11 Best Athletic Socks for Men 2024, According to Fitness Experts

Give your workout-weary feet the care, cushion, and comfort they deserve.

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11 Best Athletic Socks for Men 2024, According to Fitness Experts

IT'S EASY to assume that a sock is a sock is a sock, right? It’s true that for everyday wear—your morning commute, relaxing around the house, or puttering between the refrigerator and your WFH setup—a six-pack of cheap cotton crews will probably get the job done. Unless you’re on your feet for hours every day, you might not think too much about your choice of sock. But if you’re at all athletic or into working out on the regular, your feet demand better. We’re talking about proper athletic socks.

Athletic socks should fit like your best pair of workout shoes. They should be snug but not so tight that they’re cutting off your circulation. You want them to grip your feet and stay put when you really get moving. There’s no better recipe for blisters and sore feet than loose-fitting socks that slip and slide during your workouts. Look for breathable, moisture-absorbing (a.k.a. “quick wicking”) fabrics, too. They help draw moisture away from your skin, which helps fend off blisters, skin irritation, and foot odor.

If you’re ready to upgrade your athletic sock game and finally give your feet the care, cushion, and comfort they deserve, we’re here to help. Our in-house writers and Men’s Health fitness experts routinely put every kind of athletic sock to the test. In the roundup below, we’ve narrowed down our top picks for the 11 best athletic socks for men in 2023.

Best Compression Socks for Men | Best Men's Workout Clothes | Best Moisture-Wicking Socks | Best Wool Socks | Best No-Show Socks

Besides Carhartt, few workwear brands are as well-known as Dickies. It’s a go-to favorite of our editors' for apparel that’s comfortable, durable, and affordable. In our experience wearing and working out in these socks, they can go almost toe-to-toe (get it?) with Nike’s Everyday Plus athletic socks (featured in this list). The fabric blend—71% cotton, 27% polyester, and 2% spandex—feels almost identical, and so, too, does the cut. They’re moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and are resistant to post-work day/workout stench. We also found them incredibly comfortable for casual wear and for working out.

Overall, I am very impressed with their performance. I work long days between the office, gym, and running around New York City for meetings. These are the only socks that successfully keep my feet dry and all comfortable in any season or type of shoe. Don't just take it from us, though. With roughly 200,000 reviews on Amazon, it’s no surprise that these are an Amazon Best Seller.

They are relatively thin, so they will definitely wear through on the bottom more quickly than highly-cushioned socks. However, for the price, comfort, and aesthetic, we don't mind replacing these classic white crews every so often. It’s hard to complain when you can stock up with three or four packs (9-12 pairs) for around $50.

Read more: Best Men's Socks on Amazon

Swiftwick has long been a favorite of ours for its amazing hiking socks. The Maxus Zero Tab Socks are the perfect blend of performance, support, and comfort for high-intensity activities like running, HIIT workouts, weighlifting, and more. The relaxed arch band feels snug against the midfoot and offers a light compression that is just as comfortable as it is supportive. We found the microtab at the heel to be the perfect height and width, serving as a buffer between Achilles and back of the shoe to prevent blisters. The toebox is roomy and padded, which prevents your toes from blisters, too. Ultimately, we really love these socks for the thick, cushioned footbed, which feels great for running and other high-impact movements.

Swiftwick’s socks almost always demand a premium, and the Maxus Zero is no different. At more than $40 for a three-pack, these are some of the priciest men’s athletic socks we’ve tried firsthand in 2023. But if you’re into hard workouts that demand maximum cushioning, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.

Every man needs a go-to cache of classic swoosh crew socks in his wardrobe. We've put the Nike’s Everyday Plus Cushion Training Crew Socks to the test for basketball games, casual wear, CrossFit workouts, and everything in between, and they seriously delivered. We found these more preferable to the typical Hanes 6-pack thanks to the well-cushioned heel and forefoot and more snug, supportive arch band. They're made of a blend of roughly two-thirds cotton and one-third synthetics, which feels more quick-drying than a 100% cotton sock, and more comfort than a fully synthetic one. Plus, the added dash of spandex provides a bit of stretch, so they fit just right and aren't prone to stretching out over time.

Priced at just $22 for a 6-pack (direct from Nike), there is hard to find much to complain about. With a perfect balance of premium feel and great value, you might just want to wear them everyday.

Read more: Best Nike Shoes for Men

If you’re a runner, there's no doubt you’re familiar with On’s amazing running shoes. But did you know it makes great socks too? The simply named On Performance Mid Socks strikes a balance of performance and protection for runners (and any athletes, really) who prefer to split the difference between a crew-length and a low-profile or no-show sock. Having a preference for both styles depending on what our workout entails that day, we enjoyed the feel of this mid-length option. (But if mid-length isn’t your thing, these Performance Socks are also available in high and low lengths as well.)

