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Best Running Socks For Summer in 2021

 

Socks might seem like a small and unimportant piece of running equipment, but when you get a blister because you aren’t wearing the right socks, you’ll understand how important they really are.

They can also make your feet cold in winter, or cause your feet to overheat in summer. But the best running socks for summer are quite different from the best socks for winter, so you’ll need to shop carefully depending on the conditions you plan to run in.

If you’re looking for socks that will keep your feet cool in summer while still providing decent cushioning, then you’re in the right place. We’re reviewing the best summer socks.

The top choice is the Swiftwick Pursuit Zero Ultralight, as they’re made from moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating Merino wool, they have a reinforced heel and toe for extra comfort and they have a seamless toe for less chance of chafing.

Let’s have a look at which other socks made the cut.

Top 3 Best and Favourites

 

Swiftwick Pursuit Zero Ultralight

 

  • Reinforced heel and toe
  • Seamless toe reduces friction
  • Thin channeled upper for ventilation
Check Price

 

Saucony Inferno No Show Tab

 

  • Engineered arch stability
  • Seamless construction
  • Airmesh venting panel
Check Price

 

Icebreaker Lifestyle Ultralight No Show

 

  • Achilles and instep support
  • Light cushioning
  • Made from moisture-wicking materials
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Swiftwick Pursuit Zero Ultralight

You may have seen winter socks made from Merino wool and you might be wondering why the same kind of socks would be our top choice for summer.

And the answer is: merino wool. It’s an amazing material. The reason it can be equally as effective for winter and summer use is that it has temperature-regulating properties, which means in winter it retains heat and in summer releases heat.

It is also moisture-wicking, so even when you sweat, your feet won’t get soaked. The fabric moves moisture away from your feet to the surface of the sock where it can evaporate. This wicking also helps cool you down and reduces the chance of developing blisters.

These Merino socks are ultralight, and thin enough to feel light and soft on the skin. But they have reinforced areas of padding in sensitive areas, to increase durability and foot protection. The toe and heel are both extra padded so you’ll feel supported where you need it most.

The toe is also seamless, which provides more comfort and less chance of chafing, allowing for a more comfortable fit around your foot.

These socks are only available in one height—no show tab—which some runners may find uncomfortable.

PROS:

  • Reinforced heel and toe
  • Seamless toe reduces friction
  • Thin channeled upper for ventilation
  • Moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating

CONS:

  • Only available in no-show height
 

Top Runner-Up

2. Balega UltraLight No Show

The Balega UltraLight No Show socks are designed with a left sock and a right sock, unlike most other socks.

Although this means you need to take extra care putting your socks on, once they are on the proper feet, you may be surprised at how much the anatomical design improves the comfort.

Not only does it allow for the sock’s cushioning to fall in the right place all the time, it also reduces the chance of hotspots or pressure points causing blisters. The Drynamix fiber construction also means that your feet stay dry, so no moisture can build up and cause chafing or odor.

These socks are made for comfort. The 200-needle count fabric is well-cushioned, but they’re also lightweight, so it’s the best of both worlds. To enhance the comfortable cushion, the heel and toe are reinforced and the heel pocket is extra deep for a locked-in fit.

The mesh panels assist in keeping your feet ventilated, and the heel tab is a nice touch to prevent them from slipping into your shoe.

The sizes of these socks are inconsistent, though, and they may arrive smaller than you expect.

PROS:

  • Made from Drynamix fibers
  • Cushioned heel and toe
  • Deep heel pocket
  • Anatomical left/right design

CONS:

  • The sizing of these socks can be inconsistent, so can be smaller than expected
 

Best Value

3. Saucony Inferno No Show Tab

Saucony makes good running shoes, so it only makes sense that their socks would be high quality as well.

Like other higher priced options, these socks make use of moisture control – in this case, Saucony’s RunDry Pro technology. The materials are moisture-wicking and remove any hint of dampness from the feet so that they remain cool, dry, and odor-free.

Airmesh vents improve the airflow in these socks, which also increases moisture control and helps you to stay cool when running in heat. A seamless toe enhances comfort and reduces blisters from chafing.

These socks also feature Engineered Arch Stability, which is helpful for runners who need extra snug support around the midfoot.

Some runners may feel that the socks are a little slippery, which could make the foot move around more than they’d like inside their shoe.

