How important is running to you? If you’re committed to daily runs, you deserve the right tools to maximize your performance. You may already have a great pair of running shoes. But what kind of socks are you wearing? Please don’t tell me tube socks!
The same socks you wear to work are not going to cut it when you go running. The best running socks for men have features that protect and support you. Let’s talk about what those are.
- 1 How do I choose the right running socks?
- 2 How long do running socks last?
- 3 How many pairs of running socks do you need?
- 4 Best Running Socks for Men in 2024
- 5 Conclusion
How do I choose the right running socks?
What type of socks to wear with running shoes? Start by shopping for socks specifically labeled for running. Then think about these features:
Running socks come in all sorts of heights, from no-show to knee-high. It doesn’t matter how tall your socks are if you’re comfortable in them.
No-show socks can be problematic if they slide down into the shoe. One of the ways manufacturers solve the problem is by placing silicone patterns on the heel to hold the sock against the skin. This might cause blisters if you run long distances. Another solution is to put a padded collar or tab at the rear of the sock to help it stay over the top of the back of the shoe.
Ankle-high and quarter socks are the most common styles. They stay up and out of the way. Crew socks, if they have good elastic, stay put at mid-calf.
Then, knee-high socks are more common for trail running and winter exercise. Some offer compression to improve blood circulation and speed recovery.
It doesn’t matter how much cushioning you have as long as you are comfortable. Compared to a good running shoe, socks provide a minimal amount of shock absorption. However, many runners appreciate padding in the heel and forefoot to reduce the risk of blisters.
Do you need cushioned running socks? No, you don’t. But if you’re used to wearing padded socks and want to try ultra-lightweight socks without cushioning, take it easy at first while you adjust.
Reinforcement and support zones
Running socks usually have elastic zones in the arch and/or around the ankle for extra support. This also helps keep the sock in place to reduce friction.
If you’re a distance runner, socks with seamless toes are a must. Any stitching can become a friction zone and cause injury.
Cotton socks aren’t recommended for running. They soak up and hold onto water and all that moisture leads to fungal infections, blisters, odor, and cold feet. If you want to use natural materials instead of synthetics, try merino wool. It’s not itchy, and if it gets damp, it maintains your body temperature. It’s also surprisingly durable and odor-resistant. If you run outdoors in the winter, it’s a treat to run in wool socks.
Otherwise, go for high-performance synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, elastane, and spandex. They wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly.
How long do running socks last?
You already know that you only get so many miles out of your running shoes. The same is true for socks. You might get 300 miles per pair. Of course, they will last longer if you rotate between pairs.
Following the care instructions will also help your socks last longer. If you don’t have the time to mess with extra steps like using the delicate cycle or turning the socks inside out, don’t get them.
How many pairs of running socks do you need?
We recommend at least 2 pairs and preferably 4 pairs so that you have time to wash them and rotate between them to maximize their lifetime.
Check out the top running socks for guys here:
|The best running socks for men
|Thorlos JMX Maximum Cushion Ankle Running Socks
|Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Pattern Ankle
|Darn Tough Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Sock with Cushion
|Stance Run Tab St
|Samsox Merino Wool Running Socks
|Balega Blister Resist No-Show Socks
|MudGear Premium Compression Socks
Best Running Socks for Men in 2024
Thorlos JMX Maximum Cushion Ankle Running Socks
Thorlos are my all-time favorite socks brand. I’ve had pairs last as long as a decade. If you’ve just committed or re-committed to exercising regularly, you can’t go wrong with these cushioned running socks. They are soft, durable, and totally worth it.
The Thorlon fiber padding is in the heel and forefoot where it’s most needed. What’s more, it’s clinically proven to cut down on pain, wetness, blisters, and pressure.
The fabric is an acrylic/nylon blend with a touch of elastic. It’s sculpted to fit closely in the instep, forefoot, and heel to keep the sock from sliding or bunching. No worries, your toes will have plenty of room to wiggle.
The socks are machine-washable, of course. And the socks will last much longer and perform perfectly if you turn them inside out before washing and use liquid fabric softener in the rinse cycle.
No, there aren’t a lot of flashy color options. It’s mostly white, black, gray, or navy. Nevertheless, the brand offers an excellent range of sizes including women’s and big sizes to fit everyone.
Choose from different heights, too, like roll-top no-show, ankle, quarter, and crew.
- Reputable brand of socks with clinically-proven benefits for runners and athletes
- Available in women’s, men’s, and big sizes in varying heights from no-show to crew
- Padded in the heel and forefoot with instep support
- Durable Thorlon fiber is an acrylic/nylon blend
- Only a few colors
Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Pattern Ankle
Smartwool socks are about as durable as Thorlos. I’ve also had some pairs last a decade or more. They are warm in the winter and surprisingly not too stifling in the summer. Seriously, people wear these to go running in Florida. It’s because they don’t feel sweaty.
