Top 10 Athletic Socks in 2021 Reviewed & Compared
If you're a rookie athlete, be it going to the gym or just running, chances are that you don't have the right pair of socks. Maybe you even tried working out in them, only to discover foot pain and blister. Maybe you even blamed your poor old shoes for your troubles! Instead of throwing out your sneakers, you could give the proper pair of socks a try, and see how much they improve your fitness life. Read on to discover our list of the best athletic socks and what makes them so special!
In a hurry? The test winner after 12 hours of research:
Made from 100% recycled material
Breathable mesh zones
10 Best Athletic Socks
Made from 100% recycled material
Breathable mesh zones
Only one color option to choose from
If you are on the market for an ultra-light, thin sock that still offers the perfect amount of comfort and protection, then the Agile Thin Running Sock is the perfect choice for you! Made from 100% recycled material, these thin socks provide the perfect amount of arch support without weighing your feet down.Read more
These running socks may not have any cushioning, but they still offer the right amount of support. The lack of cushioning is what helps make them lightweight. They are also equipped with breathable mesh zones that help keep moisture away from your feet. This allows for your feet to stay dry and cool during your run or workout, keeping you just that much more comfortable.
Made from a knit that is high-density, these socks have an amazing fit and stay put, so you can spend more time focusing on your workout and less time having to worry about adjusting your socks. The seamless toe also adds to the comfort level, preventing any unnecessary pinching or bunching that you might experience with other socks on today's market. Step into a pair of these before your run and your feet will be thanking you!
Seamless toe design
Perfect amount of compression
100% recycled material
Added cushioning for comfort
Only offers one color choice
If you are an avid runner or just simply love working out, you know how hard it is to find the perfect sock. Finding a pair of socks that offer the right amount of compression, moisture-wicking capabilities, arch support, and comfort can prove to be a fruitless task. Well, you can stop your searching because the perfect sock has arrived. The 20four7 Fitness Sock is the answer to all of your prayers! Offering breathability, cushioning for comfort, arch support, and not to mention how absolutely comfortable they are, your feet will be so happy you won't want to take them off!Read more
These socks were designed with comfort and performance in mind. Made from a high-density knit that offers breathable mesh zones in all the right places allows your feet to stay dry and cool during your workout. This material also wicks away moisture, so you won't have to worry about your feet sweating, no matter how intense your workout is. The 20four7 socks also come with added cushioning, only enhancing the level of comfort.
You will also find that, along with the cushioning, these socks also offer arch support and the perfect amount of compression, keeping your feet from swelling and becoming painful. The seamless toe also adds to the comfort level because you won't have to worry about the tip of your sock pinching your feet while you run. Made from 100% recycled material, you are not only making a great choice for your feet when you purchase this sock, but you are making a great choice for the environment as well!
3. Rockay Accelerate
Extra Light Mesh
Compression Band Around Arches
On the Pricey Side
Rockay is a company that made a name for itself by creating athletic socks and calf sleeves. The gear they make is made out of high-quality materials engineered by athletes for athletes, and you can really rest easy knowing there's nothing that can go wrong if you choose their products. The products they make are also eco-friendly, as they try to use as many recycled materials as possible, especially plastic. Their products are treated with unique technologies that kill bacteria and odors, so you might not even need to wash these items so often, increasing their durability and saving the planet, again!Read more
The Rockay Accelerate is probably their most popular sock. Accelerate are ankle socks made for hiking and running. Accelerate has a tight top band which helps keep the sock in place, as ankle socks are known for slipping down into sneakers. The top band also keeps dirt away, and it's still elastic enough to let your blood flow freely.
The back of the top band extends where the heel pocket is, cushioning your heels and increasing comfort. There's also a reflective logo present that alerts people of your presence when the night arrives. The top of the socks, more precisely, the area that sits above your arches, is padded, and that helps alleviate pressure, and it distributes weight evenly to take the stress away from your arches.
The extra light mesh is present in certain areas that promote ventilation, helping you stay cool and fresh. The Accelerate has a seamless construction, leaving nothing to cause friction and potentially, blisters. Blisters are the last thing you need when working out, so consider yourself lucky!
The toes also have some extra padding around them, saving you from pain and aches. The heels are reinforced and padded, so you can expect to enjoy the cushy comfort of these socks for a long time. The arch is not only padded but compressed as well, promoting blood flow and minimizing swelling and fatigue. The socks are anatomically constructed, meaning there are a left and a right sock. Rockay offers a lifetime guarantee for your products, so even if something does wrong, expect to have your losses covered!
