Choosing The Right Running Socks (And Why It’s Important)

You’re looking for a pair of socks you can use for running but aren’t sure what kind of socks you should wear. Well, you’re in the right place. I have tried running in different types of socks and I’m in a unique position to give you advice in choosing the right socks.

In general, a good pair of running socks is snug around your foot and wicks away sweat. Look for socks that cup your heel well and have a good cuff to prevent it from sliding down. The thickness of your socks will depend on the weather and the fit of your running shoe. 

But that’s not all. There are more factors to consider when choosing your running socks. Ahead, we will look into the different factors to consider when choosing the right running socks.

How To Choose The Right Running Socks

As much as I want to give you a single answer as to the one brand of running socks that’ll solve all your problems, there’s no such thing.

Running socks differ in fabric, length, thickness, and other features. The only way to find the perfect socks for you is to try on a bunch of them. However, you can use these tips when choosing your running socks.

Find The Right Material

Back then, runners grabbed whatever socks is available and go out for a run—even 100% cotton socks. Although that is still a viable option (some running socks with extra cushions have some percentage of cotton), running in 100% cotton socks is a recipe for unnecessary discomfort.

Cotton socks absorb sweat which will get heavy and can cause chafing. In addition, wet and warm socks are a site for bacterial build-up which can cause odor and athlete’s foot (a type of skin infection).

When choosing your running socks, choose only those that are made of synthetic fabrics. Unlike cotton socks, they wick away moisture, dry quicker, and don’t absorb as much sweat. 

The common material used for good running socks are a blend of:

  • polyester
  • spandex
  • acrylic
  • wool
  • nylon

The best-selling socks on Amazon are made of 98% polyester and 2% spandex.

Determine Your Prefered Length

Running socks come in various lengths. There are the “no-show” socks that end right above the heel to an over-the-calf that is right below the knee.

Length is a matter of preference and style. But if you prefer the no-show socks, make sure it has a tab in the Achilles tendon area to prevent the shoe from rubbing in your skin.

Personally, I like to use crew-length socks because I never have to worry about the blisters in the heel area. In addition, longer socks prevent sweat from sliding down to my shoe which may lessen the wetness (I’m not really sure if it actually does, but it makes sense).

When I’m running in the city, I wear no-show socks because it looks better, but I always make sure it has the tab in the heel area like this one.

Base The Thickness Of Your Socks To The Fit Of Your Shoe And The Weather

Socks also vary in thickness. Thin socks tend to be lighter, dry quicker, and provide more room for your foot inside the shoe.

Thin socks are great during hot weather where you can use some extra ventilation in your foot. It’s also great if the fit of your shoe is a little tight. 

The only problem with thin socks is that you’re more susceptible to blister when you’re running longer miles.

Thick socks, on the other hand, provide more warmth, feels more comfortable, and add a little bit of cushion underfoot.

It’s also good for keeping your foot more stable inside the shoe by filling up more space. If the shoe is a little loose, wearing thick socks is a great solution to make it snug.

Thick socks are the ideal option for running in cold weather

Choose Socks That Really Fits Your Foot

Unlike the socks you use for casual wear which are unisex and free-size, most running socks are gender-specific and are available in different sizes which limits the excess fabric that could cause blisters on your foot.

When trying the socks on, make sure there are no excess fabrics. It should fit snug all-around your foot. A little wiggle room in the toes is ideal. If it’s too tight, it may cause your toes to hurt. 

Look For The Features That Fits Your Need

Lastly, choose running socks whose extra features match your need. For example, If you’re someone who frequently gets blisters in between your toes, you get a running sock that has a compartment for each toe like the Injiji socks.

There are socks that feature extra arch support. They’re perfect for runners with a weak arch or flat foot.

You can also choose socks with an extra underfoot cushion. They’re perfect for those long and grueling runs where you can use the extra cushioning, no matter how little it is.

Or maybe you need socks you can wear in during hot and humid runs? There are socks that are extra breathable to keep your foot feeling cool and fresh. In contrast, there are socks that have better thermoregulation made for your winter runs.

One of the best socks to wear during cold weather is the SmartWool socks. They are made of 54% merino wool which has great moisture-wicking properties to keep your foot fresh throughout your run. In addition, merino wool has good thermoregulation properties that provide more warmth without sacrificing breathability.

By the way, if you’re having trouble keeping yourself warm when it’s cold, I made an article that’ll show you 13 ways to stay warm when running in cold weather. Be sure to check it out.

The point is, different conditions call for a different types of socks. Finding the socks that fit your situation is one of the keys to a better run.

Why Choosing The Right Socks Is Important

Wearing the right socks is probably the second most important factor that could affect your overall comfort next to running shoes. Not wearing the right socks when running can lead to discomfort, chafing, and blisters which will affect your overall performance.

There are some runners who prefer not to wear socks when running for the sake of speed and breathability. Although some runners have had a good experience doing that, more often than not, it usually leads to discomfort. I’ve made an article detailing why you should never run without socks. Check it out.

My Favorite Running Socks

If you want to take a quicker approach and just use the same socks I use, here are my recommended running socks for different situations:

Nicho Mauricio

Running wasn't always my favorite sport. I was a CrossFit athlete and I loved every bit of it. But since the pandemic began, I was forced to stay away from the gym and train at home instead. Things got boring. That's when I decided to trail run with my friends. I instantly got hooked. So I started training and researching all things running. As a beginner, I want to buy only the best running gear and do only the best practices. This blog is where I share what I've learned in my journey and my experiences as a runner.

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