Best Athletic Socks

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Rockay Accelerate
Test Winner: Rockay Accelerate
Amazon Link
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.

Standout Picks

ROCKAY ACCELERATE Athletic Sock
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.
Amazon Link
$16.95
MADSPORTSSTUFF LAX Athletic Sock
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.
Amazon Link
$14.99
Smartwool Women's PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
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.
Saucony Bolt Performance Comfort Fit No-Show Socks
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.
Amazon Link
$13.99
MudGear Trail Running Socks
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.
Amazon Link
$30.00
Balega Ultralight No Show Athletic Running Socks
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.
Amazon Link
Under Armour Mens Charged Cotton 2.0 No Show Socks
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.
Amazon Link
$19.99
Thirty 48 Running Socks
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.
Amazon Link
$27.75
SB SOX Compression Socks
To present an option for those of you looking to avoid no-show or ankle socks, feast your eyes on this compression-style legwear.
Amazon Link
$15.95
ASICS Kayano Single tab Athletic Socks
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.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST ATHLETIC SOCKS

1. Rockay Accelerate

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$16.95

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link
$16.95

2. Madsportsstuff Lax

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$14.99
MADSPORTSSTUFF LAX Athletic Sock
MADSPORTSSTUFF LAX Athletic Sock
MADSPORTSSTUFF LAX Athletic Sock
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

As mentioned, the compression integrated here will reduce your fatigue but also worth noting here is the double welt top and blister control properties.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link
$14.99

3. Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro

Where to buy
Smartwool Women's PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
Smartwool Women's PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
Smartwool Women's PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit
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.

Materials
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.

Comfort
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.

Breathability
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.

Color
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.

Overall
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.

4. SAUCONY

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$13.99
Saucony Bolt Performance Comfort Fit No-Show Socks
Saucony Bolt Performance Comfort Fit No-Show Socks
Saucony Bolt Performance Comfort Fit No-Show Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link
$13.99

5. Mudgear

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$30.00
MudGear Trail Running Socks
MudGear Trail Running Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

These are made for outdoor sports and their blend of polyester (95 percent) and spandex (5 percent) is proof enough of that.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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?

Amazon Link
$30.00

6. Balega

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Balega Ultralight No Show Athletic Running Socks
Balega Ultralight No Show Athletic Running Socks
Balega Ultralight No Show Athletic Running Socks
Balega Ultralight No Show Athletic Running Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

To keep your feet dry when you are wearing these, they have been designed with DryNamix moisture management technology for improved breathability.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link

7. Under Armour

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$19.99
Under Armour Mens Charged Cotton 2.0 No Show Socks
Under Armour Mens Charged Cotton 2.0 No Show Socks
Under Armour Mens Charged Cotton 2.0 No Show Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link
$19.99

8. Thirty 48

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$27.75
Thirty 48 Running Socks
Thirty 48 Running Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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).

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link
$27.75

9. SB Sox

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$15.95
SB SOX Compression Socks
SB SOX Compression Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

The fabric blend that is implemented here is going to be free of static and also odors, which are both huge benefits.

Comfort

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.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link
$15.95

10. Asics Kayano

Where to buy
Amazon Link
ASICS Kayano Single tab Athletic Socks
ASICS Kayano Single tab Athletic Socks
ASICS Kayano Single tab Athletic Socks
Amazon Link

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

Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Comfort

If nothing else, you can count on these being comfortable as they sport seamless designs as well as Profit technology.

Breathability

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.

Color

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.

Overall

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.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. N/A, FAQS
  2. N/A, Frequently Asked Questions, Guide
  3. N/A, Best Athletic Socks for Men, Review
  4. N/A, Best Athletic Socks, Review
  5. N/A, Best Athletic Socks, Review