They might seem like an afterthought to newbies, but seasoned joggers can tell you that investing in the right running socks is a game-changer.
Balega Hidden Contour Socks
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There's nothing worse than feeling the "squish" of too much sweaty cushioning under your toes. These ankle-height running socks manage to be ultra-cushiony and light at the same time.
Nike Multiplier No Show Socks
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If you prefer a simpler look without any extra bells and whistles (or want to wear your socks for more than just running), these could be the right ones for you. They're moisture-wicking and have just a little bit of extra padding—plus you get two pairs for the same price as a single pair of many other brands' running socks.
SmartWool PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
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For something truly high tech, try these wool running socks, which are equipped with zoned compression and ventilation for the ultimate in comfort. With minimal cushioning, these are made to be worn with close-fitting running shoes rather than ultra-plush ones.
(Not sure what kind of running shoes are right for you? Here's the absolute best gear for long-distance runs, including shoes.)
Lululemon Speed Sock Silver
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Darn Tough Vertex Micro Crew Ultra Light Cushion Sock
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If you prefer a crew-height sock for style or coverage, these are some of the lightest crew socks out there.
Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks
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If you're a long-distance runner, you know the blister and "hot spot" struggle is real. These wick away sweat and provide padding in just the right places to help prevent the rubbing that causes these painful foot complaints.
(And FYI, here are some other common running pains—and how to fix them.)
Injinji Women's Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Socks
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These individual toe socks might look goofy, but some runners absolutely swear by them—especially for trail running, which can be harder on your feet than road running. Each toe has extra cushioning to handle the additional wear and tear caused by dirt, rocks, and other uneven surfaces.
CEP Women's Running Compression Ultralight Socks for Performance
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Compression socks that don't feel thick and heavy are hard to come by, but these are consistently praised for being lightweight and supportive at the same time. That also makes them ideal for warm-weather runs, as most other compression socks are way too heavy for higher temps.
Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab 3-Pair Pack
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These fun neon socks are just as useful as they are pretty, complete with a higher-rise heel tab for protection against chafing. And don't worry about them clashing with your sneakers. They sit low enough on the ankle that they won't show.