe have been reinforced
Designed with a broad elastic arch support
Each sock incorporates a hand-linked seamless toe
They run small
They can begin to pill after numerous washings
Even though it is not the be-all and end-all of athletic socks, you may notice right away that these are offered in a flurry of outlandish designs. For those looking for a casual appeal, you may not be a fan of this option.Read more
Okay, so a fair share of users has noted that these can run small. At the same time, the heel tab is nice as it aid in preventing each sock from slipping while you are running.
Overall, these are not the most durable options on the market. They are comprised of a blend of polyester, nylon, and elastane, though, so the blend is fairly impressive.
First off, ultrafine hi-tech performance yarns have been implemented to reduce the overall weight of each sock. Also, the reinforced cushioned heel and toe enhance the overall comfort.
To keep your feet dry when you are wearing these, they have been designed with DryNamix moisture management technology for improved breathability.
Yeah, let’s just say that there are some pretty crazy designs here. The variety that is provided is quite good but the thing is if all you want is a basic sock, you will be a little disappointed.
Looking past the visual design, most of you will appreciate this option for being comfortable, breathable, and effective. While problems persist, you can take comfort in those aforementioned characteristics.
7. Under Armour
Designed with anti-odor technology
Features dynamic arch support
This is a pack of six
The elasticity at the ankle area needs to be improved
They can leave fuzz everywhere
What is unique about this set of socks is the fact that they are designed with charged cotton. In addition, these are no shows which means you will not be able to see them with shoes on.Read more
As for the fit, most users agree that these fit as expected. However, a few users have made mention of the fact that these can slide down while you walk at times.
The fabric blend itself is quite impressive with 80 percent cotton, 17 percent nylon, 2 percent polyester and 1 percent spandex comprising these. Of course, these have also been known to have issues with fuzz.
In addition to the fact that the dynamic arch support will help to reduce your foot fatigue, the charged cotton has the comfort of regular cotton but simply dries much quicker.
The elasticity at the ankle area of each of the socks needs to be improved as these do have a tendency to slide. But, they are designed with anti-odor technology and do breathe well.
Overall, the colors available for purchase are pretty basic. For some of you, though, the basic colors will be an improvement over other options that are too outlandish.
Under Armour is a high-quality brand and it is no surprise to see them land so high on this list. Their socks offer an excellent combination of comfort, performance, and durability.
8. Thirty 48
There is no shortage of padding
Features elastic arch support
Designed with CoolMax fabric
Each sock is pretty thick
A few users have reported the count in the description can be misleading
Probably the most talked-about aspect of these athletics socks is the fact that they are designed mostly of CoolMax fabric. Of course, they are really, really thick.Read more
There are a few different sizes you can choose from but, as mentioned, these are quite thick and due to this they could end up feeling a bit bigger than you may be accustomed to.
In addition to the CoolMax fabric (which makes up 33 percent of the total blend), each sock is designed with 27 percent cotton, 30 percent nylon, 8 percent polyester, and 2 percent Lycra.
Let’s just say that there is no shortage of cushioning. Some previous buyers have made mention of the fact, however, that this is not necessarily all a good thing as it makes the socks pretty thick.
In spite of the thickness, the CoolMax fabric ensures that these excel in breathability. Even still, these may not be the best option for hot, summer days (due to the thickness).
Basically, each and every one of the color options is different variations of gray and a random color. Each one is pretty appealing, though, for the most part.
This design can come off as counterproductive but for the right weather and circumstances, it can work as well as any other option on this list, quite frankly.
9. SB Sox
Designed with anti-odor and anti-static fabric
Sports the benefits of compression wear
There are several different colors available
The fitting can be odd
Pressure is placed on your toenails
To present an option for those of you looking to avoid no-show or ankle socks, feast your eyes on this compression-style legwear.Read more
Based on user feedback, you can expect these to fit a little tight in the calf area while being a bit bulky in the toes. Admittedly, this does make it a bit challenging to switch between sizes.
The fabric blend that is implemented here is going to be free of static and also odors, which are both huge benefits.
The reinforced and cushioned heel and toe areas provide you with support and also enhanced comfort. On the contrary, the weave that is present over the toes does place pressure on your toenails.
Thanks to the implementation of graduation compression technology, you can enjoy improved blood circulation with these. The fabric is also breathable so that always helps.
When it comes down to it, the color variety is so good that every single person reading this right now (both men and women) should be able to find one that suits their style.
In spite of a few problems, these compression socks do a great job of providing you with the benefits of compression wear. They are also quite stylish, too.
