The best gym socks

Gym socks are the unsung hero of workout wear.

Close up of a woman in activewear putting on the best gym socks while in a sunny gym

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

In order to smash your workouts and exercise classes, every detail matters - from the right trainers to the perfect activewear. Let's not forget about an essential yet often underestimated accessory, the best gym socks. The correct pair of gym socks can make a world of difference in both your performance and comfort during those intense sweat sessions.

We get it - socks don't tend to have the same type of excitement as a new pair of trainers or leggings. But, gym socks can provide comfort, support and moisture-wicking properties to keep your feet dry and in top form throughout various types of workout. Whether that be a less intense Pilates class or an intense spin class.

The best gym socks at a glance:

Best overall gym socks: Alaplus Socks - View on Amazon.co.uk
Best gym socks for running: Domyos Invisible Fitness Cardio Training Socks - View on Decathlon.co.uk
Best calf gym socks: Under Armour HeatGear Crew Long Sports Socks - View on Amazon.co.uk
Best gym socks for cycling: Danish Endurance Performance Crew Cycling Socks - View on Amazon.co.uk

There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the right gym socks for you, like the material and style. What socks are made of is one of the first considerations to bear in mind. Lots of sports socks are made from blends of synthetic materials, like polyester and nylon, as they are better at wicking away moisture to keep you dry. Quality cotton socks can also be a good option.

Another element to consider is style. Ankle socks sit low and are barely visible when you're wearing shoes, while crew and calf socks reach further up the leg. The type of sock you opt for comes down to personal preference, but most labels will have a range of different sizes and fits to go for.

Also, think about the thickness of the socks. If your workouts include a lot of running or intense cardio, you may want to choose a slightly thicker pair of socks that can offer extra cushioning for a little extra comfort. Alternatively, if you're an avid weightlifter or are impartial to a sweaty spin class, then thinner socks are the way to go.

We've done the legwork (pun intended) to bring you the ultimate guide to finding the best gym socks that will keep your feet (and body) happy and your workouts on point.

The best gym socks shortlist:

The best overall gym socks

Starting strong with the Alaplus socks which are crafted from high-quality combed cotton and engineered with a plush sole cushioning. These sport socks provide added durability in high-stress and impacted areas. The arch compression offers good support while walking, running and general gym use, ensuring stability for a snug fit. Once you've got these socks on, they're not coming off easily. That's because of the high heel tab and extra deep heel pocket to prevent them from slipping down, and the added elastane which provides even more no-slip security.

Nobody wants to be that one person who is guilty of always having smelly feet. Even after wearing Alaplus socks for hours and hours of exercise, your feet (and shoes) will remain odour-free because the socks are infused with anti-odour properties. The quality of Alaplus calf socks is hard to contend with, and they strike the perfect balance between thickness and breathability, making them suitable for both winter warmth and summer comfort.

Pros

  • Simple style makes them suitable for everyday wear
  • Made from high-quality cotton infused with anti-odour properties
  • Reinforced heel and toe to ensure you get wear after wear

Cons

  • Some users found them a little thin
Sizes3-5, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15
ColoursWhite, Grey, Black
Pack size6 pairs
Sock lengthCalf
MaterialCombed cotton
  • Customer review: "Alaplus gym sock is a high quality sock that I personally use for sport. The sock is as good as any top brand, it has a padded sole and is very comfortable. It’s a great price and perfect for a range of sports, whether that be basketball, badminton, squash etc. Will purchase the sock on repeat orders when necessary!"

The best gym socks for sweaty sessions

Nike Everyday Plus Cushion Training No-Show Socks
Price: $16.95

A force to be reckoned with in the sportswear game, Nike knows how to create socks which blend elements like comfort, durability and design. The Nike Everyday Plus Training socks are designed to provide ultimate cushioning, keeping your feet comfortable during high-impact activities. With its classic Dri-Fit technology, these socks will keep your feet dry and free from blisters, allowing you to focus solely on your reps and sets. Also, their sleek style and multi-colour design will mean you look as good as you feel while tackling your fitness goals.

Pros

  • Multi-colour pack of three so you can match your socks to your gym wear
  • Sweat-wicking technology to keep your feet dry and cool
  • Extra cushioning under the heel and forefoot

Cons

  • The 'now show' low-cut design is not for everyone
Sizes2-5, 5-8, 8-11, 11-14.5
ColoursPurple, White & Green and Red, Mustard & Beige
Pack size3 pairs
Sock lengthAnkle
MaterialCotton
  • Customer review: "I ended up getting a second pack of the Nike Everyday Plus socks because I like them so much. They are very comfortable, and don’t fall down my heels like others do. Bit more vibrant than just black/white trainer socks and feel like they won’t get holes in as soon. Had them for months now wearing constantly and no issues."

