The best running socks for women

30 April 2021

woman running in trainers

When it comes to running, finding comfortable kit is key. Here’s our round up of the best running socks for cushioning and support.

Running in your everyday socks is a rookie error. After 30 minutes of pounding the streets (or parkland, coastline, forest or treadmill) in normal socks, you’re opening yourself up to a whole world of pain. And blisters, chafing, black toenails and sweaty feet are not pleasant.

Running socks are essential, especially if you’re heading out in the rain or on hot sweaty days. The best running socks are made from technical fabrics that are breathable and wick away sweat from between your toes to keep your feet comfortable and supported in your trainers. One blister, and your game is up.

Reach your running goals with the help of our pick of the best running socks. We’ve scoured the Mumsnet forums, user review sites and online buying guides to shortlist the best running socks. Whether you’re after extra cushioning, a supportive fit or high viz running socks for night time runs, we have found the top-rated running socks that will serve you and your feet well.

Here are the best running socks for women in 2021.

1. Best overall running socks: Balega Hidden Comfort Running Socks

“I discovered Balega Hidden Comfort socks and I now won’t wear any others. They’re the bees knees.”
“I haven't had any blisters since I discovered Balega socks! Comfort and joy.”

1. Best overall running socks: Balega Hidden Comfort Running Socks

A common complaint from runners is that running socks slip down as they run. However, these socks by Balega do not budge, which is probably why they’re an Amazon bestseller. These running socks provide a sturdy fit as they are designed with a heel tab and deep heel pocket to prevent any slippage. Thanks to a poly-blend fabric, designed to wick away sweat and a mesh ventilation to stop your feet from overheating, you should be blister-free! The ‘Hidden Comfort’ design means the underfoot is cushioned and provides padding for long distance runs. These socks are popular with runners with wide feet, they’re not great if you’re looking for a thinner, second-skin sock.

Buy now from Amazon

2. Best budget running socks: Boody Organic Bamboo Ankle Sock

2. Best budget running socks: Boody Organic Bamboo Ankle Sock

These are bargain socks with eco credentials, and they’re plush and comfortable to boot! At this price, feel free to snap up a few pairs without any eco-anxiety as these socks are made from viscose sourced from organic bamboo, the most sustainable plant on the planet. Bamboo requires less water to grow and produces more fabric per acre than cotton. Fabrics made from bamboo are typically very soft and breathable which is ideal for running socks. They’re designed with a cushioned sole and a ventilated panel on the upper foot. You’re getting great quality for a bargain price here.

Buy now from Amazon

3. Best compression socks for running: CEP Run Compression Socks 3.0

3. Best compression socks for running: CEP Run Compression Socks 3.0

Compression socks help with minimising post-run leg fatigue and CEP socks have this sussed. The brand promises ‘light legs and a feel good effect’ and reviewers couldn’t agree more. How is this possible? The idea is that the compression socks remove metabolic waste while you run to aid recovery. The socks fit snug around the foot and ankle, and the compression decreases as the sock fits up the calf. So you’ll be blister-free and have great ankle support. They’re pricey, but can be worn all year round, keeping you warm in winter and cool in hotter months.

Buy now from Amazon

4. Best all-weather running socks: Swiftwick Pursuit Ultralight

4. Best all-weather running socks: Swiftwick Pursuit Ultralight

These merino wool socks are a favourite with expert runners. The test editors at Runner’s World magazine rate this running sock very highly. Expert tester and Textile Director Lexie Sachs at the Good Housekeeping Institute says, ‘It may sound strange to wear wool socks while you run, but merino wool is finer than regular wool, making it feel soft and lightweight. It’s also moisture-wicking and has natural temperature-regulating properties.’ These running socks are durable with a reinforced heel and toe. If you’re after padding, you might want to upgrade to the medium-cushioned Pursuit version. This sock is more slimline with great airflow.

Buy now from Amazon

5. Best cushioned running socks: Under Armour Run Cushion Crew Sock

5. Best cushioned running socks: Under Armour Run Cushion Crew Sock

A treat for your feet! The cushioning provides ultimate comfort around the foot so you feel like you’ve got great support when heading out on your run. Extras like a supportive arch and ventilation on the top of the foot and a reflective logo mean you are good to run that extra mile. Despite the cushioning, there are no ‘lumpy seams’ to report. The other bonus is that the ankle section is made from the same thin, ventilated fabric that features on the topside so the socks won’t bulk up if you want to pop them under your running leggings.

