Best compression socks for running 2020

Speed up your recovery and minimise aches and pains with our selection of the best compression socks for runners

The best compression running socks

Here, we bring you a supermarket multipack of The Best Compression Socks for All Runner Types. Whether you’re an ultra-runner or you dabble in a weekly park run, a pair of compression socks could help you run better and recover faster. Studies have shown that slipping into the right pair of socks can help your muscles work harder for longer and repair faster after a run. So if you want those kind of marginal gains, here are the best pairs to put on your feet right now. 

Incidentally, if you want something less compressing for your feet, we also have a guide to the best running socks of the more standard variety.

Buying the best compression socks: what you need to know

There are a few important things to consider before buying a pair of compression socks. Not least of which is what they actually are and how they work. 

The idea of compression socks is that they act almost like an extra layer of muscle on the body, applying pressure to specific areas to help the return of blood back to the heart. This allegedly has the side-effect of lowering lactic acid production and even increasing VO2 Max. What does that mean for us? Well, in addition to making your lower legs look extra colourful, compression socks make blood flow more efficiently – it's the same reason people wear them during flights, to help prevent DVT. 

Most socks apply what we call gradient pressure, which means less pressure is applied to the leg the higher up you get. However, because different people have different shaped legs and feet, as well as different levels of circulation, you need to look for socks that apply pressure at the right level, to the areas that are going to help you. 

The level of compression varies too. If a brand lists the grade of compression (rated in mmHg) it’s a good sign you’re getting real compression rather than something that’s just a bit tighter. Many brands don’t provide this information

You’ll find a range of different fabrics. Some will combine compression with thermal layering to keep your feet warm, others use moisture wicking technology to do the opposite.  So it’s important to think about when and where you’re most likely to use them. 

It’s also worth thinking about thickness and how they’re going to feel in your running shoes. All the compression in the world won’t help you if you’ve got blisters because your shoe-sock combo has eaten up all the wiggle room for your toes.  

The best compression socks for running, in order

Best compression socks for runners: 2XU

1. 2XU Vectr Cushion

Best compression socks for all-round training

Reasons to buy
+Great for a wide range of activities+A lot of tech packed into one pair of socks
Reasons to avoid
-Not really for colder conditions

2XU have long been one of the leaders in compression gear. That’s because they pack an enormous amount into their products. With support specifically designed for plantar fascia, arch and ankle optimisation along with blister prevention, cushioning to support push off and heel impact as well as antibacterial and anti-odour technology, you can see why the Vectr Cushion socks are a great option if you want to tick all imaginable compression-related boxes.

Best compression socks for runners: Runderwear

2. Runderwear Compression Socks

Socks designed to fit perfectly for minimal chafing

Reasons to buy
+Reinforced fabric for optimum comfort in the right places+Good for minimising blisters

Runderwear know a thing or two about preventing chafing and blisters and when you pop on a pair of its compression socks, you instantly know that comfort and fit are at the heart of the design. They’re moisture wicking to keep feet dry with support across the foot arch, as well as hand-finished reinforced fabrics. They offer a fair amount of support and stay in place even at longer distances. When it comes to compression you get a graduated effect of 28.4mmHg at the ankle up to 18.1mmHg at the top of the sock. Perhaps the best option for marathon runners.

Best compression socks for running: Aptonia

3. Aptonia Compression Socks

Best affordable compression socks

Reasons to buy
+A great option for compression first timers +A budget option that doesn’t skimp on function
Reasons to avoid
-More for post-run recovery than running-Not as long lasting as the competition

Decathlon’s own-brand Aptonia compression socks are typically good value for money. These are designed to be worn after your run to speed your muscle recovery so if you’re looking for in-run compression, they might not be for you. However, if you’re sceptical about the benefits of compression socks, or the price tag applied to some of the products on the market, then these are the perfect way to sample the recovery benefits without breaking the bank. 

Because they’re designed for post-run they don’t have some of the benefits you’ll find in the higher end products, but with graduated compression, excellent comfort and support, you’re unlikely to find better at the same price.

Best running compression socks: Falke Impulse

4. Falke Impulse Running Socks

Best compression socks for helping with running form

Reasons to buy
+Advanced technology actually helps you run better

Most compression wear is designed to help circulation throughout the body, but the Falke Impulse also aim to help influence your overall posture. Whether you pronate or supinate, the socks boast targeted sensors that stimulate receptors under the skin that can influence the way you run. Nodules on the sole of the foot work to correct your overall posture, while those on the outer calf protect against supination and pronation. They also have humidity regulation, fast drying and support for optimum comfort. A premium option, in every sense.

Best compression running socks: X-Socks Energizer

5. X-Socks Energizer

Best for keeping your feet sweat-free

Reasons to buy
+Advanced technology to keep your feet cool+Cool range of colours

X-Bionic, the team behind X-Socks, are masters at creating technical fabrics for temperature control so it’s no surprise that this sock – with medium level graduated compression from ankle to knee – is a good all-rounder with a clever cooling design that pays particular attention to increasing air flow through the fabric. Perfect for runners who suffer from sweaty feet or mainly run in hot conditions, if you can cut the moisture in the sock you reduce the blister risk.

As well as having a good level of cushioning in the areas that you need it, the range comes in an impressive selection of colours that should fit any run club/race kit you need to colour-match.

Best compression socks for runners: Bitly Plantar Fasciitis Socks

6. Bitly Plantar Fasciitis Socks

The one you need to help with that most annoying running injury

Reasons to buy
+Designed specifically to prevent plantar injury+Open toe design to keep feet cool
Reasons to avoid
-Very specific usage

Dealing with plantar fasciitis is a serious business for runners, so anything that can help speed up the recovery process is a must have. Bitly compression socks are specifically designed to apply pressure to the feet and support the ankles to aid recovery while keeping the foot cool and comfortable.

Whether you’re currently suffering from plantar injury, or are prone to this most frustrating of running pains, the Bitly compression socks offer an affordable way to help reduce the time you may have to spend resting.

Best compression socks for running: Vitalsox

7. Vitalsox

Best for keeping your feet hygienic

Reasons to buy
+Anti-bacterial technology+Great colour range

Unless all your running socks are compression socks, chances are the ones you invest in are going to see a lot of miles, which could make for some smelly footwear. Vitalsox want to prevent that unpleasantness, with DryStat fabric that inhibits the bacteria growth that causes those nasty odours. 

Unlike other socks, the compression also starts at the foot and not the ankle, with varied level of pressure across the sock to maximise circulation benefits across the whole of your lower limb. They also don’t require you to measure your calf for perfect fit, thanks to a four-way stretch fabric that accommodates all runners.