Sports, in general, can be very difficult on your feet. While we generally turn to shoes to make that issue significantly less painful, we often overlook the importance of socks. As a soccer coach, I know just how important socks can be and my team plays on grass. My history playing basketball brings back plenty of memories of extremely sore feet and torn up socks. No matter how perfect your shoes may be, you are going to be left with pain and blisters.
The only way to mitigate this issue is to find socks that can ensure your feet are protected. The socks need to be able to handle sweat, the wash, constant movement, and wear and tear, all while going into the washing machine and dryer and coming out fresh. Style is important as well, depending on the age group. While specific brands are going to be more important for the older crowd, bright colors and designs are going to be more important for the younger crowd.
Most socks, unless otherwise stated, on this list will be unisex. In reality, all socks are, but some may offer a little extra here and there and I will not that if it is the case. As you read through the reviews, pay special attention to the slight differences in the socks. Each will have a great deal of similarities that will be mentioned in each review, but try to make your choice based on the few differences. I’ll try to point out the major considerations throughout the review, but as each foot is different, I won’t be able to tell you which one you will like best. Take this information and use it as a spring board to find the right pair for you.
Top Basketball Socks Comparison Chart
Best Basketball Sock Reviews
These basketball socks make the top of our list for one specific reason – variety. While other offerings here will have some variety, the sheer number of color combinations available with this brand will ensure that you find the right style for you. While the design may not be spectacular, a simple basketball, a few squares and plenty of color, they are simple enough that kids will be excited to wear them but they won’t distract from the actual game.
With blister control, a breathable mesh, and ergonomic cushioning, these will make sore feet a thing of the past, or at least much less painful. Made of polypropylene and nylon primarily, they will also fit snugly without feeling too tight. In addition, they offer moisture and odor control with arch compression and extra support for the heels and toes.
While these are quality socks, there are a few issues to be found. They can slide down if they aren’t tight enough (a somewhat common issue) and they aren’t as high on the calf for some users. Those are minor complaints though as these offer a wide variety of options in a quality built sock.
- Plenty of support.
- A wide variety of colors.
- Simple design is fun for youngsters, but not distracting.
- Can slide down if not the correct size.
- Doesn’t come up enough on the calf.
The Nike Elite would have likely reached our number one spot if more colors were on offer. Unfortunately, you won’t be doing much customization with these socks, but the support they provide makes up for that. As a unisex sock, the simple color design of dark grey, orange and green ensures you won’t feel like you are putting on an accessory. These are simple, to the point, socks.
With extra cushioning on the most impact and injury prone spots on your foot and their Dri-FIT fabric, these socks keep your feet from feeling nasty while also providing the support to keep them safe. They also add extra cushioning on the top of the foot, which seems to be rare, or at least not mentioned on most socks, which is extremely important in team-based sports. While these are primarily basketball socks, they can be used for any active sport that allows the crew style (soccer is out), giving much needed support to the sensitive top of your foot.
There aren’t many negatives to the sock, but they do require you to try them out to see if you like the different support areas. All feet are different and these will not be perfect for each individual. With that said, the spandex used in the socks keeps them tight, which can be a plus, but may require some time to keep them from compressing younger calves too much. If there were more colors or a more dynamic design, the Nike Elite would have edged out our top pick.
- A shocking amount of support for all areas of your foot.
- Adds high-friction and high-impact zone support.
- Dri-FIT keeps your feet feeling dry and keeps sweaty wet socks off the bathroom floor after a game.
- Only one color option.
- The myriad of support zones may not be comfortable for all feet.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that these say they are men’s socks only. They can work as women’s socks if you can find the right size. Women’s socks will be mentioned soon on this list, but this is a great deal for some fairly simple socks. The nice thing here is that they are made of acrylic, polyester, nylon, spandex and latex rubber. Keep that last part in mind if allergies could be a concern. The 3-pack comes in an assortment of colors and while they don’t offer the same level of support as our top two picks, the simple design and great deals you can find, make this a great sock if you aren’t prone to foot pain.
