Best Trail Running Socks 2021 – AthleticGens Best Review

“Is that any difference between trail running socks and regular road running socks?” I asked him when my trail running buddy – Ryan convinced me to get one.

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Since it cost almost the same with regular running socks, I decided to try one. I’ve never thought I’ll need a trail running socks until I’ve invested one. Since then, I’ve been testing different pairs to find the right one for me. The best trail running socks I’ve come across so far is Mudgear trail running socks

A pair of good trail running socks make a difference in my trail running experience in a few ways. Fewer dirt/debris find its way into my socks, feet remain dry even after a few hours of running and many more. 

5 best socks for trail running

How to choose the best trail running socks?

A good trail running socks should be longer than your regular socks. They were designed to protect your feet from small debris like tiny rocks, sands, dirt or small leaves. That’s why they tend to have a pretty tight elastic band on the top to further keep the dirt out from the socks.

Materials used to manufacture trail running socks won’t be the same with your regular socks too. The socks made specifically for trail running do not hold water for as long as regular running shoes. I’ve listed out a few features to look out for when you’re choosing a trail running socks. 

Material matters

Generally, you’ll want to avoid cotton at all costs. The nature of cotton material is to absorb and hold large amounts of water. Your socks become non-breathable when they hold water from outside or your own sweat. Wet socks tend to promote foot blisters especially in trail running condition, where your feet need constant twist and turn.

blister

Most socks brands nowadays use synthetic fabric like nylon, polyester, or spandex to make up their trail running socks. Using synthetic fabrics not only makes the socks more breathable, it dries your socks up a lot quicker. This will also reduce the odor that potentially comes with the wet socks. 

Socks Thickness

Choice of thickness in trail running socks usually varies according to the different situation. I like to keep both thick and thin options in my closet. If you intend to run for more than 2 hours, thicker socks with well-cushioned shoes would be great for you as it added extra plush to your strides.

For a shorter morning trail run, a pair of thin and lightweight socks should be enough for you. I like my socks to be thicker(preferably with merino wool) when I’m running in cold weather as well, as it keeps my foot warm for a long period of time. I have also shared my experience on how to choose the best running socks for cold weather in another post as well, explore it if you’re interested. 

(Tip: Use socks thickness to adjust the fit of your running shoes, wear a thicker socks if you find you shoes is a half size too big)

Waterproof capability

Waterproof socks are usually not as breathable as other socks. A waterproof layer is added in between two fabrics to prevent water from penetrating through the socks. If your trail running involves splashing through the puddles and getting your shoes wet, a socks with waterproof layer is definitely helpful for you.

waterproof shoes and socks

But for a regular jungle trekking session, a normal trail running socks is good for you. In fact, a waterproof socks might ruin your experience as it tends to retain heat. You’ll want to avoid the waterproof socks in hot summer as well, as it might result in sweaty feet.   

Why do trail runners wear long socks?

From no show socks to over the calf length, the market bombarded us with unlimited choice for just a pair of socks (Check sock length lingos here). If you are getting your socks for the first time, it’s hard to choose the perfect one if you don’t do enough research. As I mentioned above, longer socks prevent debris from reaching your inner socks layer. 

Generally, a pair of quarter length socks is good enough to keep trail debris out of your socks. You might consider crew length socks if the location you run on has plenty of overgrown trails. With that said, some runners still prefer No show socks on a hot summer. It ultimately comes down to personal preferences. 

(Tip: If lower-leg compression is necessary for you on trail runs, consider getting a full-length compression socks instead of spending money on compression sleeves and running socks. )

Rockay Razer Trail Running Socks (Environmental Friendly)

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running
  • Material: Old Fishing Net and Nylon Waste from Ocean  
  • Length: Crew Length
  • Cushioning: 5 out of 5
  • Made in: Europe

Highlights

Rockay is a Denmark based company that manufactures running apparel with recycled fabrics. Many of their running apparel is well-praised by their customers due to their quality consistency. Their Razer Trail Running Socks are one of them. 

Made of 100% recycled material (old fishing nets and other nylon waste from the ocean), the socks surprisingly feel soft and comfortable.  A firm elastic band is present at the top not only keeps the socks from sliding down, it prevents dirt from reaching the inner socks area. The socks height(crew length) is just enough to cover my lower length area from short overgrown trails. Their breathable regenerate nylon yarn is treated with chemicals to reduce bacteria growth due to wet feet, which might result in smelly feet. 

However, some buyers complained that the socks were too tight for them. But it’s well-praised by the majority of their buyers, some even said that the socks are the “most comfortable sock they owned”. 

Pro(s):

  • Environmental friendly 
  • Comfortable
  • Modern design

Cons(s): 

  • The socks might be too tight for some people with wide feet

Bridgedale Ultra Light Trail Sport

For Men:

For Women:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running, Road running
  • Material: 20% Merino Wool, 55% Nylon, 23% Endurofil, 2% LYCRA / Elastane
  • Length: Quarter Crew
  • Cushioning: 3 out of 5
  • Made in: Europe and Africa

Highlights

Made with 20% of Merino Wool, Bridgedale Ultra Light Trail Socks features a great amount of softness and thermal control. Outer surface of their socks is made with Endurofill, which is a type of polypropylene fibre that has a strong abrasion resistance. This design makes the socks washable without losing its shape for a long time. 

