Best running socks 2020 for comfort, support and energy return on road and trail runs

Keep going (and going, and going) with our pick of the best socks for running, jogging, sprinting, walking and gymming… but never hobbling

The best running socks

We've all spent years putting a lot of thought into our running shoes, but nowadays runners know to also focus on the socks they choose. A supermarket multipack of cotton trainer socks just won't do, in 2018. The best running socks can keep blisters at bay, wick away sweat and give you an extra edge when it comes to distance and speed. Socks not engineered for purpose can’t compete.

How to buy the best socks for running

Whether your biggest scourge is uncomfortable rubbing or damp, sweaty feet, positive reviews say you’re in good hands with each of our picks. If you’re after the best of the best though, that’s generally considered to be the SockMine GripLock, which, as its name suggests, stays firmly put while running thanks to woven-in silicon that keeps the sock in place and reduces the risk of rubbing, the biggest factor in painful blisters.

 While you might be inclined to think that naturally breathable cotton is best, these days synthetic socks (or even better, synthetic socks with a hint of wool) have the edge with their specially formulated sports materials. To find the pair that’ll help you achieve your PB, keep reading below.

The best running socks, in order

The best running sock

1. SockMine GripLock

With silicone strands and super-light cushioning, these are our best running socks

Best for: Low friction
Material: Nylon, wool
Size: S, M, L, XL
Type: Low cut
Reasons to buy
+GripLock technology keeps socks in place+Light but cushioned

The SockMine GripLock sounds a bit of a Frankensock at first, but smitten reviewers found its various features presented a united front against discomfort while running. They feel lightweight on the foot, but still manage to pack in thick cushioning where it’s needed; they have a rubbery interior, but wick sweat away from the foot as well as any non-rubbery sock going, and weirdly, it all works. 

The very best bit is the GripLock technology, the silicone weave on the sock’s interior that keeps everything in place and prevents rubbing, meaning no blisters.

Wigwam Men's Sockmile Mark Pro Low Cut

2. Wigwam Men's Sockmile Mark Pro Low Cut

Go that extra mile in these low-cut running socks

Best for: Wicking
Material: Polyester, Tencel
Size: S, M, L
Type: Low cut
Reasons to buy
+Cool colourways+Super-wicking Tencel

These low cut running socks are a great understated shape to wear with trainers that hit low on the ankle, while those anything-but-low-key Jamaican flag colours let you channel a certain lightning-fast athlete – hopefully, anyway. 

The cushioned sole makes these socks useful on rougher terrain, so they’re great for trail runners, and the Dri-release Tencel material wicks moisture away from the foot like a champ. For dry, comfortable feet, no blisters and impeccable style, these seem to be a solid choice.

Nike Elite Lightweight No-Show Tab Socks

3. Nike Elite Lightweight No-Show Tab Socks

Sometimes a no-show can be a really good thing

Best for: Compression
Material: Polyester, nylon
Size: 3.5-5, 7-8.5, 9-10.5, 13-15
Type: Low cut
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight but supportive+Good arch compression

Nike make some of our favourite running shoes, so it stands to reason they’d know their way around a sock too. The no-show design of these Nike trainer socks means you won’t feel sheepish about heading straight into Costa after your run, although if you’re feeling particularly showy, you can undo all that low-key groundwork and go for the Day-Glo yellow option. 

They’re also particularly adept at wicking away sweat, and a dab hand at lightweight support, keeping you dry and comfortable with their Dri-FIT fabric and in good shape with snug-fitting arch compression.

Injinji Socks Run Midweight

4. Injinji Socks Run Midweight

Weird-looking but wonderful, these socks let you run as nature intended

Best for: Natural toe splay
Material: Wool, polyester
Size: S, M
Type: Low cut
Reasons to buy
+Allow for natural toe splay+Padded heel and metatarsal

No-one warned us that the toe sock trend would be back, but while these Injinji socks might look strange, they’re our best pair for wearing with barefoot or minimalist running shoes as their digit-wrapping design allows your toes to splay more naturally than they would in a mitten sock (as we’ve now decided they’re called). 

One reviewer ran in them for a full 24 hours with no blisters to show for it, and a padded heel and metatarsal ensure your foot stays supported even if you’re enjoying a more stripped-back run.

Inov-8 Speed Sock Mid Twin Pack

5. Inov-8 Speed Sock Mid Twin Pack

Durable, dry and light, these are innovative socks for sure

Best for: Durable materials
Material: Nylon, Spandex
Size: S
Type: Mid cut
Reasons to buy
+Quick-drying+Great value two-pack

It’s highly recommended that you wear a fresh, clean pair of socks for every run, which is where this great value running sock twin-pack comes in handy. Frequent runners can keep a spare on hand, and trust the others to dry quickly while they’re out thanks to breathable, fast-wicking material that also keeps feet dry. 

Users commented that the lightweight construction didn’t sacrifice comfort, and that they felt supported (and, crucially, blisterless) over the course of long runs.

Hilly Marathon Fresh Anklet

6.Hilly Marathon Fresh Anklet

See off post-run funk with these stay-fresh socks

Best for: Support
Material: Nylon
Size: S, M, L, XL
Type: Mid cut
Reasons to buy
+Antimicrobial, anti-odour treatment +Heel and toe padding

Runners particularly prone to sweaty feet might want to consider running socks with woven-in antimicrobial technology, like these Hilly Marathon socks. The inclusion of the Polygiene treatment inhibits the growth of bacteria, which in turn leads to less funk, even after a strenuous session. 

As well as being smell-reducing, reviewers found these socks to be fantastically supportive, with strategic padding under the heel and toes (ideal for those with sensitive feet) and extra support under the arch to reduce the risk of pain post-run.