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The 6 best ankle socks

When it comes to foot apparel, I'm of the belief that ankle socks are king. They offer protection without being bulky, they help manage odor and sweat, and, best of all, they don't look bulky. So, how do you find the best ankle socks? While putting together my list below, it largely came down to two key elements:

Comfortable fit

This involves multiple factors including soft material (think: cotton, polyester, or Merino wool), proper cushioning (heel support is especially important), and blister protection (seamless construction helps, especially around the toe box). You also want your socks to fit snugly so they don't slide down or bunch up. Finally, they need to be the right amount of thickness. If they're too thick, they will be less breathable and not as well-equipped to regulate temperature. If they're too thin, on the other hand, your feet won't have sufficient protection from blisters and chaffing.

Moisture and odor control

Whether you're running a 10K or participating in a more mellow marathon of the Netflix variety, your feet are going to perspire — it's what feet do. For that reason, your socks should be able to wick moisture and dry quickly so your feet aren't sticky or otherwise uncomfortable. And if your feet are especially prone to odors, you should consider socks that feature copper, which has the natural ability to regulate odor.

Now that you understand the features that make up the best ankle socks, check out my top picks below. They range in style but are all unisex and designed to fit most feet.

1. The best casual socks

Whether you're lounging around the house or heading to work, these casual ankle socks offer just the right combination of comfort, function, and style. They're made with combed cotton for softness and grippy rubber on the heels for steady footing when you're without shoes. They're moisture-wicking and breathable so your feet can sweat without developing an odor. Additionally, the low-cut design ensures these socks won't poke out over your shoes if you wear them to the office. Best of all, they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Fans say: "If you're a sock snob like me, you will not be let down. I'm already shopping for more colours from this brand I love them so much."

  • Available sizes: Medium - Large

2. The best athletic socks

Made especially for running, cardio, or other forms of high-intensity exercise where your feet need extra support, these unisex ankle socks provide a nice balance of value and performance. They're reasonably priced, yet they still offer soft cushioning and great moisture control along with a comfortable, stay-put fit. On top of that, they feature mild compression to reduce foot fatigue, as well as copper in the cushioning to help fight odor.

Fans say: "I had no idea socks could make such a difference. I have had 6 foot surgeries on foot and ankle. These socks gave additional support I didn't even know I was missing. I love that they are not bulky but thick at the same time. The best socks ever!!!

  • Available sizes: Small/Medium, Large/X-Large

3. The most lightweight socks

If you hate bulky socks and want the most lightweight profile you can find, these unisex ankle socks are the perfect choice. They're like being barefoot but with a thin layer to protect your feet and prevent your shoes from getting odorous. The slender design also makes them cooler than similar socks, and the fabric is moisture-wicking so your feet won't be left feeling damp. They have seamless toes to reduce blisters, and they come with a lifetime guarantee.

Fans say: "Loved these socks. Super thin yet strong and supportive; worked beautifully."

  • Available sizes: Small - X-Large

4. The best socks for blisters

If you're prone to blisters, these ultra-soft ankle socks offer phenomenal protection whether you're going for a run, heading to the gym, or simply walking around town. With a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, they have more than 2,700 reviews, many of which attest to their ability to prevent rubbing and chafing. This is largely the result of the hand-linked, seamless toe box that protects the tops of your feet, as well as the deep heel pockets that stop them from sliding down. On top of that, they have moisture-wicking fabric and reinforced heels for durability.

Fans say: "I have sensitive forefeet that can blister easily as well when socks are too thin. These are the only socks that protect my feet from friction! They have extra padding on the bottom and the heel tab stays in place! I originally was using them for my running shoes, but have since used them for gym and my steel toes as well. Comfort has increased across the board. The quality has been sound, and surpasses other brands I’ve used. I’m going to slowly replace all my socks with these, they’re worth it!"

  • Available sizes: Small - X-Large

5. The best socks for sweaty feet

For folks whose feet have a tendency toward being extra aromatic, these anti-odor socks have special technology that prevents smells from building up. Similarly to the Sladory option, they feature combed cotton fabric that's infused with bits of copper threads (comprising an impressive 20 percent of the material), which minimizes bacteria and odor. However, these socks take it a step further by incorporating mesh ventilation panels that keep them extra cool and breathable. The moisture-wicking fabric sheds perspiration while also drying quickly. Plus, they have great cushioning and a soft, anti-rub design.

Fans say: "These socks are a total game changer!! My husband has always struggled with his feet sweating badly and leading to horrid smells coming from them after he took his sneakers or boots off at the end of the day! Even a sock change halfway through never helped the smell. We tried foot powders and bought new shoes frequently but it never helped. Now with these socks he can go all day and at the end of the day NO ODOR!!! These socks are truly amazing!"

  • Available sizes: Medium, Large

6. The best socks for compression

Whether you want to reduce foot fatigue and prevent DOMS (or delayed onset muscle soreness) post-exercise, or simply improve circulation while you're at work, school, or relaxing at home, these no-show compression socks are a great find. Although several of the athletic socks above feature mild compression components, these socks are specifically designed to boost your circulation and enhance athletic performance. Fans say they works wonders at minimizing soreness and improving your workouts. What's more, they're soft, comfortable, and moisture-wicking to boot.

Fans say: "These low cut compression socks are a miracle! My feet feel great and my legs really feel the difference. I loved them so much my husband bought them also! Please give these a try they are amazing especially for those of us who don't like the knee high compression socks."

  • Available sizes: Small/Medium, Large/X-Large

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