The 11 Best Workout Socks, According to a Trainer and Physical Therapist may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
collage of the best workout socks on a gray, peach and light blue background
Nike Unisex Dry Cushion Crew against a white background
Hoplite Premium Lifting Compression Socks against a white background
Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks against a white background
Balega Hidden Comfort No Show against a white background
Ozaiic Yoga Socks for Women against a white background
MAXTOP Compression Coolmax Ankle Socks against a white background
Adidas Alphaskin Maximum Cushioned Crew Socks against a white background
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight With Cushion Socks against a white background
Smartwool Athlete Edition Run Crew Socks against a white background
Vectr Light Cushion Full Length Compression Socks against a white background
The best workout socks don't just match your foot type, they fit your workout type.
Image Credit: Creative

It's common to own a variety of workout leggings, tops and running shoes, but workout socks? Not so much.


A lot of exercisers are running, jumping and lunging around in their everyday socks. They're soaked in sweat, foot funk and, even worse, thinning around the balls of the feet and heels. However, just like performance shoes matter, so do performance socks.

Video of the Day

Video of the Day

Take your workout a step further by matching your workout socks with both your foot type and kind of exercise you're doing, investing in a collection of breathable socks for various activities, such as lifting socks, CrossFit socks, running socks and more.

The Best Workout Socks

How We Chose

We spoke with Leada Malek, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist and sock aficionado, about her recommendations and what to look for in the best workout socks for every activity. We also took into account our own testing and experiences. The following products are based on criteria including:

  • Comfort
  • Support
  • Breathability
  • Technical fabrics


You can learn more about how we cover products here.

Manufacturers typically market socks according to gender, so we have listed both women's and men's workout socks below. Generally, men's pairs are available in larger lengths.

So, people with bigger feet may want to opt for men's versions (when applicable), whereas people with smaller feet may prefer women's versions (when applicable). However, some companies make unisex sock sizing, so make sure to read the product label before you buy. (Read more about our language choices here.)

1. Smartwool Trail Run Targeted Cushion Crew Socks

Best for Running

Smartwool Trail Run Targeted Cushion Crew Socks

Made of a wool blend, these crew socks are advertised for trail running but are the best choice no matter where you're pounding out your miles.


  • Durable
  • Just the right cushioning
  • Mesh panels


  • Pricey
  • Fabric: ‌56% merino wool, 12% nylon, 29% recycled nylon, 3% elastane
  • Cushion level: ‌low to medium
  • Compression:‌ low

"Running outdoors and for distance can bring on a host of necessities and this sock is an overall win," Malek says. These running socks are lightweight and breathable, have just enough cushioning for foot support (and in just the right spots for runners) and feature sweat-wicking properties to keep you dry on your run.


The wool blend is also super durable, so while these are on the pricey side, you won't need to replace them season after season. The crew cut is great for keeping out debris, but if you prefer a shorter style, the targeted cushioning comes in a men's and women's ankle version, too.

2. Hoplite Premium Lifting Compression Socks

Best for Lifting

Hoplite Premium Compression Socks

A thin, smooth weave and just the right amount of graduated compression combined with the height of these socks makes them ideal for lifting.


  • Great compression
  • Durable
  • Sweat-wicking


  • May not go high enough
  • Fabric: ‌90% nylon, 10% Spandex
  • Cushion level: ‌low
  • Compression:‌ high

These lifting socks are perfect for strength training workouts, as they offer compression and promote healthy blood flow. They're also durable, sweat-wicking and breathable. They'll also help shield your shins.



"Powerlifting socks can be helpful to protect your shins against the barbell, and the high length of these socks with their athletic properties can set you up for a comfortable lift," Malek says.

If you tend to get blisters or other hot spots, these socks are great for that, too, with added reinforcement and reduced friction in the right areas.

3. Bombas Performance Cushioned No Show Socks

Best No-Show

Bombas Performance Cushioned No Show Socks

These no-shows are made for workouts, with sweat-wicking fabric, breathable perforations and silicone grips on the ankle ensure they won't slip down.


  • Good cushioning
  • Silicone tabs to stay put
  • Sweat wicking


  • May be too thick for some shoes
  • Fabric: ‌69% polyester, 17% cotton, 12% nylon, 2% elastane
  • Cushion level: ‌medium
  • Compression:‌ low

If you like totally free ankles during your workouts, these no-show socks from Bombas are your most comfortable pick. Thanks to three small silicone grips in the ankle, they won't slide down into your shoes during runs, jumps and step-ups.


Knitted to mold to your foot, they're also sweat-wicking with a little bit of cotton for comfort and cushioned soles. These Bombas socks are true no-shows — they won't peek above your shoes.

