Four of 2015’s best run socks review
Far from being an unwanted Christmas pressie, a decent pair of run socks can make or break your performance. Looking for socks appeal is Matt Baird…
Don't forget to check out our other gear guides of 2015 so far: best road bike shoes, best pool goggles, best run base layers, how to use choose a turbo trainer and our guide to using energy gels.
Compressport Pro Racing V2
Price: £15 from www.compressport.uk.com
As with tri-suits and wetsuits, technological advancements in runwear have accelerated in recent times. Complete with the brand’s 3D.Dot pads, Compressport’s distinctive Pro Racing socks are surefire evidence of this increased R&D expenditure.
Naturally, given the touted compression, they’re tight to get on, but once we did they were instantly comfortable and offered plenty of arch support. While we couldn’t quantify or indeed notice any of the purported compression benefits, the strategically-located 3D.Dot pads are the major USP, successfully providing shock absorption and preventing blisters.
Elsewhere, the seamless hem stayed in place yet wasn’t too tight. The 75% polyamide composition was quick- drying after some squelchy winter runs and they certainly stood out in our sock drawer.
Verdict: Far from a gimmick, the 3D.Dots are a techy wonder of comfort, 92%
Adidas TC Ankle
Price: £9 from www.adidas.co.uk
Perhaps it’s down to the abuse dished out to anyone sporting them at our school, but we’ve long steered well clear from wearing white socks. And with good reason too; after a few mixed-terrain runs these had more dirt than a Sony Pictures’ email trail.
The cheapest outlay here (although you get two pairs of Inov-8s for your money), the mid-cut TC Ankle from German run behemoths Adidas are also the least techy construction, with cotton the main ingredient. True to form, the Adidas became sweatier on the sole than the polyamide and Merino offerings on test.
Positively, there’s plenty of padding on the toes to thwart blisters (although we would’ve liked some on the ball of the foot as well), and the hem and heel were both comfortable and durable.
Verdict: Bless these cotton socks for comfort and price; but others are better for long runs, 75%
Feetures! Elite Merino+ Light Cushion
Price: £13 from www.9point9.co.uk
We love Merino socks. Our Darn Tough Vermont pair has lasted us through many years and miles, offering breathability and, against all odds, remaining pong-repellent. The ‘Light Cushion’ from USA brand Feetures! is the first pair here to feature Merino wool, along with bamboo, nylon and Lycra.
They’re noticeably thinner than the ones from Inov-8, making them a candidate for summer road runs as well as these wintry outings. They performed admirably, the seamless construction proving irritation-free, and dried quickly after we found Bristol’s deepest puddle.
On the downside, we couldn’t detect any of the touted compression benefits and we’re not sold on low-cut socks for both aesthetics and the fear of ankle rub. But if you’re that way inclined, these are a recommended, if fairly pricey, candidate.
Verdict: Impressive, but we’d opt for their higher-cut Merino offerings, 79%
Inov-8 Mudsoc Mid
Price: £11 (two-pack) from www.inov-8.com
We tested Inov-8’s lightest run sock, the Race Ultra, glowingly back in issue 304, and the Mudsoc Mid continues the brand’s fine form. As warming as a shepherd’s pie and a Neil Young LP on a winter’s eve, the 60% Merino wool design is certainly thicker than the rival trio on test here, yet the magic of Merino ensured they dried swiftly and were breathable too, with a padded mid-sole offering an added level of comfort.
The UK 7-9 sizing range was the broadest however, and they were noticeably looser on our size seven feet than the others. They’re also the only pair on test not designed specifically for left or right foot use. Despite the extra material, the elasticated mid foot kept them securely in place throughout and we’ve no qualms about that £12 price tag for two pairs of socks that’ll last and last.
Verdict: Durable, warm and good-value Merino contenders for battling the winter trails, 84%
And the winner is…
Compressport with its distinctive Pro Racing socks are head-and-shoulders above the rest in our sock drawer – top notch.
What are your fave run socks? Let us know in the comments below!