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Many brands manufacture socks that they have specifically designed for runners. The aim of these socks is usually to keep a person’s feet dry and improve circulation. They may also help prevent blisters.

This article discusses running socks in more detail, including how to choose them and their pros and cons. It also suggests nine specific products to consider and looks at ways to protect foot health.

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Running socks are made with breathable, quick drying fabric that keeps the feet dry as a person is running. They also have extra padding across the toes, heel, and ball of the foot, which can provide protection from blisters during high intensity activities and longer runs.

Some running socks also have a compression design to improve blood flow from the legs or ankles to the heart. This improved blood flow can reduce the amount of lactic acid that builds up.

Researchers have investigated the effects of compression elements in socks, which many running socks include.

A 2019 study found that wearing compression socks while running can have a positive effect on performance. The researchers suggest that this may be because the socks improve oxygen delivery and reduce muscle oscillation. However, they also note that the underlying reason for enhanced performance in the study was unclear.

Another 2017 study reviewed the effects of compression socks that the participants wore between repeated running bouts. The researchers conclude that the socks can assist with recovery between exercise sessions and improve subsequent performance.

A person may wish to consider the following features when choosing running socks:

  • Material: People should avoid wearing cotton socks, as they can absorb water and cause blisters. The American Wool Council states that Merino wool is a fiber that can regulate temperature and draw moisture away from the foot. It is also odor-resistant.
  • Seamless construction: Running socks should have a seamless construction that can reduce chafing.
  • Compression fit: Some running socks compress the muscles, improving circulation and potentially boosting recovery time.
  • Arch support: Some products have an elasticated material to support the foot’s arch and keep the sock in place.

Below, we look at some of the best running socks available for purchase.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information is purely research-based and correct at the time of publishing.

How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: Products are available for a range of budgets.
  • Features: Products have a variety of features to suit individual needs.
  • Suitability: Products come in a range of colors and sizes.
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Swiftwick Aspire Four

For a wide range of colors

Swiftwick offers these thin, breathable socks, which provide firm compression. This compression helps support the contours of the foot and reduce fatigue.

The socks also have a moisture-wicking feature to keep the feet cool, dry, and blister-free.

Other features include:

  • a seamless toe box to reduce friction
  • a mesh footbed
  • arch band support to keep the socks in place
  • a Y-shaped heel to prevent the socks from slipping

In addition, they come in nine different colors and are available in four sizes.

They cost $17.99.

Rockay Razer

For eco-conscious customers

Rockay Razer running socks are made with 100% recycled materials. They also come with compression support and a technical mesh.

Other features include:

  • arch support
  • an anti-odor coating
  • anti-blister construction

These running socks are available in eight different colors and four sizes.

The price is $201.12 for a pack of 12 pairs.

Balega Blister Resist Quarter

For mohair material

Balega’s running socks have a moisture-wicking design that allows them to keep the feet cool and dry.

They are made from mohair, which is suitable for sensitive skin, as it protects against sheer friction blisters.

Other features include:

  • an extra-deep heel pocket
  • an elastic grip construction to prevent slipping
  • microfiber mesh ventilation panels

The company also manufactures these running shoes in eight different colors and up to four sizes. The size range depends on the color a person chooses.

These socks cost $17.00.

Saucony Inferno Merino Wool Blend

For a merino wool blend material

These merino wool blend socks have an ultrasoft moisture-wicking design. They also have an arch support system that provides a secure and stable fit.

Additionally, they have a seamless toe, which can prevent irritation.

These running socks are available in two colors and four sizes.

The price is $22.00 for three pairs.

Drymax Hyper Thin Running Mini Crew

For a lightweight design

According to the company, these weigh less than 12 grams in the large size.

They are made from:

  • olefin
  • polyester
  • elastane
  • nylon

These socks also feature a dual-layer sweat removal system and mesh stripe vents for breathability.

They cost $13 and are available in five sizes and six colors.

Feetures High Performance Cushion No Show Tab

For a no-show design

These running socks have a seamless toe, moisture-wicking fibers, and a snug fit. They feature a no-show tab that sits below the ankle and provides blister protection.

They consist of spandex, polyester, and nylon.

Other features include:

  • Lycra power bands that support the foot
  • high density cushioning that provides protection during high impact activities
  • mesh construction for breathability

This product is available in seven different colors and three sizes.

The price is $13.00.

FITS Ultra Light Runner — No Show

For a flat knit design

FITS produces these merino wool socks, which have a flat knit, no-show design and a fully vented top for breathability.

Other features include:

  • odor-resistant and antimicrobial material
  • elastic and moisture-wicking fibers
  • extra padding in the toe, arch, and heel
  • a full contact fit
  • a 2-year warranty

Customers can choose from two colors and five sizes.

They cost $15.99.

Under Armour Unisex Run Cushion No Show Tab

For a Y-heel pocket

These running socks have a no-show design and feature a Y-heel pocket for extra comfort.

Other features include:

  • dynamic arch support that reduces fatigue
  • anti-odor technology
  • sweat-wicking material

People can choose from two different colors and two sizes.

The price is $13.00.

Thorlos Running Maximum Cushion Ankle — JMX

For toe cushioning

These running socks are made in the United States in an acrylic blend.

They have:

  • a flat knit instep and arch cushioning for a secure fit
  • moisture-wicking material
  • toe cushioning for protection

The socks are available in five colors and three sizes.

They cost $13.99.

People may wish to weigh the benefits and downsides of running socks before making a purchase. These include:


  • Running socks can aid with recovery.
  • A range of styles and colors is available.
  • They provide breathability.
  • They may prevent blisters.
  • Those with a compression design may boost performance.


  • Running socks may feel too tight for some people.
  • Some of these socks may be too thick for summery weather.
  • For some products, limited sizes are available.
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People should have regular foot checks and seek medical advice if they have foot problems, as these may indicate other underlying health conditions.

A person can take steps at home to reduce the chance of common foot problems. For instance, the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) recommends that people cut their toenails straight across. Cutting them short at the sides can lead to ingrown toenails.

The AOFAS also states that wearing shoes that fit the foot’s shape can prevent corns, blisters, and calluses.

Toenail fungus is another foot problem that older adults experience more frequently. Toenail fungus may develop when walking barefoot in a damp environment or as a result of diabetes, a poor immune system, or circulation problems.

Injuries can also affect the feet. The University of California, San Francisco, provides some tips for preventing foot and ankle injuries, which can be helpful for individuals who run or participate in other sports.

These include:

  • warming up before exercising
  • wearing athletic shoes that fit the shape of the foot
  • stopping the activity if foot and ankle pain develops
  • avoiding uneven surfaces

Running socks are one type of clothing that may be beneficial for runners. They can improve blood circulation, reduce muscle fatigue, and shorten recovery time.

When buying running socks, features that people may wish to consider include material, padding, and arch support. A person should also choose a product that fits well.

It is important to consider overall foot health when exercising, and a person should speak with their doctor if they have any concerns.