10 Best Running Socks for 2021 : Breathability & Blister Protection

socks for running

All runners and athletes have something in common whether they know it or not, the need for quality socks.  It’s important to find the best socks for your needs as they can prevent common running issues such as sweaty feet and blisters.

As a rule, blisters are created in an environment of heat, moisture, and friction.  Our goal (and yours) is to remove those factors as much as possible.  To that end, cotton is not our friend since it does not remove moisture from your feet or skin.  Synthetics are best since they wick moisture away from your skin.  It’s okay to have a bit of cotton if you like, but as long as the synthetic content is over 50% (preferably over 90%) then you’re good to go.

Seams/Thickness/Arch Support

The fewer the seams the better since a higher seam count also increases friction.  As far as thickness of your sock is concerned, that’s a bit of personal preference, but in general, a thinner sock increases ventilation which decreases moisture.  We suggest finding a sock with higher thread counts and cushioning around the heel of your foot and the ball (front).  We strongly encourage you to look for a sock with arch support as well.  Comfort is king in this game, and any sock that is not a great fit or doesn’t support as well as it should is off our list!

Also, please take note that a good running sock will be left/right foot specific as well!

Top Running Socks Comparison Chart

Best Running Socks Reviews


1.  Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks for Men and Women

Rockay is a Danish-based company that is VERY concerned about the environment and whose goal is to create a VERY high-end product in a world with too many AVERAGE apparel companies.

Rockay is arguably the best running apparel company on earth!  Why do I say that?  Well, get this;  Rockay socks are made from “upcycled” sea garbage/waste gathered from the ocean and recycled to recover the nylon.  Then, once that’s done, the threads are twisted to add elasticity and durability.  200 needles are used to weave the threads, making them more durable than competitors.  A Polygiene coating on the socks makes them bacteria-resistant, which means you can wear them and then just air them out to dry before wearing them again, thereby reducing the need to use water to wash. 

Rockay makes a number of models from the ultra-short AGILE that is thinner and lighter and made for hot days or for race day, to the VIGOR with integrated calf compression sleeves, to the RAZER TRAIL for ankle protection while trail running!

Some basic features on all the socks are elements like having a seamless toe, arch support, anti-blister feature, anti-odor coating, breathable mesh area, and get this – A LIFETIME WARRANT!  If anything goes wrong with the socks anytime, you’ll get a replacement!  How do you beat that?

Even the packaging is biodegradable (the plastic bag) and recycled (the cardboard package) which is also recyclable as well.  


Rockay Vigor Graduated Compression Socks for Men and Women 16-23 mmHg (1 Pair)
Rockay Vigor socks with integrated calf compression, receive top marks from us given the extensive list of qualities it offers smart buyers!



2.  Drymax Sports Running hyper thin socks

These socks put a major emphasis on breathability, with a side focus in comfort. The technology of the shoe predominantly features breathable mesh stripe vents ranging from just above the toe all the way up to the ankle.

The enhanced breathability of these socks is sure to help keep your shoes fresh and avoid that dreaded foot odor that can come from running and exercising at such a high intensity. The Drymax socks also feature a unique vented arch band, this works to cool the foot as well as provide stability, holding the sock in place to prevent from annoyingly loose-fitting socks that can cause problems while exercising. The heel is also designed to improve the fit of the sock in the shoe with the Drymax “Y Heel”.

Reviewers rave about how light these socks feel and the thin texture of them. Most socks have extra cushioning to avoid flat feet, but these shoes sacrifice that in favor of breathability and lightweight. These socks may not be great for those who are suffering from shin splints or other various running restricting injuries. However, these are very lightweight and breathable. One detrimental side effect of the thin nature of these socks is that they can be ripped very easily.

This means that these socks are not very durable and one especially hard workout or any workout that consists of heavy plant and turns could destroy these socks and render them completely useless. As all sock owners know nothing is more guaranteed to graveyard a sock than a big hole in them. All in all, these socks are very lightweight and are priced great, they have the same price as many other high performance running socks, however, they usually come packaged with three socks, whereas most running socks only offer one sock.



3.  Thorlos Thick Cushion Running Crew Socks

Widely viewed as the optimal winter sock, these socks are the leader in cushion with double-thick soles that especially help runners that have to routinely face brutally harsh winters or other extreme circumstances of cold. Many women users rave about the fit of these shoes and that they avoid the dreaded “ear” corner deficiencies found in many unisex running socks.

These socks are best for softness, fit, and feel. One of the problems that people have with these socks is that after numerous washings they tend to lose their stretching and become very stiff socks. Many people have complained that they do not hold up well after the first time washing them.

It might be best advised to seek alternative ways of washing these socks than the traditional washer and dryer combination. In Conclusion, Thorlo is a great brand known for providing thick cushion socks that can help cold feet during the winter or provide additional ankle support for those with weaker ankles or those who simply appreciate having the extra security.



4.  Saucony Performance Socks

These socks have a very smooth aesthetic featuring a dominant black colorway with a unique neon glow branding. These socks are predominately made of polyester, which is a notably durable material, and it also uniquely features rubber and spandex. These socks are immensely popular and also come at a great value, you can usually get about 6 socks for the price of one of most performance socks. Users love the breathability of these socks, many people report that these socks help them avoid the dreaded foot sweat that can become so deterring and detrimental to workout passions. Many may worry that synthetic socks like this are slippery and have very little grip in the shoes, but most reviewers rave about the grip the sock has inside the shoe and their surprise to notice this feature. On the negative end of the wavelength, some people have complained about the sizing of the sock. The Saucony is known for having great padding, amazing affordability, although it does not have an upper-echelon status in arch support.



5.  Balega Hidden Comfort Tab Running Sock

The Balega Athletic Socks have a sleek design that is designed to optimize two very important factors in running socks, breathability and structure. The socks are not only supportive and comfortable, but they also are very durable. These socks will greatly reduce your chance of getting blisters, and the Balega Hidden Comfort Running socks will do exactly what they advertise in the name, comfort and breathability.



6.  Thirty48 Running Socks

These socks feature a cushioned low cut style that will fit well with any running shoes. It has a very unique design with a septennial octagon pattern on the sides of the sock. It also features a divergent colorway aesthetic with the crew of the sock, base, and heel. These socks are not known for being thinner or lightweight, but they are very comfortable and it is thicker in the right areas such as the balls of the foot and heel.

The thicker nature on the heel is likely to help prevent heavy users from aggregating blisters on their feet. There is thinner material used in the arch and top of the foot to diversify the portfolio of running sock characteristics and offer a more breathable and versatile running sock. Many people have positively reviewed the design of the sock. However, some feel that they have terrible durability.

This can be very alarming as these running socks can be somewhat pricey. Many of these socks have displayed problems with washing machines, and this sock is no exception. Some report that after washing the materials rapidly deteriorate and the socks become fragile and the softness dissipates altogether.

These socks also have had reported problems with the dreaded holes in socks. All in all, the fit and feel of the sock has been widely positively reviewed, however, these socks are unlikely to be on top of anybody’s list with respect to their durability.



7.  Wrightsock Anti Blister Double Layer Stride Running Socks

These socks are best known for being very soft. They are made up of two layers that meet at the toe and color. These socks are designed to give the comfort benefits of wearing two socks, packaged in one sock. These are some of the best socks to buy in order to avoid blisters and also have a comfortable pair of socks. If you are a runner who does many miles, avoiding blisters with a sock-like the Wrightsock anti-blister double layer stride running socks will be very important for you.

The material is made of cotton blend, unfortunately, they can be kind of pricey as each order usually only comes with one pair of socks. The design may feel somewhat bland, although the design of a performance sock may not matter to most as it is under the shoe and not visible anyways.



8.  Falke Running Socks

The Falke Running socks come in many different varieties with different targets for running shoe performance. There is the Falke Ru3, Falke Ru4, Falke Ru4 short, lightweight, and Falke Ru stabilizing. The Falke Ru can be very pricey for a single pair of socks but they are amongst the best in terms of high-quality material that will establish comfort on the ankles and dramatically reduce the risk of getting an ankle sprain.

It features a two-layer sole construction that will guarantee a perfect fit in running shoes.

They are also great socks for the winter as they are thick and very well insulated. The stabilizers are arguably the best socks on the market in regards to the ankle stability they provide, however, they are at the top of the price list.



9.  Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light Socks

These ankle-length socks are very affordable and include a unique ventilating fabric design to other performance socks mentioned. The Feetures ultra-light socks have two panels, on just under the collar and a symmetrical alignment above the toe. These two strips are designed to add breathability to the sock. They also are designed to incorporate a difference between right and left feet. They offer heel cushioning and arch support as well.

These socks are affordable and great for runners who are just beginning to get into performance socks. They are the top of the line in price and breathability. The Feetures! socks will greatly help with friction and reduce blisters. This is a great sock if you are seeking a moisture-wicking product. Some have complaints that the socks are thicker than advertised. The Ultralight headline tag may be somewhat misleading as these socks are a little thick in the places without ventilation strips.



10.  Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool Ultra-light Cushion Athletic Socks

If the name isn’t enough to sell you on the toughness of this sock, a quick glance at these socks will scream durability. The sock is thick in the right places, especially the toe, heel, and collar. These socks are a cross between ultra-light and very supportive socks. They are made of Merino Wool and Nylon with a 6% spandex. This is more spandex than performance socks usually incorporate into their material. Although they are thick, they offer breathability in the middle of the sock. This strategic design maximizes comfort and breathability. These socks are pretty expensive, but most things that are expensive tend to be longer-lasting and the Darn Tough athletic socks are no exception. These socks are tight around the ankle, and despite the Darn Tough branding, they are not invincible to all situations.