The best gym socks for breathability

If you're into a more minimalistic gym look, these Under Armour Tech socks might be your perfect fit. These socks are all about performance, after all, they are built for athletes, with strategic arch support and a new Locked-In Fit design to keep the socks securely on the heel. The ankle sock design means your ankles don't feel restricted, allowing your movements to remain fluid and flexible. On top of this, the mesh panels on top of the foot are designed to keep your foot cool. Whether you're into weightlifting, cardio, or a mix of both, its socks are your quiet (but supportive nonetheless) partners in crime.

Pros

  • Additional mesh panels on top of foot for breathability
  • Locked-In Fit to keep the sock in place
  • Anti-odour technology

Cons

  • Only comes in sizes M-XL so not a good option if you have small feet
SizesM-XL
ColoursWhite/Grey, Mod Grey/White/Jet Grey
Pack size3 pairs
Sock lengthAnkle
MaterialPolyester blend
  • Customer review: "Great Under Armour socks, perfect for long walks as the compression band's positioned well and do the job."

The best gym socks for running

Gone are the days of suffering with blisters after a long run. Domyos fitness socks have been designed with special threads to cleverly prevent nasty blisters from occurring on the plantar surface of the forefoot, as this is the impacted part of the foot during intense cardio. Its knitted style also means your foot won't slip out of place as the sock will fit tightly to the whole foot. All Domyos accessories are made with quality in mind so you can forget about your gym gear and solely concentrate on your workout instead - and we love this mantra.

Pros

  • Knit on the top of the socks absorbs and transfers perspiration towards the outer side, keeping the inside of your foot dry
  • Special threads help keep nasty blisters from appearing
  • Super affordable option

Cons

  • Limited colour choice, black or white
Sizes2.5-5, 5.5-8
ColoursBlack, White
Pack size2 pairs
MaterialPolyamide
  • Customer review: "Really comfortable Domyos socks which stay on your foot rather than slipping off and disappearing into your shoe when you're walking or running."

The best calf gym socks

Under Armour makes our list for the second time with their HeatGear crew long sports socks. Created with additional dynamic arch support, its calf socks cater to both active men and women as they help to reduce fatigue and ensure an all-day comfortable experience. Featuring strategically placed cushioning, these gym socks not only reduce bulk but also deliver remarkable flexibility and breathability.

If you find yourself sweating in the summer sun, these crew socks excel at wicking away sweat, ensuring you stay cool, dry and light during intense workouts. To thwart the growth of odour-causing bacteria, Under Armour's gym socks are designed with clever anti-odour technology and mesh panels for additional breathability.

Pros

  • Easy to maintain with machine washing
  • Unisex - perfect for both men and women
  • Made from a cutting-edge HeatGear fabric blend for breathability

Cons

  • Some found the socks a little tight around the calves due to the compression element
SizesM-XL
ColoursBlack, White, Grey
Pack size3 pairs
MaterialPolyester
  • Customer review: "As the title says Under Armour's HeatGear long socks are very durable and great for anything from casual use to longer days, and keep my feet cool and wick away any sweat. A set from 2 years ago which have been well worn still have no holes, so can really recommend."

The best gym socks for cycling

Danish Endurance Performance Crew Cycling Socks
Price: $29.95

If you're a spin class regular, Danish Endurance has created the perfect gym socks designed specifically for cyclists. Even if you're into road racing, mountain biking, cycling at the gym, training for a triathlon or simply just commuting in the city, its socks are your ideal companions. Built to elevate your performance on the bike wherever you're going, Danish Endurance's crew-length cycling socks are made from lightweight Prolen fabric and are enhanced with cushioning in the foot, heel and toe areas to provide a blister-free cycling experience.

Crafted in Europe with input from Danish Ironman athlete Anders Hofman, its socks meet the highest standards of performance and material endurance. Also, the socks are ethically produced in Portugal, which shows Danish Endurance's commitment to ethical manufacturing.

Pros

  • Anti-hole guarantee - if you find a hole within the first year after purchase, Danish Endurance will send a replacement free of charge
  • Ethically produced
  • Seal of approval from Anders Hofman

Cons

  • Not suitable for tumble drying
Sizes3-5, 6-8, 9-12
ColoursBlack, Blue, Pink, White
Pack size3 pairs
MaterialProlen, Nylon
  • Customer review: "I have had only positive experiences with Danish Endurance socks. They feel very comfortable and tight. You can definitely feel positive effects once you finish a long ride, especially if you are time trialling, threshold training or racing. We'll see how long they will last, but they are fairly thick so I don't expect my toes breaking through soon. I use them exclusively for cycling training and washing with other cycling clothes on low temp and air drying and each time they are still as new."

The best women's gym socks

This one is for the ladies, if you're on the hunt for a colourful pair of ankle socks to match your aesthetic activewear, Alo Yoga's performance socks offer the perfect answer. Designed for lasting comfort and odour-free freshness, the infusion of silver ion yarn threads and compressive fit mean its socks are engineered for peak athletic performance. Its socks are available in two different sizes, an S-M (fits women's shoe sizes 5-7.5) and an M-L (fits women's shoe sizes 8-11).

