The 20 Best Workout Socks for Every Type of Exercise

Gladys T. Black

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Workout socks are often an afterthought to your activewear look — the result of a quick grab into your drawer before lacing up your favorite pair of running shoes or weightlifting shoes. But your socks are almost as important as your workout shoes for boosting performance. “With the right sock, you decrease friction within those shoes and help wick away some the excess moisture during a workout,” says Florida-based podiatrist Dr. Jay Seidel. Unfortunately, not all socks are created equal. Avid runners need different socks than people who perform CrossFit several times a week. Regular walkers might want an ankle sock to match their walking sneakers, while tall, thick socks can be the best match for your hiking boots.

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What to look for in the best workout socks

Fabric: This is quite possibly the most important quality of your sock. Natural fibers like wool and cotton help with moisture management, while nylon is smooth. The thickness is also a factor to think about since you might want more padding when hiking and a lightweight fit for your cycling cleat. Also, consider buying styles that have anti-odor or anti-fungal properties to decrease the possibility of infection and keep feet smelling fresh.

Style: The style of your workout socks is also a matter of preference, but the activity you’re performing can sway your selection. No-show socks that won’t peak out of your shoes can be a choice for running and work great with any indoor spin shoe. Mid-calf socks are excellent for cycling or cross-training for protection with weights. “Activities that include higher impact, such as jump rope, jogging and Zumba, would definitely benefit from additional cushioning to help alleviate heel pain,” Dr. Seidel states. “For activities such as basketball, soccer and tennis where you’re weight-bearing and putting greater strain on the ligaments and muscles on the bottom of your feet, you’ll want a sock that provides arch support and compression to alleviate arch discomfort.”

Fit: Your socks should have a snug fit while working out, so there isn’t any bunching or slipping. You want your feet to feel supported the minute you slip them on. Compression socks are tighter and increase circulation, making them great for longer activities and reducing muscle fatigue after a rigorous workout. Compression socks will also prevent swelling and alleviate pain.

Above all, when shopping for the best workout socks, “it’s important to keep in mind comfortability, durability and breathability,” says Kristen Pandolph, VP of product engineering and innovation at Bombas. These factors will make a difference during your workouts and with recovery.

Your drawer should also have a variety of socks to match all the different workouts you like. When it comes to tossing your socks, Dr. Seidel advises replacing them when they are no longer supportive. “When the compression is decreased due to stretching of the elastic fibers, or when the cushioning is worn thin or holes have developed, these issues prevent the technology from functioning as intended.” Socks are not an article of clothing you can donate, so consider finding a recycling program. Smartwool is collaborating with Material Return on its Second Cut Project to collect old socks and turn them into new things like dog beds.

Since you can’t try on socks before wearing them, we are here to help steer you in the right direction. Here are 20 of the best workout socks to buy now.

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Top Workout Socks

Bombas Performance Running Ankle Socks

Best for Any Fitness Activity

  • Sizes: S-XL

  • Available in Bright Purple, Geranium, White, Black and Charcoal

  • For every pair purchased, the brand donates a pair

“After spending two years on research and development to make one pair of socks, we reimagined what our version of the sock could be,” Pandolf shares. “All of our socks have a number of features that make them unique and incredibly comfortable, such as the high-quality, premium materials used to make our products to our proprietary honeycomb arch support that feels like a hug around the foot and seamless toe to get rid of that annoying ridge across the top of a sock.” Anyone who has ever tried Bombas socks knows they are an all-around awesome pair of workout socks. Whether for running, spin or HIIT class, you’ll feel the support. They also last longer, so they’re worth the higher price point.

Credit: Courtesy of Bombas

Credit: Courtesy of Bombas

Courtesy of Bombas


Buy:
Bombas Men’s Performance Running Ankle Socks
$16


Buy:
Bombas Women’s Performance Running Ankle Socks
$16

Saucony Unisex Inferno No Show Tab 3-Pack Socks

Best Ankle Running Socks

  • Sizes: S-XL

  • Available in Charcoal, White, Grey Heather, Pink, Black/Grey, and Black/White

As far as workout ankle socks, this style from Saucony is on the top of the list. It’s especially ideal for running, since it has a seamless toe construction and arch support that will keep you focused on your miles, not your feet. A secure heel fit provides zero slippage and the socks also have venting for airflow and RunDry Pro technology to keep your feet dry and feeling fresh. And for runners who hate their socks peeking out of their sneakers, these are no-shows, meaning they’ll keep your look sleek and put together.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Saucony Inferno No Show Tab 3-Pack Socks
$16