PROS:

  • Engineered arch stability
  • Seamless construction
  • Airmesh venting panel
  • RunDry Pro moisture control

CONS:

  • Some people may find the sock to be “slippery,” and that can cause your feet to slide in the shoe
 

Top Merino Running Socks

4. Icebreaker Lifestyle Ultra Light No Show

Merino wool may be slightly more expensive than normal wool. But it’s worth getting yourself at least one pair of socks made from this ultra-versatile material. When these socks are on your feet, you’ll notice the difference.

Merino wool is very light and soft against your skin, but the really amazing feature is the temperature regulation properties. In summer, merino draws moisture to the sock’s surface so that it can evaporate. This helps to keep your feet cool and dry, and create an environment that isn’t easy for fungi or blisters to develop in.

As well as merino wool, these socks have nylon and Lycra elements in them, so they stretch over your foot easily for a snug fit. And yet they also retain their shape well over time. The cushioning is very light, but that’s what your running shoes are for!

They also have more heels and a seamless toe. A bit of instep support is a nice addition, and Achilles support to prevent injury, makes your foot supported from every side.

Every pair of Icebreaker socks has a no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee. If they wear out, simply get hold of the company and they’ll replace them for you. They can run slightly small, so it’s wise to order a size bigger than you usually would.

PROS:

  • Achilles and instep support
  • Light cushioning
  • Made from moisture-wicking materials
  • Lifetime guarantee

CONS:

  • The socks can run small, and you may need to order one size bigger
 

Best Formfitting Running Socks

5. Feetures Elite Ultra Light No Show Tab

You want your socks to fit like a glove and to allow no space for extra material or gaps that could create chafing or pressure points. Feetures Elite socks are form-fitting and hug your foot, leaving no room for friction.

They have an anatomical design with left and right-specific socks to allow for the most contoured, custom fit possible. Each sock also has light, targeted compression, making the fit even snugger while supporting the arch, reducing foot pain and improving circulation.

The Perfect Toe is seamless for enhanced comfort. A Y-heel design stops the socks from sliding down into the shoe, and also sits just below the ankle to prevent irritation. iWick fibers keep moisture away from your skin, cooling your feet and keeping them as dry as possible while you’re running.

The socks run slightly small, so ordering a size larger is a good idea. Also, there is a small chance of them shrinking in the washing machine, so make sure to follow washing instructions carefully.

PROS:

  • Anatomical design
  • iWick synthetic fiber
  • Arch compression
  • The Perfect Toe

CONS:

  • The socks run small and you may want to order one size bigger
  • There’s a possibility of the socks shrinking after a single wash
 

Top All Weather Sock

6. Darn Tough Vertex Ultralight Cushion

The Darn Tough Vertex is another merino wool sock, which makes it the perfect sock for all weather conditions.

In summer, merino wool allows for a high level of breathability, so your feet stay well-ventilated, cool and dry. In winter, it insulates the feet and lets moisture out while keeping warmth in.

Merino wool, in all weather, is a naturally antimicrobial fiber, so odor-causing bacteria is repelled and your feet smell fresh all day long.

This sock features fine-gauge knitting for a thin but durable construction that feels light on the foot and doesn’t take up much space inside the shoe. A Y-stitch heel keeps it from slipping down, and the heel tab reduces chafing on the sensitive Achilles tendon.

Some runners might feel that the low ankle is too short for comfort. If you do like these socks, then you’ll be pleased to know that Darn Tough has a lifetime guarantee.

PROS:

  • Temperature-regulating
  • True Seamless
  • Y-stitch heel
  • Light cushioning

CONS:

  • Some may find that the ankle is too short for their liking
 

Best 3-Pack

7. R-Gear Super Breathable Thinnest No Show Socks

Why buy one pair when you can buy 3? The R-Pack contains 3 pairs of socks in neutral colors that are suitable for men or women. They’re thin and light on your feet and match with any outfit you may be wearing.

DRYMAX dual-layer moisture removal means you won’t have sweaty or damp feet. The chance of developing blisters is almost zero thanks to the dry and friction-free environment. There are also mesh strips running across the foot to allow for more airflow.

Each pair is made with MicroZap Antimicrobial technology to combat bacteria that causes foot odor. Although this 3-pack is of great value, some runners might find the socks to be too short on the ankle, and there are no other styles to choose from.

PROS:

  • Dual-layer moisture removal system
  • Made in the USA
  • Antimicrobial technology
  • Arch band support

CONS:

  • May be too short for some, and there are no ankle height variations
 

Best Summer Toe Socks

8. Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show

If you’re one of those runners who prefer each toe being cushioned and separated from the others, then these toe socks could be the best summer running socks for you.