4. Saucony Bolt Performance
Great Material Blend
Moisture Management System
Air Mesh Venting
Targeted Arch Compression
The Saucony Bolt Performance is a little no show sock that packs a punch. Most of the Bolt Performance is consisted out of polyester. Don't let this worry you though - cotton is reserved for socks that are for everyday use, while you really need polyester in these types of socks, as it wicks away moisture and keeps you dry. The rest of the socks is a mix of rubber and spandex, giving Bolt flexibility and breathability.Read more
The run dry moisture management system present in these socks make sure your feet remain dry and fresh no matter what kind of activities you're into, be it just walking or running full speed. The ultra-wicking fibers do most of the work, while the air venting mesh lets the humid, hot air escape. This leaves room for cool air to keep you happy and comfortable.
The targeted arch compression stabilizes and secures the arches, which is very helpful considering they do most of the work when you're on your feet. The arch compression also keeps the socks from bunching or slipping down into the sneakers, protecting you from blisters. The soles are lightly cushioned, enough to absorb shock and protect you without cramping your feet up! These socks are a multi-pack, so you're covered throughout the week. They come in multiple colorways, giving you plenty of options.
5. Feetures Elite Max
Engineered For Performance
iWick Polyester Fibers
Not Very Durable
The engineers of Feetures have not constructed these socks for people who stand still. They are very well aware that the body is constantly in motion, so the socks were made to accommodate constant moving and bending. The socks have an extra amount of padding that will protect you from all kinds of terrain without adding any extra bulk to bother you when you put your shoes on!Read more
Most of the Elite is woven out of iWick fibers. These fibers do just what the name suggests - they wick away moisture, keeping you dry and odor-free. These fibers are also very soft and supple as opposed to regular polyester.
The expert construction of the sock blends with your feet, acting as a second layer of padded skin, meaning that there are no extra seams and ridges to create friction. Zero irritating seams mean no blisters! Some of the Elite sock areas have compression, but the compression is targeted around the feet to help you run better. The compression and the padding together create the ultimate comfort sock, pushing you to strive further.
You've got plenty of colors to choose from to express your preferences and style. The Elite has an anatomical construction, so make sure you put the socks on the right foot! Feetures is absolutely sure that their socks are perfection, so they offer a lifetime guarantee that protects you if anything goes wrong.
6. Balega Blister Resist
Made With Mohair
30% More Stitches
Heel Branches For Stretch
Hand-linked Toe Seams
Not Too Durable
Tends To Slip Down
The Balega Blister Resistant is one more athletic sock worthy of your time and attention. The socks are made out of a combination of both natural and synthetic fibers, making them perfect for sensitive skin and for sweaty feet. The natural fibers come from mohair, which is anti-friction, static-proof, soft, and durable. Their propriety material Drynamix keeps you exceptionally dry as it wicks away every last drop of moisture.Read more
Balega offers you five different sizes to choose from because they know just how important a good fit is. The Mohair is also a hollow fiber, meaning that it tends to keep you cool when it's warm outside, and it provides you with heat when the temperature drops.
The Drynamix works in unison with a mesh panel to ensure you never feel hot and moist. The heels had 30% more stitches and branches, giving the heel area some much-needed stretch and protection. The toe seams are hand-linked, leaving no room for error, so you will never feel hot spots or see blisters when wearing this pair.
A deep heel pocket combined with a high heel tab prevents the sock from slipping and bunching up. The thin but dense cushions protect the sensitive soles and help you achieve your fitness goals. The arch band is wider to ensure you get all the protection you need.
7. ASICS Women's
Bright, Vivid Colors
Breathable Mesh Panels
Two Small Logos
Wears Down Quickly
We're all familiar with ASICS, but you might not be so familiar with their socks. Their socks are just as good as their other sports apparel is! These vividly bright pink socks are not only attention grabbers - they do their best to keep your feet in their best shape. You can also go for bright yellow, blue, and pink socks, but they come in pairs of three, so you can either go for the pink ensemble or the more colorful one.Read more
The socks are constructed out of 85% acrylic, 13% polyester, and 2% spandex. This blend is nothing to write home about, but it still does an excellent job of improving your fitness life. They have a very low cut, making them invisible socks, so even if you want them just for the features and you're put off by the color.
Don't worry - they won't be that visible in the first place! The Cushions are plush and dense, hugging your feet softly while protecting them fiercely. Mesh panels sit at the top to improve breathability. The acrylic fibers have moisture management properties, so you'll be both sweat-free and cool. The ASICS logo is visible at the cuff and at the top of the sock, contrasting the lively colors.
