THE 15 BEST TOE SOCKS FOR BAREFOOT RUNNING SHOES
Without a doubt, toe socks are becoming the next big trend among athletes, especially runners.
That probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, though, considering that barefoot running shoes went from a niche product about a decade ago to one of the most popular options across almost every sport.
Unlike conventional running socks, toe socks have separate slots for each toe. Many people have switched to these "barefoot socks" simply for walking around the house or for wearing with their normal shoes.
Of course, most people learn about these socks because they've made the switch to wearing barefoot shoes.
But are they absolutely necessary for making the most of this unique footwear?
Why Toe Socks? Here Are 5 Big Benefits
In case you're still on the fence, let's quickly look at the top five reasons so many people are embracing toe socks.
1. Protect Against Blisters
Toe socks can reduce blisters and hot spots by providing a barrier between the toes to prevent skin-on-skin rubbing. These socks are more effective at this than other common remedies like wool or lubricants.
2. Reduce Moisture
Toe socks can also help reduce moisture between the toes, an issue that can quickly lead to real nasty problems like fungus and swelling. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time on your feet – whether because of work, sports, or both – these socks could be a huge help.
By wrapping your toes in moisture-wicking fabric, moisture is immediately absorbed before it can become a problem.
3. Encourages Natural Foot Function
Much like their cousins, barefoot shoes – which we’ll cover in just a moment – toe socks help promote natural foot function by allowing the toes to splay, spread, grip, and feel as you stand and move.
In turn, this can support balance, feel, and function for your entire leg – something which can have positive effects for your entire body.
Alternatively, most socks constrict your toes, which doesn’t allow for 100% natural movement. This may be especially true for runners who often wear socks that are particularly tight (compressions socks, for example). Text
4. Support the Alignment of Your Big Toe
Similarly, socks may help improve the alignment of the big toe by reducing the pull on it. Again, conventional socks – especially tight ones – may force the big toe out of its normal position.
By allowing the big toe to remain straight, toe socks may reduce the risk of bunions while simultaneously supporting our body’s natural propulsion mechanism, a.k.a., windlass mechanism.
5. Promote Breathability
No matter how long you’ve been a runner or played other sports, you’ll never get used to foot odor (that goes double for your partner).
Fortunately, toe socks can help reduce foot odor and prevent athlete's foot by promoting breathability and moisture evaporation between the toes.
Because they let the toes spread and maintain a small gap (just like they do when you’re barefoot), toe socks create an environment that’s less likely to create offensive odors. And, as we mentioned above, it helps that there’s more fabric to absorb excess moisture.
Do You Need to Wear Socks with Barefoot Shoes?
If you're thinking about buying a pair of barefoot shoes, you may wonder why you need to wear socks in the first place, much less look for the best toe socks.
We get it: some shoes just don't look right with socks!
However, barefoot socks aren't just for looks.
They also improve the health and well-being of your feet, and they're essential if you're performing any type of sport or physical activity.
Why should you slip on a pair any time you're going to be wearing barefoot running shoes?
Here are a few reasons why socks are necessary, even (or especially) when you’re wearing “barefoot” shoes:
- They absorb sweat from your feet
- They keep you dry and comfortable
- They help your feet smell better
- They keep your feet clean, reducing your exposure to bacteria (including the icky kind that causes athlete's foot)
The only issue?
Socks are far from one-kind-fits-all.
You wouldn't wear your dress socks with your sneakers, so why would you choose just any ol' pair for your barefoot shoes?
For those who like to stay active and spend time outdoors, I often recommend toe socks.
Also known as digital socks, glove socks, or finger socks, they give your feet plenty of wiggle room and movement, so you can enjoy your activities with ease.
The 4 Biggest Benefits of Toe Socks for “Barefoot” Runners
Yes, toe socks were all the rage back in the 70s and 80s. In those eras, they usually featured psychedelic colors and patterns -- the funkier the better!
While you can still find plenty of fun styles today, these socks have come a long way in terms of style, comfort, and overall durability.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect when you add a pair or two of toe socks to your closet.
1. Keep Your Feet Dry
Have you realized that your feet still sweat, even when you wear running socks?