The latest edition feels lightweight and breathable with a snug compression that feels athletic but not tight. The material is slightly ribbed underfoot, which adds a non-slip factor to ensure these stay put no matter how you move. We wore these indoor and outdoor in the New York City summer and winter, and were impressed with how well they regulated temperature in all conditions.

There’s almost nothing we dislike about these athletic socks. As with everything in On’s lineup, these are damn-near-perfect. Our only gripe is the price. At more than $20 per pair, these are among the most expensive athletic socks we’ve tested.

Most people are either fans of no-show socks for workouts or they’re in the crew sock camp; there’s rarely any in-between. We're pro no-shows for runs and when the weather warms up, and end up reaching for the Lululemon Power Stride No-Show Socks on repeat. The ultra-low-cut design is virtually invisible inside any pair of workout or running shoes.

The fabric is a synthetic blend of nylon and Lycra elastane that feels lightweight, breathable, and is great at keeping your feet cool and dry. The material is fairly thick (but doesn't feel hot), which we found washes incredibly well. We've been wearing and washing these multiple times per week for two years now and have yet to see them wear out in the heel or forefoot (or stretch out).

Unlike many no-show socks, these stay put and don't slip down in your shoe. They're cleverly designed with grippy tabs on the inside, which is undetectable when wearing but incredibly effective.

These are near-perfect, no-show athletic socks, especially if money is no object. While we can’t really say these are expensive, roughly $40 for a three-pack is a little steep compared to others in our roundup. But we think you often get what you pay for, and these are priced appropriately.

Under Armour bills its Men’s UA Essential Low Cut Socks as “ultra-thin” with a “barely there feel.” We've confirmed those claims through our own testing. We love the low-cut height, which is not as low as a true ankle sock and peeks out just above most workout shoes (but without venturing into crew sock territory). The fabric feels athletic and breathable, which is because of fully synthetic blend (97% polyester / 3% elastane). They don't feel as cushioned or cozy as a sock with some cotton in the mix, but wick away moisture and keep stink at bay better than most socks we've tried. They breathe well without compromising on quality, with embedded arch support and a contoured heel that add to the seamless, performance-specific fit.

We love UA gear because it typically delivers on quality without the gouging price tags, and these socks are no exception. Surprisingly priced right at around $20 per six-pack (that's less than $4 per pair), these are the best lightweight athletic socks we've tried. Pick up a couple packs for under $50, and you’re likely to be set for athletic socks for the next year or so.

Read more: Best Underwear for Men

These All-Purpose Performance Socks are designed to support you during any sport, but we found them especially great for running and other high-impact activities. The fabric is breathable and light yet incredibly well cushioned, keeping your feet cool and dry yet cushioned and supportive. The cushioned tab at the ankle is a nice touch that adds extra blister protection.

The Honeycomb Support System doesn’t just look cool–it also cups the midfoot to give a performance-savvy feel compared to a typical non-contoured sock. The contour of each sock is specifically designed to accommodate the right or left foot, which we had a hard time remembering whenever we put them on (though you’ll notice something looks amiss if you put them on the wrong foot).

We’ve loved every Bombas sock we’ve ever tried for its quality and durability, and these don’t disappoint. After more than 30 workouts and washes, they haven’t stretched, worn out in the bottom, or started to pill or fray. Plus, the brand has a mission we can seriously get behind: one pair purchased = one pair donated (socks are one of the most requested items in shelters).

Foot odor can be a serious problem, especially if your socks aren’t up to the task of fending it off in the first place. Comrad’s Athletic Crew Compression Socks integrate silver ions directly into the fabric. It’s a recipe that’s well-known to fight off odor-causing bacteria. These socks are made with a mostly synthetic blend, including a little spandex for stretch and a little cotton for comfort. We love that they stay in place too, not sliding down, twisting or bunching even when you’re moving around in a workout.

The overall design mimics some of the best running shoes, so they lock in the heel and mid-foot while providing your toes the freedom to move. These aren’t just the best antimicrobial athletic socks but some of the best men’s athletic socks overall. At less than $11 per pair, we were seriously impressed by the premium feel, look, and performance of these reasonably priced socks. If you’re prone to foot odor and are looking to keep that stink at bay, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.

For durable performance socks, it’s hard to beat Feetures. The brand’s half polyester, half nylon (with a little spandex) High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab socks are the best no-shows we’ve seen all year, but at $45 for a 3-pack, they aren’t cheap. Sure, you can drop less than $15 per pair and be satisfied with basic no-shows that will wear out in under a year. But these puppies are made to last. Not only do they feel snug and contoured to the foot, but they offer a balance of breathability and durability that allows them to be thin and quick-drying without the fabric wearing thin over time.

