The 10 Best Running Socks to Prevent Blisters in 2021

A blister on your feet means one more hurdle blocking your race plans this year. The right running socks to prevent blisters can make a big difference. Even the most expensive socks are a small investment in your future success.

But which socks to choose? Our team put in extensive research to make this decision easy. After over 14 hours and 32 products researched, we’ve refined the top running socks for you.

Take your pick and get back out running!

Top 10 Running Socks to Prevent Blisters Chart

SocksMain FeaturesOur Score 
Top pickbalaga blister sockBalega Blister Resist No Show Socks For Men and Women
  • Moisture- Wicking Material with Wool Content
  • High-volume cushioning
  • Seamless toe
4.8
4.8/5 Stars
WinterDarn Tough HikerDarn Tough Darn Tough Hiker 1/4
  • Fast Drying with 61% Merino Wool
  • Just Above the Ankle Height
  • Seamless toe
4.8
4.8/5 Stars
Swiftwick- ASPIRE ONESwiftwick- ASPIRE ONE Running Sock
  • Moisture Wicking Material
  • Thin and Breathable
  • High Compression
4.8
4.8/5 Stars
Injinji Women's Trail Midweight Mini-Crew SocksInjinji Men’s Trail Midweight Mini Crew Toesocks
  • Toe sock prevent toe blisters
  • Moisture wicking material
  • Comfortable Cushioning
4.7
4.7/5 Stars
Wrightsock Anti-BlisterWrightsock Anti-Blister Double Layer Running
  • Seamless Toe
  • Double layers reduce friction
4.8
4.8/5 Stars
feetures socksFeetures Elite Max Cushion Quarter Sock
  • Target Compression
  • Performance Wicking Material
  • Seamless Toe Box
4.7
5/5 Stars
smartwool winter sockSmartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew
  • Warmth
  • Moisture Wicking Fabric
  • Seamless Toe Box
4.7
4.2/5 Stars
cep running sockCEP unisex-adult Ultralight Short Socks
  • Ankle Stability
  • Lightweight Breathable
  • Compression Sock
4.6
4.6/5 Stars
Rockay Accelerate Anti-BlisterRockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks
  • Breathable
  • Seamless Toe
  • Guaranteed for life
4.5
4.5/5 Stars
VitalsoxVitalsox Italy Compression Sock
  • Compression Sock
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Ultra Flat Seams
4.4
4.4/5 Stars

Anti Blister Running Socks In Depth Reviews

Balega’s are durable socks made of moisture-wicking fabrics so your feet stay dry as you run. In the blister prevention game, keeping dry is important. This athletic sock comes in a variety of fun colors. The seamless toe-box is a welcome feature. On long runs (for ultra runners) you don’t want anything to irritate your skin. The little things like this matter when your distance gets longer.

The fabric has synthetic materials and wool from mohair. This blend seems to give that mix of comfort and performance. It also comes in quarter and crew length.

Darn Tough is a great choice if your friends convinced you merino wool is the material du jour. I joke, but I do love merino wool products. New Zealand sheep sure know how to make a comfortable moisture-wicking material.

This is our top running sock for winter. This is also our top trail running sock. The quarter length height will overlap your calf sleeves protecting your ankles from both twigs and crickets.

Your feet will stay dry and warm wearing these socks. The fabric is a blend of nylon, lycra, spandex, and merino. The key benefits is durability, stretch, and breathability. A bonus feature (more for your family) is the socks won’t smell.

Merino wool will regulate your body temperature. These socks are great in both summer and winter.

Injinji socks offer comfortable arch support for your foot, they are made of breathable material and offer blister protection. It’s a great investment if you suffer from blisters in your toes. The toe sock design prevents any friction from your toes touching. They also come in a variety of colors but be sure that you check out the brand’s sizing chart so that you choose the right size for your feet. The socks are also available in a quarter length and full length which they recommended for trail runs. This sock also has a Women’s version, and the sock is the same except for color offerings and sizes.

The top of the sock offers breathability and the fabric wicks away moisture. If you like synthetic socks this one is made with 53% Nylon / 39% Olefin / 8% Spandex. The swiftwick is good for endurance athletes as it offers firm compression. The toe is seamless to prevent blisters on the toe. I found they do run small so purchase one size bigger than you normally would.

