What is The Difference Between Running Socks and Normal Socks?

Not all socks are suitable for wearing while running. Choosing the wrong socks can lead to uncomfortable blisters and fungus with regular use. Let’s see what the difference is between running socks and normal socks.

Unlike normal socks, running socks are designed to wick away sweat, prevent blisters, absorb a lot of sweat, and are breathable. This is possible thanks to the special materials that work best in running socks – polyester, nylon, and merino wool.

Running socks have many advantages over regular socks due to the better materials and length of the socks. Let’s see how this affects the difference between running and normal socks.

Do running socks make a difference?

Running socks make a difference to the comfort and health of your feet during a run compared to normal socks. Good quality running socks stick tightly to the foot and do not wrinkle, which prevents blisters. Running socks wick and absorb sweat to keep the foot dry for as long as possible.

The biggest difference running socks make compared to regular socks is in elasticity, materials, and comfort.

Running socks are more elastic than normal socks

Running socks are more elastic than normal running socks, so they fit better to the foot during running. Loose socks start to wrinkle during running, which speeds up the foot rubbing against the shoe, causing uncomfortable blisters. Socks often wrinkle at the toes because the foot moves backward and forwards during running.

Synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, elastane, and spandex give running socks their elasticity. For this reason, running and other sports socks are mostly made of synthetic fibers because they are very elastic. I will tell you more about the choice of materials for running socks in the next section.

Anyway… You can read a more detailed post on choosing the right running socks for you by clicking on this link. I’ve even included some of my favorite running socks made from quality materials and cost less than $10 a pair.

To check that running socks are elastic enough and fit your foot well, put the sock on and pull it up at the toes. It should immediately come back when you release it due to the elasticity. If you try this with ordinary socks, you will notice that the sock wrinkles a little.

Running socks use sweat-absorbent materials

As mentioned above, synthetic materials are most commonly used in running socks for their elasticity. However, elasticity is only one of the important features of running socks. Absorption, wicking, breathability, and odor retention are also important.

If we compare polyester, nylon, elastane, and spandex, only one material absorbs sweat, and that is nylon. All the other materials breathe and wick away sweat very well, but this is not enough if you want to enjoy your running 100% and don’t want to get blisters or foot infections while running.

Of the synthetic materials, nylon is the only one that absorbs sweat, and you often see the name polyamide. In addition to synthetic materials, there are also natural materials – wool, cotton, and bamboo.

Wool is also a very good material (in my opinion, the best) for sports socks. Merino wool, in particular, absorbs a lot of sweat, breathes well, acts as an insulator, and does not trap odors. Although merino wool absorbs a lot of sweat, it is still dry to the touch. For elasticity, you will find merino wool in socks combined with polyester or nylon. Pay attention to the composition of the materials and choose those with at least 30% wool (the higher, the better).

Bamboo also has properties like wool, as it absorbs and wicks sweat, breathes well, and does not retain heat. However, never use socks made of 100% cotton for running or any other sporting activity. Cotton absorbs a lot of sweat, but then it gets soggy, so your feet will always be wet. In addition, 100% cotton is not as elastic as synthetic materials and starts to wrinkle as you run. A wet and wrinkled sock is a guarantee for blisters.

When choosing running socks or other sports socks, ensure that the sock contains at least 30% absorbent material (wool, nylon). The rest will be mostly polyester.

I recommend you read a more detailed comparison of the 5 most common materials found in running and sports socks. That way, you can choose the best socks that will last you a long time.

Running socks are more comfortable

Running socks are designed for comfort during the run, which is why most socks are cushioned in the most stressed areas. These are the toe area, the heel area, and around the ankle. The foot is constantly rubbing against the shoe as you run, and the cushioned areas help to minimize the rubbing against the shoe. Cushioned socks make a big difference in comfort during a run that ordinary socks cannot.

Even if the socks are not specially cushioned, it is better to choose thick socks than thin socks. Socks are often thick because thicker and more absorbent fibers are used than wool or nylon.

In addition to blisters, cramps can occur in the legs during running. This can be very uncomfortable and make you unable to continue running. Compression socks are worth a try if you often get cramps while running or your legs hurt after a hard workout. You can read about all the benefits of compression socks and how to choose the right compression level by clicking on this link.


My name is Gregor and I'm a sports and fashion enthusiast. Like you, I want my clothes to be good quality and comfortable. I hope my articles will help you choose the right underwear for you.

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