Balega Unisex Blister Resist No-Show Socks

Best Anti-Blister Workout Socks

  • Sizes: S-XL

  • Available in 14 colorways, including Royal Blue, Pink/Purple, Grey/Blue, Black, White and Green Pepper

Every runner will encounter blisters at some point. While these can happen while you’re breaking shoes in, they’re often caused by wearing ill-fitting socks. This style from Balega, however, has technology that eliminates the risk of friction. It also has an extra-deep heel pocket to make these fit perfectly snug. This no-show sock will keep your feet cool and dry due to the South African Mohair material, acknowledged as one of the finest natural fibers. There’s no doubt your feet will thank you for buying these.


Buy:
Balega Blister Resist No Show
$15-$22

Copper Fit Unisex Cushioned Ankle Energy Socks – 6 Pack

Best for Tennis

  • Sizes: S-XL

  • Available in White, Black, and Multi-Pack

  • Copper Infused and Odor Reducing

These Copper Fit socks are Dr. Seidel’s personal and professional favorites to wear with tennis shoes because they have it all. “They’re so comfortable and tick all the boxes; they’re copper-infused, compressive, comfortable and durable,” he says. The inclusion of copper prevents odor-causing bacteria from forming and aids in recovery. The cushioned heel tab provides extra protection against abrasions. Additionally, these offer a cloudlike yet responsive feeling underfoot, making them a great pair of tennis or even pickleball socks. In these, you’ll feel free to bounce around the court and make fast movements without worrying about your feet.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Copper Fit Cushioned Ankle Energy Socks – 6 Pack
$9-$33

Nike Unisex Everyday Plus Cushioned Socks – 6 Pairs

Best Workout Socks for CrossFit and Strength Training

  • Sizes: S-XL

  • Available in White, Greys, Black, and Multi-Color

This six-pair set provides your week’s worth of socks, since you’ll need one day of rest from your workout routine. What sets these Nike styles apart is the additional padding under the heel and forefoot to support the arch. Reviewers appreciate the plush cushioning, mentioning that it makes a huge difference in terms of comfort. The mid-calf height makes these perfect to wear during jump boxes and squats, while the sweat-wicking, breathable material helps you push through the set.

Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Courtesy of Nike


Buy:
Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned- 6 Pairs
$22

Feetures Unisex Plantar Fasciitis Relief Socks

Best Workout Socks for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the band that connects the heel bone and toes. Anyone who suffers from it knows how bad the stabbing pain can be in your arch and heel. This Feetures sock fits snugly to stabilize the condition and will provide compression in a targeted area to relieve the pain. It’s also anatomically designed with a lightweight fit that reduces blisters. Another highlight is seamless design that reduced the chance of rubbing.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Feetures Plantar Fasciitis No-Show Socks
$25

Smartwool Men’s Everyday Hiker Street Crew Socks

Best for Hiking

  • Sizes: M-XL

  • Available in Military Olive, Taupe, Black, Ash, and Light Gray

  • Made in the USA

For casual hikes or advanced week-long adventures, you’ll need the appropriate socks. Smartwool’s Everyday Hiker Street crew socks have built-in durable zones where your feet need reinforcement. Merino wool makes these odor-resistant, quick-drying and comfortable. The slightly higher height of these socks provides protection and make these perfect to wear with mid-calf hiking boots.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Smartwool Men’s Everyday Hiker Street Crew Socks
$19-$25

Bloch Women’s Blochsox Dance Socks

Best Dance Socks

Leaps, jumps and turns can be executed on bare feet, but cold toes can be a distraction. Bloch has been creating dance shoes and accessories since the 1930s, so the brand is well-versed in how feet move while dancing. The label’s dance socks have a built-in spin spot for smooth turns and brake lines, strategically placed to help keep pirouettes sturdy. Grip control on the inside of the sock will further aid in mastering difficult positions, while a padded heel will protect bones during landings.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Bloch Women’s Blochsox Dance Socks
$21-$24

Incrediwear Unisex Circulation Socks

Best for Boosting Circulation

Suffer from cold feet? You might have poor circulation. Embedded with semiconductor elements, this style from Incrediwear will effortlessly provide comfort. These socks can also help alleviate other foot issues like neuropathy, plantar fasciitis and vascular conditions. One review commented that these not only helped with her husband’s circulation but also with swelling. “They are comfortable and feel like a hug for your feet,” she shared.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Incrediwear Circulation Socks
$24

Rnnr Unisex Marathon Performance Running Socks

Best for Running Long Distances

For runners attracted to bright colors, this is the perfect pair of workout socks. The higher height is not only in style but helps keep your leg clean from dirt and mud. A cushioned footbed and arch support will keep feet cozy and snug while running so you can rack up the miles. As someone who has a few pairs of Rnnr socks in fun patterns, I appreciate the smooth fit. There is never any bunching or discomfort during wear.

Credit: Courtesy of rnnr

Credit: Courtesy of rnnr

Courtesy of rnnr


Buy:
rnnr Marathon Performance Running Sock
$20

Comrad Unisex Recycled Cotton Compression Socks 3 Pack

Best Workout Compression Socks

  • Made with recycled cotton

  • Sizes: S-L and wide

  • Available in Galaxy, Stargazer, Navy, and Rose

Compression socks improve circulation, relieve swelling and energize feet and legs. Wearing compression socks while being active can boost endurance during cardio and strength training activities like CrossFit. This Comrad style is made with recycled cotton for enhanced stretch and easy on and off access. The inclusion of natural fibers also makes these breathable, so your feet won’t overheat. What’s more, this pair has a contoured cuff and wider footbed, so these won’t pinch or leave any marks on your leg.

Credit: Courtesy of Comrad

Credit: Courtesy of Comrad

Courtesy of Comrad


Buy:
Comrad Recycled Cotton Compression Socks
$86

Bombas Performance Cycling Calf Socks 3-Pack

Best Cycling Socks

  • For every pair purchased, the brand donates a pair

  • Sizes: M-XL

  • Available in Ink White Mix and Pink Blue Mix

Pandolf shares that Bombas truly designs socks with specific activities in mind. Bikers can rest assured that these socks have everything they need. Made from performance-focused yarns with ventilation, these cycling socks will keep your feet comfy and dry. They also have the strategic cushioning Bombas socks are known for and sit higher on the leg for necessary protection against dirt, sticks and bike spikes. Bike commuters will also be a fan, since the taller height will work with jeans or work pants.

Credit: Courtesy of Bombas

Credit: Courtesy of Bombas

Courtesy of Bombas


Buy:
Bombas Men’s Performance Cycling Calf Sock 3-Pack
$49


Buy:
Bombas Women’s Performance Cycling Calf Sock 3-Pack
$49

Gwyneth Paltrow X Copper Fit Women’s Energy Compression Socks

Also Consider Compression Socks

Compression socks can help your legs feel better after a long day, brutal workout or aggressive hike. Made in collaboration with Gwyneth Paltrow and her wellness-focused lifestyle brand Goop, these Copper Fit socks have a snug fit around the ankle and calf but are roomier at the knee so you can move freely. They also have extra cushion in the footbed to absorb shock and keep steps extra protected.

Credit: Courtesy of Copper Fit

Credit: Courtesy of Copper Fit

Courtesy of Copper Fit


Buy:
Gwyneth Paltrow X Copper Fit Energy Compression Socks
$14

Feetures Women’s Everyday Ultra Light No-Show Socks

Best Workout Socks That Double for Everyday Wear

  • Made with yarn made from recycled plastic

  • Sizes: S-L

  • Available in 12 colorways/prints, including Chevron Pink Chalk, Chevron Light Gray, Black and Fern Leaf Blue

These Feetures everyday socks are great to wear for a quick walk around the block or for support during regular morning miles. With a thin construction, these will provide a light and cool feel. They also have targeted compression for superior support and an enhanced fit to prevent blisters. The Silicone Heel Hugger technology combined with moisture-wicking fibers keep your feet comfortable. We recommend buying a few pairs of these staple socks so you can avoid frequent laundry days.

Credit: Courtesy of Feetures

Credit: Courtesy of Feetures

Courtesy of Feetures


Buy:
Feetures Women’s Everyday Ultra Light No-Show
$17

Tavi Noir Savvy Grip Socks

Best Yoga Socks

  • Sizes: S-XL

  • Available in 26 colors

If your feet get chilly during downward dog, grab some workout socks with grips on the bottom. The rubber traction details will help stabilize your poses and keep you upright during barre and pilates routines. Buyers love the fit, quality and fun patterns of these Tavi Noir yoga socks, which also feature added cushioning at the heel.