That brings up one of the big negatives of this sock though, a lack of extra support. These are simple socks with only one real benefit, odor-management. You won’t find special support zones or unique “technologies” that make these socks stand out. They are simply socks that are comfortable at a reasonable price. That is a plus and minus, which is why they fit in at the #3 spot. They aren’t exceptional socks, and they aren’t bad socks, but not everyone needs an expensive pair of socks to go out and play basketball, they just need some comfortable socks and these provide a great value to pick up multiples.
The final concerns are the tight fit of the socks, the lack of ability to easily fit on big feet and the fact that they are prone to wearing out faster than most others. Still, these are great for younger players, or pick-up players as they are a solid cheap alternative that won’t break the bank. Not made for professionals, but perfect for those that just want to head out to the gym and play.
- Simple and affordable socks.
- Plenty of color customization.
- No bells and whistles makes it easy to grab more pairs and not worry about any special care.
- Can wear out quickly.
- Sizes can be misleading; the socks are generally tight.
- Not especially unique compared to regular socks.
There are few socks out there specifically designed for women, but the Nike Women’s Hyper Elite are all you really need. These are the perfect socks for support and comfort. One of the unique design choices here comes from the fact that the socks are made specifically for each foot – left and right. This gives the socks the ability to put cushioning and padding in specific areas, such as ankles, toes, heels and the top of the foot, without having to twist and turn the socks to get them lined up just right.
Unfortunately, the only option right now is the volt (neon green), black design. It is simple, but if you aren’t one for super bright socks, you may want to stick to the unisex brands. Again, these offer the same Dri-FIT moisture-wicking fabric that others on this list include, which means dryer feet and socks at the end of a game.
The biggest drawback here is just how specialized these socks are. There is no real room for customization or variety and they are made for just one thing. While that can be a great feature, you aren’t going to have the option to try different types of this brand as there is just this one style. Still, it may be the style you were looking for.
- Dri-FIT moisture wicking gives a dry foot and sock at the end of a game.
- Simple design keeps the socks from being too “showy”.
- Plenty of padding where it is needed.
- Each sock is made specifically for each foot.
- If you don’t like this particular pair, there aren’t many other options out there.
- Bright colors can be a big turn off for many buyers.
- So specially designed, they may not be comfortable for a number of wearers.
These are not much different than the Nike Elite socks at #2 on our list, but the fact that the Nike socks are customized by HoopSwagg taps into a particular audience. They would be higher on the list if the customization was worth the money for more users, but as it is, they are simply Nike Elites with some extremely unique design choices.
The idea behind these socks is that you pick a particular design and HoopSwagg will print you a pair of Nike Elites with that design. Simple as that. The deigns we found are vibrant and full of vivid colors and deep blacks. They also make quiet the statement as they will stand out in any sized arena.
With that said, many report that the colors are a little faded or extremely faded, depending on the pair they received. HoopSwagg is notorious for taking care of customers though, but if these are a gift that need to be delivered by a certain date, make sure to order far in advance to ensure you get a pair that is as bright as shown in the images. As far as comfort goes, check out our review on the #2 sock. You are paying a bit more for these, generally, because of the unique customization, and you may not get the bright colors you are looking for on the first purchase, but they are a fun pair to wear for games.
- Simple Nike Elite socks means you are getting a comfortable pair.
- Bright designs let you customize your look on the court.
- We found plenty of good prices considering you are getting custom printed socks.
- Colors can come out very faded.
- You are paying extra for a unique look – if you need more than a couple pairs of socks, these may be cost-prohibitive.
The Athletic Half Cushioned Crew socks on offer here give a good mixture of comfort and affordability. The poly/nylon blend is great at wicking off moisture to help prevent the growth of bacteria which gives the socks that “locker room smell.” They also offer arch compression which will keep the socks in place. Like most socks on this list, they aren’t specifically made for each foot in the same way that the Nike Women’s Hyper Elite’s are, but the lack of area specific cushioning makes that a minor issue.
As far as design goes, the ones we are reviewing offer an almost Jordan style player on the back of the sock in a neon green on a navy-blue base. I’m not a huge fan of “BASKETBALL” being written across the base of the sock – but that is more of a nitpick than a real issue.