Pros

  • Silver ion yarn for odour protection
  • Compressive fit
  • Great array of aesthetic colours

Cons

  • Sold as individual pairs which can add up if you're buying multiple
SizesS/M, M/L
ColoursHeather grey, Powder Blue, Hot Pink, Highlighter Yellow and Black
Pack size1 pair
MaterialPolyester
  • Customer review: "Quality of Alo Yoga women's socks is great, the material/fabric is extremely soft but breathable. Will definitely purchase more. The colour is just as shown online. These socks are stretchy but stay in place, not like the ones that slide down all day."

The best men's gym socks

Not forgetting the men, RUIXUE's running socks are perfect for a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, including the gym, running, climbing and hiking. Its men's socks feature an anti-slip strip that absorbs impact and reduces friction, with the elastic cuff tab keeping your socks securely in place for the entirety of your gym session. This makes the socks the best choice for not only preventing blisters but also delivering all-day-long dryness and comfort.

Pros

  • Seamless toe to reduce friction
  • Mesh structure assists with air circulation and breathability
  • Great value for money as they are sold in a pack of six

Cons

  • Thick material so may not be suitable during summer or sweaty workouts
Sizes3-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13-15
ColoursBlack, White, Multicolour, Grey
Pack size6 pairs
MaterialCotton
  • Customer review: "Very soft, snug fit. RUIXUE's socks don't ride or chafe when running, especially with the padded ankle projection. I hate socks that have thick seams which rub on the toes, these have none and are very smooth. Good quality material, stitching and stretch. In the gym they do help cushion the workouts especially HIIT sessions. I don't use slippers any more, I just put a pair of these on!"

A buyer's guide to gym socks

What is the best sock material for the gym?

When selecting gym socks, it's essential they fit well to prevent blisters and discomfort. It's also important to consider the type of activity you'll be doing, and the conditions in your gym. For example, if you're keen on doing weightlifting and need stability, socks with additional padding or cushioning in key areas might be a good idea. However, the answer isn't that easy. The best sock material for the gym is one which meets your comfort and performance needs, while taking into consideration things like moisture management and temperature control.

Popular sock materials to consider include cotton, synthetic materials (like polyester, nylon and spandex) and Merino wool.

Cotton socks are both highly comfortable and breathable, making them a solid choice for less intense workouts. However, cotton can absorb moisture rather than repel it, and may not wick sweat away from your feet as efficiently as other materials.

Alternatively, socks made from synthetic materials are excellent at wicking away moisture from your feet. They are also durable and tend to retain their shape well, wash after wash. If you decide on gym socks made from synthetic properties, then look out for ones with anti-sweat properties to keep your feet dry during workouts.

As a final option, merino wool socks make for a good choice for activities that involve a lot of sweating as they are naturally odour-resistant. This material is also comfortable and can have temperature-regulating properties, keeping your feet warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.

What are the best socks to wear when you're on your feet all day?

Gym socks don't always have to be worn just in the gym. Wearing the right socks every day can make a significant difference in comfort and foot health. When looking for a new pair of socks, whether that be for the gym, work or other activities, search for socks with extra cushioning in the sole and heel areas. Cushioned socks provide support and comfort, and can assist with reducing foot pain.

Other things to look out for in a sock are a seamless toe design or arch support. Socks with seamless toes work to minimise friction and reduce the risk of blisters or irritation, particularly through long periods of standing or walking. Additional arch support will also help to provide comfort.

If you're wearing a pair of the same socks all day, some socks are treated with antimicrobial agents to prevent that smelly odour-causing bacteria. Alternatively, socks made from merino wool or synthetic blends will help to keep your feet dry by pulling sweat away from the sole of your foot. This is due to their moisture-wicking properties.

Are thick or thin socks better for working out?

The decision between thick and thin socks comes down to your own personal preference and the demands of your workout. It could be a good idea to keep both types of socks on hand and choose them based on the activity and weather conditions.

Starting with thick socks. Thick socks provide additional padding, which is a bonus for high-impact activities like hiking and football as they reduce the risk of blisters. Also, in colder climates or during winter workouts, thick socks are more insulated so will help keep your feet warm.

Generally speaking, thin socks tend to be more breathable and lightweight. So if you're a fan of running or spin classes, this makes for a great choice as they are designed for activities that generate a lot of heat and sweat. The closer fit that you get with a thinner sock helps users feel more grounded, especially during activities that require control, like yoga or Pilates.

Gemma Lavers is a fitness writer for What's The Best. When she’s not travelling or writing, Gemma loves spending her weekend completing home workouts, or attending yoga, Pilates or Zumba classes.

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