The Best Athletic Socks, According to Customer Reviews

An podiatrist discusses how to choose an athletic sock, plus the best picks for running, hiking, cycling, training, studio workouts, and more.

Photo: Getty / Pexels / @polina-tankilevitch

Athletic socks are arguably the item in your activewear rotation you think of least. While you might choose a style that blends in with your look, most days, you probably just grab a pair — without putting much thought into it — and go. Investing in socks that are cheap and poorly-made, or not having the right socks for your workouts, can leave you with slippage, bunching, moist feet, and, worse, blisters. Whether you dabble in a bunch of different activities or are committed to just one, your drawer should house the best athletic socks to support your grind.

When shopping for athletic socks, keep in mind that selecting appropriate fabric is crucial. Synthetics, including acrylic, nylon, and polyester (that all wick moisture), are the best. "Cotton retains moisture and causes blisters, smelly feet, and increases the chance of fungal infections in nails and skin," says Dan Geller, D.P.M., board-certified foot and ankle surgeon in Santa Monica, California. You can also consider natural fibers, such as merino wool, which is temperature-regulating (will keep your feet warm in chilly temps and cool on hot days) and sweat-wicking to help keep blisters at bay. (

Geller also points out that the best athletic socks also have built-in cushion to prevent blisters and injuries and to minimize sores. Look to seamless designs to avoid irritation, and you may even want to consider nerdy toe socks, which can really benefit your foot health. "Some socks can be seamless for a better experience or have built-in toe separators, which are excellent for preventing blisters," notes Geller. These types of socks can also help reduce foot concerns, such as plantar fasciitis, by providing arch support. (Psst, check out these best running shoes for plantar fasciitis, according to a podiatrist.)

To ensure you are always comfortable while breaking a sweat, keep scrolling for the best athletic socks for everything from running and hiking to cycling and studio workouts.

01 of 10

Best for Road Running: Saucony Women's Performance Heel Tab Athletic Socks

best athletic socks saucony
Courtesy of Merchants

More than 47,000 five-star ratings should be the validation you need to add Amazon's best-selling women's athletic socks to your cart ASAP. Saucony's AirmeshVenting technology makes these especially breathable, so you stay cool and comfortable mile after mile. An ankle tab protects your heel from painful rubbing, and targeted compression in the arch helps support and stabilize your foot, while reducing irritation. Also great? These come in a pack of eight, so you'll always have a pair ready, even on laundry day.

One reviewer wrote: "So you know that problem when your running socks slouch below your shoe, and WHAM! Blister. This DOES NOT happen with these socks. That little tabby thing in the back is amazing for preventing sock slippage, and these are awesome. They're not too heavy (which is great — dude, I hate bulky socks), but they're hefty enough that you don't feel like you're going to put a hole in the sock after the first few runs. I'm crazy prone to blisters, and these are perfect. [They're] tight enough not to slide around, [have a] tab on the back to prevent slippage, [and they're] thick enough to keep your wee toesies warm on an early morning run."

02 of 10

Best Sock for Trail Running: Balega Blister Resist Crew Socks

best athletic socks balega
Courtesy of Merchants

Any serious trail runner should look to these picks from Balega. The high-performance socks are made with natural mohair and synthetic drynamix to wick moisture, regulate temperature (you'll stay cool in the heat and warm on cold-weather runs), and minimize friction — which in turn, keeps blisters at bay. Plus, they feature breathable mesh panels, extra cushion, an elastic top to keep them from sliding down, and a wide arch band that offers support and promotes circulation. Bonus: The higher length provides more coverage and protection for your legs from branches, mud, and bug bites. (Check out the best trail running shoes to break away from the pavement.)

"I use these for running and trail running in the summer. Perfect fit, not too baggy or too tight, and no blisters :) I have some other Balega socks I love as well, definitely recommend. Hard to go back to "regular" socks for running after finding these!" raved a shopper.

03 of 10

Best for Hiking: Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion

best athletic socks darn tough
Courtesy of Merchants

When you gear up for a trek, whether you choose to wear a traditional hiking boot or a low profile sneaker with rugged traction, what you slip on before you lace up is equally important. Made with merino wool that offers breathability and comfort, wicks moisture and dries quickly, and helps regulate your foot temperature in any condition, this style will keep your toes dry the entirety of your hike. Without a seam in sight, the construction is smooth and won't slip, bunch, or cause blisters. Plus, these are made in the USA, Vermont to be exact, and have a lifetime guarantee. (Related: The Best Hiking Socks for Every Type of Trek)

"I bought three pairs of these DT full cushion boot socks for my 2015 Appalachian Trail through hike," shared a customer. "They now have nearly 2,200 miles between them. Really can't say enough about these socks. Almost every hiker I met on the trail had some kind of DT socks. Yes, they are expensive, but worth it. Going cheap on your feet when it comes to footwear and socks is never a good idea, especially when it comes to hiking."

04 of 10

Best for HIIT/Training: Swiftwick Flite XT

best athletic socks swiftwick
Courtesy of Merchants

If you're into HIIT or high-impact training, you know your feet go through the wringer due to jumps, pivots, and lunges. Swiftwick's socks have micro treads in the heel and forefoot that use frictional force to grip to your shoe, helping to stabilize and secure your foot during major movements and transitions. They also boast mesh vents to wick moisture and prevent blisters, as well as a band of elastic around the ankles for additional support and protection. (Related: The Perfect Strength Training Workout for Beginners)

"Great training sock. Met all my expectations. The grip really is nice," reported a fan.