There are some concerns with the sock though. The calf area is a bit tight for more muscular basketball players which can reduce the comfort by a significant margin. For younger players this won’t be an issue, but it is worth noting. Another issue is the build quality. It seems to be hit and miss. After one wash, pulls in the fabric are not uncommon and those can lead to holes in the heels pretty quickly. On top of that, the heels wear out faster than most other socks on this list in many cases. These aren’t bad socks, especially for the prices we’ve seen them at, but they probably deserve a pass if you don’t mind spending a bit more on more reliable socks.
- Perfect for younger players.
- Moisture-wicking fabric reduces the “locker room smell”
- From our research, these are a great price for the quality.
- For avid players, these socks won’t last long in many cases.
- The calf area is a bit tight for more muscular players.
- The material doesn’t hold up well in the wash.
- Holes are more common in the heels than most of the other socks on this list.
We already talked about the Nike Hyper Elite Women’s socks earlier in our review, but these are unisex socks that are a bit more suited to players of all types. For those unaware, these are the Kevin Durant branded socks and while that should inspire plenty of confidence in their quality, they are branded more for their style than their comfort.
They do offer moisture wicking, which is common, as well as cushioning around the ankles and Achilles which will protect those areas from irritation from rubbing throughout a game. Thicker padding also protects pressure points throughout the sole of the foot and will help keep your feet more comfortable than traditional socks.
Where these socks stand out is in their design. While comfort and protection gives the biggest points for socks on this list, we don’t deny that design is important. There are a number of different color combinations which let you buy the perfect sock for your uniform. There are minor difference in the designs, but they are all branded with “KD” towards the top of the calf.
For the most part they run a little small and can feel very tight, but younger wearers will see that they are some of the better socks on the market. In addition, many users report that they are great work socks for demanding jobs that keep you on your feet all day. So, with so many positive points, why are the socks so far down on the list? Cost versus features. While the socks can come in around the same price as some of the top picks, the KD’s just don’t offer the same type of support and features. The design is fancy, but it seems that you are paying a premium for the KD branding which keeps it from climbing a few spots on this list. Solid socks if you can find them at a discount, but at full price, these tend to be too expensive for what they offer.
- One of the better socks on the list.
- Moisture wicking works on the court or on the job.
- The KD brand is going to be important for big fans.
- Extra support in areas that most socks don’t put it – namely the Achilles and ankles.
- Plenty of unique designs.
- It seems that you are paying a premium to have “KD” put on the socks.
- Not as feature rich or padded as some of the other socks on the list.
- Runs small according to many users.
Conclusion & Recommendations
So, there you have it, a list of some of the best socks we could fine. While I may have had some less than positive words to say about some pretty fantastic socks, the job here is to give you a critical look at every aspect and prevent blisters from hurting your performance. I don’t quote prices for each pair, but I do look at an aggregated price over a period of time and compare those prices to the features that are offered. While it is arguable that our #7 sock is a better sock than our #5 or #6, the cost versus the features helps make the final decision for placing.
Still, any of the socks on this list should work well for your needs, just make sure you pay attention to the finer details and watch out for things that may be an issue for you. For example, the Athletic Half Cushioned socks (#6) are of a lower quality than the KD’s at #7, but for younger players these are going to be a much better deal. For adults, the KD’s may be the best bet. Growing feet will need new socks in no time at all, so don’t spend too much on the socks as they are generally one pair per purchase.
There are two socks that are gender specific and they work perfectly for their target audience. They both receive high marks for doing something unique that adds to the value, but make sure – again – that you are balancing cost with value. The top socks on the list made it there because they offer both value and quality. They likely aren’t the best for a professional player, but for most players they are going to be a perfect medium level sock that will last you a long time.
Socks are a strange thing to try to review. They all are very similar, it comes down to design, cost, minor details, and their durability. They are all still performing the same job – keeping your feet comfortable and dry – but some offer specific padding that will work better for some feet than others. You may find that our number one pick is not a good pair for you, simply based on how they fit on your feet, so make sure you buy from a retailer that allows you to do exchanges.
While I tried to be fair to each pair of socks and include big names and lesser known names, I had to keep in mind that not all feet are the same, so no matter how scientific I got with the reviews, the list won’t be numbered right for each reader. Use this as a starting point to try out some of the best socks out there and if you don’t like them try a different pair. I worked hard to scour through the hundreds of socks out there to find the seven best pairs to create a short list that should meet the needs of everyone. So, if at first they don’t succeed, well, you know the rest.
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