With toe socks, this is less of an issue.
Each of your individual toes is wrapped, which prevents excess moisture from accumulating inside your shoe.
No matter what you're doing, you'll notice that your feet feel dryer and more comfortable.
They're also less likely to trap off-putting odors and gross bacteria. Damp environments are the ideal breeding ground for contaminants, so toe socks can help keep infections at bay!
2. Achieve Valuable Sensory Feedback
Whether you're an avid runner or you're just starting out, it's important to think about what your feet are doing. There's a unique sensory loop that connects your brain and your feet, but we don't always know how to tap into it.
When you're aware of the movement of your foot against the ground, you can make sure you're performing your motions correctly. The way you push off your toes when you strike, for instance, can affect your overall stride and longevity.
When you wear toe socks, it's easier to achieve this sensory stimulation and adjust your approach accordingly. You can feel how all 10 of your toes are positioned, and how they're moving at all times. When they're all grouped together in a traditional sock, it's harder to feel those nuanced differences, which makes it nearly impossible to improve your strides (and resulting anatomical health).
3. Less Friction Means Fewer Blisters
Have you ever returned home from a run or a hike only to find that you developed painful blisters between your toes?
As you move, your toes are constantly rubbing together, as well as against your shoes. This constant friction can cause blistering.
But when you wear toe socks with your barefoot running shoes, there's a layer of material that separates one toe from the next. This reduces irritation and chafing, so you don't have to worry as much about your post-run pain (ESPECIALLY those annoying blisters).
4. Evenly Distribute Your Body Weight
If you've ever tried to put the wrong fingers into a pair of mittens, you know that there's only one way to wear toe socks. When you wear a pair, your toes become properly aligned and spaced out.
This ensures that your body weight is evenly distributed, so you can engage the entire surface of your foot while you walk. As you take each step, you'll keep excess weight off your bones and joints, which can reduce strain and lower your risk of injury.
The 15 Best Barefoot Socks of 2023
Alright, now that you know why so many people prefer to wear toe socks with their barefoot shoes, you’re probably ready to own a pair – or two or three – of your own.
Of course, the huge popularity of these socks means you won’t lack for options.
So, while you could definitely spend hours considering all of them, we’ve put together a list of the best barefoot socks available in 2023.
1. Fun Toes Men’s Toe Socks – $3.33
If you're looking for the best toe socks for running but don't know where to start, we recommend checking out the Fun Toes Men's Toe Socks.
Lightweight and breathable, these socks are made from a blend of polyester, spandex, and nylon. They're designed to keep your feet cool and dry, no matter what you're doing.
The versatility of these socks is one of their top-selling points: they're comfy when you're hitting the trailand when you're just lounging at home. I love that they're designed in a no-show style, so the tops will always stay hidden beneath the tops of your running shoes!
- Sweat-wicking fabric
- Available in many different colors
- Machine washable for easy cleaning
- Available in a six-pack for convenience and cost savings
2. Final Sale Lolo Sport Socks – $6.00
Who says the best barefoot socks have to be solid-colored or neutral to get the job done?
The Final Sale Lolo Sport Socks are available in a range of fun, bright colors to add a punch of personality to your wardrobe.
These unisex, low-rise socks are made of polyester and spandex and combine form with function.
- Machine washable
- Raised heel pad protects your Achilles tendon
- Vented knit top speeds up cooling and drying
- Seamless five-toe construction improves circulation
- Moisture-wicking fabric eliminates friction and blistering
- Arch band provides gentle pressure to lift and support
- Vector heel defines the heel cup for an optimal fit
3. Injinji Liner Crew Toe Socks – $12.00
The best toe socks for hiking are ones that will keep your feet dry, supported, and comfortable no matter how many miles you decide to tackle.
Even by those standards, though, the Injinji Liner Crew Toe Socks exceed expectations.
Thin and lightweight enough to be used as a base layer with other socks, you can also use these toe socks on their own in warmer weather. They're made with the brand's breathable COOLMAX® EcoMade material, as well as soft, durable nylon, so you know your feet will always feel good.
These socks provide top-notch moisture management.
They're also insanely soft and available in three solid colors that go with anything.
