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  • Under Armour Unisex UA Run Cushion No Show Tab Running Socks

  • Adidas Superlite No-Show Socks

  • How We Tested Running Socks

  • What You Should Know About Buying Running Socks

  • Other Running Socks We Tested

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Our Favorite Running Socks of 2022

  1. Best Overall

    Under Armour Unisex UA Run Cushion No Show Tab Running Socks

    Pros

    • Cushioning on the toe, balls of feet, and heels

    • Silky soft fabric

    • Top of sock is thinner to reduce bulk

    Cons

    • Only comes in medium and large sizes

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    Adidas Superlite No-Show Socks

    Pros

    • Thin material won’t overheat feet

    • Slightly compressive around arch

    • Soft fabric

    Cons

    • Only comes in size medium or large

    Skip to the full review below
The Under Armour Unisex UA Run Cushion No Show Tab Running Socks are the best running sock money can buy.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

These unisex Under Armour running socks are well-cushioned and have silky-soft fabric.

Best Overall
Under Armour Unisex UA Run Cushion No Show Tab Running Socks

We gave the Under Armour socks our top spot for a few reasons, despite Bombas running socks having a slightly higher score in our tests. In full disclosure, the Bombas are a great running sock but the categories in which they edged out Under Armour—namely, arch support and compression—were not enough to make a big impact on my runs nor to justify the Bombas’ higher price.

Conversely, a few specific details of the Under Armour really made it stand out. Immediately upon putting these socks on my feet, they felt luxurious, due to the silky soft fabric around the toes and heels. But what really put the Under Armour socks ahead is the thoughtful construction of the socks. Most pairs we tested fall in two fabrication categories: thick or thin. The Under Armour socks are constructed with extra cushioning around the toes, and under the ball of the feet and heels, but unlike other many cushioned socks, the top portion is significantly thinner, making the sock feel less bulky and breathe better. It’s like getting the best of both thin and thick socks in one.

The one trade-off to the cushion on the bottom is that the extra material made my feet warmer than socks that are uniformly thinner, though that’s true of all thicker socks and not particular to this specific pair. And the UA socks performed notably well in our lab’s sweat-wicking tests, meaning that at least any moisture generated from that warmth won’t pool. These socks also only come in medium and large and I found the size medium fit my women’s-size-6 feet just fine, so only the very small-footed will miss the offering of a size small.

Pros

  • Cushioning on the toe, balls of feet, and heels

  • Silky soft fabric

  • Top of sock is thinner to reduce bulk

Cons

  • Only comes in medium and large sizes

The Adidas Superlite No-Show running socks are the best value running sock money can buy.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

These running socks from Adidas are comfy and best suited for walks and short runs.

Best Value
Adidas Superlite No-Show Socks

If you like to stock up on running socks (or just go through a lot of them), these Adidas Superlite No Show socks are a great deal and sold in bulk. These socks are fairly simple compared to some of the other socks as they don’t have “extras” like heel tabs, different knitting zones or extra cushioning. On the plus side, because they don’t have extra material, they did not make my feet overly hot as I was running. They also have light arch support which is not as not as compressive on other socks but it helped the socks stay in place on my feet. These socks also felt cotton-y soft, even though they’re made of primarily polyester.

One drawback is the seam at the top of the toes. It’s not quite as comfortable as a seamless pair, and I didn’t find it bothersome while walking or shorter runs, but if you’re running long distances you may want to consider a different sock. They also only come in size medium or large, and while I didn’t find the size to be a problem for my size six feet, they might be slightly too big for someone with smaller feet.

Pros

  • Thin material won’t overheat feet

  • Slightly compressive around arch

  • Soft fabric

Cons

  • Only comes in size medium or large

How We Tested Running Socks

Pairs of running socks lying on the ground by brands like Nike, Saucony, Smartwool, Darn Tough, and more.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Each pair of running socks we tested were worn for a minimum of five miles, both on the treadmill and outside

The Tester

Hi, I'm Jamie Ueda. After spending years working for various apparel and textile companies, I pride myself on helping Reviewed readers make smart purchasing decisions for everything fabric-related—whether it be cooling sheets or other bedding, or clothing, shoes, and accessories, like breathable face masks.

Related content

I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating fabrics and apparel, which means I’m a stickler for quality materials and good design. This is especially true when it comes to activewear like running socks. Whether for running on the treadmill at the gym or outside, a good sock is just about as important as a good shoe, as a sock slipping down or providing inadequate protection from chafing and blisters can make or break your run.

The Tests

Over the course of four weeks, I ran and walked in each pair of socks for a minimum of five miles both on the treadmill and outside. I looked to see what features they offered, such as a variety of sizes and widths. I also assessed how true to size the socks fit and if they shrank, as well as the level of arch support provided, if they slipped down or stayed in place, and if they prevented things like blisters and odors. Finally, I rated the levels of cushioning, compression and support, and heat and moisture retention, and comfort.

