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Running Socks

Top Picks

How we choose: The best running socks highlighted here were selected based on 208 reviews of 36 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Balega Blister Resist Quarter

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Balega's Blister Resist Quarter is a hybrid mohair and synthetic sock from a company that does a great job with running socks. Great wicking properties help keep your feet comfortable. Smooth material doesn't tend to chafe. They tend to show wear by looking "fuzzy" but that's cosmetic—no notable thin spots or wear. Slightly more bulky than a typical running sock.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Wicking
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Thickness of material
  • Price

OVERVIEW By calling this a "blister resist" running sock, Balega is pretty clearly pushing the narrative that this sock is somehow better at protecting your feet from blisters than the average sock. I'll address that but will mostly focus on the more general reasons you might want to get a couple pair of these socks. I was provided two pair to review—a quarter-height and crew height Blister Resist sock. You can see that the crew is a few inches longer on your leg than the quarter. Other than the height and the color, both pair are effectively the same.

Read more: Balega Blister Resist Quarter review (1)

WrightSock CoolMesh II Quarter Sock

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Lightweight, dries fast, durable, comfortable, BLISTER FREE!

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Dries fast

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not a lot of cushioning

Wrightsocks are an interesting concept: marry a liner sock and an outer sock in one piece, lighter than the full combo, but still providing the moisture control and friction reduction of the standard pairing.  I'm happy to say it works like a charm! I took a chance on these socks last summer. I bought two pair for a 100-mile section hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon. I normally wear your standard light poly liner/heavy cushioned wool hiking sock combo. But as I was trying to go Ultralight, I pared down from boots to trail runners, and to these socks.

Read more: WrightSock CoolMesh II Quarter Sock review (1)

Balega Ultralight Crew

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1 review)

Very thin sock for running. Fairly good protection from friction, and stretchy fit. Fabric tends to soil and pill fairly easily. I like the socks for walking and running but prefer Balega’s more robust options.

Reasons to Buy

  • Stretchy fabric fits nicely
  • Smooth, tends to deflect friction that can cause blisters
  • Wicks moisture well

Reasons to Avoid

  • Hard to clean
  • Pilled fairly quickly

Balega’s Ultralight Crew is a lightweight running sock, made of “Drynamix“ moisture-wicking fabric that is supposed to keep your feet cool and wick moisture away to keep your feet feeling dry. Balega also touts its seamless toe as a way to avoid friction points. Unisex sizing in sizes small through extra large.       I have been wearing these socks on day hikes and for cycling in moderately warm to very hot weather over the past few months and gleaned the following from that: FIT: Balega advertises the near-seamless toe and heel pocket of these ultralight crew socks.

Read more: Balega Ultralight Crew review (1)

Darn Tough Merino 1/4 Sock Cushion

user rating: 5 of 5 (4 reviews)

A comfortable, cushioned, and durable merino wool sock that might just last a lifetime.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Cushioned
  • Durable
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Value

Reasons to Avoid

  • Ventilation
  • Price

Darn Tough makes some comfortable, cushioned, and durable merino wool socks that might just last a lifetime. I'm evaluating these socks against five other pairs of socks that I've worn over the last few years. These socks look great and fit great—no excess, no bulging, no binding, just a great fit. They are comfortable right out of the packaging. I typically like to wash my clothing before using, but on one occasion I just slipped these babies on and went for a hike. They are super comfy.  The socks have a decent amount of elastic and weaving to create a supportive feel.

Read more: Darn Tough Merino 1/4 Sock Cushion reviews (4)

Swiftwick Flite XT Trail

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Up your socks-game with a set of all-around socks that can be stretched into service for almost any three-season activity.

Reasons to Buy

  • Slip-free, snug fit
  • Medium padding
  • Blister-resistant, even while wet
  • Stink resistant materials
  • Made in USA
  • Flex and compression zones

Reasons to Avoid

  • Claims ankle support but only provides compression
  • Limited colors; two shades of grey, not fifty
  • Pricy

I can wear shirts that don’t wick sweat away and I’ll be fine.  I can put up with a crappy, $3 vinyl poncho. I can tough it out when my pack tries to wear a hole in my hide. However, if my feet aren’t happy, I’m MUCH less fun to be with.  This is why I no longer complain about paying for great socks. The Swiftwick Flite XT Trail socks qualify as great socks. This isn’t my first pair of their socks. I own four other pairs of their socks, including one pair that I’ve been running and working out in weekly since 2019 (its 2022 rn).

Read more: Swiftwick Flite XT Trail review (1)

Top Running Sock / Hiking/Backpacking

Swiftwick Pursuit Four Sock

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Swiftwick is as good as it gets for scent-free, blister-free comfort, wicking, and durability. Updated!!

Reasons to Buy

  • They wear like iron
  • Blister-free guarantee
  • Snug fit
  • Do not stretch out
  • Low odor
  • Blister free after four months
  • Merino!

