Running doesn't need a lot of equipment. While the fancy gear is fun and can make runs more enjoyable, some would argue that all you need is a good pair of running shoes. However, there's another key piece that shouldn't be forgotten no matter how many miles you log: a good pair of running socks.
These two pieces of running apparel work in tandem to keep your feet happy from heel to toe, and as most runners know, happy feet make for a much more enjoyable run. You may think that any old pair of socks will do, but we encourage you to try out a pair of running specific socks if you haven't already.
Because there are so many options, it can be tricky to wade through the mixed reviews and opinions.
Material: One of the most important things to consider is material. Synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, and nylon are your best bet because they help wick away moisture and prevent blisters. A wool blend can also be a good choice to keep your feet warm and dry — especially if you're running in the winter. You'll want to avoid anything that's 100% cotton as it will only hold in moisture, making for very sweaty and uncomfortable feet.
Cushioning: The cushioning and the thickness you desire in your running socks is a matter of personal choice, and luckily there are all types to choose from. Plenty of running socks are also designed to provide cushioning in places that are more likely to develop blisters.
Height: The height of your running socks can be a matter of personal style, but it can also serve a more useful purpose. Maybe you're tired of chafing the backs of your ankles. Or maybe you've noticed that mid-calf ankle socks have roared back into style, rejoining us from the 1980s. Either way, it's enough reason to try out a pair of crew length running socks. On the other hand, if you prefer a subtler look, no show or quarter length socks are also available.
Specialized Features: Aside from the basics, there are also socks designed to meet running specific needs and issues. Compression socks are a good option if you want to improve blood flow through your legs and ankles, or you want additional arch support. If you're especially prone to blisters, some runners swear by toe socks.