The five-toe design keeps your toes from rubbing against each other and causing pain, swelling, and blisters from the friction.

It also helps the toes to splay more naturally in your shoe’s toe box, which keeps the foot aligned in a better way and creates a natural platform. Make sure that your shoes can accommodate a splayed foot if you’re thinking of trying toe socks for the first time.

A mesh top makes the socks breathable, especially for wearing in the heat. COOLMAX fibers keep your feet dry, so you don’t need to worry about the toe-hugging design making your feet sweat. The design helps to reduce sweating between the toes, thanks to each toe being wrapped up by itself.

An arch support band and heel tab to prevent it from slipping down are nice final touches, although some runners may find that these socks are too thin for their liking.

PROS:

  • Injinji’s five-toe patented design
  • CoolMax fibers
  • Heel tab
  • Arch support

CONS:

  • Some people may find the socks to be too thin
 

Top Compression Summer Socks

9. CEP Ultra Light No Show Compression Socks

Runners who struggle with their circulation in their limbs will benefit from these socks. While compression limited to just the feet might not seem like much, it’s also not nothing, and every little bit helps.

These are compression socks, but provide just light compression, enough to stimulate blood flow while you’re wearing them. But they don’t provide the same benefits that proper long compression socks do.

But they do offer 15mmHg of compression, particularly around the midfoot, which can be helpful to alleviate pain and swelling associated with overuse, or foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.

The compression and elastic-type toe box help the sock to cling to your foot with a tight, supportive fit. The socks are sized both by shoe size and by an anatomically-based arch circumference measurement.

PROS:

  • Anatomically sized by shoe size
  • Instep compression
  • Contoured seamless toe
  • Gender-specific sizing

CONS:

  • Runners won’t get as much benefit from them as they would from knee or calf-high compression socks
 

Best for Trail Running

10. PRO Compression PC Racer Socks

This is list of summer socks, so there are plenty of no-show and ankle-height socks that keep your legs fabric-free. Trail runners might want a little more protection, especially in the summer when trails start to get overgrown. The length of these socks makes them perfect for trail runs. They come up to mid-calf, so your ankles and shins will be protected from debris and plant abrasions as you run the trails. Trail running can be hard on the feet, so these socks are designed to provide light compression to keep circulation going and relieve pain.

The fabrics—polypropylene, nylon, and lycra spandex—are soft on the feet and also encourage airflow so the feet stay cool. The compression helps to increase circulation and support sore arches, reduce foot swelling, and reduce muscle fatigue. A “stabilizer zone” adds extra support around the ankles and Achilles to reduce the chance of injury.

Although a longer sock may seem like a hotter sock, the integrated moisture control keeps your feet from getting damp when you perspire. The material is quick-drying, which will keep you cool and dry all the way through your run.

If you have well-built calf muscles, you may need to measure them before buying so you can be sure the sock will fit around your calf. You might need to order a larger size.

PROS:

  • Foot-bed compression
  • Stabilizer zone for support
  • Mid-calf length
  • Moisture-wicking material

CONS:

  • Measure your calves before ordering the socks, as you may have to order a size bigger for a snug fit
 
 

FAQs

Why do you need good running socks?

Good running socks can be the difference between a comfortable run and a run that leaves you with blisters.

Socks provide comfort, extra cushioning, and often come with antimicrobial properties. A breathable and quick-drying sock keeps your feet dry and comfortable in your shoes.

What material works best for summer running socks?

You may see running socks made from nylon, spandex, polyester, or merino wool. They all have advantages, but merino wool wins in terms of both breathability and moisture control.

Can you wear merino wool in summer?

Yes, you can wear merino wool in the summer. Merino wool is a fiber, not a specific fabric, so it is available in all kinds of weights, from whisper-thin for summer to warm and cozy for winter. Choose a lightweight merino wool sock for summer – one that can breathe. It will automatically regulate the temperature of your feet and do what it needs to do.

What kind of socks keeps your feet from sweating?

Your feet are going to sweat. But a moisture-wicking sock will control your sweat, help it evaporate, and keep your feet drier. So choose materials that are moisture-wicking, like merino wool, CoolMax, bamboo, olefin, and anything polyester. Avoid socks made with cotton or cotton-blends!

What other factors should you consider when buying running socks?

First, think about the length of the socks. Longer socks are good for trail running, and shorter socks for road running, but in the end, it’s up to you.

The cushioning of the sock is important too. Summer socks tend to have less padding. The tightness of the sock is a personal preference.

The Wired Runner