Running socks tend to be more durable than average socks. Made from breathable, wicking fabrics, they are also designed to draw away moisture from the feet, keeping them cool and dry in order to improve comfort and minimise risk of blistering.
They come in varying levels of thickness – from extra thin to thick and padded, depending on your preference. Running socks are available in 3 different lengths, either socklets which come just above the shoe line, anklets just above the ankle, or crew which come up to the calf. Another sock type is compression socks which are particularly good for helping with calf tightness and shin splints. Look out for toe socks too, designed specially for barefoot shoes.
This video may help you decide which sock is best for you:
Usually in warmer weather your feet expand, so it helps to wear a thinner sock to give you space in your shoes. Obviously, this becomes more important the further you run. Of course, if your feet are very narrow you may well prefer to wear a thicker sock all through the year.
Best Running Socks for Warm Weather
The Stance running socks are made of an incredibly good wicking material, the air channel cushioning and air vents also help keep your feet nice and cool. They are also an incredibly well-designed sock and are anatomically designed with a slightly reinforced heel and toe. They also look good!
Feetures Ultra light is another great thin sock, it comes as a no show or as an anklet sock, going a little further up over the ankle.
Another super lightweight sock, the Hilly Lite Socklet wicks well and is also anti-microbial. It comes up just past the top of the shoe for a snug comfy fit. It also comes in a longer version, going up over the ankle.
The Injinji Five Finger socks come in 3 different weights – this is the thinnest and they are a great sock to wear, even if you don’t use five finger shoes. Personally, if I am running a half marathon or further then I use these socks – I’ve found they stop me getting blisters from my toenail rubbing on the adjacent toe. They have a meshy upper to help with ventilation.
Best Running Socks for Cool or Wet Weather
Generally, in the winter people prefer to wear a slightly thicker more padded sock. Some of the socks also have merino or mohair which just helps to keep the feet warm. Some wool content in a sock is also brilliant if your feet get wet – it helps to stop them feeling wet, as well as stopping them getting cold.
The Thorlo Experia Sock has great cushioning and more padding in the heel and forefoot than any of the socks I have mentioned so far. As they just go up to the top of the shoe they could also be a possibility if you have a very narrow foot and need a thicker sock for the summer. If it is really cold you might want to try one of the socks below which come up a little further, so as not to have a gap between your socks and your tights… Brrrrr
The Hilly Supreme Sock comes up past the ankle and has a 50% wool content. It is also anatomically designed – i.e. the right and left socks are a different shape. It is also anti-microbial and so non-smelly – quite an important feature for a sock that might get wet.
The Inov-8 Mudsoc is another great option for those wet muddy runs. Having a 21% merino wool content they will keep your feet nice and cosy, they wick the moisture well and have a little bit of extra padding on the sole of the foot. They also go up over the ankle.
The Injinji Trail Sock is our slightly padded – and so slightly warmer – five finger sock. It also comes up past the ankle, with a wide ankle band that helps to keep the sock in place and help keep out the mud.
Best Compression Socks
Compression socks help to support your muscles and reduce fatigue.
It’s important that they fit well but are not too tight – the idea is to improve circulation rather than cut it off – so get a tape measure, measure around the broadest part of your calf and then match that against the size guide on the individual sock pages.
If you have a sock that you love and works for you, but find you get tight calves, the calf sleeves may be the way to go.