You already have the shoes. Now for the next most important piece of gear for your feet: socks.
Socks are your first line of defense when it comes to blisters and other foot problems. You wear them during the toughest conditions including heat and during exercise. Plus, they’re on your feet for hours on end. So, you’re best off choosing a comfortable pair that are built to last.
Below we round up some popular athletic socks for when you exercise.
Darn Tough are premium Merino wool socks that go the distance. Each of their products are guaranteed for life. A personal favourite is the Vertex 1/4 Ultra-Light (ankle-length). The Ultra-Light is the perfect height of a sock and the material is thin but also withstands “tougher than hell” conditions. Ankle length cuts are perfect for winter when you’re wearing long tights since it eliminates exposed skin.
Injinji, known as toe socks, are the most fascinating brand featured on this list. The unique approach to socks, in part because each toe is isolated from each other, helps prevent blisters while “while freeing them [toes] to splay and align naturally for better comfort and feel.” Their socks come in a variety of heights including hidden, no-show, micro, mini-crew, crew, and over the half, as well as in various materials depending on the purpose, whether that’s trail running or as a liner. Our personal recommendation is the Run Lightweight No-Show.
As Lululemon continues to go all-in on running, the Vancouver-based athletic brand continues to put out stellar accessories. Lululemon’s socks, which can be described as thinner and softer than many other running socks, are offered in primarily no-show length for women. For men, there are a few other options if you’re into the higher cut (which to mention can be good for trail running when there’s harsher terrain and brush). You can purchase a three-pack for as low as $28.
Smartwool is known as the Merino wool brand. The outdoors-focused brand makes some of the best socks you can find including the PhD Run Light Elite Low Cut Socks, which are made of 52% Merino wool, a natural fibre made from Merino sheep. The material is super soft, cancels out odour, and is perfect for all-around conditions in Canada including in the summer and winter. The way it does this? The fibre helps regulate body temperature by adjusting to the surrounding conditions. Smartwool also offers men’s- and women’s-specific fits.
There are few trendier apparel companies right now than Stance, and they’re dominating the athletic sock market as a whole. Widely available at stores across Canada, Stance socks are accessible to all runners. The Uncommon Run Tab is a favourite among wearers as they’re lightweight and fit just right based on the contours of your feet. The Uncommon Run Tab also has a nice “tab” on the heel providing additional coverage. At $20 a pair, Stance is on the pricier side among socks but don’t be skipping out on costs when it comes to socks when you’re spending $100+ on footwear.
You’ll be pressed to find better socks than Balega. They feature moisture-wicking fabric, ultralight material, blister resistance thanks to natural mohair wool, and they’re odour-free. Balega is a household name in the running industry and trusted across the board for being a top-notch sock. Each sock comes with a contoured fit and deep heel pocket as well as ventilation pockets for breathability. We recommend the Balega Enduro Quarter for your sock needs.
As the name suggests, Drymax aims to keep your feet drier than leading competitors. Minimizing moisture within your shoes is essential when trying to prevent chafing and blisters. For that reason, Drymax is one of the best in the business. Try the Maximum Protection Running Sock if you experience blisters on a regular basis and are looking for a premium product. The material is soft and the length is just right, reaching just above the ankle.
Steigen socks are designed for high-performance athletes. But just because they’re meant for the pros, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t benefit from the no-blister, breathable and low moisture socks. The lightweight socks come in a variety of cuts so it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. For those looking to brighten up their wardrobe, go with the half-length eye-popping Fluro Red Running Socks.
Backed by a lifetime guarantee, you know Feetures last you for hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres. Feetures mixes targeted compression, a seamless toe, and super soft fabric to create the perfect athletic socks. What’s particularly great about Feetures is that there are multiple categories for different purposes. From performance-based to plantar fasciitis relief to everyday usage, there are plenty of different styles and purposes that Feetures covers. Go for the Elite Light Cushion Quarter if you’re looking for a nice balance of comfort and cushion.
You can find a selection of socks and get a feel for them yourself in person at Feet First Clinic at 2481 Bloor St W. We’re open 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays.