Not a fan of dark socks? They’re likely to get that way regardless.

Trail runners have been known to differentiate themselves from their road-running equivalents based on choice of footwear. The most obvious distinction sits with their selection of socks: roadies are the white sock wearers while those who tread off the beaten path opt for color or dark hues because their socks are likely to get that way regardless, thanks to the mud, dust and dirt–even if they started out white. Trail runners also tend to adopt merino wool and more durable, abrasion-resistant higher socks than road runners, given the punishing terrain and detritus that they kick up while going off road.

The selection of trail socks here includes thinner and thicker options—a personal preference. They come in wool, Coolmax, and combinations of other types of materials. Some of the socks feature cushioning properties woven into various zones or throughout the entire sock while others are uni-thickness and allow you more feel for the trail. There are also a variety of different sock heights, so you can choose among them based on your favorite attributes in sockwear.

Teko Merino Men's Ultralight Mini-Crew--$16
Teko Merino Men’s Ultralight Mini-Crew–$16. Made of shrink-resistant merino wool with Nylon, recycled polyester and Lycra Spandex, the Ultralight Micro features strike-zone cushioning. It’s woven with stretch zones and arch brace in a seamless, no-cushion package. http://www.tekosocks.com/
Teko Men's Ultralight Micro--$13
Teko Men’s Ultralight Micro–$13. Made of shrink-resistant merino wool with Nylon, recycled polyester and Lycra Spandex, the Ultralight Micro is woven with stretch zones and arch brace in a seamless, no-cushion package. http://www.tekosocks.com/
Dahlgren Men's Ultra Light Trail--$16
Dahlgren Men’s Ultra Light Trail–$16. A plush yet durable mix of soft alpaca with merino wool and Dhalgren’s patented zone construction offers cushioning where you want it and excellent moisture control in a slimmed-down version of Dhalgren’s top trail running sock. http://www.dahlgrenfootwear.com/
Dahlgren Women's Ultra Light Trail--$16
Dahlgren Women’s Ultra Light Trail–$16. A plush yet durable mix of soft alpaca with merino wool and Dhalgren’s patented zone construction offers cushioning where you want it and excellent moisture control in a slimmed-down version of Dhalgren’s top trail running sock. http://www.dahlgrenfootwear.com/
Darn Tough No-Show Cushion--$18
Darn Tough No-Show Cushion–$18. Rugged endurance socks for rugged endurance runs, Darn Tough’s reinforced heel and toes with elastic arch support and seamless ring construction make these 67% merino wool, 29% Nylon and 4% Lycra Spandex cushioned socks last for many a happy season. http://darntough.com
IceBreaker Lite Mini--$18
IceBreaker Lite Mini–$18. With Achilles and instep support, wicking and naturally odor fighting merino wool and reinforced heel and toe construction, the Lite Mini is a slightly taller running sock that will keep you cool in hot conditions yet warm in the cold. http://icebreaker.com
Injinji NuWool Lightweight No-Show--$12
Injinji NuWool Lightweight No-Show–$12. Many ultrarunners and certainly those minimalists who wear Vibram Five Fingers swear by these toe socks and their wicking fibers to give them that individual toe feeling on the run, regardless of their shoe choice. http://injinji.com/
Wigwam Trail Trax Pro--$14
Wigwam Trail Trax Pro–$14. Blending Dri-release merino wool and FreshGuard for odor-free moisture management and softness, these seamless, cushioned sole, foot hugging socks do the trick in a variety of conditions and with outstanding durability. http://www.wigwam.com/