What makes a sock a trail running sock? The socks that work on the road don’t always stand up to the demands of the trail—navigating twists and turns (read: extra friction), splashing through creeks, kicking up rocks and dust.
Sock length for trail running is personal preference; there are pros and cons to every length. From no-show to long, we tested the latest offerings to help you go the extra mile on the trail.
Ideal for hot-weather running, and for those who just prefer low-cut and no-show socks.
Swiftwick Flite XT Zero Tab | $15
There’s major technology built into this sock, like grippy fibers meant to prevent slipping within your shoe, strong elastic around the ankle and heel for a touch of support during lateral movements, and a blend of synthetic fibers including moisture-wicking Olefin. We appreciated the performance, and loved the comfy, snug feel and slight, targeted cushioning of this otherwise thin sock. —LJ
Balega Blister Resist No Show | $14
A combination of natural mohair and synthetic fibers—Balega’s proprietary Drynamix, meant to wick moisture—is soft while functioning to eliminate blisters. The mohair and microfiber mesh ventilation panels work to keep feet cool (a major plus if you’re prone to hot feet!). These are sure to be a summer fave. –LJ
Ideal for keeping trail debris—sticks, dirt, etc.—from creeping between your socks and your feet, which causes irritation.
Injinji Trail Midweight Crew | $16
These moisture-wicking crew socks prevent any skin-on-skin friction between toes—great for runners who are prone to blisters on their digits. The women-specific fit features a narrower profile, snug enough to keep out dirt on the trails. —BM
Drymax Lite Trail Run Crew | $15
Featuring a unique dual-layer construction, Drymax socks are ideal for handling sweaty feet and wet trail conditions. The longer cut prevents debris from entering shoes, and the leg turns down to stay cooler on hot runs. —BM
Fits Micro Light Runner Trail Mini Crew | $20
With a cushy feel in both the toe and heel, these socks offer a little extra support on longer runs. A blend of Merino wool, nylon, polyester, and Lycra means they’re extra soft and fit snugly. The cut hits halfway between the ankle and calf. —BM
Darn Tough Vermont Vertex ¼ Ultra-Light Cushion | $18
Strike that balance between lightweight and cushioned in these just-above-the-ankle socks. A combo of Merino wool and nylon, they provide a thin layer of cushioning along the bottom using ultra-durable knitting—all Darn Tough socks have an unconditional lifetime warranty. —BM
Mid- to High-Cut
Ideal for both keeping out trail gunk from irritating your feet and for protecting lower legs from overgrown trails.
Smartwool PhD Pro Endurance Print Crew Socks | $26
We fell in love with the floral print and the fit, feel, and function of this sock. Slight cushioning at the toes, under the heel, and around the ankle means comfort for miles. Extra durability comes from premium yarns knitted to fortify high-wear areas, and the merino wool make-up feels great against the skin. —LJ
Stance Uncommon Run OTC | $36
These lightweight “over the calf” (OTC) socks, made with nylon and polyester, protect your legs on overgrown trails while providing a breathable, snug fit. A seamless toe closure prevents blisters, while a proprietary treatment helps these socks dry quickly. —BM
Feetures High-Performance Cushion Crew | $15
A band of Lycra hugs the foot for extra arch support in this fully synthetic sock. It also features mesh panels on top for added breathability and high-density cushioning underneath for extra protection. —BM
Wigwam Synchroknit Surpass Lightweight Midcrew | $19
Wigwam’s SynchroKnit construction eliminates what they call excessive stitching throughout the sock to create the most streamlined, foot-shaped fit possible. The feel around the ankle and lower leg is snug (in a good way), while padding under foot provides cushioning. This comfortable sock works well from warmer months into cooler temps—the extra cush around the foot kept feet comfortable even on snowy runs. —LJ