Best Trail Running Socks

Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Compression-Fit Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair)

Our Top Choices for Trail Running Socks

In a hurry? Here are our top 3 recommendations…

PreviewProductPrice
Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Compression-Fit Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair)Balega Silver Antimicrobial Running SocksCheck Price
Balega Blister Resist Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), Orange, MediumBalega Blister Resist Quarter SocksCheck Price
MIRMARU Men's 5 Pairs Hiking Outdoor Trail Running Trekking Moisture Wicking Cushion Crew Socks (M223-MEDIUM)MIRMARU Trail Running Crew SocksCheck Price

1. Balega Silver Antimicrobial Running Socks

Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Compression-Fit Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair)

The Balega silver compression socks are perhaps the best trail running socks on the market. Made from synthetic fibers, they bring the comfort of wool and the durability of polyester or nylon.

Their greatest strength is the silver ions infusion that keeps bacteria at bay to prevent odors.

It should come as no surprise that the silver raises their cost, making Balega just as expensive as high-quality wool running socks. But unlike wool, they have all the strength you’d expect from a polyester/nylon blend athletic sock.

Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-Show Compression-Fit Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair)

In addition to their silver ion technology, these socks have a compression fit that helps to prevent heel and midfoot blisters caused by slippage. There’s also a medium amount of cushioning under the forefoot to prevent you from feeling too much of the ground.

That extra padding could be a problem if you fit your running shoes using thinner socks, though.

Shoe fitting apart, the Balegas are the perfect option if you’d like the feel of anti-stench wool socks, but need something that is built to last. They’re a little more expensive than your basic trail running sock, but have a great feel that will almost certainly improve your running experience.

2. Balega Blister Resist Quarter Socks

Balega Blister Resist Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), Orange, Medium

No sock can really be called blister-free, but Balega has added natural mohair and a proprietary polyester blend called Drynamix to pull sweat away from the skin and towards the outer surface of the sock.

Since moisture and friction are the key ingredients to blister formation, the company actually has a pretty solid claim to the blister-free label. 

On the other hand, since these are quarter-length, they do run a bit hotter than most of the running socks on our list, which will increase sweat output in hot climates (i.e., more blisters).

More padding than you see on most running socks makes them incredibly comfortable and gives them a tight fit inside your running shoes. However, like the higher cut, that padding makes them warmer, so save these socks for cooler days early or late in the season.

Balega Blister Resist Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), Orange, Medium

If you’re worried about sock slippage, the Balegas also come with a wide arch band that tightly secures them to your foot and avoids the dreaded heel blister.

Blisters are a major reason for runners to skip training sessions, so anything you can buy to prevent them is worth its weight in gold.

Balega’s blister-resistant model does an excellent job, and as long as you can tolerate the extra heat caused by their thick padding and higher cut, they are an excellent choice for your next run.

3. MIRMARU Trail Running Crew Socks

MIRMARU Men's 5 Pairs Hiking Outdoor Trail Running Trekking Moisture Wicking Cushion Crew Socks (M223-MEDIUM)

Mirmaru’s name may not ring a bell, but they make some of the best trail running socks for budget-minded consumers.

The height on these crew cut socks makes them one of the warmer on the list and probably not the best choice for summer runs. However, if you like hitting the trail in autumn or winter, their higher cut will keep your toes warm and dirt and pebbles out of your shoe.

Mirmaru’s socks are about twice as thick as your regular running socks and are constructed from a proprietary blend of polyurethane, polyester, and cotton to give them a good mix of comfort, durability, and moisture control. 

That last fiber probably sticks out for you though – cotton breathes well, but absorbs moisture easily, which is generally a bad thing when we’re talking about running socks. Fortunately, the cotton is fairly minimal and is used to draw moisture away from the skin; just be sure to give them ample drying after a wash.  

MIRMARU Men's 5 Pairs Hiking Outdoor Trail Running Trekking Moisture Wicking Cushion Crew Socks (M223-MEDIUM)

The Mirmaru’s sell for about half the cost of most high-performance running socks, and they provide decent moisture control and stability.

However, they’re just too thick and cut too high for most runners, fitting more like a hiking sock. If you run in very cold climates or for fairly short distances, though, this might not be a problem; that’s why we really recommend this model.

