The best workout socks for every type of workout – CNET

If you’ve ever tried to do a hard workout while wearing the wrong pair of socks, you know how frustrating it can be. Maybe you have sweaty feet and are left with dripping wet socks at the end of your run or cycling session, or you live in a colder area and your toes go numb the second you step outside. 

Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect pair of socks to give to your workout partner or the athlete in your life this holiday season. There are a lot of jokes about getting socks for Christmas, but a pair of really great socks can be life changing. Seriously.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up athletic socks of all kinds, including crew socks, no show socks, hiking socks, wool socks, performance socks — whatever you need for comfort during your next workout. Check out these nine options for the best workout socks that are great for all types of workouts and situations.

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One of the most irritating things that can happen on a run or walk is when your socks constantly slip down off of your heels and into your running shoe. To address this issue, you’ll want to choose a pair of socks with a high heel tab, which is an extra piece of fabric above the heel that keeps the socks in place.

While there are a ton of running sock options, I went with the Balega Blister Resist workout sock model because of their affordability and the excellent Amazon reviews. I also know several people who swear by Balega socks, including my mother — and we all know moms can’t lie.

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If you’re tempted to wear any old pair of gym socks to your lifting workout, think again. Men’s Journal recommends that weightlifters wear calf-high socks to prevent scrapes and cuts from picking up barbells or other objects off the ground. Plus, if you’re using ropes in your workout, taller socks will prevent you from ropeburn.

You probably have an old pair of calf-high socks in the back of your closet, but if you want to spring for a new set I’d recommend this Socksmith pair. With a welt cuff (an extra layer of fabric at the top of the sock) and a snug fit, they won’t fall down throughout the day, and the barbell pattern will let everyone know that you are indeed a serious lifter.

Read more: This is the cycling gear that will get you back in the saddle  

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These two activities may not seem like they’d go together, but they both require longer socks. For cycling, they’ll protect your heels from the back of your cleats, and for hiking, they’ll keep your lower legs safe from poison oak and ticks.

Swiftwicks are a lightweight sock, so you won’t overheat with the extra skin covered, but they’re contoured to stay in place while you work out. The cycling and hiking sock option also has soft Merino wool throughout, to wick away moisture as you sweat.

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If you don’t have $20 to spend on a single pair of socks, don’t despair — you can still get some pretty good workout socks on a shoestring budget. These Asics socks have an arch band for extra support, knit-in mesh for ventilation and no bulky toe seam. Amazon reviewers attest that the socks stay in place throughout the day and don’t cause blisters. Plus, 12 bucks for a pack of three pairs of high-quality socks is a pretty good deal.

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I know, it’s gross to talk about, but if you’re susceptible to athlete’s foot or other fungal infections you’ll want to take a close look at what socks and shoes you wear when exercising. Damp socks provide a perfect atmosphere for fungal infections to thrive, so whatever socks you do wear, change them once they get wet (or leave them off altogether).

These low-cut socks from Kodal are infused with copper, which has been suggested to help prevent and treat foot infections. They’re also moisture-wicking, so they’ll help keep your feet dry and prevent the fungus from multiplying in the first place.

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Blisters are fluid-filled pockets that form on your skin, typically in response to repeated pressure or friction. If your socks are damp, it’ll usually worsen the process. Blisters are annoying and can take a long time to heal, so you’ll be better off never having to worry about them in the first place.

These socks are double-layered to prevent blisters, with a polyester moisture-wicking outer layer. Blisters are a blow to the routine of any runner, walker or hiker, but the Amazon reviews for these socks suggest they’re effective in preventing blisters and irritation.

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Compression therapy — which increases blood flow to various parts of the body — has been used by athletes for decades. You can find all sorts of futuristic compression therapy products, like NormaTec, but did you know that you can also get compression therapy through a simple ankle sock?

The Paplus ankle compression socks have a circular pressure design to increase blood flow in your ankle and the bottom of your foot. Amazon reviewers note that this compression sock option helped them with plantar fasciitis, swelling and even recovering from foot surgery.

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Cold feet during a winter workout are no fun. When it’s freezing outside but you still want to brave the cold weather, Merino wool socks like these by Woolly are the way to go. They’ll keep you warm, but since Merino wool is thinner than regular wool your feet won’t overheat. The fabric also doesn’t smell bad when you sweat on it, which is a huge plus.

I’ve brought this exact pair of socks on week-long backpacking trips before, and worn them hiking every single day. I’ll attest that they stand up to the job perfectly, and I didn’t even have smelly feet at the end of the day.

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If you’ve ever finished a workout only to have sopping wet shoes, you’re not alone — lots of people deal with sweaty feet. Luckily, these Dickies socks are specifically designed for moisture control. The socks are advertised as having ventilation channels, but don’t let this fool you into thinking that they’re flimsy. Amazon reviewers say that they’re nice and thick, but still keep your feet cool and dry.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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