Reasons to Avoid

  • They seem pricey till you see their durability

I have owned Swiftwick socks of one variety or another for five or so years now. I've worn them up and down several Cascades Volcanoes and they are now my go-to light hiking and running socks. Test Conditions: I received two almost identical sets of Swiftwick socks about four months ago and I have included them in all my fitness, trail runs, gym workouts and hikes in the hills. It's been long-pants season so I don't have a ton of action shots in them (socks are tough to review) because you'd just see me in pants and shoes.

Read more: Swiftwick Pursuit Four Sock review (1)

Injinji SPORT Original Weight PED

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Injinji Performance Sport, Original Weight, PED-Length Toe Sock, Composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra, is about as functional and hydrodynamic as a synthetic sock can be… Especially so with the Laws of Nature Assisting in the Process.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable, seamless fit
  • Anatomical five toe design
  • Superior moisture management
  • PED Length, low-profile; great for running
  • No blisters!

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be too short for your particular shoe/boot

The Injinji Performance Sport PED-Length Toe Sock, Composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra, is about as Functional and Hydrodynamic as a Synthetic Sock can be… Especially so with the Laws of Nature Assisting in the Process… Injinji on the Web…   Now You See Them, Now You Don't… These are the Vibram FiveFingers EL-X model. I do not recommend these for hiking but they have the lowest profile collar of the three models I do own. The Injinji performance sport PED length toesock (PED) are structurally produced to perform with the utmost respect of functionality and with as little material as possible.

Read more: Injinji SPORT Original Weight PED review (1)

Darn Tough Vertex 1/4 Sock Ultra-Light Cushion

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

I don't know how Darn Tough does it, but I have put over 500 miles on a single pair of Vertex Running Socks, and they still look and feel great! It defies explanation.

Reasons to Buy

  • 500 MILES and no end in sight!
  • Does not retain odors (I only wash them weekly)
  • Keep feet warm when it's cold
  • Stay cool when it's hot
  • Unconditional, lifetime warranty
  • Price and value

Reasons to Avoid

  • I didn't need the second pair.

Quick—Which of these two socks was run in once and which was run in 550 miles? It's a trick question. It's the same sock. The BOTTOM picture was taken on Christmas Day, after a three-mile run. The upper picture follows 550 miles of running over the last five months (including one full marathon and one half marathon). DT's reputation precedes them, and while I wanted to believe the hype, it just seemed highly suspicious that a single pair of socks can take the pounding of running 25-50 miles per week—in pouring rain, in snow, in cold, in heat.  So when my 12yo son gave me two pairs of Vertex for Christmas*, I put one pair away and stated I would not use them until the other pair has worn out.

Read more: Darn Tough Vertex 1/4 Sock Ultra-Light Cushion review (1)

Injinji Performance Micro Sock

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

After the weirdness wears off they are great.

Reasons to Buy

  • No blisters
  • Wicking
  • Soft
  • No problematic seams
  • Works if you have a longer second toe
  • They freak out my oldest daughter (she won't steal them)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Takes longer to put on
  • Weirdness factor

I bought shoes on clearance and they have issues with most socks; possibly why they were on clearance.  The seam across the toe on my running socks dig into my feet and it hurts.  The Injinji toe socks fixed this and made mediocre shoes into pretty darn good shoes.  I had resigned myself to just deal with the shoes hurting my feet till I received a free pair of Injinji socks recently from a major outdoor catalog company. I had no idea if they would fit, if I'd like them, or anything but the price was right and I've been running in them for a couple weeks now.  Why does seeing this for the first time look so wrong? Fit: My second toe is longer than my big toe which, as I was told once, is weird.  In my defense though the Statue of Liberty...

Read more: Injinji Performance Micro Sock reviews (2)

Smartwool PhD Run Medium Mini Sock

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

SmartWool's PhD Run (medium cushion) is hands down the best hiking sock I have ever used. After 100+ miles on the same pair, there is virtually no signs of wear or pilling.

Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Quality construction, durable materials
  • Great fit

Reasons to Avoid

  • I've yet to discover one.

I've purchased SmartWool socks in the past and was not that impressed. They haven't held up any better than cheaper brands. For this reason, I had begun to believe that SmartWool was one of those companies that had once earned its reputation and then faded into fashion-oriented mediocrity. However, the moment I tried on the PhD Run Medium Mini Sock in the store, I knew I was wearing a better quality sock than I had ever worn previously. That impression has continued after more than one hundred miles, composed of one longer trip and several weekend excursion.

Read more: Smartwool PhD Run Medium Mini Sock review (1)

More Reviews of Running Socks

Trailspace reviewers have shared 208 reviews of 36 different running socks.

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Other Types of Socks

Find more socks reviewed in these related categories:

Liner Socks

Compression Socks

Hiking/Backpacking Socks

+3 more types

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