13 Best Running Socks, The Evening Standard


I got my hands on 13 of the best running socks available on the market today. After testing them in a variety of scenarios over the past few weeks; from running 120km of sandy coastal trails in Portugal, to marathons and 10kms around Hyde Park, here is the low-down on how they performed:

Bridgedale CoolFusion RUN Na-kd

This is the lightest sock I tested, and I must say I was really impressed with it. Fits really well, breathable and still offers protection on the heel and toe from rubbing on your trainer. A great choice and one I will for sure be using going forward when weight is a big factor / going for shorter runs on flat/urban surfaces.


Injinji RUN: Performance 2.0 Midweight Mini Crew

I have never used ‘finger’ socks before. And you know what, they’re totally cool! I thought they would mess with my toes, cause extra friction, make it more squashed upfront .. but that’s just not the case. Also, if you’re prone to toe blisters, these are just the job. I have been on some 30km+ runs wearing these socks, and no issues at all. I actually really liked them and will use them regularly; this is a well fitting and durable sock. One of its downsides it the price is towards the top end you’ll pay for a pair of running socks.


Injinji RUN: Performance 2.0 Original Weight Mini Crew

I found very little difference between this and the Mid Weight option (above), so would probably go for this as it’s slightly lighter. Good option if you need a little more cushioning for uneven ground.


Hilly Marathon Fresh Anklet

A great all rounder sock. The extra padding sits in just the right places on the heel and toes, and it’s a good mid-weight sock with support under the arch. I found a little extra room in the toe area, so perhaps well suited if you have wider feet. Also, Polygiene is applied to the fabric which is a treatment that prevents growth of odour-causing bacteria. This is ideal if, like me, you’re a little lazy on the washing front so you can use them multiple times without them getting smelly (it’s quite clever stuff, check it out here).


Smartwool Phd Running Light Elite Low Cut

This is the only sock in my selection which uses Merino wool (its main component) and is used to great effect in the the thicker padded area around the toe and heel. The nylon is used on the top of the foot and around the arch, ensuring weight is kept down and it performs well with sweat. It is one of the more expensive options, but a really great sock.


Thorlo Experia Micro Mini (XCCU) 

A really quite thick padded area around the toe and heel. Would be a good option if your trainer was perhaps just a smidgen too large, as they’d help take up that fraction of excess space, or if you were running up/down some steep ascents where extra padding might be handy. For shorter runs (half marathon or less), I would say they are too padded.


Thorlo Experia Energy (XECU) Compression

A great lightweight sock, and really impressive. Very well snug fitting sock, and despite being quite light, it still has the support and cushioning where you need it. Found the material mix and ratios worked really well too. One of my favourites, and would perform well in the heat too with great wicking qualities. The only thing is it could have been had a little more length up the ankle, but if you’re not running in sand, it won’t cause an issue (and actually probably saves a couple of grams!). They are slightly pricey, but I think it’s worth it.


Inov8 All Terrain Low

A great and durable workhorse with nylon as the predominant material. It works really well across a range of occasions and demands; tough, durable and lightweight to go with it. Sufficient padding and a good fit.


Inov8 Speed Sock Low

Really nice lightweight well fitting sock, the second lightest I tested. Very similar to the ‘All Terrain’ version (above) and I really like this as a versatile option to have for many different runs.


1000 Mile Breeze Lite

A really comfortable sung fitting sock. Despite being double layered, it’s not too heavy, too thick or cumbersome and has no extra saggy areas which could be a hotspot for blisters. I really like this sock and would select this if I was using a larger trail running shoe, and going for 40km+ distance.


1000 Mile Breeze

The heaviest pair of socks I tested, this is a double layered sock with great long lasting qualities. This would be a good option if you were prone to rubbing / getting blisters. For shorter runs, these are too heavy and I would opt for a lighter weight sock, but good for longer distance (marathon+) if you like good padding.


Falke RU4 Invisible

A nice easy breathing sock, good for mid to long distances. Take attention on the sizing you choose as above.


X-Socks Marathon

I love this sock, and it has been one of my running staples for years. I ran a 250km desert ultra marathon in them and didn’t cause me a moment of bother. But do double check your size. Equally I use them for 10km runs in the park and used them in the London marathon.



This was a really fascinating test for me. Socks are a vital choice and can mean the difference of blister / no blister / getting them sub 3-hour marathon time or not / completing a multi-day ultra marathon or not!!

There are so many different factors which come into choosing a sock, so I can’t rank the above in any kind of order, as I would use any one of them in a particular set of scenarios depending on the variables. The factors I would consider when making my selection would be:

The biggest thing I learned from this is the variation in weight of a pair of socks, and the significance of this. In this sample of 13 different socks, there was a range from 11 grams for the lightest to 33 grams for the heaviest, and that’s per sock. So with a pair, that is a variance of some 44 grams between the lightest and heaviest options. This actually really is a significant weight, and a big consideration when deciding what sock to wear, as any extra weight must be justified.

I think it is really useful to have a number of different socks to use in any set of scenarios, and would recommend having 3 or 4 of the above to choose from. Have options, and consider what your priority is on that particular run on that day – for example comfort vs weight vs durability vs temperature –  and make your choice from there.

Happy running …!!

The Adventure Ferg Size guide above, is a size recommend based off my shoe size of UK 11 (EU 44).

I weighed each of the socks on a mini Salter scale, so the weights I give below are from my own weighing on that specific sized sock, rather than the advertised brand weight.

Photo 19-04-2017, 16 42 07
Weighing each sock

Also, a small aside / tip; if you tend to get blisters / chafing on your feet, I really recommend 2Toms Blister Shield – kind of like talcum powder, you sprinkle a little into your socks before running, and it just helps reduce any friction points.

2Toms Blister Shield – great to prevent blisters

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