Socks & Insoles
Ready to Run
Wrightsock: Merino Trail
Running socks and athletic insoles are filled with innovation. We take a look at the best new socks and insoles, and the key tech details that play a key part in keeping feet comfortable.

As in other parts of our lives, weather can be a major factor impacting us when we go for a run. This is having an impact on product design from head-to-toe, including socks and insoles, where materials and technologies play a key part in keeping feet comfortable.

With insoles, having an option that does-it-all, no matter the climate, is key. “We focus on the comfort or feel of the materials against the foot under all conditions, moisture and temperature control, minimizing slippage and motion within the shoe,” says Marc Goldberg, owner of Bonapeda Enterprises (Saluber).

In socks, keeping feet dry and warm is essential. Implus (Balega) global VP Paul Perrone advises choosing socks “with a blend of synthetic and natural fibers, and light to medium cushioning” for the best option. And Sidas product line manager Chandra Sotskov touts Lyocell for “wicking sweat three times faster than Merino.”

“Being from North Carolina, we sometimes have two seasons in a day,” says OS1st SVP Chris Bevin. So, go for “moisture-wicking, antimicrobial options with premium yarns for breathability,” he states. According to Bob MacGillivray, EVP at Drymax, his brand’s technology “outperforms wool in the winter, keeping feet drier thanks to fantastic thermal conductivity properties.”

Whatever the weather, “you need a running sock that fits like a second skin,” says Jogology co-founder Tanya Pictor. No bunching, sagging or adjusting necessary. Here, brands share their top options for any adventure.


OS1st / Wicked Comfort

Tech Talk: Launching at The Running Event 2023, the Wicked Comfort offers ultimate cushioned performance. With it, OS1st is introducing its Dry1st Moisture Wicking technology, which wicks moisture 5x faster than two other leading brands. The sock is made in the USA with Conformance Poly yarn for a cloud-like cushion (it’s knit on a 200-needle machine for a luxury feel). MSRP $15.99.

Hero Factor: “In an independent study, Wicked Comfort tested two times more durable than two other leading brands. This is the sock for runners who want a maximum level of cushion, all the signature elements of an OS1st Sock with Purpose, and no compromise on performance.” – Chris Bevin, SVP of business development, OS1st

Darn Tough Vermont / Element

Tech Talk: This lightweight sock, built for women, has a no show tab and moisture-wicking Merino wool, which prevents blisters and hotspots before they surface. The right amount of cushioning adds extra protection and durability. MSRP $18.

Hero Factor: “We will continue to see runners looking for a sock that is comfortable, durable, and fits correctly to their feet in the future. Blisters can be caused by the wrong sock. Our Merino is resilient and iversatile. It’s soft and comfortable — the ultimate fiber to handle any type of weather.” – Jake Largess, brand manager, Darn Tough Vermont

Jogology / High Cushion

Tech Talk: Available in low, medium and high cushion; Jogology’s socks feature a blend of recycled and sustainable performance yarns for a soft hand and plush running experience. True anatomical fit provides comfort and eliminates excess fabric that may cause irritation. Ventilation panels help keep feet cool. MSRP $16.

Hero Factor: “Jogology is about simplicity, made sustainably with a fit that ensures that it is super comfy and the DNA of the brand is socially conscious. Our Jogology socks are designed like shoes, we lock in the heel, lock in the midfoot and leave your toes free to move naturally.” – Tanya Pictor, co-founder, Jogology

CEP / Ultralight Compression

Tech Talk: The Ultralight Compression Sock is the lightest and thinnest sock CEP has made. Unmatched ventilation keeps runners cool and dry, even in extremely hot conditions. The new Ultralight collection also includes a calf sleeve, mid cut compression sock, low cut sock and no show sock. MSRP $59.95.

Hero Factor: “We created zig-zag panels in the foot that create a non-slip profile for greater control and blister prevention. As always, our medical grade compression helps support joints and muscles, and prevent injury.” – Jared Finney, director of sales, CEP

Feetures / Elite Invisible

Tech Talk: It’s no slip, no show and stays up – thanks to Heel Hugger 2.0 silicone tape. The Elite Invisible is equipped with targeted compression to provide support where your foot needs it, along with technical mesh ventilation to keep things cool and comfortable. MSRP $18.

Hero Factor: “Consumers continue to want versatile performance products that can be used for a range of activities from running to other pursuits. They either want it to be truly hidden for a no sock look or higher silhouette for more coverage.” – Song Nguyen, VP of product, Feetures

Swiftwick / Aspire

Tech Talk: Aspire is known for its barely-there feel and firm compression. A new five-inch offering has high-performance moisture-wicking fibers to keep feet dry, cool and blister-free. MSRP $18.99.