Plus, Bombas donates one pair of socks to the unhoused for every pair bought, so you can feel good about your purchase.

4. Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks

Best for Compression

Physix Gear Compression Socks

If you like wearing compression socks for improved blood flow, the 20 to 30 mmHg compression in these is perfect for that without being too tight.


  • Graduated compression
  • Not too tight
  • Mid-range pricing


  • Sizing can be confusing
  • Fabric: ‌70% nylon, 30% Spandex
  • Cushion level: ‌low
  • Compression:‌ high

According to the Cleveland Clinic, doctors might recommend compression socks for people who have health conditions that cause poor circulation in their legs, or to improve blood flow during long plane rides, to reduce your risk of blood clots. Some people also just like how they feel during or after a workout.


These compression socks are durable, come up to just below the knee and have 20 to 30 mmHg compression. Malek recommends getting a doctor's approval if you're new to compression gear and its potential circulation effects. (For most people, though, there's really no risk in wearing them if you like how they feel!)

5. Balega Hidden Comfort No Show Tab

Best for Breathability

Balega Hidden Comfort No Show Tab

A special Drynamix yarn combined with mesh top panels keep your feet cool and breezy even during high-impact workouts.


  • Mesh construction
  • Seamless toe design


  • Heel tabs make these not true no-shows
  • Fabric: ‌84% polyester, 11% nylon, 3% Neofil, 2% elastane
  • Cushion level: ‌high
  • Compression:‌ low

"With a mix of materials, including polyester, nylon and elastane for shape retention and mesh construction, along with a seamless toe closure, the design makes these breathable socks great for keeping your foot dry — especially with high levels of activity," Malek says.



The added support in the toe and heel helps reduce friction and maximizes comfort. These work well for running and other high-impact, high–heart rate activities (spinning and cycling included).

6. 2XU Vectr Compression Socks

Best for CrossFit

2XU Vectr Light Cushion Full Length Compression Socks

Compression improves blood flow while the height and design of these keeps them put and protects your shins during lifts and rope climbs.


  • Graduated compression
  • Anatomical design
  • Sweat-wicking


  • Very pricey
  • Fabric: ‌88% nylon, 12% elastane
  • Cushion level: ‌low
  • Compression:‌ medium to high

When choosing a sock to wear to a CrossFit class, you want a pair that stays put. Not only will these prevent blisters, but there's nothing worse than your sock rolling down on you — when your workout is timed, you don't want to spare a second to fix your socks.

"This sock has graduated compression, breathable zones and fits the foot well, so it is a good option for lifting and exercises typically performed during CrossFit workouts," Malek says.

The higher length of these CrossFit socks can also protect your shins, which tend to scrape against the barbell, rope and other pieces of equipment during this high-intensity workout. This sock also provides just enough light cushion so your feet don't feel the impact from activities like running and jumping.

7. Ozaiic Yoga Socks

Best for Yoga

Ozaiic Yoga Socks

For low-impact activities that require a little extra grip, slip on these yoga socks with rubberized soles and stretchy top straps.

Women's, 3-Pack

Men's, 3-Pack


  • Large selection of sizes and colors
  • Affordable


  • May run small
  • Fabric: ‌cotton
  • Cushion level: ‌medium
  • Compression:‌ low

These no-show grippy socks are designed to keep your feet in place and are best worn for yoga, Pilates or barre workouts. They also have a strap option for extra stability.

The best grip socks are comfortable and fitted without being compressive, so you still have a lot of foot sensation on the mat and ability to spread your toes.

"[These are] great because they protect your skin but also allow you full control and freedom to move without losing your footing," Malek says. They're made with combed cotton, so they won't be sweat-wicking like the others, but you'll also likely sweat less when you're not wearing shoes.


8. Swiftwick Flite XT Zero Tab

Best Sweat-Wicking

Swiftwick Flite XT Zero Tab

These socks are specially designed to improve your grip and keep you dry, so even the sweatiest workouts won't get to your feet.


  • Special fiber for staying dry
  • Multiple cuff heights


  • Pricey when not on sale
  • Fabric: ‌62% nylon, 21% Olefin, 13% polyester, 4% Spandex
  • Cushion level: ‌medium
  • Compression:‌ medium

If you get sweaty while exercising, your best workout socks will have sweat-wicking abilities to cool you off, keep you dry and cushion your feet.

"Cushioned with great moisture-wicking properties, this is a technical sock that keeps your foot dry and in place," Malek says.

