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When conditions are cold, rainy, snowy or slushy, that doesn’t need to stop you from going for your run. The key to keeping up your exercise regimen in winter is to have the proper gear from head to toe. 

You can keep your toes dry and warm in the right pair of sports socks. Consider ditching your no-show and quarter-crew socks for longer ones that’ll extend up your calf, offering both insulation and absorption from splashes as you log your wettest, coldest miles. 

In this article: Balega Blister Resist Performance Crew Running Socks, Showers Multi Pass Waterproof Multisport Crew Socks and Mudgear Graduated Men’s and Women’s Compression Socks.


Sports socks come in a variety of lengths, including ones designed for winter. If you plan on running in shorts, consider knee-high or over-the-calf socks. Athletic compression socks typically come in these lengths. Midcalf and crew socks are also a great length for winter and typically can be worn over tights.  


Avoid cotton socks for winter running. When used as a base layer, cotton absorbs moisture rather than wicking it away. This can result in chafing, blisters, heat loss and soggy feet, and it can even put you at risk for hypothermia.

Look for sports socks made with merino wool. Merino wool is thin, soft, moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating and insulating. Merino sports socks are typically blended with polyester or other synthetic fibers for added durability and to reduce itchiness. 

You can also find quality running socks made from nylon, polyester and spandex blends. These are moisture-wicking materials that dry quickly and keep your feet warm. They also retain their shape better than natural fibers, such as cotton or wool. 

Waterproof vs. regular sports socks 

For more extreme running conditions, such as dashing through streams on your trail runs, consider waterproof sports socks. These feature a waterproof layer between two fabric layers. However, this membrane reduces breathability and traps heat, so they may not be appropriate for running on a sunny winter’s day. 

Benefits of compression socks for winter running

Many long athletic socks offer compression, which improves blood flow during activity and supports veins by narrowing and straightening their walls. This can reduce muscle soreness after a run and reduce recovery time. Wearing compression sports socks may even increase performance on your next run.

There are different levels of compression, and they are measured in millimeters of mercury.

  • Mild compression socks provide 8 to 15 mmHg of pressure.
  • Moderate compression socks provide 15 to 20 mmHg of pressure. 
  • Firm compression socks provide 20 to 30 mmHg of pressure. 

Another benefit of compression socks is that they are thicker than the average athletic sock and keep your legs warmer and drier. There are even ones that extend above the knee for fuller compression as well as more coverage from the elements. 


Long athletic socks designed to withstand cold weather cost $19-$42 a pair. 

Best winter running socks

Best Balega Blister Resist Performance Crew Running Socks

Balega Blister Resist Performance Crew Running Socks 

These unisex running socks are sleek and offer a unique blend of warm mohair and Drynamix, which is a sweat-resistant polyester. This is a great choice if you’re prone to blisters. The design is soft and cushioning without being too thick.

Sold by Amazon

Best Showers Pass Waterproof Multisport Crosspoint Wool Crew Socks

Showers Pass Waterproof Multisport Crosspoint Wool Crew Socks

These waterproof running socks have a merino wool inner liner and a waterproof membrane for running in the snow. While breathable, they’re too warm to wear in above-freezing temperatures, so save them for freezing, slushy days. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Showers Pass Crosspoint Classic Lightweight Waterproof Socks

Showers Pass Crosspoint Classic Lightweight Waterproof Socks

For waterproof socks that aren’t as heavy-duty as its wool offerings, Showers Pass makes these lightweight ones that are more breathable. They’ll keep your feet dry and ventilated on rainy winter runs and into spring showers. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods 

Best Mudgear Graduated Men's and Women's Compression Socks

Mudgear Graduated Men’s and Women’s Compression Socks

These knee-high compression socks are designed for trail runs and to withstand harsh conditions. The graduated compression fits tightest at the ankle and offers moderate compression (15 to 20 mmHg). These socks will not fall down as you run. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Saucony Men's Performance Crew Socks

Saucony Men’s Performance Crew Socks

These basic crew socks come in a multipack of six pairs, so you don’t have to do laundry every time you run. They feature RunDry technology that wicks moisture from your feet. The thin but cushioned material will keep you warm and supported while you run. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Gone for a Run Inspirational Running Socks

Gone for a Run Inspirational Running Socks 

As long as your running socks are showing, they might as well make a statement. These midcalf running socks feature inspirational quotes and bold colors. They’re fun, comfy and warm for winter runs. 

Sold by Amazon

Best CEP Men's Tall Running Compression Socks

CEP Men’s Tall Running Compression Socks

These attractive running socks are pricey but well worth the money for runners with circulation issues. They offer firm compression, and the below-the-knee top band keeps them in place, even after miles of running.

Sold by Amazon

Best Wander Men's Athletic Over-the-Calf Socks

Wander Men’s Athletic Over-the-Calf Socks

These over-the-calf socks stay up on long runs without compression. The generous cushioning is properly placed and not too bulky. Each pair has a demarcated left and right sock. They come in three- and six-packs. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Smartwool Run Cold Weather Women's Crew Socks

Smartwool Run Cold Weather Women’s Crew Socks

These attractive crew socks are made for cold weather running with their non-itchy merino wool blend. They are cushioned just the right amount in the toe and heel for jogging or running. 

Sold by Amazon

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