Hero Factor: “This new five-inch cuff height has long been asked for by runners and cyclists alike. The cuff height fills the gap in our Aspire cuff height lineup, providing more support and protection than our lower cuff heights. This will be beneficial for trail runners, as well as road runners, who want support with a lower cuff height than our seven-inch cuff.” — Esther MacIntosh, marketing director, Swiftwick

Balega / Blister Resist Light

Tech Talk: The new Blister Resistant Light sock introduces a Moh-Rino fiber, comprised of Mohair and Merino Wool twisted together. This presents a blend of fibers and moisture wicking, in an ultra-thin zero cushion sock. MSRP $20 No Show, $22 Mini Crew.

Hero Factor: “The Blister Resist line is made for runners seeking protection from blisters and the elements. To fill your sock drawer with the best assortment for crazy weather, consider materials, cushioning, and fit. Visit a specialty running store for help choosing the right socks.” – Paul Perrone, global VP of business development, Implus  

Wrightsock/ Merino Trail

Tech Talk: Built for the trail, this product has cushion-dense padding for protection and seamless toe construction. It also features an anatomical heel pocket for a superior fit. The sock is knit with 74% Merino wool. MSRP $19 Quarter, $21 Crew.

Hero Factor: Merino Trail capitalizes on the natural and amazing performance of Merino Wool; superior moisture management, unrivaled durability, and of course, effective odor defense.” – Russ Coillot, director of sales and marketing, Wrightenberry Mills

Drymax / Speedgoat Lite Trail Running

Tech Talk: Developed with All-Time 100 Mile race winner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, this plush running sock has ridden the trail for over a decade. This edition features a new design. The piquet leg gives an almost “not there” feeling while still offering superior leg protection. Speedgoat is made in the USA and available in mini crew, quarter crew, and crew leg heights. MSRP $18.

Hero Factor: “Drymax makes the best socks to keep feet dry, comfortable, and blister-free in the warmest conditions using our proprietary dual-layer moisture transfer system and strategic placing of vents. Thanks to the fantastic thermal conductivity properties of our technology, heat will stay next to your feet longer.” – Bob MacGillivray, EVP, Drymax Technologies

Sidas / T-Free Trail

Tech Talk: With a continued emphasis on foot-shaped shoes and anatomical-shaped to boxes in the market, the T-Free Trail separates the big toe so you can run with unrestricted range of motion and maximize space in your shoe. Launching Summer 2024 and developed with British runner, Jon Albon. MSRP $29.95.

Hero Factor: “In the past two-three years, trail running and ultra events have gained momentum all over the world. Trail is much more technical and more demanding on equipment. We developed a new ‘Grip Technology’ using grip yarn on the sock and grip zone on the insole, to reduce toe bang and improve control, ground feel and stability. Athletes have now come to realize the sock and insole combo matters as much as the shoe itself.” – Quentin Emeriau, brand manager, Sidas

SockGuy / SGX

Tech Talk: Designed for performance athletes, the SGX includes the brand’s Elite Performance Formula, which is a blend of polypropylene, nylon and spandex. The sock provides runners with a cool compression comfort-fit, performance ribbing and enhanced ventilation. SGX features SockGuy’s signature Stretch-to-Fit sizing and is also available in a TurboWool performance blend (five times stronger than wool alone) version. MSRP $15.95-18.95.

Hero Factor: “SGX socks feature compression ribbing to increase blood flow and a streamlined friction-free toe and sole to make sure you can go longer and play harder without pain. SGX socks come in 99 eye-catching, innovative designs that keep workouts from being boring and make you stand out wherever you’re running.” – Michael Foley, President, SockGuy


Superfeet / Run Cushion Medium Arch

Tech Talk: This insole provides a signature Superfeet shape in a lightly structured, cushioned insole that flexes and adapts to your foot’s natural motion for a smooth, easy ride. Superfeet insoles keep their shape, for reliable support and comfort for up to one year or 500 miles, whichever comes first. MSRP $54.99.

Hero Factor: “When it comes to shoes, consumers are less brand/model loyal than they used to be. They are choosing insoles based on more than just their arch height, considering factors like the thickness of the insole and the underfoot experience it provides. Complementing the fit of any foot and the feel of any shoe is something that Superfeet does better than any other brand.” – Matt Gooch, MS, C.Ped, VP of product and innovation, Superfeet

Cadence / Original Orange

Tech Talk: Features include contoured support combined with exceptional shock absorbing comfort, especially under the heel. Cadence improves the fit and feel of a shoe while providing relief for many common issues such as plantar fasciitis. MSRP $45.95.

