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The 5 best athletic socks for men

Unlike your everyday socks, the ones you wear while working out or playing sports need special features to help you stay at the top of your game. The best athletic socks for men are not only supremely comfortable but also great at managing moisture like sweat, keeping your feet dry.

Whether you're running, biking, lifting weights, or playing basketball, great moisture management is easily one of the most important traits in a pair of socks. There are two key factors that assist with this: First, the fabric. Polyester, nylon, and Drymax (a trademarked fabric blend) are all great at wicking moisture, or lifting it away from the skin so it can dry more quickly. Merino wool is also excellent at managing moisture, and it's temperature-regulating, too. (Also, you'll be glad to know that it's not itchy like other types of wool). Another key element to look for in a pair of socks is ventilation. Socks with mesh vents or other types of breathable designs allow extra air flow to pass through to help keep you cooler.

In addition to managing moisture, cushioning is another important consideration. Your feet strike the ground more during sports and other workouts, so your socks need to be able to absorb the impact to prevent your feet from getting get sore. Similarly, you need added blister protection. Socks with features like a seamless construction, heel tabs, and elastic bands to prevent slipping are the gold standard here.

With these considerations in mind, take a look at the best athletic socks for men to find the pair that fits you best.

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1. The ankle socks

With moisture-wicking Drymax fabric that handles sweat like a champ, these are some of the best ankle socks out there for athletics. The dual-layer fabric features an inner coating of hydrophobic fibers that sit next to your skin, transporting perspiration to the outer layer of the material where it can dry more quickly. The fabric mix also consists of polyester, nylon, and spandex, making them soft, durable, and stretchy.

These socks are soft and well-cushioned, with seam-free blister protection and three levels of thickness to choose from, depending on your needs (Hint: For the most high impact activities, thicker socks will provide more support and cushioning). They come in a three-pack with various white, black, and gray color combinations.

One reviewer says: "These are my favorite socks to workout in. Lifting, running, HIIT, plyometrics, they work great for all. The medium cushioning is perfect for me and they are awesome at wicking sweat. A little pricey but well worth the cost."

  • Available sizes: Small to X-Large

2. The crew socks

Boasting more than a thousand positive reviews on Amazon, these Darn Tough micro-crew socks are a popular choice, and for good reason. While they're designed for hiking, the comfort features that make them so great for the trails also makes them a solid choice for other athletic endeavors. They're made with moisture-wicking, odor-resistant Merino wool, plus a blend of Lycra and nylon for stretch. The Merino wool is similar to Drymax in that it lifts moisture away from your skin and helps keep your feet dry. I've actually tried these socks myself and can attest that they're incredible at moisture management — and soft, too.

Reviewers love that they're comfortable and don't leave blisters on your feet. Plus, they stay up well, too. Best of all, they come with a lifetime guarantee so you can buy a pair once and keep trading them in over and over again if they ever get a hole.

One reviewer says: "These socks are amazing. I had cheaper socks before that were all falling apart with holes in the heels and soles. These socks are in great shape still after wearing them cycling, hiking, running, and walking. These socks are comfortable in shoes, boots, and sandals (socks and sandals are acceptable). Something amazing is that these socks don't smell ever. I've traveled with them and worn them multiple days in a row without a smell. They are warm. They are cool. They are comfy. Now I own three pairs and have thrown my other socks away."

  • Available sizes: Small to XX-Large

3. The no-show socks

If you prefer lower-profile socks for working out, these Balega Hidden Comfort socks are your best best — and they have an impressive 4.7-star rating on Amazon to back them up. They're cut a little lower than your standard ankle socks so that you can't see the tops when you wear them with tennis shoes. Although they're thin and lightweight, they offer solid cushioning along with a seamless toe box that protects you from blisters.

They also have excellent odor control due to the brand's proprietary Drynamix polyester (which is treated to be especially moisture-wicking) and microfiber mesh ventilation. The socks also feature a heel tab to prevent them from slipping down, and reviewers noted that they're so comfortable, you can barely feel them. (I've tested these socks out myself and can personally vouch that all of this is true.)

One reviewer says: "I have NEVER liked no-show socks, and I was reluctant to try these, but they were highly rated and recommended. I love this socks. I will repeat that. I love these socks. They do NOT slip down. Recently wore them for a half marathon in the rain and they did not budge. My new favorite running socks. I want all colors."

  • Available sizes: Small to X-Large

4. The budget socks

For folks who are on a budget, these wallet-friendly crew socks are just the ticket. They're made almost entirely of breathable polyester that's moisture-wicking with a hint spandex thrown in for flexibility. They have fantastic cushioning, according to reviewers, and they don't have the tendency to chafe or rub. They come in a convenient six-pack with your choice of three colors (white, black, or heather gray).

One reviewer says: "I bought these socks for my son because of the low price and because he wears holes in socks like crazy. That was nearly a year ago, and he just now wore out one pair of the six-pack. I am so impressed that these socks have lasted this long! My son is an active senior in high school, wearing these socks to football practice and games, wrestling practice/tournaments, and now rugby. Not to mention landscaping (summer job last year), skate boarding, basketball with friends, bicycling, and triathlon training. I don't usually take the time to write reviews, but these socks kick a**!!"

  • Available sizes: Large (Shoe size 6 to 12)

5. The compression socks

Whether you want to improve circulation, reduce soreness, or potentially ramp up your athletic performance, these TechWare Pros are a top-quality compression sock. Made with a durable, stretchy blend of nylon and spandex, they boast graduated compression technology, with a flared top that encourages blood flow while potentially reducing inflammation, too. Although they can be great for anyone who wants to improve their circulation, they're especially helpful for folks with plantar fasciitis or other types of foot pain that can be exacerbated when working out. (Just note that if you're new to compression socks and you have pre-existing health conditions, you should talk to your doctor first to get the OK).

One reviewer says: "I was shocked how comfortable and well these socks work to support my ankles and allow me to workout without pain. And without pain or swelling after the workout. I am gradually building up from power walk to runs, trying to be patient and not push. But without these socks I would still be struggling. I wear a size 7 to 7.5 shoe, and the small was perfect. Highly recommend!"

  • Available sizes: Small to X-Large