- 200-needle-count fabric for enhanced durability and lightweight support
- Machine washable
- Designed to prevent blisters and wick away moisture
- Excellent stretch and flexibility
4. TOETOE® ESSENTIAL Micro-Crew Toe Socks – $14.00
Looking for toe socks you can wear all year round, whether you're at work or on the track?
The TOETOE® ESSENTIAL Micro-Crew Toe Socks are a great pick.
These unisex socks give you the feeling of walking on your bare feet, only with better foot function and improved mobility. While your toes have plenty of space to move around, the fabric (a blend of cotton and Elastane) is super soft and warm, so they always feel protected.
The elasticity of the fabric gently spreads your toes throughout the day, giving you a sense of freedom and flexibility.
- Seamless knitting technology for a gentle, non-restrictive hold
- Pattern promotes continuous toe movement, improving blood circulation and enhancing warmth
- Machine washable
5. Fasot Low Cut 5-Finger Toe Socks – $15.99
The Fasot Low Cut 5-Finger Toe Socks are available in so many color variations, you could wear a different pair every day of the week.
These cotton socks reduce friction between your toes and keep your toes comfortably separated at all times. There's also a mesh panel on the top of each sock to wick away moisture and improve breathability.
Whether you want an all-black pair or a wild neon yellow one, you'll find what you need when you shop this collection.
- Breathable mesh top panel
- Machine washable
- Variety of colors
- Ideal for all-season wear
- Available in economical multi-packs
6. NewFi Five Finger Toe Socks – $15.99
The black and gray color combination will never go out of style. That's what you'll get with the NewFi Five Finger Toe Socks, along with excellent durability and a secure, snug fit.
These breathable toe socks do a great job of absorbing sweat, removing moisture, and protecting your foot from odors, blisters, and other uncomfortable issues.
- High-quality, environmentally-friendly material
- No-show design for easy styling
- Available in economic five-pack
7. Serasox Model 2 Ankle Toe Socks – $16.00
When you're searching for the best compression toe socks, you want ones that will help your toes rest comfortably in their natural positions.
The Serasox Model 2 Ankle Toe Socks are made from natural bamboo, and they're designed to feel weightless when you wear them. You'll notice the difference right away when you slip them on. These socks feature premium arch support and extra padding, so every step feels super comfortable.
Whether you're playing strenuous sports or hanging out at home, these are solid picks.
The bamboo material not only feels great, but it's durable and designed to hold up against all kinds of wear and tear. The brand even plants a tree for every pair sold, so this is a purchase you can feel extra good about.
- Environmentally-friendly, breathable bamboo fabric
- Hypoallergenic to reduce the risk of skin irritation
- Super-absorbent to cut down on odors
- Available in no-show and ankle-height
8. Tabio Dry No-Show Toe Socks – $16.00
Sock fabrics aren't usually something to get too excited about, but this isn't the case with the Tabio Dry No-Show Toe Socks.
These women's socks are made with Tabio's original yarn formula, which features Lyocell (made from eucalyptus), cotton, and a special type of polyester fiber.
An incredibly soft toe sock that fits like a dream.
These anti-odor socks absorb moisture well and dry quickly, all while providing great arch support and all-day comfort.
When you're looking for the best minimalist socks, these should be near the top of your list.
- Stable compression
- Excellent arch support
- Silicon gel inside the heel to prevent slippage
- Comfortable fit
9. Knitido Cotton & Merino Midi Short Toe Socks – $16.70
The Knitido Cotton & Merino Midi Short Toe Socks put the power of this material on full display. These socks combine mulesing-free merino wool with cotton, creating a unique warming blend that's as soft as it is effective.
Available in three dark-toned color varieties, the ankle-height socks are great for everyday wear.
- Machine washable
- Merino wool regulates body temperature for a unique cooling effect
- Binds moisture and keeps your feet dry
- Seamless finish and knitted heel enhance style
- Breathable and hygienic
10. VWELL Toe Socks – $17.65
Cotton toe socks are great, but combed cotton socks are even better!
That's why we’ve included VWELL Toe Socks on our list of the best options for barefoot running shoes. These toe socks combine high-quality combed cotton with polyester and spandex.