We also had a second set of socks shipped to Reviewed’s labs, where chief scientist David Ellerby tested how the fabric handled moisture. Ideally, running socks should stop sweat from building up around your feet. Two things matter most: how fast moisture moves along the fabric (wicking) and how easily it penetrates through a layer of the fabric (breathability). We measured wicking by dipping strips from each sock in dyed water and timing how quickly the water moved up the fabric. For breathability, we placed a layer of each sock fabric over a container of water absorber. The socks deemed most breathable allowed moisture through more quickly, and the absorber sucked up water at a faster rate.

What You Should Know About Buying Running Socks

Thin Versus Thick Material

It all boils down to personal preference when it comes to whether you should choose a thin or thick sock. Thick socks typically have extra cushioning on the bottom of the sock, which may provide more comfort and protection under foot. The trade-off to the extra cushioning is that it can also add warmth, which may be a benefit if you live in a cold climate but a drawback for creating more sweat. I personally found that socks with too much cushioning felt great when initially putting them on, but after running in them, my feet were too hot and sweaty. They may also feel too bulky for some, and can affect how your shoes fit, making them too snug.

Conversely, very thin socks have a barely-there feel and generally do not hold in as much heat. I found thinner socks allowed my feet to breathe, keeping them cooler and drier. The downside is they don’t have the extra cushion, so you may feel more impact as you run.

Left Versus Right Fit

Some socks have a left and right designation, which is supposed to ensure a better fit, but I didn’t find a significant difference. That being said, many of the socks with the left and right designation seemed to fit better in general—not necessarily because of the supposedly foot-specific design but because the companies that do this tend to produce an overall higher-quality sock.


Other Running Socks We Tested

Product image of Bombas Performance Running Ankle Socks
Bombas Performance Running Ankle Socks

The Bombas scored slightly higher on our tests than our top pick from Under Armour, and if you like a thicker sock, you may prefer them. Immediately upon putting these Bombas running socks on my feet, they felt soft and padded, with plush cushioning in the toe, ball of my foot, and heel area. During my runs, the socks did not slide down my feet, and the tabs on the backs of the ankles laid flat against my heel, unlike some socks where the heel tab tends to bulge out. One of my favorite features is what Bombas calls the “honeycomb arch support system,” which describes how the fabric at the arch of the foot is woven in a honeycomb pattern that creates gentle compression—this is the main reason for Bomba’s higher raw test score..

The one downside to these socks is that they did make my feet slightly warm and sweaty, probably due to the extra cushioning, but that’s expected of any thicker sock. They also ranked among the priciest of the socks we tested.

Pros

  • Soft, well-padded material

  • Does not slide down feet

  • Compressive arch support

Cons

  • May make feet feel hot

Product image of Nike Spark Lightweight No-Show Running Socks
Nike Spark Lightweight No-Show Running Socks

If you like your running socks to feel barely there, these ones are about as imperceptible as it gets: Indeed, when we measured the thickness of socks in the labs, these measured the thinnest of the bunch. Furthermore, when I wore them with my shoes, I had to tighten my laces because these socks took up less space than my usual pairs. The fabrication is designed with temperature management in mind, with alternating stripes of meshy fabric and solid fabric for ventilation—I found my feet did not get as sweaty as with many others. These have a very snug fit and did not shift on my feet during my run, though the slick fabric initially slid around in my shoes (this was not bothersome, nor did it affect my run). The Nike Socks have the widest variety of sizing of all the socks we tested. My only complaint is minor: These socks feel a bit stiffer than others, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Pros

  • Very thin material

  • Smooth fabric

  • Snug fit

Cons

  • Feels slightly stiff

  • Minimal cushioning

Product image of Saucony Inferno No Show Tab 3-Pack Socks
Saucony Inferno No Show Tab 3-Pack Socks

These Saucony socks are very similar to Bombas, with extra cushion in the toe, ball of the foot and heel and even more compression around the arch of the foot. But overall, the Saucony socks fall shy of Bombas for a few different reasons. While these socks are soft, they are not as soft as the Bombas. Also, the placement of the arch support in the sock felt slightly off-center to me, and the tabs in the back are quite thick and tend to stick out rather than lie flat against my ankles. As with most thicker socks, they also made my feet hot and sweaty. However, the Sauconys are also a lot less expensive, so if you don’t mind the tradeoffs, they could be worth a try.

Pros

  • Cushioning on the toe, balls of feet, and heels

  • Doesn't slip down feet

  • Firm compression

Cons

  • Arch support placement is off-center

  • May make feet warm and sweaty

Product image of Lululemon Power Stride No-Show Sock with Active Grip
Lululemon Power Stride No-Show Sock with Active Grip

In contrast to the other running socks, these Lululemons are really low cut and completely invisible inside shoes. I was almost certain that they would slide down my foot while walking, let alone running. But to my surprise they clung in place during all my activities, thanks to the sticky tabs on the inside back heel. (My one gripe about the sticky tabs is that other laundry items temporarily stuck to them in the wash.)

