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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

56 Models Considered
24 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s athletic socks

Socks might not be the first things that come to mind when you’re considering gear for your next workout, but they can make a big difference whether you’re running, cycling, or lifting weights. Men’s athletic socks not only keep your feet comfortable when you’re active but they can help prevent injury, too – but only if you choose the right pair. And with so many options on the market, finding the best men’s athletic socks isn’t always easy.

If sorting through all the options seems a little overwhelming, BestReviews is here to help. We provide all the in-depth research you need to understand the items you’re considering. Knowing exactly what to look for before you shop can help save you precious time and make sure that you wind up with just what you need.

If you’re in the market for men’s athletic socks, keep reading our shopping guide to learn all the tips for choosing the right pair.

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If you’re prone to plantar fasciitis, athletic compression socks can help provide the most effective support for the arch of your foot, which can help reduce the pain in your heel.

Benefits of men’s athletic socks

Not sure why you can’t wear any old socks when you’re exercising or playing sports? There are several benefits to wearing men’s athletic socks when you’re working up a sweat.

  • Dry feet: Men’s athletic socks are designed to wick sweat and moisture away from your feet. The socks don’t get wet, so your feet won’t slip around in your shoes, and you’re less likely to get blisters and calluses.

  • Minimal odor: Because men’s athletic socks keep your feet from getting wet, they also reduce your chances of having smelly feet after a workout.

  • Comfortable fit: Men’s athletic socks are designed to provide a better fit inside sneakers, trainers, or other athletic shoes. Other socks are often too thick or thin, which can cause blisters and other injuries.

  • Temperature control: You don’t want your feet to get too hot when you work out, and men’s athletic socks help provide effective temperature control no matter how active you are. These socks keep your feet cool, so they’re less likely to sweat and you feel more comfortable.

  • Cushioning and support: Your feet withstand a great deal of impact when you’re working out. Men’s athletic socks have padding to help absorb some of that impact so you’re less likely to get injured or experience pain.
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Did you know?
Some athletic socks have antibacterial properties, which can reduce foot odor.

Men’s athletic sock features to consider


  • Cotton might seem like a good material for men’s athletic socks, but it can be a poor choice. That’s because cotton’s absorbency causes it to lose its shape easily, which can result in the socks slipping around on your feet and cause irritation. Nor is cotton very effective at fighting foot fungus.
  • Wool is a natural material that is ideal for athletic socks because it helps regulate temperature so your feet stay comfortable no matter how hot or cold it is. Wool socks are also highly absorbent, so they can keep your feet dry when you hike, run, or bike. Choose Merino wool for socks that won’t make your feet itch.
  • Blends of cotton and wool are a good option if you’re on a budget. These socks are less expensive than wool but usually more effective than 100% cotton.
  • Synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, or a stretchy spandex like Lycra can also be a good choice because these socks retain their shape better than those made of natural fibers. Synthetic fibers are highly durable and also wick moisture away from skin and dry quickly, but they can be warm in hot weather.


The best men’s athletic socks provide cushioning or padding on the major impact zones of the feet, such as the heel and ball. Most socks incorporate padding by using a higher density weave or adding long-wearing fabrics like acrylic to the key areas. This can help prevent irritation and injuries and enable you to work out longer.

If you need cushioning for your Achilles tendon, look for men’s athletic socks with a slightly higher back or a tab at the ankle. The layer between your ankle and shoe reduces friction. This type of design can also help keep the sock from falling down as you work out.

Avoid choosing socks with too much padding. These can make your shoes too tight and cause irritation.


Seams might not seem all that important, but they can play a big role in how comfortable the socks are. Look for a pair of athletic socks with seamless toes, which can cut down on friction when you’re running or exercising so you’re less likely to get blisters or other skin irritations. If you choose a pair of socks with seams, make sure that the seams lie flat and don’t rub up against your toes.

Arch support

Some men’s athletic socks have reinforced support for the arch of the foot. This is particularly helpful if you have high arches, but even if you have normal arches or flat feet, the extra support can help prevent arch pain or plantar fasciitis. Added arch support can also help keep your sock in place when you work out, so you’re less likely to get blisters.


Men’s athletic socks are available in a couple of different lengths. Choosing the best option is mainly a matter of personal preference.

  • Ankle-length socks extend a few inches above the ankle bone. These are often ideal for warmer weather because they don’t cover your calf. But some socks can fall down into your shoe as you move, which can be uncomfortable when you’re working out.

  • Crew-length socks extend to the middle of the calf. These usually offer the most comfortable fit and are less likely to slip down into your shoe.

Men’s athletic sock prices

Men’s athletic socks vary in price based on the material and the number of pairs in the package. You can expect to pay between $9 and $45.

Inexpensive: Men’s cotton blend athletic socks that come six pairs in a package range from $9 to $16. A single pair of men’s athletic socks made of synthetic materials or Merino wool costs between $10 and $16.

Mid-range: Men’s cotton blend athletic socks with more than six pairs in a package cost between $16 and $22. Men’s athletic socks made of synthetic materials with six pairs in package range from $16 to $28.

Expensive: Men’s athletic socks made of Merino wool that come three pairs in package range from $25 and $45.

"Merino wool athletic socks can absorb up to 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet."


  • Try on socks with your shoes before exercising. Before working out in your athletic socks, try them on with your shoes to make sure that the socks and shoes fit comfortably together. This can help prevent injuries and blisters.

  • Only wear clean, dry athletic socks to work out. You run the risk of injury, blisters, and foot fungus if you use socks that are dirty and/or damp.

  • Turn your athletic socks inside out before washing them. Most of the sweat and bacteria are inside the sock, the part that comes in contact with your feet. Turning the socks inside out helps make sure they will get completely clean.

  • Soak smelly socks. If your athletic socks have a strong odor, try soaking them in a mixture of cold water and white vinegar for about 30 minutes before washing.
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Avoid rolling up athletic socks for storage. It could cause them to lose elasticity. Instead, pair up the socks and fold them together.


Q. Are all men’s athletic socks machine washable?

A. Because they’re exposed to regular amounts of sweat and can develop odors, men’s athletic socks should always be machine washable for easy cleaning. But it’s important to wash them properly to make sure that the socks will last as long as possible. Wash like-colored socks together to a prevent color bleeding or fading. Avoid using fabric softener on athletic socks because it can affect the moisture-wicking properties. When drying socks, always use low heat to keep them from shrinking or losing elasticity.

Q. What men’s athletic socks are best for outdoor exercise in cold weather?

A. If you enjoy running or hiking in cold weather, Merino wool athletic socks are probably your best bet. Wool is very effective at regulating temperature to keep your feet warm even in lower temperatures. It can even keep your feet warm if your socks get wet, so you don’t have to worry when you’re moving through snow or slush.

Q. What men’s athletic socks work best for feet that get very sweaty?

A. If your feet sweat a lot when you exercise, opt for athletic socks made with a synthetic material like nylon or polyester. These wick moisture away from your skin and release it into the air to keep your feet as dry as possible. Merino wool socks also work well for sweaty feet. You should avoid 100% cotton socks, which retain heat and absorb moisture without releasing it back into the air.

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