Best Socks for Walking: My Buyer’s Guide

When you hear advice about walking equipment, a lot of it revolves around which shoes will be the best for your feet. Did you know that without the right pair of socks it won’t really matter how good your shoes are?

Your socks and shoes both play a key role in protecting, supporting, and comforting your feet while you exercise, although the socks may be the most crucial of the two for the average walker.

If you have never spent much time considering your walking socks, it’s time to take a look at what makes a sock good for walking versus what makes it bad. There are a few things you need to look into when trying to find the best socks for walking:


What are the socks made of? This will determine how warm or cool your feet will be, how much moisture will stay with the foot, and how much slipping can occur while you walk.

The first thing to look for a material that will take the moisture away from your feet rather than getting soaked by your sweat. Too much moisture makes it easier to get blisters, infections, and other uncomfortable conditions.

Secondly, think about the climate you are planning to run in. Is it hot, cold, or somewhere in the middle? Some materials will retain heat better than others, which can be great for cold weather walks but awful for warmer temperatures.

Lastly, look at how slick the material is to see if it will stay put in your shoe or if your foot will be slipping around. Ideally your foot should stay in place instead of bunching up or sliding around. This has more to do with some other factors, but the material may not be helping.synthetic vs natural wool

Synthetic vs natural wool

– Good: Many athletic walkers agree that synthetic materials are preferable for walking socks. These will wick the moisture away from your feet more easily and give you a much more com

fortable walk. When padded correctly, synthetic socks do not slide around in your shoes. They can also keep your feet much cooler during hot months and can be doubled up to stay warm in the winter as well.

– Bad: Organic materials like cotton and wool do not make ideal athletic walking socks. The reason for this is that natural materials like these two tend to retain moisture and keep your feet damp with sweat instead of drying the area.

They also usually keep your feet too hot and uncomfortable. Over the years, cotton and wool socks will lose their shape through washing and will not be as effective as when you first bought them.


Well placed pads in the socks will work together with your shoes to support your feet and protect you from injuries. Padding that is too thick might cause your shoes not to fit comfortably, but if it is too thin you won’t get much help from it. You should look for socks that are padded specifically for walking rather than other sports because they will be designed for optimal slip protection.

– Good: Top walking socks usually have padding on the balls of the feet and on the heels. Anything more than this is unnecessary and might cause your feet to get hotter. This padding layout is designed to absorb some of the shock as well as to hold your foot in place.

– Bad: Fully padded socks are generally not good for walkers because they will make your shoes less comfortable and will keep your feet too hot. Unpadded socks are also not ideal, unless you are planning to double up and use these as your insulation layer.sock padding

Possible padding space


How thick of a sock do you want to wear? This depends more on your preference and the weather conditions in your area than anything else. Thicker socks are usually warmer and more heavily padded. They will be a tighter fit in your close-fitting walking shoes, but they can be very comfortable and help you avoid blisters from new or poorly-fitted shoes.

Thinner socks are useful for keeping your feet cool or acting as insulation socks when you want to double up. Most athletes like thinner socks with padding rather than thicker socks because they do no retain moisture and will not become too hot and comfortable.


What size and shape of sock do you want to wear? Many people will wear shorter socks when walking to avoid bunching up of materials. When your socks get bunched up they can rub badly on your feet and cause blisters and general discomfort.

For this reason some of the most popular styles of walking socks are the crew cut or the slouch, both of which are short and well fitted to the foot. It’s essential that you get the proper size of sock for your foot if you want to enjoy the benefits of the padding, design, and style as they were made.

The best Walking Socks

Now that you know what to be looking for, here are a few of the overall top walking socks on the market:

Walking socks from ThorloAmazon

1. Thorlos Walking Socks

These are almost unanimously named as the top walking socks by many athletic authorities. This is because they are well designed with the needs of walkers in mind.

Thorlos makes their socks from synthetic moisture-wicking materials that can take a lot of wear and tear without needing replacement. They are padded perfectly for walking and will fit your foot just right so there is very little slippage. Available for men and women in a variety of styles.

Balega Enduro

2. Balega Enduro Socks

Padded lightly for walkers and made from quality synthetics, these socks will be great for the average walker needing a comfortable pair of socks.

They effectively take the moisture away from your feet and fit inside any pair of shoes you would normally wear. Although not as sturdy as the Thorlos, the Balega socks will probably last for around 1 1/2 – 2 years with consistent use. Available in quarter, low cut, or crew styles.Amazon

3. Smartwool Socks

Even those natural materials and generally not recommended for walkers, Smartwool is the exception to this rule. These socks are made with a itch-free, moisture-wicking merino wool that gives you a comfortable walk without needing to insulate your socks.

Smartwool is known for quality hiking socks, but their regular walking socks are designed well for athletic walkers with enough padding to add comfort and a slim enough fit to avoid bunching. Plus, you might find that they are available in more fun colors than most athletic brands.



Walking socks are important for helping your feet stay comfortable and properly supported. If you don’t already have a set, make sure you get a good pair of socks before you hit the road again. You’re sure to feel the difference!

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