Not only do VWELL Toe Socks absorb sweat and improve comfort. They're also soft and skin-friendly, so you can wear them in any environment without worrying about irritation.
- Non-slip stripes on the soles for extra stability
- Lightweight material
- Elastic arch support for security and support
- Available in a six-pack (three pairs)
- Dark, neutral color options
11. Artfashion Ankle Five Finger Crew Socks – $17.99
Want a pair of toe socks that are as fun and funky as they are comfy?
Then take a look at the Artfashion Ankle Five Finger Crew Socks.
As their name implies, these socks combine art and fashion.
Some pairs even feature a different color on each toe!
While no one can see that special touch when you wear the socks under your shoes, it'll be on full display when you rock these at home.
- Great stretch and elasticity
- Breathable cotton with mesh construction
- Seamless stitching and toe/heel reinforcement
12. Vibram 5Toe Sock No Show – $18.00
Vibram is a well-known brand in the five-finger sock and shoe world.
The Vibram 5Toe Sock No Show socks are a great pair, designed to be worn with both standard shoes or toe shoes.
This series is specially engineered to control moisture and enhance comfort with every step.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Excellent compression
- Durable and long-lasting
13. Fun Toes Toe Socks – $19.95
Made of durable polyester, nylon, and spandex, the Fun Toes Toe Socks are a closet staple.
The fabric helps you stay cool and dry without adding too much bulk, and the low-cut style is versatile enough to wear with sneakers or toe shoes.
These socks are lightweight, breathable, and provide great support for all activities.
- Reinforced, 3D heel pocket for extra stability
- Anti-skid band to prevent slippage
- Fast-dry fabric keeps feet comfortable
14. 5.0 XOTOES QRT Crew Toe Socks – $23.40
The 5.0 XOTOES QRT Crew Toe Socks are the most expensive pair on our list, but here's why: they include special features that are unique to the brand and designed to optimize wearer comfort.
These toe socks are engineered with XOSKIN's patented PTFE & copper yarns (aka RAPIDriCOPPER™). The yarns keep heat away, resist bacteria, and improve toe play and stability. The fabric surrounds the entire foot, encapsulating the toes to tackle hot spots and reduce blistering.
- Adjustable cuff for secure hold
- Form-fitting fabric with breathable microholes
- XO-ARCH™ fabric on heel for arch support, foot stabilization, and built-in ventilation
- XO-HEEL™ technology to prevent sliding
- XO-AirChannelDUCT™ construction maximizes airflow
- XO-SHIELD™ inner and outer air flow channels keep sweat away
15. AONIJIE High-Performance Athletic Running Toe Socks – $27.99
The AONIJIE brand prides itself on a motto: Simple, Comfort, Freedom.
That's what you'll get with the AONIJIE High-Performance Athletic Running Toe Socks.
They're classic, comfy toe socks that allow your feet to move freely, which makes them perfect if you like wearing barefoot running shoes.
The stretchy fabric is made of Coolmax, nylon, and lycra for a great fit. These socks are breathable, durable, and do a great job of keeping moisture away.
- Extra arch support for grip and balance
- High-gauge heels that won't slip
- Coolmax-XtraLife fibers balance body temperature
- Variety of colors
- Machine washable
Adjusting to Your New Barefoot Socks
There’s no doubt about it: when you first put on toe socks, you’re going to feel a dramatic difference.
It might even be uncomfortable at first.
Even if you’ve already grown accustomed to wearing barefoot shoes, wearing socks with separate spaces for each toe may still feel a bit weird.
And yet, these unique socks are becoming more and more popular every year.
So, whatever discomfort you might feel at first, rest assured that it won’t last for long.
Best of all, you don’t just have a TON of options to choose from (we just covered 15 great ones), but they’re also very inexpensive, which means you can probably afford to experiment with a few different options until you find the perfect pair for your barefoot running needs.
One final piece of advice, though: if you’re planning on wearing these socks with barefoot shoes, start by finding those first.
But definitely get your shoes squared away first.
It’ll be much cheaper to then try out different pairs of barefoot running socks until you find the best pair for the shoes you’ve chosen.