Credit: Courtesy of Tavi Noir

Credit: Courtesy of Tavi Noir

Courtesy of Tavi Noir


Buy:
Tavi Noir Savvy Grip Socks
$16

Swiftwick Unisex Flite XT Trail Five Socks

Best for Trail Running

When you take your run off the treadmill or flat, hard pavement onto a trail, you’ll need to reevaluate your footwear. The Flite XT socks are technologically advanced, making them ideal to wear when running fast on rocky terrain. They offer extra support around the ankle to help with fast movements and keep you stable on uneven ground. Constructed with merino wool, the socks wick away moisture to keep your feet blister-free. The finishing touch is a v-shaped design in the heel to keep your foot snug and prevent bunching.

Credit: Courtesy of Swiftwick

Credit: Courtesy of Swiftwick

Courtesy of Swiftwick


Buy:
Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Five
$26

Lululemon Power Stride Crew Socks

Best Reflective Socks

  • Sizes: S-L

  • Available in Highlight Yellow, White, Flare, and Black

If you run or cycle in low-light environments, whether first in the morning or at dusk, some extra clothes or socks with reflective hints will help ensure you stay safe on the road. Lululemon’s Power Stride crew socks are designed with a PerformaHeel, which will provide stretch and cushion and keep the sock in place as you move. At the arch, you have 360-degree support, while at the toes you have a seamless construction.

Credit: Courtesy of Lululemon

Credit: Courtesy of Lululemon

Courtesy of Lululemon


Buy:
Lululemon Women’s Power Stride Crew Socks
$24


Buy:
Lululemon Men’s Power Stride Crew Socks
$24

Smartwool Bike Zero Cushion Low Ankle Socks

Best Spin Socks

Whether you’re hopping on your Peloton bike at home or heading to a SoulCycle or CycleBar class, it’s important to slip into the right socks before getting your spin on. This Smartwool pair features a 4 Degree elite fit system, a Virtually Seamless toe construction and breathable mesh zones for airflow. The material is a merino wool blend that’s responsibly sourced, making these socks not only soft and odor-resistant but also better for the planet. Another awesome thing about this brand is that its women’s socks are made specifically for female feet.

Credit: Courtesy of Smartwool

Credit: Courtesy of Smartwool

Courtesy of Smartwool


Buy:
Smartwool Men’s Bike Zero Cushion Low Ankle Socks
$17


Buy:
Smartwool Women’s Bike Zero Cushion Low Ankle Socks
$17

Bandier Women’s Ultra No-Show Socks

Best No-Show Socks

  • One size fit Women’s size 5-10

  • Available in White, Heather Grey, and Black

  • Pack of three

As a fashion editor and stylist, I know the wrong sock can ruin your look. These no-show socks from women’s activewear retail site and store Bandier have a slim silhouette to protect your feet but not peak out past sneakers. These have a contoured fit, with no extra cushion to limit bunching. From HIIT or spin classes to afternoon walks, this will be your new go-to pair.

Credit: Courtesy of Bandier

Credit: Courtesy of Bandier

Courtesy of Bandier


Buy:
Bandier Women’s Ultra No-Show Socks
$15

Stance Unisex Range Snow Otc Socks 2-Pack

Best Ski and Snowboard Socks

When hitting the slopes, you want your socks to be tall, provide added coverage from the cold and be smooth and flat on your leg. Nothing can make your mountain experience more miserable than socks bunching inside your boot or experiencing cold toes. Thankfully, this Stance sock has it all. Stretching over the calf, it will cover your entire lower leg. Medium cushioning also keeps the fit snug and secure.

Credit: Courtesy of Stance

Credit: Courtesy of Stance

Courtesy of Stance


Buy:
Stance Range Snow Otc Socks 2-Pack
$34

Meet the Experts

Dr. Jay Seidel is a podiatric surgeon at South Florida Podiatry. He is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and has been published in multiple peer-reviewed medical and surgical journals.

Kristen Pandolph is the vice president of product engineering and innovation at comfort-focused sock and apparel brand Bombas, which carries some of the best workout socks around. She was previously a hosiery and sock designer for Cole Haan and has also designed for L.L. Bean.

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