Hero Factor: “Cadence Original Orange is the most popular model in the Cadence lineup and the go-to for many of our Run Specialty accounts. It is like a bucket seat for your feet, providing contoured support and comfort in all the right places.” – John Hinds, founder, Cadence


Tech Talk: New heading into 2024, the Metpad is a dynamic arch support insole with a deep decoupled heel cup that wraps and locks the foot into place for stability, less fatigue and the right fit. Flexible support underfoot adds comfort. Shock absorbing cushioning from heel to toe relieves stress on joints. MSRP $59.95.

Hero Factor: “Because Currex provides insoles for over a dozen different activities, we’re constantly evaluating trends in multiple markets.  The growth around the sport of pickleball certainly has our team’s interest.” - Stephen Pifer, director of marketing, Foundation Wellness

Kneed / KneedO2

Tech Talk: KneedO2 features a wear moldable base that supports the foot, flexes through propulsion and absorbs maximum impact with PORON Performance cushioning. The insoles are shaped to fit running/trail running shoes with trimming rarely required. MSRP $55.

Hero Factor: “Runners have become increasing value conscious. They are looking for products that are effective, withstand the long miles, and are at an acceptable price point. Providing premium quality, long lasting insoles to runners is going to be the key to customer retention moving into 2024.” – Jonathan Koops, co-founder, Kneed

pedag / Viva Sport

Tech Talk: Used by runners and folks on their feet all day, the Viva Sport has a low profile to fit any shoe. The insole is crafted in Germany with soft vegan materials and offers optimal stability while limiting bacterial growth thanks to a closed-cell neoprene material. MSRP $35.

Hero Factor: “Viva Sport cushion is made with closed cell neoprene foam makes it moisture resistant and insulating for high value during cold and wet winter/fall.” – Ivan Komashinskiy, president, pedag

Sorbothane / Ultra PLUS

Tech Talk: Ultra PLUS is Sorbothane’s most advanced insole, combining the benefits of an insole that runners have asked the brand for: comfort, protection, arch support and a deep heel cup for stability. An air-infused base provides superior full-length cushioning and support. MSRP $70.59.

Hero Factor: “Ultra PLUS features the unmatched cushioning comfort and impact protection of both a Sorbothane heel strike pad and an expanded Sorbothane forefoot insert. The Sorbothane Ultra PLUS has a custom arch component with a deep stabilizing heel cup. It helps provide maximum support, foot stability and proper foot placement.” – David Church, president, Sorbothane

OrthoLite / X40

Tech Talk: OrthoLite X40 sets an industry standard for high-rebound insole technology with an elasticity rating over 40 percent, for maximum performance and comfort underfoot. The X40 is OrthoLite’s performance running insole selected by footwear brands most often.

Hero Factor: “The durability and lasting performance of X40 was recently validated through durability testing at Heeluxe Labs. In the test, insoles executed at a projected mileage of 5,000 miles before they started to lose significant performance properties. The proven durability of X40 not only extends performance of the shoe to the runner, it also extends the life of the shoe.” – C.B. Tuite, chief sales officer, OrthoLite

FootBalance / HOSSA

Tech Talk: All custom, the HOSSA is optimal for medium to high volume shoes and for those requiring extra comfort in their running footwear. A breathable, recycled polyamide and bio-based bamboo viscose material wicks moisture. The plush polyurethane foam and EVA cushioning add comfort in every step, while the Balance Plate crafts alignment. MSRP $80.

Hero Factor: “As a new health-based mentality sweeps across the world, the demand for personalized products and experiences grows. More than 75% of runners are suffering from a foot imbalance, so there is a significant opportunity to personalize with FootBalance Custom Insoles. HOSSA insoles have been developed specifically for runners, offering maximum cushioning and moderate support, helping to reduce stress-related injuries.” – Andrew Richard, VP and GM for North America, FootBalance

Saluber / H480 Series

Tech Talk: All full-length Saluber insoles offer support and protection from impact. The H480 series is for runners looking for the lightest weight and thinnest insoles. Arch supports are built with a scaphoid pad to provide comfortable support without flattening out, while a cutaway heel design with a double layer of PORON promotes full contact between foot and orthotic insole, providing extra impact protection (for heel-strikers). MSRP $85-$108.

Hero Factor: “The top cover material used in Saluber insoles is ‘Alcantara,” an Italian manmade microfiber that has the luxurious feel and comfort of soft suede. Alcantara is temperature neutral, absorbs moisture and perspiration without becoming slippery, resists abrasion and sliding in the shoe, and it’s highly durable.” – Marc Goldberg, owner, Bonapeda Enterprises