Best Trail Running Socks Of 2023 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Trail Running Socks Of 2023

From ultralight ankle socks, to protective crew socks. Here's what to look for when buy a pair of trail running socks

Make no mistake, choosing the right trail running sock could make or break a great day in the hills. If you’re someone who, quite rightly, invested a lot of money into a decent pair of trail running shoes, then ensuring your feet are wrapped up in an equally high performing pair of trail running socks is the key to comfort over long distances in the hills.

What Makes A Great Trail Running Sock?

Although trail running socks provide cushioning and comfort while you’re pounding mile after mile on the trails, they provide many other features that make life that bit more comfortable.

Expect to find trail running socks packing features such as support in much needed areas in an effort to improve blood flow, and minimal seams to reduce the chance of blisters. Anti-odor treatments are a great feature to look out for to help keep your socks smelling ‘fresh’.


You’ll notice that many of the socks featured are made from a mixture of nylon, wool and elastane. Gone are the days of wearing regular cotton socks while trail running. This is because, generally speaking, cotton absorbs a large amount of moisture (sweat) and is unable to wick it away from your body.

Going for a lightweight merino fabric ensures that the socks are able to remain breathable and comfortable, all while giving a good fit around your foot to prevent any unwanted blisters. Nylon is then blended with the merino yarns to give the sock structure and durability. Lastly, a stretchy material, like elastane, is generally used to give the sock a tight fit that won’t move or bunch, avoiding any dreaded blisters.


The height of the trail running sock is important to consider. Crew cut trail running socks are becoming extremely popular in recent years. There’s very little difference in performance between crew and ankle cut socks, but crew cut socks offer a little extra protection around the calves for when the trail exposes you to a bramble bush or two.

If you’re running in an extremely warm climate, then you may still prefer the increased breathability of an ankle sock.

Related: Best Trail Running Shorts

Related: Best Energy Bars For Trail Running


Finally, cushioning is vital for trail running socks – especially when you consider the distances you’re likely going to be hammering out in a day in these socks. Expect to look for a touch of extra cushioning around the toes and heel, with a lightweight (and more breathable) material used elsewhere.

With all this in mind, we’re bringing you our selection of the best running socks out there right now.

Darn Tough Men’s Run Micro Crew Ultra-Lightweight

Price: £21
Height: Crew cut
Cushioning: Light

We’re big fans of Darn Tough hiking socks here at Outdoors Magic. We featured their Kelso Micro Crew Light in our Outdoor 100 product guide and, rather unsurprisingly, their running socks make our top pick of trail running socks.

The Darn Tough Run Micro Crew Ultra-Lightweight uses a combination of 51% nylon, 44% merino wool, and 5% lycra spandex. The merino wool brings comforting breathability to the party, as well as quick-drying and stink-fighting properties.

Hard wearing nylon has been brought in to add durability. Finally, the little bit of lycra helps with the stretch to ensure there’s no slipping, no bunching, and therefore, no blisters.



Rockay Razer

Price: £18.50
Height: Crew cut
Cushioning: Heavy cushioning

There’s quite a lot to like about Rockay’s offering to the trail running market. First of all, these socks are made from 100% recycled materials. The sock consists of 51% Econyl Regenerated Nylon, 45% Recycled Polyamide, and 4% Recycled Elastane.

Secondly, the Razer Trail Running Socks come with the Rockay Blister-Free Guarantee, meaning that the good folk at Rockay will offer you a refund, or send you a new pair of socks, if you develop a blister while using these socks.

Finally, for every pair of socks sold, Rockay have committed themselves to removing 125g (13 bottles) of plastic trash from the ocean. So while the £18.50 price tag might initially look steep, there’s a lot going on with these socks that, to us, looks like money well spent.

Read our full Rockay Razer Trail Running Socks review.


Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite

Price: £17.99
Height: Ankle cut
Cushioning: Light

Featuring what Smartwool call their Elite Lite Cushioning, the Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite has cushioning exactly where you need it: on the ball and heel of the foot. Elsewhere, the sock features body-mapped mesh zones to provide breathability where it’s needed and a nearly seamless design wraps up to toe in an effort to avoid any pinch points.

Being Smartwool, the PhD Run Light Elite is made from a blend of 51% merino wool, 46% nylon and 3% elastane. This blend ensures that the sock is able to remain comfortable, while providing just enough support for long miles.


Inov-8 Speed Mid Sock

Price: £19.00
Height: Mid cut
Cushioning: Light

Featuring a 96% nylon and 4% spandex mix, the Inov-8 Speed Mid Sock promises increased compression and fast-wicking, durable materials. We can see this in the construction, where a predominantly nylon build has been used to boost the durability even when you’ve got thousands of logged Strava miles.


Soar Crew Socks

Price: £19
Height: Crew cut
Cushioning: Medium

Kind of like the Rafa of the running world, Soar Running put as much thought into the technical aspects of their socks, as they do with the design.

Featuring a temperature-regulating Softair yarn and targeted compression for support, the Soar Crew Sock is designed to perform well no matter the distance, or intensity, of your run. We were big fans of the open mesh construction that stretches across the upper midfoot and ankle to provide fantastic cooling when you’re grinding out the miles.



Stance Run Light Crew

Price: £14
Height: Crew cut
Cushioning: Light

Stance socks have become synonymous with the trail running community in recent years – and for good reason. Treated with Stance’s Fell360 technology, this is a treatment that works to keep you comfortable throughout hours on the trail. Feel360 works by eliminating 99.95% of odours which cause foot bacteria, while keeping your feet dry by adapting to your body temperature to wick away sweat.

On the construction side of things, the Run Light Crew is made up of a 85% Nylon, 8% Polyester and 7% Elastane mix to give the sock a close fit, at an extremely low weight.



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