4. MudGear Premium Trail Running Socks

MudGear Premium Compression Socks - Mens & Womens Running Hiking Trail - 1 Pair (Black/Gray - L)

Compression-fit socks, especially knee-length ones, are not for everyone. Some runners believe that their tight fit improves blood circulation, assists oxygen in reaching the muscles, and enhances lactic acid removal. The science behind it is controversial, but if you’re firmly in the compression socks camp already, a pair of MudGears can be a great option.

The MudGear is built with a very specific purpose in mind – obstacle course racers. The back of the calf is padded, which is useful when sliding over walls or climbing ropes, but isn’t so helpful when you’re going for a more mundane trail run.

MudGear Premium Compression Socks - Mens & Womens Running Hiking Trail - 1 Pair (Black/Gray - L)

There’s also no way around it; the MudGear’s are not comfortable and are incredibly hot compared to most running socks.

They’re 9% spandex, which will feel very tight all the way up your calves, and the primary nylon blend of fabric isn’t exactly soft against the skin. As such, they’re relegated to winter, late fall, and early spring runs when temperatures are low enough to offset the insulating and discomforting properties of these socks.

That being said, they do an excellent job at wicking away moisture, and because there’s very little slippage with them, they’re great for runners that are prone to blisters.

5. Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Socks

Injinji Women's Run Lightweight No-Show (X-Small/Small, Retro Spectrum)

Are you someone who always seems to get blisters between their toes? Think there’s no way to prevent them aside from taking ten minutes or more to individually tape them before hitting the trail? You might be the perfect candidate for Injiji’s no-show toe socks! 

You might get some strange looks whenever you slip off your shoes, but toe socks are incredibly useful at preventing those niggling, in between the toes sores by absorbing moisture while physically preventing them from rubbing together.

Injiji’s toe socks are designed to be as lightweight as possible, with minimal cushioning and a very low, no-show cut.

The fabric is extra stretchy, which helps to keep them in place without adding some of the bulk seen in compression socks. They’re also made from 67% nylon, so you know they’re going to last at least as long your running shoes.

Injinji Women's Run Lightweight No-Show (X-Small/Small, Retro Spectrum)

While Injiji labels them as having a women’s fit, these are great for anyone with narrower feet, regardless of gender; they even come in a variety of gender-specific and neutral colors and patterns.

If you’re never had a problem with toe blisters, then you probably don’t need the added bulk and insulation that comes with toe socks. But for those enduring the pain, these will be a game-changer.

6. Balega Hidden Comfort Running Socks

Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair), Neon Blue, Medium

In terms of specs, these are quite similar to Balega’s blister-resistant quarter socks, but with a lower cut and slightly less padding. They’re made with the same Drynamix fabric, though, which makes them one of the best lightweight socks for moisture-control.

If you’re someone who runs on rock-strewn trails, you might consider getting a sock with a little more padding than these, as they definitely prioritized breathability over protection. These are no-show socks, so mud and pebbles can more easily slip between the cuff of the sock and your skin too. 

Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair), Neon Blue, Medium

Lack of padding aside, the Hidden Comforts are an excellent running sock for hardpack routes where debris and errant rocks are less of an issue. The lower profile also makes them a good choice if you like to go from the trails to town without changing out your gear. 

No-show socks are also more fashionable and have a less technical look that fits in better if you want to enjoy post-workout drinks with friends. They come in dozens of colors to suit anyone’s style too.

Balegas Hidden Comfort socks are a solid running sock for those who feel the Anti-Blister model’s quarter height is a little more than they want but are otherwise happy with the materials and padding provided.

7. EnerWear Trail Running Sock

Enerwear-Coolmax 4 Pack Women's Merino Wool Outdoor Hiking Trail Crew Sock (US Shoe Size 4-10,Black/Grey/Multi)

Everyone knows wool is the way to go if you want to put the kibosh on nasty foot odors, but are they worth the extra cost and care required? EnerWear thinks so, and they’ve made a pair that costs less than half of what some of the more well-known wool manufacturers do.

EnerWears’s crew length socks are made from 86% merino wool, 10% polyester, 3% nylon, and 1% spandex. That’s a much higher proportion of wool than is seen in most running socks, which makes them more comfortable, but also considerably less durable.

