What makes a running sock good for running? If you’ve ever wondered why running socks have certain features, good news! We’re about to break down the elements and materials that go into creating the perfect running sock.   

Sock Technology

Many of our brands offer unique technologies in their running socks for comfort and functionality.

  • Flat knit seamless toe closure offers a smooth feel with ultimate in-shoe comfort.

  • Smartwool’s 4 Degree® elite fit system is bi-elastic, helping keep the sock in place and preventing slipping and bunching.

  • Smartwool’s patented ReliaWool technology in high impact areas increases durability.

  • Smartwool’s Women’s PhD Run Socks uses thermoregulation data to target different sweat zones for optimum breathability.

  • Smartwool’s targeted cushioning is placed where runners need it the most, on the ball and heel of the foot.

  • Injinji’s Anatomical 5 Toe Design properly aligns toes, prevents blisters, and promotes proper posture and balance.

  • CEP uses custom measurements for optimum compression and performance.

  • Unique mesh zones increase breathability, controlling temperature and keeping you dry and blister-free.

  • Elasticized arch braces add additional support.

  • Heel tabs help prevent the sock from slipping into your running shoe.

  • Performance fit cushioning along the bottom of the foot adds extra comfort and helps prevent slipping, bunching, and blisters.

  • Welt bands help hold socks in place.

  • Achilles protection


Merino Wool

Wool is an exceptionally soft, durable, and antimicrobial natural fiber that repels bacteria and odors and works to keep the body at an even temperature by insulating instead of trapping heat. Wool also keeps you cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather, perfect for running in any season. Superior breathability and wicking properties prevent clamminess, and the natural elasticity of wool fibers allow garments to stretch and then return to their original shape, preventing sagging and bagging. Wool is also super absorbent so it dries slowly but retains heat, even when wet, keeping your feet warm and comfortable through your workout.


Coolmax is a moisture-wicking technical fabric developed by DuPont in 1986. It is fade and shrink-resistant and is often combined with cotton, wool, or spandex. Best used during extreme physical exertion and in combination with other materials to provide warmth.


Nylon (or Polyamide) is an extremely strong fabric that absorbs more water than other synthetics, not to mention it’s also lightweight and easy to clean. Who doesn’t want a running sock that is easy to clean AND wicks away any sweat and moisture during your workout?


Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is quick drying, strong when wet or dry, wrinkle resistant, and easy to clean. It is also more breathable and absorbent than nylon.


Acrylic is a synthetic fabric that has excellent wicking properties. It’s lightweight, soft, warm and quick drying. An acrylic/wool blend is good for outdoor runs in cold weather.

Remember, there’s more than just fabric content and technologies that go into creating the perfect running sock. Other elements to consider are sock height and level of cushioning. Running socks vary from non-cushion to medium cushion, and come in the following lengths: no show, micro crew, ¼ crew, ¾ crew, crew, calf sleeve, and knee high, so choose wisely!

Now that you’re running sock educated, next time you’re picking out a pair of running socks, make sure to read up on the technologies and fabrics! Try our Sock Finder if you need help!