Running Sock Buying Guide

Performance Running Socks are one of the most competitive markets out there, which leaves us with plenty of options to chose from. Here are some of the most important traits of socks to review before making a purchase:

Blister Protection

Few things can deter the ambition of a runner more than acquiring blisters after hard workouts. If you are annoyed with blisters in your shoes, or simply want to get insurance that you never have to deal with this, you should consider buying socks that are specifically designed to be blister repellant and will keep your heels and feet as good as new.

Winter Weather

If you are a running junkie, odds are you can’t quite get the satisfaction of a good run on a treadmill or indoor facility. Running outside can be great, when the weather permits it. If you are faced with brutal winters and hate the cold, you should look at the cushioning of the socks and which pairs are specifically engineered to resist cold winters and keep you running!

Breathability, (Odor Beaters)

The breathability of a sock can cure many problems. For one, having proper ventilation will greatly help reduce fatigue you may face while running. By letting your foot breathe instead of trapping the heat inside, your body will better maintain homeostasis and avoid overheating that results in detrimental fatigue. Another consequence of a lack of breathability is the odor that will accumulate in the socks. Trapped in unbreathable fabric and whilst pushing yourself to the limit during exercise, your feet will sweat a lot. It is important to have breathability to avoid odorous socks.


If you are seeking performance socks, odds are you are looking to cut down on your times and feel, lighter in your shoes. Having a lightweight pair of socks can be very beneficial as you run miles and miles because you will not have to suffer the burden of carrying heavy feet with every stride. There are many lightweight models of performance socks as “lightweight” tends to be one of the most coveted keywords in sock seekers. However, keep in mind the more lightweight it is, the less durable it is likely to be as well.


Comfortability may come somewhat hand in hand with socks designed to endure winters. But comfortable socks can cover an eclectic range of meanings. Wether comfortable means lightweight to you or great insulation and cushioning. Visualize yourself using the socks when you are purchasing them and decide if you think they would be comfortable for you to wear. Uncomfortable socks will only hurt your chances of reaching your goals and completely obliterate your satisfaction with your performance sock decision.


Everybody hates wearing clothes that don’t fit them and your socks are no different. Socks that do not fit well can annoyingly wrap around the heel or foot. Some socks fit according to shoe size, whereas others are immensely different from their sizing. It is important to look at the reviews of previous customers to see how the sock fits and what sizing is best for you. These performance running socks are customized for optimal performance and the wrong sizing could greatly affect the quality of their design. It also may be important to make sure that the brand of socks has a mirror design for left and right editions of the sock.


Many pairs of high performance running socks can come packaged with a hefty price tag. It is important that your investment is not wasted and can last you a long time. Everybody who has ever owned a pair of socks in their lifetime, which I hope I hope is everyone, knows how detrimental getting a hole in your sock can be to the lifespan of that sock. It is important to find socks that are in it for the long haul and are not easily torn or damaged by extreme circumstances.


At first glance the pricing of these socks may look very similar, however, many editions offer a 3 pack or more of their socks whereas others only offer 1 pair. It is important to not only look at the price when looking for performance running socks, but also consider the number of socks you are receiving in the purchase.



Conclusion & Recommendations

In Conclusion, there are many performance running socks on the market right now, and there are almost as many factors to look at when deciding which running sock is best for you. Whether you prioritize lightweight, comfort, anti-blisters, etc. it is important to understand the combinations that these socks have and the weakness they possess as well.

The ASICS Kayano Classic low cut socks combine lightweight and great fit. The Drymax Sports Running Hyper thin socks are known for breathability and comfort. The Thorlos Thick Cushion Running Crew Socks are currently the best socks for winter enduring, also providing double thick soles and great fitting to shoe size.

Saucony Performance Socks have a smooth aesthetic with a unique neon glow branding as well as great padding in the sock. The Balega Hidden Comfort Tab Running socks also feature a sleek design, they protect against blisters, and they offer a great combination of comfort and breathability. Thirty48 Running socks are known for lightweight and great fit for shoe size. The Wrightsock Anti Blister Double Layer stride running socks are optimized for exactly what the title says, anti blisters and cold weather. The Falke Running socks feature a stabilizer edition which is the best socks for additional ankle stability. The Features! High-Performance Ultra Light Socks add breathability, heel cushioning, and thickness to their already unique brand name.

The Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool provides exactly what you’d expect, ultimate durability and great comfort.

There are many different performance socks to choose from, and they each have a set of focused features that they are known for. Prioritize what you are looking for in your running socks and hopefully, this guide has helped you make a better decision, good luck and thanks for reading!





My name's Pete Stec and I'm one of the owners here at SportConsumer.com and Sport Consumer Family (YouTube). My family and I invite you to travel our journey of wellness for your kids and family through nutrition and exercise while we continue to provide the very best reviews on the sports gear you need for serious competition or for your leisure activity!

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