10. Asics Kayano
Designed with a seamless construction
The fabric breathes well
Various color options are available
They do seem to run small
The durability has been questioned
In the world of running shoes, ASICS is a top-name brand so it only makes sense for them to make an appearance on a list of this magnitude.Read more
Both the arch band and the Y heel gore fit enhances the overall fit here. However, there have been a few users who have noted that these can run on the small side.
The longevity of these has been brought into question by a handful of previous buyers. As for the fabric blend, these are mostly comprised of Nanoglide nylon with a touch of spandex.
If nothing else, you can count on these being comfortable as they sport seamless designs as well as Profit technology.
These do a great job of keeping your feet cool but they can also slide down from time to time, which is a bit disappointing.
Of the colors that are available, not too many of them are basic. Nothing too outlandish is present and for most of you, you will probably be appealed to most of them.
ASICS is a trusted brand so that always helps. But, their athletic socks are not flawless even though they are very comfortable and breathe with great efficiency.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If you have worn athletic socks in the past then you have probably noticed that they tend to be snug. Guess what? This is not a coincidence as this is the way they are intended to be designed. When you think about their purpose, it does make sense that they fit snug. After all, when you are partaking in physical activities, the last thing you want is for your feet to slip and not be stable. And, while the shoes you are wearing will play a role in this, so will the socks. Ideally, they need to be snug enough to keep your feet stable and to prevent slipping.
But, that last sentence was important as they should be “snug enough”. There is a fine line between models that are too tight and those that are perfectly snug. However, because athletic socks typically are only offered in three to four sizes, it can be more difficult to find the perfect fit. What is really nice is on Amazon, is that they have a feature that allows previous users to comment on how a particular option fit them. This allows you to gauge what size you should buy based on previous user experiences.
The materials used to make these products play a role in the item’s durability. There are quite a few materials out there that can be used for athletic wear. A lot of people look to stay away from cotton and while 100 percent cotton socks can produce blisters and fungus, cotton itself is a breathable fabric. Alongside cotton, you also have polyester and nylon. The former is known for its quick-drying properties and the latter for its durability and resistance.
Oh, and you also have merino wool and while the misconception is this material is only good for winter, it is actually a year-round fabric that resists odors. And, most models will sport a hint of spandex (also known as elastane and Lycra) which allows them to keep their shape better. For the most part, most options on the market will sport a fabric blend of many of the materials just mentioned.
All garments in the world share one thing in common; they all need to be comfortable. You better believe that when it comes to this product, it is not different. However, when you assess the comfort of any given pair of athletic socks, there are vital features that you need to look out for. The most important has got to be the implemented cushioning and padding (which is going to be omitted with normal foot garments). Even though the shoes you are wearing will go a long way to determining how much your feet are protected, your socks can also play a role. Ideally, what you want is padding and cushioning in key areas such as the heel, toes, and sole.
All this type of padding can add much-needed impact resistance to your runs, exercise routines, and other physical activities. But, do not stop there as you also want to assess the design of the seams. Poorly designed seams that protrude out can cause nagging discomfort and even blisters. Optimally, search for options that are either free of seams or ones that sport flat seams.
Sometimes, these types of foot garments will sometimes offer arch or compression support. If you are someone who suffers from overpronation or plantar fasciitis, then you may want to prioritize options that offer an ideal amount of arch support as this can keep your arches from bottoming out.
Once again, this is another area where these types of socks differ quite a bit from regular old pairs. And, when you talk about their effectiveness or performance, the first characteristic you need to assess is the breathability. This word is going to be very prominent throughout your buying process and is one of the most important factors out there, period.
The main reason is your feet are going to sweat, like a lot (they do have the most sweat glands in your body). So, if you do not have socks that can both wick away this sweat and also regulate the temperature of your feet, then you may not have the right pair for you. Now, the fabrics that are utilized will play a role in this area (as was addressed earlier) so keep that in mind.
Believe it or not, this section can actually be somewhat important to you.
Look, you may believe that this section is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things and while you might be 100 percent correct, that is okay because sellers around the world understand the market. Not trying to ridicule anyone here but why else do you think that nearly every seller on the market offers their athletic socks in a variety of colors? Variety is the spice of life and when it comes down to it, humans are simple and tend to prefer “stuff” that they find more visually appealing. Whether you want to point to articles of clothing, vehicles, smartphone cases, or even furniture, engineers around the world are not dumb and understand this philosophy, so to speak.