The moderate amount of compression is focused in the arch of the foot to make sure you feel stable no matter what workout you're doing, and the specialized Olefin fabric moves moisture away from your skin so it can dry.

9. Adidas Alphaskin Maximum Cushioned Crew Socks

Best Cushioning

Adidas Alphaskin Maximum Cushioned Crew Socks

These Adidas socks are popular with the college sports crowd and excellent if you push hard and like to feel cushioned and supported in your shoes when you do.


  • 360-degree cushioning
  • Lots of colors
  • Sweat-wicking


  • Limited sizing
  • Fabric: ‌34% acrylic, 29% polyester, 28% nylon, 6% natural latex rubber, 3% Spandex
  • Cushion level: ‌high
  • Compression:‌ medium

"With moisture-wicking fabric, articulated arch and all-around cushioning, these workout socks accommodate high-intensity interval and high-impact training, which involve a lot of variety of movement and can cause blisters and foot pain," Malek says.

They're also slightly compressive, so these socks stay put even when you're moving. The cushioning surrounds your foot with a bit extra at the heel, toes and Achilles — all spots that can be sensitive.

10. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight

Best for Hiking

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

Natural merino wool keeps your feet warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and is the best option for hiking socks.


  • Wool blend
  • Durable
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Merino wool can be tricky to care for
  • Fabric: ‌59% merino wool, 39% nylon, 2% lycra Spandex
  • Cushion level: ‌medium
  • Compression:‌ low

Wool and nylon are two great materials for hiking socks, as they manage moisture well, offer tons of protection and stability and reduce friction. These exercise socks are medium cushioned, comfortable and warm, so you'll find it easy to hike even when it's cold outdoors.

"You don't want your foot to slide around much with hiking uphill, and a sweaty sock with lots of walking is a recipe for blisters," Malek says.

Darn Toughs are Senior Fitness Editor Jessica Campbell-Salley's go-to for hiking as well. "These are three-season socks that don't get too hot in the summer and are still good in the fall and spring," she says.


These are the socks she reaches for when the miles are going to get long (and maybe a little technical), and reports that they're cushioned well and don't slip down or grip her ankles too tightly, either.

11. NikeCourt Multiplier Cushioned

Best for Tennis
These tennis socks come in a pack of two and you can buy them in black or white.

NikeCourt Multiplier Cushioned

Thanks to their supportive cushion and durability, these Nike tennis socks are your best pick for the court.


  • Sweat-wicking
  • Well cushioned
  • Good value


  • Limited colors and sizing
  • Fabric:‌ 96% polyester, 4% Spandex
  • Cushion level: ‌high
  • Compression:‌ low

These unisex socks for tennis come in a two-pack, and they're comfortable and soft, with special features that make them designed for right and left feet with compression in the arch area.

"I like this sock because it's reinforced in the areas prone to high wear, at the balls of the feet and heel," Malek says. That's especially useful when you're running around a tennis court — and consequently, wearing on your socks.

These sit at about mid-calf height, protecting your heels and ankles from unwanted blisters.

3 Things to Look for When Buying Workout Socks

1. Technical, Sweat-Wicking Material

Technical materials — like polyester, nylon, micromodal and even merino wool — are preferable for sweaty workouts, because they're considered sweat-wicking. That just means they don't absorb sweat and hold onto it for dear life, like cotton does.

When your socks hold onto moisture, that's when rubbing and blisters occur. Instead, wicking materials help sweat evaporate, so your feet stay dryer and don't fall victim to uncomfortable rubbing.

"Pretty much any workout you plan on doing with a conventional shoe — other than the extreme barefoot kind with toe webbing or water shoes — should be done with a technical sock for optimal friction control and for sweat absorption and wicking," Malek says.

This is especially important for high-intensity workouts and outdoor activities that are going to get you super sweaty (or when you might encounter wet weather).

2. Size and Fit

Pay attention to how snug your workout socks around your foot and ankles. "Fit is really important, not only for skin health but also foot control," Malek says.

Too tight a sock may limit how well you can move your foot as you exercise, with less range in motion or added pressure. And too loose a sock isn't good either, as it may be distracting, feel uncomfortable or cause chafing.

3. Durability

Even the best workout socks have a lifetime and won't stick around forever. As for how long workout socks last, it depends on the sock and quality, as well as how many workouts you do in them.

Malek suggests tossing workout socks once you see visible signs of wear and tear for sure. "If you see any thinning around high pressure points like the balls of the foot or the heel, it's time to switch them out — especially if you have holes," she says.

Also, if you notice they're no longer doing what they're supposed to do (block odor, stay dry, etc.) that's another sign it's time to get a new pair or two.

Shop More Great Footwear




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...