Running socks reviewed

Top running sock brands put to the test

Running socks are nearly as integral to running success as a decent pair of running shoes. It's important that your feet remain comfortable, cool and dry during a lengthy run and a good pair of running socks can allow this. Here's our guide to a few pairs of top-of-the-range running socks that may help your feet to feel more comfortable next time you go out for a run.

Here you’ll find reports on a wide range of socks from a number of manufacturers by visitors to this site. Each test took place over at least 250 miles and each report is the testers’ honest impressions of the socks over that period.

Falke – RU3
Product review by Mark Jackman

Interesting, a pair of socks with an L and R on them to make sure you get them on the right foot because they are “anatomically formed asymmetrical” socks. However, for a non-gimmick person like myself; this did put the socks on a back foot right from the start.

These socks look good, white with grey padding and red trim, and are extremely comfortable to wear. For me the cushioning level, medium, seemed about right and the support given by the socks is very good.

When out running I experienced no rubbing with these socks and my feet stayed pretty dry and cool, I have been finding my feet getting pretty hot recently. There is a claim on the label about the socks preventing “deviation from the natural motions” but I could not say if this was happening or not, suffice it to say I have not suffered from any injuries, however mild, since wearing these socks. The feeling while running was pretty much like a second skin. Because I knew I had to write this review I did spend time while out running trying to think of the feel of the socks and it was very much a case of not feeling them at all. They were very good.

Did the left and right make a difference? I did quickly try them on the wrong feet and it did not feel right so I did not go running in them like that.

Even after an intense period of wearing these socks, and with the washing that goes with this, these socks show very little sign of wear and tear. There is no sign of bobbling which sometimes shows itself, particularly on the cushioning.

I really liked these socks and the only thing I could fault with was the length. I prefer socks below the ankles and these were well above the ankle. On the face of it I would have to say this is very petty though.

Reebok – Men’s Sports sock (Reflect)
Product review by Mark Jackman

These socks have a good look and shape to them, complete with a reflective stripe around the top.

They are quite short in length, which is how I prefer them. On closer inspection though, the seam between the main body of the sock and the cushioning panels is very roughly finished, it has a very ragged look to it.

 When putting the socks on for the first time, it felt like putting on a pair of football socks. They had that nylon feeling. This was made even more apparent when I went out running. The main problems when I went running were there was a lot of movement of my foot in the shoe and, not sure if this was caused by the movement or the sock, a number of sore patches on my foot due to rubbing. This is something that has not gone away over time.

It has taken me some time to actually do any kind of mileage in these socks mainly because I am very reluctant to wear them. I tended to keep them for shorter runs. The socks themselves have held up very well. There is little sign of wear and tear anywhere on the sock and they still look good. The only point on this is a slight stretching on the main body of the sock around the wider parts of the foot.

None of the problems I found with the socks when I first started using them have cleared up and so they will not be a sock that I will be using again unless I really need to.

Hilly Mono Skin – Moisture Management Anti-Odour
Product review by Mark Jackman

On first sight I thought these socks looked good. I prefer the shorter length when running and so I appreciated the cut of these. As for the colouring it is not something I am too bothered by but my wife informed me they looked good.

I found these socks to be a really good fit. Right from the word go they did not feel like “new” socks but were comfortable straight away. They were a snug fit but at the same time they did not feel restrictive.

Even though I have been gradually increasing distances while using these socks, at no time did I experience blisters, rubbing or sore patches.

My feet tend to get very hot and I was concerned at the thickness of these socks, especially in the warm weather we have been having. This fear was totally unfounded as I found these socks kept my feet cool while running. Also when I took them off, the socks and my feet felt dry. As for the “anti-odour” properties I am not sure if this worked or not, it is quite hard to tell if your feet are smelling less, especially when the rest of you stinks. I suppose the only judge on this is my running shoes, fairly new ones, don’t stink like my old ones but this could just be because they are newer.

The care and maintenance of these socks was easy. Washing these socks went well. They dried really quickly, which meant they were available for use again usually by the next run, and retained their shape. There was no serious sign of wear, even after clocking up a high mileage in them they still looked good.

Hilly Mono Skin Anatomical Training technical sock
Product review by David Pastor

Fit-wise I was a bit concerned initially, as although I take a size 9 shoe, I tend to opt for the "medium" size range of sock.

Having tried them on, they hugged my foot well. It's the first time I've tried anatomically shaped socks (specific left and right socks) and I was pleasantly surprised.