At the same time, let’s not act as if this section should be head and shoulders above the rest as that is not true either. You must not allow the visual appeal to be the standard-bearer. Instead, if you are in-between multiple options that are both well-designed, you could use this section as a tiebreaker of sorts.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Right from the get-go, understand that this type of legwear is going to fit snug. That is the purpose as your feet should not be allowed to slip around during physical activities. But, as you will find out, some options will still not fit your feet correctly as you still do not want them to be so snug that they provide unbearable discomfort. What you are looking for is options that offer that perfect medium.
With technology devices, you need to understand several of the specifications in order to make the best purchase possible. When it comes to garments such as these, you also need to look at the specifications but what you are looking for is the fabric blend. This is going to go a long way to determining the longevity and performance of any given sock. But, with so many materials to choose from, which ones are the best?
How many of you out there love wearing articles of clothing that are uncomfortable? Let’s just assume that no one in the universe said yes and that pretty much is all that needs to be said, right? Not so fast as what does comfort entail in this case? For starters, you should look for models that are designed with an ample amount of cushioning. Oh, and do not forget about the design of the seams.
Other Factors to Consider
Another important factor to consider when investing in any of these types of garments is their overall durability. There is no doubt that these items are going to take a bit of a beating and it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each pair. You will notice that most of these products are made from materials such as nylon, elastane, or polyester.
These synthetic fabrics are known to be quite durable over time without fuzzing or pilling as cotton would. You may also want to look for options that are designed with reinforced heels and toes and these two areas are known for being heavy-wear areas. The material blend should also be thick enough to be long-lasting but not too thick to produce overheating. As no one wants to invest in a garment that is going to die out on them after a few wears and washes, this is something to consider before investing.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will they keep your feet warm during colder weather?
Up until this point, it has almost been assumed that you needed a pair of these for summertime or general use during warmer climates. But, you can partake in athletic events during the colder months of the year.
So, with that in mind, will all types of athletic socks keep your feet warm? The answer to this question can’t be yes but keep this in mind. When the temperature drops outdoors, moisture on your skin is going to reduce the temperature of your skin drastically and can cause frostbite. With socks that wick away moisture from your skin, in essence, your feet will stay warmer.
q: How do you decide which style you want based on your activities?
This is a tough question to answer because the reality of the situation is your activity could end up playing a role in the model that you end up picking. For example, there are models out there specifically designed for running. And, while these can be suitable for other activities, they will be specifically optimized for running.
There is also a pair on this list that is specialized for lacrosse players. However, in reality, if the sock fits, wear it! A couple of points that you may want to look out for is moisture-wicking abilities and overall comfort. If you are exercising in extreme heat, or just happen to have sweaty feet, a pair with moisture-wicking abilities is going to be very important. Aside from that, if your choice is comfortable, the overall style or intended purpose is not important.
q: Will they completely eliminate blisters?
The reason why this question can’t be answered with a definitive yes is that there are always exceptions to the rule. Of course, the other reason is that your socks will not be the only cause of blisters if they end up developing on your feet. In general, though, in order for blisters to be minimized you need to look for a pair that fit you snug, are free of irritating seams, and those that manage your moisture well.
q: Is it okay to wear compression garments while sleeping?
As you saw on this list, you can buy models that sport compression benefits but let’s talk about that for a second. With models such as these, should you be wearing them at night? Well, due to the fact that the compression is going to increase your blood circulation, they will keep your legs warmer. However, if you are already pretty healthy then there is no real reason to. But, you could always try it out to see how your body reacts to it.
Another great time to wear your compression garment is when you are traveling by plane. This style increases circulation and prevents your feet from swelling up as much as they normally would. They don't fully avoid this situation, but on a long flight, you will see a noticeable difference.
q: Will they eliminate foot odors?
Much like with the question that alluded to blisters, your socks are not the only reasons why odors persist. Yet, they can limit the amount of bad odor you smell if they can manage moisture (as bacteria that cause odor tends to grow in damp, warm and dark areas). Of course, your shoes will also be a cause of bad odors. And, while both your shoes and your socks can be designed with anti-odor technologies, you should get in the habit of cleaning both of them regularly. You can also buy special deodorizing sprays that will help.
q: Can you use fabric softeners when washing them?
It is very important that you do not overlook this question as you could end up hurting your athletic socks in the long run. Even though you can machine wash them with similar clothing, you should avoid using fabric softeners when you wash them. The reason why is these can leave a residual coating on both fibers and fabrics. So, in this case, it may prevent a certain model from performing in the manner in which it was designed. Of course, if you have already used a fabric softener then you can always wash it out with some detergent and a quick rinse.