05 of 10

Best for Any Workout Class: Bombas Women's Originals Ankle

best athletic socks bombas
Courtesy of Merchants

For those who like to try new workouts, one versatile sock that fits all your needs should be in your drawer. This Bombas' sock has unique compression around the middle of your foot to cradle and support your arch, seamless toe construction to prevent bunching and blisters, and is made of a sweat-wicking fabric with mesh ventilation to keep your foot cool an comfortable. But, the best part about buying Bombas socks is that the brand donates one pair for every purchase. Long-lasting and a charity component make the price tag totally justifiable.

One reviewer wrote: "I finally found a "no show" sock that doesn't slide down into my shoe. I was hesitant to buy because they seemed a bit expensive. However, this will likely be the only athletic type sock I purchase in the future. The extra expense is well worth the comfort!"

06 of 10

Best for Cycling: Danish Endurance Cycling Socks 3 Pack

best athletic socks danish
Courtesy of Merchants

These socks are made for any experience on two wheels, whether you're partaking in a triathlon, spin class, or road or mountain biking. The sleek, minimal design will coordinate with all your cycling bibs and shorts, while padding in peak blister zones and breathable fabric help keep your focus on the ride ahead rather than on your toes. As if you needed another reason to add to cart, these come recommended by Danish Ironman athlete and entrepreneur Anders Hofman, who performed the first long-distance triathlon in Antarctica last year — so they can handle any of your rides.

"I use these daily to ride my road bike or my trainer. These socks breathe amazingly well, and are thin, yet offer excellent compression. They are easily the best cycling socks I have ever owned," noted a shopper who's been cycling for over 30 years.

07 of 10

Best for Skiing: Smartwool Women's PhD Ski Ultra Light Socks

Cold toes can ruin a day on the mountain skiing or snowboarding. And while toe warmers sound great in theory, anyone who has ever tried them knows they slip around and eventually lose their heat. The right socks are really the only solution, and this lightweight pair from Smartwool is worth trying. Created with temperature-regulating wool, breathable mesh zones, and a technology that reduces wear on toes, these focus on performance. The socks hit above the calf, ensuring they are tall enough for ski and snowboard boots, so you don't experience any uncomfortable rubbing. (Related: The Cutest Winter Sports Base Layers for Après Ski)

"Whether I'm walking around town in my snow boots, climbing mountains to go backcountry skiing, or riding horses in the winter, these socks feel great in boots," said a customer. "I like a thinner sock that stays in place and gives a good feel for the foot. They don't creep down and end up in your boot. My feet don't get clammy either, [the] sock breathes, and (my) feet stay warm. I recommend having a few pairs,"

08 of 10

Best Socks for Preventing Blisters: Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks

best athletic socks injinji
Courtesy of Merchants

The anatomical five-toe design might look silly, but these socks are legit. By individually wrapping each toe, they allow for natural toe splay, which helps prevent blisters, moisture build-up, and friction. The socks have targeted support in the arch, are breathable (thanks to mesh fabric along the top that allows for ventilation), and feature a cuff to keep the sock in place. Try this funky design once, and you'll get over its appearance and likely buy a few more pairs. (Related: These Socks Completely Eliminated My Painful Post-Run Blisters)

"Wow, I wish I had discovered these socks much sooner!" raved a reviewer. "Currently training for my 5th marathon. I've been told I have a wide toe box, and my second toe is also slightly longer than my first. Inevitably, I lose toenails during training, even with my shoes being a half size up. After long runs, my toes tend to feel mangy (I don't know how to better describe it, just like they've been mashed together). However, these seem to give my toes more breathing room within my shoe and also keep my toes separated. I've found I also have less pain under my toenails (no gross and painful blood blisters that lead to toenail loss — double ew). I do wish they were less expensive but I'm ordering more now. If they make my feet feel better on long runs, well worth it."

09 of 10

Best for Barre: Ozaiic Yoga Socks for Women Non-Slip Grips & Straps

best athletic socks ozaiic
Courtesy of Merchants

Non-slip socks keep you upright, stable, and safe in barre, Pilates, and dance — really anywhere you're sweating it out on a slick floor. With more than 14,000 five-star ratings, reviewers love that this pick has grippy silicone gel on the bottom and a strap across the top, like a ballet slipper, for comfort and security. Plus, these can also be used for yoga to help you hit your poses on your mat with ease. (Related: The Clever Way I Sound-Proof My At-Home Workouts)

"I don't like having bare feet in public spaces, so I wear these for yoga and barre. They are super comfy, and the grips keep me very stable," reported a fan.

10 of 10

Best Compression Sock: Fits Sock 15-20 mmHg Cushioned Compression

best athletic socks fits
Courtesy of Merchants

Athletes often turn to compression socks before, after, and even during a workout to promote better circulation. This particular style has a patented fit with compression that contours the foot and provides support at every point of the leg. Nylon fabrication with breathability and extra cushioning in the active zones on your foot lend even more comfort. The over-the-calf, under-the-knee length stays put, so you won't be constantly making adjustments or pulling them up. While you can easily find black socks anywhere, fun colors are a bit harder to come by, so grab the green neon pair.

"This is my first experience with compression socks and WOW! I am so happy I finally decided to give these a shot. I do a lot of trail running and backpacking. I've noticed, as I've gotten older, that I just can't maneuver on the trails quite like a used to. A lot of that does have to do with my calves being too tight or too tired. These made my calves feel 10 years younger!" shared a customer.

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