I found them comfortable to wear, though they felt a bit stiffer than other socks. They are great for someone who prefers a “no sock” feel—particularly because they wick sweat well, per our lab tests—but may not be the best for long-distance runners who worry about chafing and blisters, as I found that part of my foot wasn’t covered and rubbed on the inside of my sneaker.

Pros

  • Completely invisible under shoes

  • Don’t slide down feet

  • Great sweat-wicking

Cons

  • Items in laundry may get stuck on heel tabs

  • May not protect entire foot inside shoes

Product image of Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab
Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab

The Feetures and Saucony socks are so similar to each other, I almost can’t tell the difference when I’m wearing them side by side. Like the Saucony socks (and the Bombas, which are all more cushioned options), the Feetures socks have back heel tabs and extra padding in the heel, toes and ball of the foot. One of the biggest differences is that the Feetures socks only have arch compression on the inner portion of the arch, whereas others have compression around the entire arch.

The Feetures cost about three times the Saucony socks, probably because they are made out of Merino wool and bamboo-derived rayon, which also may have made them feel ever-so-slightly stiffer on my feet. But as I can’t really tell much difference between the two, I’d say they’re not worth the higher price tag.

Pros

  • Cushioning on the toe, balls of feet, and heels

  • Heel tabs kept socks from sliding down

Cons

  • Arch compression is lacking

Product image of Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Low Ankle Socks
Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Low Ankle Socks

Like many pairs of running socks that I tested, these have extra cushion in the toes, ball of feet, and heel area. According to Smartwool, these have a “women’s specific fit” that is slimmer with a narrower heel, and I noticed when I put them on that they felt snugger than others. These are made with a blend of Merino wool, nylon, and elastane and though comfortable, they’re not quite as soft as other socks made purely with synthetic fibers. They also made my feet heat up, but weren’t as sweaty as other cushioned socks, most likely due to the Merino wool’s natural breathability.

Pros

  • Extra cushioned

  • Slim and snug fit

Cons

  • May make feet warm

Product image of Puma Low Cut Socks
Puma Low Cut Socks

These socks were one of the thinnest and most lightweight pairs. The fabric felt slightly stiff but not enough to be a nuisance, and the socks themselves stayed in place and did not slip off my feet, despite having a looser fit than others. They have arch support and also have panels on the top of the foot with an open-knit construction for ventilation and to reduce bulk. Overall, they felt similar to the Adidas socks but not quite as soft or as snug-fitting, and I could feel the toe-box seam as I ran. If you’re looking for a simple running sock and can afford to spend a few dollars more, the Adidas socks are a better choice.

Pros

  • Thin and lightweight feel

  • Some arch support

Cons

  • Feel slightly stiff

  • Looser fit

  • Noticeable toe-box seam

Product image of Balega Hidden Comfort
Balega Hidden Comfort

When I took these out of the packaging, they looked like they were going to be way too big for my size-6 feet despite being labeled a size small, so I was happy that they fit well after washing. The Balegas have extra cushioning along the entire bottom of the foot rather than just around the toes and heel like some other pairs, which initially I thought would be an advantage. At first, it felt very nice to have my entire foot cushioned, but when running with them, the extra material caused my feet to overheat and get sweaty. I even found my feet would warm up at times just walking in them. I like the idea of the extra cushion, but these just had too much.

Pros

  • Does not slip down foot

Cons

  • Too much cushioning makes feet hot and sweaty

Product image of Darn Tough Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock
Darn Tough Run No Show Tab Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock

The Darn Tough Ultra-Lightweight running socks are good for someone looking for a thinner Merino wool-based sock. During my run, I noticed that my feet did not get as sweaty and the fabric has a lightweight, slick feel. I liked the sensation on my foot at first, but while I was running, it felt like my foot was sliding around inside my shoe. Between that and the lack of cushioning, I would not choose these socks for a long run.

Pros

  • Snug fit

  • Thinner feel

Cons

  • Feels slippery inside shoe

Product image of Champion Performance Low-Cut Socks
Champion Performance Low-Cut Socks

Champion Double Dry Performance socks were one of the most budget-friendly socks and also the most basic pairs. Unlike higher-end socks, they don’t have arch support or much cursing to speak of. They felt soft and comfortable to wear, though they did slip down my foot a few times and I could feel the toe-box seam as I ran.

The main thing I didn’t like about these socks is that even though they are low-cut, they came up higher on my ankle and showed above my shoe. If you can afford to spend a little more on a basic sock, Adidas’s or even Puma's socks are a better option.

Pros

  • Thin and lightweight feel

Cons

  • Comes up higher on ankle

  • May slip down foot

  • Noticeable toe-box seam

Meet the tester

Jamie Ueda

Jamie Ueda

Apparel Staff Writer

Jamie writes about clothing, shoes, and accessories for Reviewed. She loves apparel and doesn't like to sacrifice fashion, comfort, or quality in whatever she wears.

See all of Jamie Ueda's reviews

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