The merino wool is blended with nylon and elastane for the perfect performance. It wicks moisture and breathes well while hugging the foot and preventing blisters.
Moreover, part of the nylon is recycled as the brand is pivoting to more sustainable practices.
The socks are made in the USA and can be machine-washed and tumble-dried. Turn them inside out and use the delicate cycle to keep them in top shape.
- Durable wool and nylon blend wicks moisture and doesn’t feel sweaty
- Hug and cushion the feet to prevent blisters
- Made from recycled fibers
- Machine-washable and dryable
- Lots of different styles to choose from – it may take some time to narrow down what you want
Darn Tough Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Sock with Cushion
If you like having brightly colored socks, there’s plenty of variety here. But the real attraction is the nylon/merino wool/spandex blend. Just like Smartwool, Darn Tough socks are ideal for running in all kinds of weather. They help the foot feel dry and comfortable as they are breathable moisture-wicking and fast-drying.
However, this particular pair is the runner’s style which is ultra-thin and only lightly cushioned. (If you prefer more cushioning, get the athletic version).
The no-show socks are barely visible except for a tab at the rear. They are made with an undetectable seam to prevent friction.
- Ultra-thin and light with minimal cushioning
- Invisible seams prevent friction
- Moisture-wicking and fast-drying
- Many colors available
- Rear tab
- Ultra-thin, low-cut style may not be warm enough for running in frigid temperatures
Stance Run Tab St
The socks have a unique fiber technology called FEEL360. It reacts to body temperature to keep you comfortable and resists odors. It’s a blend of nylon, polyester, and a little cotton with elastane for stretch.
Moreover, the lightweight mesh fabric has specially engineered arch support and a seamless toe. There’s also light cushioning. Check out the tab in the back: there is a reflective logo for dawn and twilight runs.
The socks are machine-washable and can be tumbled-dried.
- Specialized running socks with engineered features
- Seamless toe and arch support
- Temperature-responsive fabric resists odors
- Reflective logo
- Rear tab
- Machine-washable and dryable
- Don’t be put off by the cotton – it’s only 7% of the total fabric
Samsox Merino Wool Running Socks
Do you love plush socks? These are the perfect blend of wool, nylon, and spandex with just the right amount of cushioning. They are soft and breathable and keep the feet feeling dry. They also seem to cut down on odor.
Furthermore, they are good-looking enough to be worn for more than just running. There are no seams in the toe to cause blisters and the reinforced heel makes them last longer.
Two pairs come in every pack. Although they are machine-washable, they will last longer if you turn them inside out and air-dry them.
- Plush and soft wool/nylon/spandex blend
- Cushioned and moisture-wicking
- Two pairs to a pack
- Require a little more care than some brands
Balega Blister Resist No-Show Socks
South African-made Balega socks are famed for their ability to prevent blisters. What’s the secret? We suspect it’s the unusual blend of materials. The socks consist of Drynamix polyester, wool, mohair, acrylic, nylon, microfiber, neofil, and elastane. It’s unlike any other socks we reviewed.
Balega gives credit to the mohair’s hollow fiber structure. (Mohair comes from the Angora goat. It’s soft and lustrous). The brand says it regulates temperature, making these all-season socks. Mohair also happens to be shrink-resistant more than regular wool.
The seamless toe, deep heel pocket, strategically-placed padding, and high heel tab also prevent chafing.
Not to worry, for all their special characteristics, these are still machine-washable socks.
- Unique and unusual blend of high-performance materials including mohair
- All-season socks regulate temperature and wick moisture
- Seamless toe, deep heel pocket, padding, and heel tab prevent blisters
- Shrink-resistant and machine-washable
- Pricey but beloved by pro athletes
MudGear Premium Compression Socks
Let’s wrap up with the best trail running socks created by an OCR brand (they do obstacle racing). The blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex provides graduated compression with moderate pressure (15-20 mmHg). Therefore, they promote increased blood circulation to boost performance and help with recovery.
What do runners say about compression socks? They report that the socks cut down on soreness, swelling, and fatigue. Similar socks are worn by people on their feet all day like nurses as well as other types of athletes.
Give them a try – they come with a satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
- Trail running socks with graduated compression
- Improve circulation and reduce soreness and fatigue
- Available in various patterns and colors
- Covered by a satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty
- Knee-high only
We hope our reviews helped you find your new favorite running socks today. The right socks will help with performance, comfort, and motivation.