Runners who suffer from shin splints will love these socks and marathoners find them extremely comfortable. They have a reinforced toe to prevent blisters. Whether you plan to use them strictly for running or during your daily activities, the price is worth it. Although you pay quite a bit more than other socks, you won’t be disappointed.

The toe offers a seamless knit for blister prevention. It is a form-fitting sock with compression in the arch. As a bonus this synthetic sock is made from 100% recyclable materials and they state that 1 PAIR = 22 PLASTIC BOTTLES REMOVED FROM THE OCEAN.

The anti-blister socks are slightly thicker but it is made with anti-wicking materials to prevent your feet from getting to sweaty and hot. It has compression in the arch area. These socks are made in the United States.

Also, the padded cushioning in the heel and toes, as well as the seamless design, prevent unwanted blisters. These are a lightweight compression sock that is perfect for running as the material is anti wicking and breathable.

Firstly their power support bands are designed to prevent blisters as they hug your foot. And second, the deep pocket heel hugs your arch ensuring the sock stays on perfectly. These socks are made with synthetic performance wicking fibers in order to keep your feet cool and dry throughout your run!

The crew length is perfect for winter running as you can tuck them into your tights to make sure your ankles are covered from the elements. The socks don’t retain odors, even though the materials are breathable. The material composition is 55% wool, 42% nylon, 3% elastane with a 200 needle construction provides highest knit density while maintaining ultra-lightweight. Smartwool offers great cold weather running gear, not all merino socks are made equal and I have personally owned these socks for 2 years and am hole free.

How to Choose The Best Running Socks

Best Running Socks to Prevent Blisters Buying Guide

Before you buy a pair of running socks, consider the following factors:

Season

Your sock needs are different in the summer than they are in the winter. The best running socks for winter will use thick material to keep your feet warm. The best running socks for summer are light and breathable.

Socks with merino wool work in all seasons including spring and fall. Most brands offer a winter thick version and a lighter summer version. For the small extra investment, it’s worth having the choice.

Blister Prevention

Anything that can cause friction will create blisters. This most affects runners going beyond roughly 10 miles. If you are considering marathon distance or ultra marathons, blister prevention is critical.

Make sure the size of the sock is tight on your foot. You should look for a seamless sock, as the seam can rub against your toes. The height of the sock should be above your shoe and not able to fall down.

Odor

Don’t forget smelly feet. While it may seem like a nice-to-have, bacteria is the culprit of stink. If you get broken skin while running in dirty socks, that’s a cause for infection (not good). Moisture-wicking fabrics will keep your feet dry but can also absorb odor. If your feet are very smelly wash them! Socks aren’t going to solve that problem.

Material

Choose moisture-wicking and natural fibers like merino wool over cheap materials like cotton. Nylon, polyester, and spandex are often added comfort in a synthetic/natural blend.

Cushion

Thick socks can be more comfortable and warmer, but in hot weather thin socks are your friend. If you are blister prone in a specific area, extra cushioning can prevent friction in that area.

What is the best material for running socks to prevent blisters?

A moisture-wicking fabric is the best sock material. A lot of regular everyday walking socks are made of cotton, however, a cotton sock gets wet fast when you sweat. Cotton absorbs the sweat creating a wet sock which in turn softens and weakens your skin making it prone to a running blister. Therefore a running sock specifically designed for runners will use synthetic materials and/or wool. Synthetic fabrics have been engineered to actually resist the penetration of water. Also wool a natural fiber can naturally wick away water as well and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water and still feel dry to the touch.

Your sock needs are different in the summer than they are in the winter. Therefore think about the weight of the material used to make the socks. You will want a thicker material for warmth in the winter months, and something lighter for the summer months. The best socks for winter will contain wool which naturally regulates body temperatures.

What is the best length of running a sock to prevent blisters?

No-show, quarter, crew, or knee-high? You will want to make sure your sock height to be higher than your shoes to prevent your skin from rubbing on the shoe but otherwise, it is your preference what height you would like to run in. No-show socks seem to be a favorite of most runners. First, you need to make sure to find a no-show sock that has a lip at the back to prevent the sock from slipping down, therefore, preventing your running shoes from rubbing against your skin. If you are trail running with shorts on a higher sock would be beneficial to protect your ankles against branches and poison ivy if any is around.

Marathon runners have great things to say about compression socks, which help regulate the circulation in the legs and make it easier to go for longer runs. Recovery time after a long run is much quicker with a compression sock.