I love the padding system that is present in the toe and heel section of these socks. It makes the socks more firm and comfortable to wear. The nylon on top of the socks makes it tight and firm, the socks stand where it is no matter how I move my feet. 

This is a great lightweight, breathable socks that makes a perfect choice for trail running. With that said, the socks aren’t without criticism, some runners claimed that the socks isn’t that durable. Especially after it goes through the washing machine. 

Pro(s):

  • Comfortable due to Merino Wool Construction
  • Breathable
  • Affordable 

Cons(s): 

  • Not durable

Thorlos Max Cushion Hiking Crew (Best Cushion)

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running
  • Material: 65% Polyester, 16% Nylon, 14% Acrylic, 5% Elastic
  • Length: Crew length
  • Cushioning: 4 out of 5
  • Made in: USA

Highlights

If you love cushion running socks, Thorlos Max Cushion Hiking Socks is a perfect choice for you. The brand is well known for their comfortable, cushioned hiking socks. Majority of their users expressed their satisfaction with the socks. However, due to its thickness, I only prefer wearing it in cold weather(late summer to early winter). 

The thickness doesn’t hinder its performance in terms of breathability, due to the polyester construction. A ventilation panel was specifically designed just for better breathability. My feet remain dry and cool even after several hours of trail running (in cold weather). 

Thorlos extend their padding system to the Achilles section to protect it against rubbing during trail running. This cushioned socks is perfect for winter trail running or runners who loves cushioning, you don’t get many similar socks out there!

Pro(s):

  • Max Cushioned
  • Breathable 
  • Seamless toe area
  • Durable

Cons(s): 

  • Trap heat during hot summer

Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew Toe socks (Best for Blister Prevention)

For Men:

For Women:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running
  • Material: 39% Coolmax® / 58% Nylon / 3% Lycra®
  • Length: Mid Cut
  • Cushioning: 4 out of 5
  • Made in: USA

Highlights

If you are worrying about any skin-to-skin friction during your run, consider Injinji Toe Socks. Their patented five-toe socks get rid of any direct touches between skin. Another thing I like about the socks is their colour variation. This is one of the cool features of the Injinji brand, there are so many colourful designs to choose from.

The socks chas all the features a trail running socks should have. Like proper moisture management, breathability, and firm on top of the socks. The brand goes further to eliminate the most common problem many runners have by reducing blister. I don’t usually have blisters on my toe, but wearing them removes my worry about having one, even when my running shoes are too narrow.

One thing to be careful about purchasing the socks is about sizing. The socks shrink after a few iterations of washing machine and dryer, so be careful when you are choosing the size. You might want to choose a larger size version than your regular running socks.

Pro(s):

  • Blister Prevention
  • Breathable 
  • Variety of colour choice
  • Good moisture management

Cons(s): 

  • Shrink after washing with hot water

Mudgear trail running socks (Recommended)

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running
  • Material: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex
  • Length: Quarter Crew
  • Cushioning: 5 out of 5
  • Made in: USA

Highlights

Mudgear’s socks might not have the best looks, but it definitely makes a great OCR and trail running socks. With its superior quality and a relatively low price, choosing their socks for trail running is a no-brainer, and no, they didn’t pay me to say this. 

My feet remain dry and cool even after hours of trail running, due to their vented mesh. The socks compression around the ankle keep out any trail muds and debris. 

Mudgear socks are originally designed for Obstacle Course Racers(OCR) But runners soon realize the socks are good in both trail running and hiking conditions. I’m not the only one who likes their product, their reviews from ecommerce sites are also exploding with positive feedback. I’ve been using their socks for trail running until now since I’ve first tried them on. 

The dirt from the mud and trail washed off easily due to their polyester construction. 

Pro(s):

  • Breathable 
  • Durable
  • Super Comfortable 
  • Affordable

Cons(s): 

  • Some have complained about loss of elasticity around ankle area (I’ve not encountered any)
  • Not durable according to one reviewer. 

Running tips for trail runners

Getting started with trail running? Here is the complete free guide from trailrunnermag.com. I found it quite useful when I just started out my trail running journey. 

You can also visit alltrails.com to explore the catalogs of trails location for free. You do need to pay if you are downloading the maps online, but maps are usually available once you reach the location. 

Conclusion…

There you have it, the best running socks for trail running in my opinion. Proper trail running socks provide you with optimum comfort, dry out quickly, and able to keep debris out from your socks. I love Mudgear Trail Running Socks because it does tick all the boxes. Its Polyester construction is softer than many trail running socks out there. With a superior quality and affordable pricing, it’s surely worth a try from you. Hope you find this guide helpful, remember to check out free guides on trail running if you’re a beginner, see you on the trails! 

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