Finding the right footwear is essential for powering you further and faster in your runs, but arguably, what you line your feet with is just as important as investing in the perfect springy trainer.
Whether you’ve spent years chasing a PB at marathon level or you’re totally new to the sport in lockdown, runners have one universal thing in common: our feet take a good battering during regular training sessions.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have a specialist pair of socks ready for your runs; they can help to prevent painful blisters and chafing, cushion your feet against the impact of the pavement and improve blood circulation to aid recovery.
While we can’t promise an end to lost toenails and unsightly bruises forever, our pick of the best running socks for both men and women can help to keep your feet happier for longer.
1. Balega Hidden Comfort women’s running socks in electric pink, £13, balega.co.uk
If you dislike the look and feel of cuffs creeping up your shins, a pair of hidden socks is the way to go. This densely cushioned pair from Balega hit just below the ankle and have a comfortable seamless finish that doesn’t itch or rub when you move. Each sock is made out of a special moisture-wicking fabric that keeps friction to a minimum, which is the main cause of painful blisters for runners.
Breathable mesh ventilation panels mean you can get maximum wear out of them both in summer and winter running conditions, plus, a high heel tab prevents your socks from irritatingly slipping into your shoe and messing up your stride.
2. Stance Uncommon Solids Crew men’s running socks, £14.99, stance.eu.com
Longer socks are good for keeping your feet and shins protected during leafy trail runs, and Stance’s Uncommon Solids Crew sock is one of the brand’s best performing yet. There’s loads of attention to detail in these socks; each pair has been anatomically created to fit the contours of your individual left and right feet.
Elsewhere, a network of intricate mesh vents surrounds the arch of the foot, enhancing breathability, while an articulated, cushioned footbed keeps the ball of the foot supported. We love the clean and minimal style of these socks too, which pair perfectly with colourful trainers.
3. Hilly Energize Anklet Sock, £9.59 (was £16), wiggle.com
Compression socks can help to aid post-run recovery and reduce swelling in the feet, which makes them a great option for those aiming for longer efforts, like marathons. This pair from Hilly is made from a fabric that squeezes around high-stress areas, like your arches and ankles, preventing the build-up of fluid in the tissue.
A vented upper keeps the air flowing, so your feet stay cool, and a Polygiene fabric treatment stops the build-up of odour in your shoes, so you can avoid any unwanted smells from harbouring in your expensive running trainers.
4. On running mid-sock for women in coral and navy, £18, on-running.com
These cheerful socks from On are the perfect sunny addition to a running kit that’s lacking in colour. Lightweight, breathable and providing a good amount of support, they’re engineered to stay firmly in place – even when you’re digging deep on an uphill trail.
Made from a thin polyamide and elastane blend with technical mesh panelling, they’re constructed with temperature regulation in mind – so they’ll keep you cool on hot days, but are warm enough in the winter.
Thanks to the eye-catching pattern too, you’ll be able to locate these in a drawer of black socks in seconds – even if you’re not quite awake ahead of your early morning run.