Socks are a funny old thing. The standard stocking filler present, they get a bad rep for being the most boring item in the underwear draw. But there’s much more to a pair of socks than the novelty designs that plague the present pile come Christmas.
A good pair of socks will be comfortable on all parts of your feet – all the way from your ankles to your toes. They should offer some level of support without being restrictive, and the ability to wick sweat away – whether it’s a hot day or you’re doing a strenuous workout – will not only keep your feet feeling fresh, but could minimise blisters too.
There are also a range of sock styles, and each one is designed to perfectly fit the job at hand (or foot). A pair of wellington boots call for boot socks, but you wouldn’t wear the same pair for a run, after all.
How we tested
For this article, we tested a number of different categories of socks, and put a number of competing brands through their paces to find the best in each style. We tested the socks in the settings they were designed for – so trail running socks on trails, and hiking socks when hiking – and each had to cope with its fair share of conditions.
To be considered, the socks had to remain comfortable throughout their use, do what they claimed and keep blisters at bay. They also had to stand up to being washed a handful of times and not lose their shape, support or stitching.
The best socks for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Stance Icon 200 crew sock: £12.99, Stance.eu.com
- Best for walking –Darn Tough decade: £20.79, Webtogs.com
- Best for hiking – 1000 Mile three season: £14.85, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for running – On Running mid sock: £18, Sigmasports.com
- Best for trail running – Columbia light weight mid trail running sock: £12.50, Columbiasportswear.co.uk
- Best for toe socks – Injinji ultra run crew running toe socks: £18.99, Feetus.co.uk
- Best for boot socks – Darn Tough scout boot midweight: £28.95, Amazon.co.uk
- Bestfor cycling – Assos spring falls socks: £17, Wiggle.co.uk