Enerwear-Coolmax 4 Pack Women's Merino Wool Outdoor Hiking Trail Crew Sock (US Shoe Size 4-10,Black/Grey/Multi)

That extra wool, along with their crew length and extra thick padding, also creates a sock that is so warm that they may only be suitable for winter trail runners.

That being said, if you’re worried about smelly socks, these are some of the best. EnerWear claims that you can wear them for up to 72 hours without washing them. Yet, unless you’re doing an ultra-marathon, there’s no need to test this feature.

Without the strong track record that Smartwool or some of the other big names have, it’s hard to say whether these budget brand wool socks will hold up to the challenges of daily runners. They are promising though, so let’s let the time tell.

8. Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks

Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair)

These trail running socks are rated as some of the best running socks currently on the market. Given that Rockay guarantees them for life, it’s pretty easy to see why. One of the biggest issues with wool socks is durability, especially when they don’t have a hefty proportion of nylon sewn into them. 

Rockays are actually only 30% wool and 66% polyamide, but no need to worry; these still have all the anti-stench properties you’d expect with a wool sock, along with rock-solid durability. There’s also a decent amount of padding in both heel and toe sections, which prevents slippage and gives a slight cushion on rough trails. 

Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks for Men and Women (1 Pair)

The compression bands on the arch further assist in making them some of the most blister-resistant trail running socks on the market. Best of all, these no-show wool blend socks are incredibly breathable, providing excellent performance on even the hottest days.

A pair of Rockays will set you back a bit more than most running socks (though not significantly more than a pair of full merino wools), but their durability makes them a great investment if you’re a frequent runner.

9. Smartwool PhD Run Elite Light Socks

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks - Men’s Run Elite Wool Performance Sock LIGHT GRAY-BLACK M Unisex

Similar to the EnerWear, the Smartwool socks are great for runners concerned about their funky smelling socks. Smartwool is probably the biggest name in the merino wool market, so they’re definitely a company you can trust.

These Smartwool socks have no-show length, making them unsuitable for trail runners that regularly encounter a lot of mud. However, on hardpack, the extra breathability will be much appreciated. The Smartwools are also considered a micro-light sock, so they have minimal padding and could be  uncomfortable on rougher trails or in colder climates. 

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks - Men’s Run Elite Wool Performance Sock LIGHT GRAY-BLACK M Unisex

They’re made from half wool and half nylon, which helps overcome the durability issues that seem to plague wool products. That being said, it’s best to turn them inside out, and either hand wash them or use the hand wash cycle on the washing machine. They really should be hung up to dry, but you can use a dryer set to low. 

Given their slightly higher cost, a pair of these Smartwool socks are only a good option for runners that really want the anti-stench properties of the fabric.

The extra care and decreased durability make them less desirable for everyday trainers. They’re also quite thin, and are best suited for hot climates where breathability is paramount.

10. Thorlos Oaqu Outdoor Athlete Socks

Thorlos OAQU Thin Cushion Outdoor Athlete Ankle Socks, Red, Medium

Thorlos isn’t the biggest name in athletic socks, but they consistently produce high-quality, made in the USA products that are inexpensive enough for budget-minded runners.

Their OAQU ankle length socks are no exception to this trend, being one of the better options for runners that want a relatively cushy compression sock, but without the length and discomfort that can come with other models.

The OAQU’s are ankle length, which means they’re best suited for serious trail runners and those hitting the pavement towards the tail end of the season. The tops of the socks are reinforced to prevent them from sliding down and from letting any sort of debris in. 

Thorlos also added significant padding under the forefoot, which absorbs moisture and helps to take the edge off of each footfall. Cushioning in the heel is fairly minimal, so give them a pass if you’re a heel striker.

However, they feature some strong arch support that helps keep them in proper position and not rubbing against your skin.

Thorlos OAQU Thin Cushion Outdoor Athlete Ankle Socks, Red, Medium

Sewn with 74% Thor-Wick polyester and 22% nylon, these socks are both very breathable and quite durable. However, their extra length and padding make them run a little warm, so they could cause blisters if your feet sweat more than average. 

These socks are ideal for those wanting the best trail running socks that have some padding and compression, but that doesn’t feel like a niche accessory.