Are Running Socks Worth It? Reasons Why You Need Them


You’ve recently decided to take up running. You love the freedom you feel when you’ve hit your stride, not to mention how fit running is making you. It’s your goal to participate in a race sooner than later, and you’ve already started preparing. A running buddy of yours suggested you buy some running socks as part of your training, but you’re not so sure. Are running socks worth it?

Running socks are a must for both short-distance and long-distance running for these reasons:

  • Compression in the socks boosts circulation and prevents sock movement
  • Multiple layers reduce friction for fewer blisters
  • Seamless toes avert sock rubbing and bunching
  • Arch support enhances sock fit and could stop the development of plantar fasciitis
  • Mesh ventilation lets the socks breathe for fewer foot odors 
  • Heel and toe cushioning protect you underfoot

In this article, we’ll elaborate more on the features of running socks that you won’t find in a standard pair of everyday socks. We’ll even include a section on selecting the right running socks for you. Keep reading, as you’re not going to want to miss it. 

6 Reasons You Need to Use Running Socks

A good pair of running socks might run you up about $25, which to you, seems like a lot of money to spend on socks. You already have plenty of socks in your sock drawer at home, so why can’t you use those instead?

It’s the same reason you don’t go running in a pair of Converse sneakers. Like running shoes are designed to support and protect the feet of runners, the same is true of running socks versus everyday socks.

The following 6 reasons will prove why running socks are absolutely worth it. 

Running Socks Have Compression

Do your everyday cotton socks boast compression features? More than likely, they don’t. The compression levels you get in your running socks vary depending on the brand, but some compression is always better than none.

Why is that? Compression running socks boost the circulation in your feet so you can run for longer without pain or that uncomfortable pins and needles feeling. Also, and just as beneficial, compression socks don’t move in your shoes. They fit firmly to your feet, but not too tightly. That makes it much easier to run. 

You Can Prevent Blisters with Multiple Layers

If there’s one thing you’ve become accustomed to as a runner in training, it’s blisters. These big, painful pockets of fluid make you miserable because they hurt so bad. You can’t run, nor can you even get around your house without pain.

You’re much more likely to get blisters by using everyday socks for running. If you switch to running socks with several layers, at least two, your rate of blisters will sharply drop. The two fabric layers make contact with one another when your feet move, generating friction that way instead of the friction you usually get between your sock and your bare skin.  

No Sock Rubbing or Bunching Due to Seamless Toes

Most standard socks have a seam across the toes, as this is where the toes are sewn together. Many people don’t even notice the seam, but those with sensitive feet can feel particularly uncomfortable with the seam rubbing up against the tops of their toes all day.

As a runner, you too will grow to hate the toe seam. In your running shoes, that seam puts pressure on your toes and leaves them quite uncomfortable, even raw by the end of the day. 

Once you switch to running socks, you can ditch the toe seams to prevent that uncomfortable rubbing. Your socks are also a lot less likely to bunch up with proper running socks. Now you don’t have to constantly stop your run to readjust your socks. 

You Can Possibly Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

Running socks could even safeguard you from the onset of plantar fasciitis. Never heard of plantar fasciitis before? It’s a painful condition that causes the tissue along the bottom of your foot to become inflamed. Your heel will have a very sharp pain that sufferers describe as stabbing. If you run in the morning, that’s typically when the pain is worst, but your feet can still hurt during the day and night.

If you’re diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, you can try steroid injections, shoe inserts, and physical therapy to deal with the pain. For the most serious cases of plantar fasciitis, surgery may be the only treatment that works.

Having to get foot surgery could put a real damper on your aspirations of running long distances. Thus, you’ll want to switch to running socks immediately. The compression bands augment arch support, which could thus help you avoid developing plantar fasciitis. 

No More Overly Stinky, Sweaty Socks Thanks to Mesh Ventilation

After a day of running in a pair of cotton socks, those socks are slick, sweaty, and very stinky. Your feet slide right out when you take your socks off, which is kind of gross. Since everyday socks aren’t really made for running, the sweat has nowhere to go but against and around your feet.

That’s not the case at all with running socks. Mesh ventilation panels throughout will let your feet breathe so sweat can leave the sock. Many running socks also have moisture-wicking properties so your feet are less wet at the end of the day. Not only is this great from a hygiene perspective, but it prevents your running shoes from being wrecked by foot odors as well. 

Safeguard Your Feet with Heel and Toe Cushioning

You have to take care of your feet now that you use them so often for running. A good pair of running socks will be padded, especially at the heel and toe. This extra cushioning keeps the underside of your feet safe from injuries and pain that could sideline you. The cushioning is also a second safeguard against foot blisters!  

How Do You Choose the Right Running Socks?

Okay, okay, you now see why you need running socks over the everyday cotton socks you were using for running. You’ll protect your feet and quash foot odors to boot. The question becomes, with so many running socks out there, how do you possibly choose the right pair for you?

The following tips will help you select running socks that feel comfortable and protect your feet. 

Set Your Budget

As we said before, running socks aren’t terribly expensive at about $25 a pop, but it’s not unheard of for the most passionate runners to spend upwards of $100 to $200 on these socks. Those are the most top-of-the-line running socks. 

There’s no need for you to shell out that much cash for socks if you can’t swing it. Whatever money you do have to spare towards your running socks, start by determining your budget. Then, you can shop within your price range so you’re not spending more than you want to on socks. 

Determine Which Sock Type You Most Like

Not all running socks are the same. Besides the varying levels of compression, some running socks have anatomical feet. What does this mean? Rather than put on whichever sock first that you choose, anatomical socks are designed for the right and left foot respectively.

The arch support you receive with anatomical socks is exemplary, and the fit is secure given the difference in the two socks. 

You might also be interested in separated toe running socks. These socks have room for each of your toes to slip into a part of the sock rather than be grouped together. Separated toe running socks are known for their moisture-wicking as well as their blister prevention capabilities. After all, with the unique fit of these socks, there’s less direct friction between the sock and your skin. 

Some people prefer the fit and feel of separated toe running socks and others can’t stand them. We’d recommend researching the different types of running socks and then selecting the type that most suits you. 

Choose Between One Layer or Two Layers

You also want to consider whether you need single-layer or multi-layer socks. If you’re especially prone to blisters, then two-layer socks aren’t a bad idea. As we explained in the last section, the reduced friction from these socks keeps your feet blister-free. If you don’t care as much about that, then single-layer running socks should be fine for you. 

Try Several Pairs On

You might want to buy a few pairs of running socks at once to determine which ones are the most you. Perhaps you buy a few different styles or single-layer versus multi-layer socks to compare the fit, comfort, support, compression, and moisture-wicking.

Our Favorite Socks

Rockay Anti-Blister Running Socks for both men and women are some of the best we have used. They use 100% recycled materials, clean our oceans and offer a lifetime warranty. If you are having a hard time finding comfortable socks, start with rockay.com

Final Thoughts

Running socks are far better than the everyday cotton socks in your sock drawer. With running socks, you can fight off blisters through reduced friction, support your feet to potentially prevent plantar fasciitis and other foot pain, and keep your feet drier with moisture-wicking and ventilation panels. 

Once you find the perfect pair of running socks, you can truly run free!  

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Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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