Buy now from Amazon

6. Best hi-viz running socks: Proviz Classic Airfoot Mid-Length Running Socks

6. Best hi-viz running socks: Proviz Classic Airfoot Mid-Length Running Socks

If you want to be seen on dark mornings or evenings then pop these hi-viz socks on for your run. The mid-calf-length design comes in an extremely visible and stylish fluoro pink or yellow and features a band of hi-viz yarn at the top of the sock. The fit is snug and the socks are thin with no plush cushioning. Ventilation panels will keep your feet cool as you run, but some reviewers recommend them only for shorter runs.

Buy now from Amazon

7. Best anti-blister running socks: Runderwear Anti-Blister Running Sock

“I use Runderwear and have found them fab.”

7. Best anti-blister running socks: Runderwear Anti-Blister Running Sock

The secret behind the success of these socks is that they’re made of two layers of technical fabric. The idea is that the two layers rub against each other, minimising the friction against your feet and therefore preventing blisters. They’re a bit thicker than other socks, but this might appeal if you’re prone to blisters. These socks will keep your feet warm on cold mornings, but they’re still breathable and sweat-wicking. The heel tab stops these low-rise socks from slipping. One reviewer recommends sizing up as they can come up slightly small.

Buy now from Amazon

8. Best multipack running socks: Saucony Multi-Pack Performance Socks

8. Best multipack running socks: Saucony Multi-Pack Performance Socks

Like most things, you get what you pay for. With this bargain multi-pack you’re getting a good basic running sock. The socks have mesh ventilation to help prevent blisters and you’ve got a slightly padded underfoot. What you’re paying extra for with other socks is structure and technical fabric. But that said, these socks won’t do you any harm and they’re great to wear as a substitute pair now and then. It’s worth noting that they’re slightly thicker than standard socks and can come up large.

Buy now from Amazon

9. Best thin running socks: Thirty48. Ultralight Running Socks

9. Best thin running socks: Thirty48. Ultralight Running Socks

If your feet are prone to overheating during a run then try these lightweight socks. They have anatomical contouring and seamless closure to give you that second skin feeling. Like other products from high end brands, these socks are made with moisture wicking fabric and have mesh ventilation to keep your pounding feet ultra cool. That said, they don’t provide much cushioning so they should only be worn with cushioned trainers.

Buy now from Amazon

10. Best toe socks for running: Injinji Trail Midweight

“The Injinji toe socks are a favourite.”
“Ininji toe socks are good if you suffer from blisters! Takes a while to get used to but I’m a convert!”

10. Best toe socks for running: Injinji Trail Midweight

Suffer from pesky blisters between the toes? Not any more! Once you’ve got past the slight weirdness of slotting your digits into the knitted toe shapes (a bit like a glove) you’ll never look back. The socks are made from a blend of polyester, nylon with some added lycra, so your toes can move freely as you run. Say goodbye to squashed toes and most importantly, blisters! One word of warning – some testers found the socks a little baggy around their pinky toes.

Price: £16.25

Buy now from Amazon

How to choose the best running socks

First things first: cotton socks are a no-no. If you’re running further than 5k on a hot or wet day, cotton socks will absorb sweat and cause blisters.

There’s a huge range of brands to choose from and the following features are worth considering:

  • Cushioning: On the ball of the foot and heel for comfort
  • Cuff height: High leg for trail running, crew or low for personal style
  • Fabric: Technical fabrics designed with temperature, ventilation and friction in mind
  • Fit: You want your sock to fit like a glove but with stretch to accommodate swell

What type of socks are best for running?

Check the material composition of the sock. A merino wool sock is good to wear all year round as it regulates temperature, wicks moisture away and is odour-free. These socks are priced at the higher end of the market and are designed for serious runners. Most running socks are made from a mix of synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester and spandex. These socks are very durable and prevent irritation.

Are thick or thin socks best for running?

A thicker sock will no doubt soften your step as you run. But it will also take up room in your shoe. Experts suggest if you have room in your shoe, go for a thicker sock, and perhaps one with cushioning for a plush feel on pavements. Likewise, if you have a snug fitting running shoe, go for a thinner sock.

What are the best running socks to buy?

The Injinji Trail Midweight sock from Amazon is hugely popular with serious runners due to its comfort rating. It seems once you’re a toe sock convert, you’re a toe sock runner for life! But you’re not going to regret buying the Hidden Comfort Running Socks by Balega – especially as they come in some brilliant colour designs. A must-buy if you want to be a stylish strider.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which running socks discerning Mumsnet users had bought for cooling small spaces. We compiled a list of the running socks they recommended for being comfortable and durable.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which running socks had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the best running socks we thought would make the best buys.

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