Toe socks aren’t for everyone, but we recommend that you give them a go if you are prone to blisters in between the toes. They offer great benefits and help evenly spread out your toes to offer you more stability and comfort (yes, comfort!). If you run, you’ll notice a big difference if you are wearing a pair of toe socks.

What Causes Blisters on Feet When Running?

“A friction blister is a soft pocket of raised skin filled with clear fluid caused by irritation from continuous rubbing or pressure. Friction blisters usually occur on the feet, where tight or poor-fitting shoes can rub and irritate delicate toes and heels for long periods of time. This type of irritation causes minor damage to the skin and the tissue just beneath the skin, then fluid accumulates just beneath the outermost layer of skin. If the irritation is enough to damage small blood vessels, the blister also may contain blood and is then called a blood blister.”

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/friction-blisters-a-to-z#:~:text=A%20friction%20blister%20is%20a,for%20long%20periods%20of%20time.

How do I treat blisters on my feet?

The majority of foot blisters will go away on their own without needing to be drained. The skin around the blister will act as a protective layer however you will want to add a small blister bandage or moleskin on top to prevent that skin from tearing. We recommend the below blister treatment

Is it better to pop a foot blister or leave it?

It is best to leave your blister alone and use the treatment discussed above. However, if the bubble is quite large and uncomfortable you can drain the blister the steps are below. If you are uncomfortable doing this at home your doctor or a physician at a walk-in clinic can help you.

Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap.

Using a cotton swab, disinfect a needle with rubbing alcohol.

Clean the blister with antiseptic.

Take the needle and make a small puncture in the blister.

Allow fluid to completely drain from the blister.

Apply antibacterial ointment or cream to the blister.

Cover the blister with a bandage or gauze.

Clean and reapply antibacterial ointment daily. Keep the blister covered until it heals.

https://www.healthline.com/health/blisters-on-feet#treatment

How to prevent blisters from running?

In order to prevent blisters when running, you need to reduce the friction on your skin. First a properly fitting running shoe with performance socks. Second, if your feet are still developing blisters lubricate the problematic areas. Third, you can try second skin a type of tape that will stay on your feet even when wet. If your shoe is not fitting properly and causing friction instead of purchasing a new running shoe an insole that conforms to your foot type can be used to stop the friction.

Recommended blister prevention products to add to your running gear!

Running with blisters on feet

If you want to continue to run with blisters on your feet make sure to have them properly bandaged to avoid infections.

Inconclusion Out of all of the socks that we’ve researched, the ten included on this list is worth the investment. Be sure to think about your individual sock needs before you purchase. Remember a bad pair of socks can really ruin your running experience, so make sure you invest in the right pair from the beginning. Refer to our user guide above so that you can make a better, more informed decision to help you choose the best running socks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of socks are best for running?

Choose moisture-wicking and natural fibers like merino wool. Nylon, polyester, and spandex are ideal. Look for trusted brands with runnign specific socks like Balega, Rockay, and Feetures.

Do running socks make a difference?

Yes, Running socks make a difference. You’ll feel better with temperature controlled feet and less blisters.

Are thick or thin socks better for running?

Thin socks are best for hot weather, thick are best for winter. Thick socks have the added benefit of a snug fit for blister prevention.

Are running socks worth it?

Running socks are one of the lowest cost item you can buy as a runner. This is not one of the items to cheap out on.

Why are cotton socks bad for running?

Cotton is bad because it does not “wick” away the moisture. This can lead to blisters quickly in a long run or hot temperatures.

Why do runners wear long socks?

Long socks help with blood circulation, sun protection, and scrape protection. The compression help blood flow, the fabric prevents sun damage and you’ll get less itchy scratches on the trail.

Why do marathon runners wear sleeves?

Marathon runners wear sleeves help with blood circulation, sun protection. The compression help blood flow, the fabric prevents sun damage. Sometimes they just feel good – as runners we need all the help we can get in those final miles.

Which is better compression socks or sleeves?

For the purpose of blood flow and recovery. Compression sleeves have higher compression capabilities, which is the core reason to use them.

Our top pick again

Tags:

An experienced runner and an active mom, Kelly is the research expert behind runninggearlab.com When you don't find Kelly training for her next 10k or 5k race you'll find her reading reviews and testing the latest running watch.

      Running Gear Lab
      Logo