First Look: The Best Socks for Springtime Running

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Your feet may be in need of some spring cleaning as the winter months come to an end. Here are Trail Runner‘s first impressions of great new trail-running socks.

Smartwool: PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks

Material: 49% Merino Wool, 47% Nylon, 4% Elastane

MSRP: $16

My first impression of the PhD was that the toe and heel padding was thick compared to other running socks. However, once I put them on I didn’t notice any bulkiness, and I enjoyed having the extra padding on my toes and heels without experiencing any seam blisters or loss of circulation. If your running shoes have a tight toe box, however, the extra padding may become an issue.

Smartwool’s blend of wool and nylon is exceptionally soft and comfortable. These socks are stretchy, stay in place and even prevented my feet from feeling soggy or sweaty after an hour of running. Bonus points for not getting stinky, either.

—Jacky Thompson is an avid mountain and desert trail runner. When she isn’t rock climbing, running, foraging or frolicking outside in some way, she can be found practicing yoga and playing music.

Fits: Compression Wool Socks

Material: 49% Super-Fine Merino Wool,  37% Nylon, 10% Polyester, 4% Lyrica

MSRP: $30

Fits Compression Socks are super cozy and gentle. It was strange to wear a wool compression sock, but these were cozy and non aggressive. The compression is comfortable, yet gentle. Along with my foam roller, these are a go-to recovery tool after long days and hill repeats. These socks hug every curve of the foot and calf with no slippage even after extended use. I wore these for hours after a difficult, calf-intensive run and forgot I even had them on. They kept circulation going as well, so my feet didn’t get cold. 

—Tim Nooney runs 60 miles per week, typically with a new piece of gear that Trail Runner makes him take along and review.

Lorpen: T3 Trail-Running Ultralight Socks

Material: 40% Coolmax, 35% Tencel, 15% Nylon, 10% Lycra

MSRP: $14

The first things I noticed with the Lorpen Trail-Running Ultralight T3— a minimalist, thin sock—were the additional support through the arch and the molded feel of the sock. The arch support comes from the sock’s stabilizer wrap and (what I thought, at first, was just a sock pattern) functionally designed areas of support and protection.

The Lorpen “Dynamic Line” wraps around the heel forward, creating the molded feel. The colored circles over the ankle also provide extra protection of that tender area while dodging obstacles on the trail. These socks kept my feet extra dry on a sloppy day, in part due to the “shorty” height.

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor at Trail Runner.

Injinji Midweight Trail Crew

Material: 39% Coolmax, 58% Nylon, 3% Lycra

MSRP: $15

The first thing that comes to mind for many folks looking at toe socks is, “That it is going to take forever to put on my feet!” However, put your concerns to rest. These socks are awesome, and it doesn’t take that long to fit all your toes in them.

Once on your feet, these Injinji socks feel a little foreign if you are not accustomed to having material in between your toes. This may take some getting used to, but it’s worth it. They are totally seamless and soft, and  limited blister potential. The mid-weight style is great for the springtime, where the mornings are still brisk and a little extra warmth is needed.

—Jacky Thompson is an avid mountain and desert trail runner. When she isn’t rock climbing, running, foraging or frolicking outside in some way, she can be found practicing yoga and playing music.

Darn Tough Vertex No Show Tab Ultra-Light Cool Max

Material: 54% Nylon, 40% Coolmax Polyester, 6% Lycra

MSRP: $15

The Darn Tough Vertex sock is perfect for those who want soft support and mid-weight cushion. I keep my closet well stocked with Darn Tough socks, because they last forever. If I’m headed out for the weekend and don’t know the conditions, the new Vertex are my new go-to sock. The name of this sock has more weight than the actual sock and I’m a fan of the no-show height, which allows my ankles to stay cool. Despite the short height, the tab in the back keeps them from slipping below your heel pocket. 

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor at Trail Runner.

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