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2016 Running Gear Guide: Socks

This season’s running socks battle hot, tired, swelling and even bored feet, but they also add a touch of style and flair too.

$16, Feeturesrunning.com

This new, no-show style combines
 two of the brand’s earlier styles: targeted compression through the arch with a secure, Y-shaped heel cup and a seamless toe from the Elite model; plus the thickness in cushioning of the High Performance sock. We appreciated the secure fit, feel and cushy comfort on long road runs in particular.

$15, Stance.com

A year after launching its fashion-forward Fusion Run line, Stance is introducing thinner, lightweight versions of performance running socks available in no-show, quarter, crew and over-the-calf. Not only do these look cool, they boast an incredible fit and long-lasting comfort for short and long runs.


$14–$17, Injinji.com

These socks that encapsulate each toe individually have been solving between-the-toe blister issues for years. Made with a new print and ink process, these new Injinjis are blasted with stripes, palm-tree-lined sunsets and more. On trail runs and cold road runs the over-the-ankle cuff and separate sleeves keep toes happy.

$14, Asicsamerica.com

This thin, lightweight sock is constructed with yarn that actually feels cool to the touch and works to keep feet from overheating on the run. Engineered mesh aids in breathability, and the single tab in the back keeps shoe heels from rubbing (though this is a very low-riding sock). A mid-summer, road running staple.

$23, Cepcompression.com

This snug-fitting sock provides compression around the foot and ankle for improved blood flow and a touch of muscle support. It’s a sleek sock that feels great on, creating a thin, smooth layer between foot and shoe. It’s cut just above the ankle, working well on road or trail.

$15, Wrightsock.com

The double-layer design does a great job at keeping blisters at bay. What’s added to the Endurance sock is a layer of cushioning for added comfort. A small tab at the heel guards against rubbing from the heel collar, and the tab at the top of the foot protects irritation from shoe tongues.

$16, Farmtofeet.com

Made of temperature-regulating wool, these socks feel soft and cozy as soon 
as you step into them, and do a great job regulating temperature on the run. This year’s model features a lower micron merino wool than the previous version, which means they’re softer and more durable than before.

$18, Swiftwick.com

Want to show off your state pride? These fun 5-inch socks boast the state logos for California, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas (plus a patriotic stars-and-stripes version). Made of mid-weight, moisture-wicking compression material, they fit snug to the foot, provide plenty of ankle coverage and won’t slip down in the back of your shoe.

$65, 2xu.com

These super-tight, full-length socks from 
2XU feel great once you get them on your legs. Featuring graduated compression that’s most prominent in the feet, these compression
 socks are comfortable
 and breathable enough 
to wear for long runs
 or races, or to throw on afterward to help kick-start the recovery process on the drive or flight home.

$16, Smartwool.com

These wool blend socks are thicker than the others we tested— with reinforcement
 in the heel and forefoot—but they were also among the most soft and comfortable. Despite their low-cut design, they won’t slip into your shoe. They’re great for cold-weather runs but breathe and wick moisture effectively in all conditions.

$15, Balega.com

Balega is known for making great-fitting socks, which helps this particular model live up to its name. These midweight socks are snug around the mid-foot with a padded heel and forefoot for added cushion and comfort. A tighter fit in the collar prevents slippage.

$40, Cw-x.com

Circular knit and gradient compression means these socks aim to enhance recovery by promoting blood flow from tired feet and lower legs toward your heart. And CW-X’s web-like structure within these lightweight socks support feet and ankle muscles. These were great both during and post-run, their right- and left-foot specific fit hugging feet securely without hotspots.

$18, Stance.com

A secure fit around the foot, air channels that allow both extra breathability and cushioning at the ball of the foot, slight cushioning at the heel and toe, and compression around the ankle make these hard-performing yet cool-looking socks. They’re also great at keeping gunk from sneaking in next to your feet.

$13, Swiftwick.com

As its name suggests, Swiftwick is known for its moisture-wicking properties, keeping feet dry from sweat. The new Maxus line adds cushioning underfoot while the material along the top of the foot is a super-breathable, open knit. The Maxus comes in a “Zero” cut (a very low no-show), and “One” cut, which covers the anklebone.