They are very hard wearing - I like to run through all the puddles and the mud I can find, and whilst the socks are now more of a grey-brown colour rather than white, the padding and integrity of the sock is sound.

I didn't have any problems at all with blisters or rubbing. They were a good sock for long distance miling (my longest run in them was 15 miles).

The only issue I had was thickness - bearing in mind that we do get generally good weather in summer, the socks kept my feet very warm. I think they're an ideal winter sock, especially for the longer miles, but for summer conditions they may prove to be a bit over protective!

Having said that, they did wick the moisture away from my skin very well. On one occasion I gave them a real pasting in the wet and they also came up trumps. They took a while to dry out due to their thickness.

Likes: Anatomical design, comfort
Dislikes: Too warm for summer use. Would have like to try the 6-8.5 size as well to see the difference in fit.

The socks have covered around 80 miles so far and I'll be continuing to use them on cooler days as they haven't worn at all.

Hilly Mono Skin Anatomical Training technical sock
Product review by Dr Eric E. Stannard

As someone who previously wore normal “sports socks” it was interesting to be invited onto the Sock Panel to test some technical running socks designed by Dr Ron Hill MBE.

So what is it about these socks that make them technical? The mixture of the materials used, and the anatomical design giving a padded sock contoured individually for the left and right foot.

The design features of the sock are listed on the label are:

  • Coolmax for extra wicking to keep feet cool
  • Resilient Meraklon cushioning only in areas where needed provides shock absorption
  • Flat toe seam and cushioned protection to help prevent blisters
  • Arch grip section for optimum fit
  • “Y” Heel for better fit
  • Full achilles heel protection

All sounds very impressive, but the proof is in the testing. Having worn the socks for over 100 miles of running, including races from 10km to 13.1miles, and on a variety of terrains I can recommend them.

Being an anatomical sock they are designed to fit each individual foot (a “L” and “R” are clearly marked on each sock) snuggly, which they do superbly. The close fit gives you confidence that they are not going to slip or rub, and after 100 miles of running I never had a single blister. The socks do feel quite thick to wear but this does mean added cushioning making a difference on long runs on hard surfaces. The padding around the ankle, and in particular the Achilles area, protect you from common injuries caused by constant rubbing and applied pressure from running shoes. The disadvantage with this protection is that they are very warm in hot weather, however, the coolmax material seems to do a good job of wicking away moisture from your feet leaving your feet relatively dry.

After many washes they have retained there fit and shape well, and show only slight signs of wear.

If you have never tried a technical running sock I would recommend these for autumn/winter road running where the warmth will be welcomed and the extra cushioning increase your comfort while running.

Hilly mono-skin Padded Training High Cushioning Sock
Product review by Laura Foster

I have mixed emotions about these socks.

First the good points:
The cushioning is excellent, and I could really feel the difference with each foot strike. Both the ball of my foot and the heel felt protected, and I felt that I was taking care of my body just a little better than I had been before.

The thickness round the ankle felt good too. It provided an additional bit of support which was unexpected, but became very comfortable.

No blisters, and my feet felt pretty dry. The socks were quite hot for the summer weather, and added to the sweaty feeling a little. However they dried quickly, and felt comfortable to wear out a second time. I am looking forward to wearing them in winter.

The socks washed well (and tumbled well too although the instructions said I shouldn’t). They kept their colour and shape well, and show no signs of wear after over 100 miles of use and lots of washings.

Now the bad points.
As already mentioned, the socks were too hot for warmer weather.

First impression on receiving the socks was that the toe box was very square, and the first time I wore the socks there was a spare triangle of fabric flapping from my little toes. This was quite uncomfortable to run with, and felt as though it would have caused blisters if I was out for a long distance. After washing a few times, the squareness relaxed a little and the socks became more comfortable. However there has always been a touch too much fabric around the toes, and I do become aware of it after wearing the shoes for a few miles.

Another little niggle is that there was something causing a what felt like a crease under one heel the first time I wore the socks. I took my shoes off and smoothed about the socks, but couldn’t make the crease go away. It felt like some sort of problem in the manufacture leaving a ridge in the fabric. It went away after the first wash, but would have been enough to put me off wearing the socks altogether.

In conclusion, a good supportive sock, ideal for winter wear. Problems in the shape/manufacturing process prevent a whole-hearted recommendation.

6/10, rising to 9/10 if the toes were redesigned.


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