The Best Material For Running Socks (Properties Of Synthetic Fibers And Natural Wool)

Whether you are a beginner or veteran runner, the choice of running socks you choose to pair with your running shoes makes a difference in your overall performance. Your running socks determine the comfort level of your feet while focusing on the run. Poor quality socks crafted from shoddy materials are a nightmare to any runner. Their best reward to your feet is chafing, blisters, and bacterial infections. 

On the other hand, wearing the correct type of socks when running provides comfort, support, and flexibility to your feet while running. Running socks comprise different materials, thicknesses, and sizes. Your only challenge is to choose the best, and your running feet are sorted. Running socks crafted from good quality material ensure your feet’ happiness by keeping them blister-free and dry. 

Which Is The Best Material For Running Socks?

Which Is The Best Material For Running Socks

The best materials worth making running socks are synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, and acrylic. All these synthetics offer excellent moisture-wicking abilities and the highest level of breathability.

Another best material for running socks is natural wool, especially merino wool. Socks crafted from wools suit winter conditions best. The modern wool used to produce for making running socks is itch-less, meaning your skin can’t be irritated when wearing them. The socks are also thin and can be machine-washed.

Materials Worth Consideration In Running Socks

Every professional runner understands that a pair of poor-quality socks is problematic and hinders performance. Most standard socks such as cotton worsen the situation while running. They absorb moisture and hold it for a long resulting in blisters to your feet.

The suitable materials for running socks must possess moisture-wicking abilities to wick off sweat from your feet and dry quickly to avoid blisters and bacterial infections.

1. Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic materials are synonymous with their quick-drying and moisture-wicking abilities. These abilities make them suitable for crafting running socks. Running socks made from synthetic materials are suitable for sweaty feet and wet weather.

It is estimated that human feet contain around 250,000 sweat glands; thus, choosing running socks with better moisture-wicking capabilities is necessary. A better running sock must also have excellent quick-drying properties. Synthetic fibers like polyester, acrylic, and nylon possess all properties mentioned above hence their wide use in running socks. 

Let us look at the characteristics of individual synthetic materials used to make quality running socks.

a. Polyester  

Polyester has the following properties:


The reason why polyester is a popular fabric for making outdoor apparel is its ability to resist liquids. Instead of soaking up, the polyester fabric wicks away the moisture, ensuring that you are dry all through. Besides resisting moisture, the fabric is also stain resistant.

Shape Retention

The polyester fabric is wrinkle-resistant and is better at holding its shape and rigidity.


Unlike natural fibers such as cotton, polyester materials have impressive strength; they don’t tear or pill easily. Products made from polyester withstand abrasion resulting from machine wash, and they are long-lasting. The long-lasting aspect of the fiber makes it suitable for making running socks and other outdoor apparel.

Acrylic Fiber

Acrylic is a lightweight and elastic fabric suitable for outdoor use. Below are its properties:


Acrylic fiber has high moisture-wicking abilities that ensure your feet are dry when running. Whether the weather is wet or your feet sweat profusely, the fabric wicks off moisture and provides comfort. Dry feet are healthy feet as they can’t develop blisters.

Heat Retention

The reason running socks made from Acrylic are a favorite in running on wet weather is the high heat retention ability of the fabric. However cold it gets, the fabric retains heat, ensuring your feet are warm and comfortable when running.


The fabric is highly stretchable, meaning your feet are afforded the necessary flexibility when running.

Nylon Fiber

Nylon is a lightweight and strong artificial fiber that is applied widely in day-to-day use. It has the following properties:

Strong And Elastic

The strength of the fabric ensures its durability. The fiber stretches without losing its original shape.

Quick-Drying And Moisture Wicking

The fabric doesn’t absorb moisture like cotton. Moisture stays on the surface and is wicked off quickly, thanks to the fabric’s quick-drying ability.

UV Resistant

The fabric is UV resistant, meaning your feet receive enough protection from chemicals and UV rays while you are on the move.

2. Natural Merino Wool

The merino wool fibers are soft, breathable, moisture-wicking, and durable. Running socks made from merino wool are designed to regulate temperature. When it is warm, the socks keep your feet cool, and if the weather is cold, they provide your feet with warmth.

While synthetics are not biodegradable, wool fabrics are a renewable and environmentally friendly source.

Below are the properties of Merino wool fabrics:


Merino wool has excellent moisture-wicking abilities. The fabric is also water repellant. Merino absorbs environmental moisture and wicks it quickly to ensure your feet are dry.

Temperature Regulation

The fabric has inbuilt temperature control. The fiber can keep your feet warm when the surrounding is cold, and they can also keep your them cool when the outside is warm.


The wool is reputed for creating an anti-microbial atmosphere and its resistance to unpleasant odors.

Soft and Elastic

While the softness of the fabric offers comfort to your feet, its elasticity allows flexibility that ensures unrestricted movement.

Features Of The Best Running Socks

Running-specific socks have technical features that make them ideal for the task. The features are;

1. Cushioning And Arch Support

Good running socks have paddings around the toe and heel areas to cushion your feet from impacts and blisters when running. Some socks also have arch support that helps enhance fit and prevent plantar fasciitis.

2. Breathability

Many running socks have ventilation zones that allow better breathability when running. A well breathable sock keeps your feet dry.

3. Two Layers And Seamless Toes

Two-layered socks prevent blisters by enabling friction between layers rather than between your skin and the socks. Seamless design at the toe end also prevents toe rubbing when running.


A good pair of running socks made of quality material is as essential as a good pair of running shoes. However, ensure the material used in your preferred pair of socks has tip-top moisture-wicking abilities.

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