The fully synthetic blend dries incredibly quickly and doesn’t hold onto odor as much as cotton blend socks we’ve tried. The soles aren’t exactly cushioned, but they are thick and durable enough to stand up to consistent performance use. Plus, we love the smooth toe seam construction that helps prevent friction and blisters.

When it comes to sheer comfort, there’s no substitute for cotton. That’s why Stance’s Crew Sock relies on a 80% combed cotton construction for a buttery soft feel that swaddles your feet. Cushioning throughout the heel, sole, and toe helps absorb impacts for those who like to go hard with their workouts. With a healthy dose of polyester, these socks don’t just feel cozy, but are also quick-wicking and fast-drying. A dash of elastane gives them enough stretch for light compression. The anatomical design (with a specific left and right foot) also ensures a better fit and can help prevent blisters caused by fabric friction.

We’re huge fans of Stance’s entire catalog, and these socks are no exception. At about $10 per pair (or $30 for three pairs), they’re a bit pricier than the cheapest options on this list. But that still puts them squarely in the midrange of our favorite athletic crew socks. If comfort is paramount for you while working out, there’s no better option than these crew socks.

Quarter length socks sit above the ankle. It’s not as tall as a true crew some, but higher than a true mid-length, too. Light compression targets the arch, which feels comfortable and supportive but doesn’t squeeze the ankle at all. The design of the left and right sock takes anatomy into account, which requires a little more attention to detail when putting them on (don't get dressed in the dark) but makes for a great fit. The toe seam is smooth and protects the toe from rubbing–we can attest, we never got a blister wearing these socks for strength and cardio workouts of varying lengths and intensities.

Our favorite thing about these socks is the mid-weigh cushioning, which is a total hybrid of a padded cotton sock and a thin, minimal synthetic sock. Most cushioned socks we know and love are no-shows and ankle socks, but these shine for those who want something with a little more ankle coverage.

Selecting the perfect athletic socks may not be as complex as choosing a pair of running shoes, but it's more than a trivial decision when it comes to your comfort during exercise. Whether you're hitting the gym, going for a run, or chasing your kids around all day, the right pair of athletic socks can make a significant difference in the comfort of your feet.

Fit: The primary consideration when choosing athletic socks is the fit. You want a pair that fits snugly but doesn't feel overly tight. A relaxed to medium compression level is ideal because it provides support without constricting your foot. Pay close attention to the arch area; if the socks squeeze it too tightly, you might experience foot fatigue, especially during rigorous workouts. The best way to determine the perfect fit is by trying them on. If, after a workout, they leave fabric marks on your skin, they're probably too tight.

Fabric: There is no one-size-fits-all fabric for athletic socks. Each type of material has its own set of strengths and benefits. Cotton, for instance, is naturally soft and exceptionally comfortable. On the other hand, synthetics like polyester and nylon outperform natural fabrics when it comes to moisture-wicking, quick drying, and odor resistance. In most cases, the best athletic socks for men blend both natural and synthetic materials to deliver the best of both worlds.

Price: The good news is that you don't need to break the bank to get high-quality athletic socks. Many of the socks featured in our list are available for as little as $3 to $4 per pair, making them accessible to just about anyone. For those seeking premium options, some athletic socks can cost between $15 to $20 per pair. These premium choices often use high-quality fabrics, ensuring superior comfort, durability, and excellent moisture-wicking properties.

Our in-house fitness experts and workout-savvy writers researched and personally tested dozens of top-selling athletic socks over the last few years. We compared everything from fit and fabric to comfort and durability. For this roundup, we also considered men’s athletic socks with at least 200 positive buyer reviews on the ecommerce websites we trust most. The list above represents our carefully chosen picks for the best athletic socks for men in 2023.

At Men's Health, we take great pride in providing our readers with reliable and trustworthy product recommendations. We believe that our readers deserve the best, which is why we always make sure to conduct thorough research and testing before making any recommendations. For this story, we spent hours researching and testing the best athletic socks for men by wearing them for day-to-day and athletic activities including runs, basketball games, weightlifting sessions, and home workouts.

Our fitness writers and editors are also experts in their own right, using their informed opinions to select products and ensuring that our content is of the highest quality. Our product recommendations are purely editorial, and while we may receive free products to test and review, we only recommend the products we are most impressed by. We never let retailers or public relations contacts dictate our content or product coverage, which is why you can trust us to provide you with reliable and unbiased product recommendations.

Talene Appleton is a fitness and food writer and editor, certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT), and former professional dancer based in New York City. Passionate about both exercise and cuisine, she merges her fitness, nutrition and culinary expertise with the goal of motivating others to embrace balanced healthy living. Her work has appeared in Men’s Health, General Surgery News, The Food Institute, The Nessie, and more.

Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person. 

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11 Best Athletic Socks for Men 2024, According to Fitness Experts

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