8. Smartwool PhD
4 Degree Elite Fit System
Mapped Mesh Zones
Loses Elasticity After Washing
These lightweight micro socks are just what you need to help cool you down and help you strive for bigger goals. Although the socks appear flimsy, simply because they are thin and rather small, they are actually impressively durable, managing to survive much more wear and tear damage any other no show sock could. They are built for performance, so you can take them with you on your every adventure.Read more
The PhD Micro Socks have a 4 Degree Elite Fit System. This means that the part surrounding the ankle joint is super flexible, while the toes are virtually seamless, giving you all the freedom of movement you would ever need without causing irritation and blisters. The wool used in these socks is unlike any other wool found on the market.
It's called Indestructawool, and just like the name says, it's extremely durable yet super comfortable. The body-mapped mesh zones let the air circulate in and out of the sock freely. The soles are lightly padded, making them a great choice for shoes that are already heavily padded. You should wash the socks inside out to avoid having to deal with wool fuzzballs and avoid putting the socks in a dryer.
9. Under Armour Resistor 3.0
Reinforced Heels And Toes
True Seamless Toes
ArmourDry Wicks Away Moisture
ArmourBlock Prevents Bacteria Growth
This value pack of six is just what you need to kickstart your fitness journey. Under Armour is a company known for creating sports-oriented gear, and their socks are of the same cut. Most of the sock is made out of polyester - exactly 98% of it. The remaining two percent is reserved for spandex. A sock that is almost purely made out of polyester might not live up to the standards other athletic socks established, but it's still good enough to protect your feet.Read more
The gray heels and toes are in high contrast with the white backdrop, but that's not the only reason why they are different. They were strategically constructed to protect the areas of your feet that survive most of the abuse when you exercise, meaning that the socks will last longer and that you will experience less discomfort. The toes are seamless, reducing irritation by a great deal, saving you from blisters. The ArmourDry material wicks away moisture and accelerates evaporation. so you won't even get to feel the sweat pool around you before it's permanently gone. ArmourBlock Technology prevents bacteria from taking over the socks, and no bacteria means no bad odors!
10. Nike Performance
Reinforced Heels And Toes
These quarter socks from universally known Nike are simple yet effective. They are either solid black or white, with a logo that contrasts the background so it's fully visible. You won't get a single pair of socks for the price though - you get six pairs, which is more than enough to last you for a very long time!Read more
As we said, the socks are very simple, with not a lot of features that other highly-specialized athletic socks have. Most of the sock is made out of cotton, and although this may bring joy to natural fiber lovers, athletic socks should have almost no cotton in them.
Yes, it is breathable and very light, but it absorbs moisture fast, staying damp and causing more trouble than what it's worth. These socks do have a small percentage of polyester though, so it will wick away moisture and keep you dry if you don't sweat too much or encounter inclement weather.
The heels and toes are reinforced, so even though the cotton alone might not survive, when it's reinforced it can actually surprise you and protect you for as long as you need it to. The cuffs have a ribbed design, fitting snugly around your ankles and preventing the socks from slipping into your shoes. The arch support is present in the form of a band that wraps around the middle of your foot.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Humans spend most of their lives on their feet. Whether we're running, walking, or standing still, our feet are the ones that have to carry our weight and help us reach our goals. This is why it's very important we provide them with as much comfort as we can, and the way most people do that is by buying super comfy shoes.
Our shoes are not the only ones that affect how good our feet feel! A poorly chosen pair of socks can undermine all of the work shoes do, and sooner than later your feet will feel angry and sore. If you want to avoid that, make sure you know what to look for when buying a proper pair of socks!
The very first thing you need to look out for is how the socks were made. Chances are that you had a pair of low-quality socks. It's possible that you're wearing one now, while you're sitting comfortably and reading our guide.
Although the quality of the sock does not matter as much when we are sitting down and relaxing, it does matter a lot when we're walking about, working, or exercising. If you want to know whether you've got a good pair of socks, divert your attention to the seams and stitches that hold the socks together.
Crooked seams and super thick stitches are a hallmark of bad socks, and wearing them with sneakers spells trouble. The seams are the main cause of irritation of blisters, and they can even pinch your skin and toes and cause all kinds of pain. This is the very last thing you need when exercising, which is why athletic socks usually have seamless toes and heels.
With no seams to irritate you and cause friction, there will be nothing left to cause blisters. The next thing you need to observe is the top band. Knee-high socks and crew socks don't usually have a tight top band, because they have a lot of skin to grab hold of and they can stay up all by themselves.
However, low-cut socks and no-show socks, and fitness socks are usually like this, are pulled down when you move and they slither into your shoes. Once they do, you need to stop and adjust them, or you need to suffer the consequences of a bunched up sock. A tight top band will prevent all of this, keeping the socks where they are meant to be.
The top band has to be elastic too, because your feet need the precious oxygen-rich blood, and a band can prevent that from happening if it squeezes you too tight. This can lead to pain in the feet and toes.
Compression bands around the arches are something to look out for as well. These bands apply a certain degree of pressure around the arches, giving them support and keeping the sock in place. All of this can affect the comfort level of the sock, and if anything is lacking, you won't feel comfy.
One more thing that really affects how comfortable the sock is, is the padding. Fitness socks usually have cushions, but the cushions shouldn't be too thick. The pads should be dense and thin because this way they offer the most protection without affecting the fit of the shoes and your comfort.
Pads are usually present around the toes and heels, but some socks are padded throughout the soles, and some are even padded at the top. How much padding you need is determined by what you're going to use the socks for. Walking and hiking need the most protection while running socks do not need as much because the sneakers are already generously padded.
If you're going to use the socks in a gym setting, remember to avoid padded socks if you plan to lift. Shoes made for lifting have zero cushions and a super firm midsole because you need a stable surface to lean into when you lift, and a padded sock can ruin that and throw you off balance, which is the last thing you need when you lift heavy!
The compression can also affect the level of comfort. Although athletic socks are not compression socks, there can still be areas that have compression, most notably around the arches. You might think that squeezing itself is not comfy, it can actually increase the comfort level a lot.
Compression on the feet helps with stabilizing them, particularly the ankles, and it also prevents swelling and fatigue. Graduated compression is the best for this, but again, athletic socks do not have this. Even the smallest level of compression can greatly increase comfort, and it's always better to have that tight hug stabilize your arches and help you achieve more than what you hoped for!
If you want a comfortable, effective sock, it has to fit you right. If the sock slides around your feet or squeezes you too tightly, you won't be able to concentrate on working out. Socks that are too big slide around our feet and leave extra bits of material that bunches up and creates friction, while small socks cramp your feet up and cause pain. This is why it's really important you find the right sock size.
Some socks are one size fits all, while other socks have five or more different sizes to accommodate different foot shapes. One size fits all socks are convenient, but they usually don't work well for people who have feet that are too small or too big. The width can also be compromised, so it's always better to look for socks that offer more sizes.
Fitness socks are usually never one size fits all, because all the extra features they have to affect the fit, and you can't be sure the same size can fit different feet the same way. Most fitness socks follow the size of your shoes, so your shoe size is your sock size.
Some people don't know precisely what their shoe size and rely on going to the store and trying out what they believe their size is, and then adjusting the size to what they feel is good. Well, you can't do that with socks, because no one will allow you to actually try them on before you buy them, so you must be absolutely certain about your shoe size.
If you're not, there's a quick way to check. Just grab a piece of paper, take off your socks, and place your feet on the paper. Measure both feet, because their size can vary sometimes.
Trace the outline of your foot with a pen, and then measure the widest and longest points. Write down these numbers, and then compare them to the charts the manufacturers offer, and there you go - you've found your sock size!
The fit can be affected by other aspects besides the size. The length of the sock matters here too. Longer socks tend to fit better, but you have to take your calf circumference into account as well if you want the best fit.
Short socks hug the foot and a little bit of the ankle, but if the top band is too tight, you might feel uncomfortable. Also, shorter socks tend to slither into shoes, affect the fit greatly. Make sure the socks have a good top band, as we described in the comfort section. The padding, compression, and stitches can change the fit as well, and you must remember to consider every factor before opting out for the right socks for you.
What your socks are made out of says a lot about them. Regular everyday socks are usually made out of cotton, with a little bit of polyester to keep your feet dry. Cotton is a natural material that comes from the plant bearing the same name.
It's cheap, easy to harvest, and it creates beautiful socks because it takes on colors very well. There is a reason why these kinds of socks have little to no cotton in them. Cotton is not very durable, and it won't survive being trodden on repeatedly for long periods of time.
It's also thin, and it absorbs water well but it doesn't let it dry off, so if you get socks that are mostly made out of cotton, you can expect to feel damp and stuffy as soon as you start to sweat. Wool is one more natural material that is much better for socks for working out. It's usually Merino wool or Mohair that makes up athletic socks.
Although you may think that wool will make you feel way too warm, or that it may scratch you and pinch you, the wool used for these types of socks is different from that. It has different fibers compared to regular wool, with a hollow center that holds on both warm and cool air, and it adjusts to the conditions outside to make you feel comfortable.
Wool absorbs water the same way cotton does, maybe even more, but thanks to the thick fibers and the different construction, the water escapes to the outer surface very fast, leaving you dry and cool. Wool is also very durable, but the biggest drawback is the price, as wool socks are some of the priciest socks out there!
Polyester is the most common synthetic fiber found in athletic socks. It's derived from plastic, and depending on the company, it's treated in ways that make it unique to the brand. These unique strands of polyester have unique features that improve your athletic life.
They wick away moisture and keep you dry, they are easy to wash and dry, or they are super hardy and very unlikely to tear. Nylon and spandex can be found in fitness socks as well, and they serve to improve the fit.
These materials give the socks their stretch and allow your feet to move naturally. The best athletic socks are a blend of most of the materials we mentioned here, and it's always better to have different fibers making up the sock instead of just going for a simple blend of two!
Athletic socks have a lot of features that make them what they are. The first thing that separates these socks from regular socks is their ability to wick away moisture. Regular socks can do this too, but the moisture-wicking of athletic socks is much more powerful.
This aspect is of great importance, simply because you won't feel good running around in damp socks. A damp sock can also cause bad odors because bacteria love to thrive in such conditions. Lastly, a wet sock increases friction and creates blisters.
Some socks are treated with anti-microbial technologies, like silver or special proprietary material blends, that do not let bacteria develop no matter what. Tightly related to moisture-wicking is breathability. Breathability is achieved with mesh panels and ventilation zones.
These usually sit on top of the sock, but they can be found elsewhere too. Although wicking away water is most of the job, the hot, humid air still has to escape somewhere to let the cool air in. Finally, look out for socks that have anti-blister properties, and socks that support your feet!
Why do we need special socks for running or working out in the first place? Can't we just go run in our regular, day-to-day socks? The answer is yes, you could, but you will greatly benefit if you wear the right kind of socks. Regular socks cannot protect you from blisters, they do not give you the support you need, nor do they fit you so well as a sock that is made specifically for working out.
By wearing regular socks when you exercise, you open up ways to feel discomfort, pain, and fatigue, which fitness socks would definitely protect you from. If you don't believe this to be true, you can test it out. Get yourself a pair of athletic socks, and then wear them one day, and compare them to regular socks. You will find that you feel much better and that maybe you even did better simply by wearing the proper socks!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The socks that you choose will have to be durable. After all, you are going to push yourself to the limits, and the pair you're wearing has to be able to survive that, more than once! Look for socks that have reinforced heels and toes.
There are usually the areas to give in first, as they survive the most friction and abuse. Also, make sure you know how to care for your socks properly, because putting them through the wrong cycle can shrink them or tear them to pieces, and you can't wear socks like those! You also must know when it's time to retire your favorite pair. Once you see holes sprouting everywhere, or once the sock loses its effectiveness, it's time to say goodbye!
The best part about socks is that they are small. You can fit them just about anywhere, and carry them with you no matter where you go. This means that you can go to the gym in your regular socks, and then switch to your fitness socks once you put your gym shoes on.
This way, you ensure the socks last a longer time, and you also have a clean pair waiting for you once you're done exercising. You can always carry an extra pair of socks in case something goes wrong with the first pair!
Other Factors to Consider
We can't imagine our lives without socks. Wearing shoes barefoot is never a good idea, but wearing the wrong kind of sock is also problematic. Once the fitness socks appeared, our lives were greatly improved and we started to really feel the benefits of working out without our feet feeling angry and sore afterward. We hope our guide has helped you find what you were looking for, and that you understand the importance of these types of socks better!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Does the length of the socks matter?
The length of your sock matters if you're exercising outdoors. If you're just going to the gym, no-show socks or quarter socks are a perfect fit, as you don't need the extra coverage knee-highs to provide. If you're going hiking or trekking, longer socks can protect you from the elements and from nature, so it's better to go for longer pairs.
q: How often should I wash my socks?
It's always best to let your socks air dry after you're done working out and then throw them in the washing machine as soon as they are dry. Some sock manufacturers, like Rockay, have treated their socks with special chemicals that do not require you to wash the socks as often as you normally would. Make sure to read the instruction of the sock producer, and wash them according to that, and you should have no problems!
q: Are these special socks pricey?
You can expect to see a bigger price tag on athletic socks. This is simply because a lot more thought has been put into creating these socks, as opposed to normal socks. They also have plenty of features and amazing materials that make them worth the while, so you will pay more, but their value is much bigger too!
q: Can I wear them when I'm not working out?
Sure you can, but it's probably better to save them for when you're exercising. When you wear them all the time, you damage them and shorten their lifespan. And it's always better to have your athletic socks last as long as possible instead of enjoying wearing them when you sit around doing nothing!