The 2015 IMPACT Sockie Awards

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Sockie Awards 2015
Photo: Charles Hope

A good running sock can be the difference between an epic half-marathon and a wet, sloppy, blister-suffering trail run

A good running sock can be the difference between an epic half-marathon and a wet, sloppy, blister-suffering trail run. You are going to revel in one and rue the other.

That’s why IMPACT’s elite running test team did some research for you. A dozen high-level athletes each got the best running socks from 10 top sport brands and put them to the test. IMPACT’s athletes ran these socks over hundreds of kilometres of city streets and forest trails evaluating each pair in our annual sock rating — The Sockie Awards.

This year’s competition proved to be as tight as it gets with less than half a point separating the top three performing socks. And every one of the 10 socks being evaluated had an approval rating higher than 80 per cent. So without further ado, The Sockies go to…

Sockie Awards 2015

How we did this:

IMPACT sent 10 pairs of running socks to a dozen athletes, who evaluated each pair using a scale of 1-10 on Fit, Comfort, Wicking, Durability, Anti-Blister and Overall Impression. We combined all the scores and averaged the totals to calculate a percentage rating that represents total score.

Balega Hidden Dry – 87.58%

Women’s Rating 85.2% – Men’s Rating 90.4%
$14 – No Warranty, 48% Drynamix, 17% Microfiber Nylon, 33% Nylon, 2% Elastane

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Balega’s sheer Hidden Dry got love all around. With hand-linked toe closure; enhanced elastric grip construction in both arch and ankle provide ultimate support. A unique Triple-Y heel creates a deeper heel pocket that’s ergonomically formed to the shape of your heel. You will barely know you’re wearing socks.

  • Overall 8.8
  • Fit 8.8
  • Comfort 9.2
  • Wicking 9.0
  • Durability 7.8
  • Anti-Blister 8.9
Balega Hidden Dry

Most comfortable sock of the bunch; very soft; thinnest sock tested — not great for cold weather. – Ian MacNairn

Soft, thin and very comfortable. – Syl Corbett

Great fit and super comfortable. – Rachael McIntosh

The material is an upgrade and provides much better wicking than previous versions. – Dana Ferguson

Tested these on a 17K mountain run… one of the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn, but my toes punched through the end during the downhill. – Nicky Rehn

Ahhh, Balega has my blessing. – Pete Estabrooks

Stance Instance OTC X – 87.15%

Women’s Rating 82.2% – Men’s Rating 89.1%
$47.50 – 30 Day Warranty, 58% Polyester,16% Nylon,14% Spandex, 12% Elastic, Antimicrobial

A newcomer to the Sockies, Stance is marketed as a fashion and sport sock. Its graduated compression, anatomical venting, air channel cushion, reinforced toe and heel proved to be a winner with our crew. Funky design got raves as well.

  • Overall 8.7
  • Fit 8.8
  • Comfort 8.7
  • Wicking 8.2
  • Durability 8.8
  • Anti-Blister 9.0
Sockie Awards 2015 - Stance Instance OTC X

The crazy fun design just made me smile. It is cushy and comfy and feels like a hug. I like the crew length fit. – Nicki Rehn

The long sock that does not slide, provides killer ride. – Pete Estabrooks

Comfortable compression sock with bit of style. I enjoyed them in warm and cool weather. – Ian MacNairn

With a bit more cushion than many others, these are great for longer races. – Jordan Bryden

Great overall fit. Cushion is thicker than some. Did not like the heel tab on the no-show style. – Logan Johnson

Fitsok F4 – 87.13%

Women’s Rating 84.5% – Men’s Rating 90.5%
$35/3-pack – Warranty, Sorbtek Nylon, Antimicrobial

Pre-washed in Microban to fight odour, Fitsok’s no-show cuff style features anatomical left/right construction, a cushion mapped sole with ultra-thin upper, and double tab Achilles protection. Sold in 3/packs.

Sockie Awards 2015 Top Men's Pick
  • Overall 8.8
  • Fit 8.8
  • Comfort 8.9
  • Wicking 8.8
  • Durability 8.3
  • Anti-Blister 8.6

Incredibly well fitting sock. Comfortable and functional. – Rachael McIntosh

Comfortable. Thoughtful construction with aptly chosen material, thickness and fibre blends throughout. – Syl Corbett

Fitsok fitsnice feelsgood. – Pete Estabrooks

Super resilient despite being lightweight. Perfect for snappy trail runs. – Nicki Rehn

Merrell All Out NanoGLIDE Mini – 85.77%

Women’s Rating 84.5% – Men’s Rating 87.3%
$17 – 3 Year Warranty, 53% NanoGLIDE Nylon, 42% Nylon, 5% Lycra Elastane, Antimicrobial

For the second straight year, Merrell just missed the podium. Made in the U.S. with anti-friction NanoGLIDE, this ultralight, mini crew, running sock had our team hooked on its versatility. The NanoGLIDE nylon is noted for its wicking properties, is built with an arch band to fight foot fatigue and mesh zones for breathability.

  • Overall 8.8
  • Fit 8.5
  • Comfort 8.9
  • Wicking 8.6
  • Durability 7.6
  • Anti-Blister 8.8
Merrell All Out NanoGLIDE Mini

Favourite of the bunch! I used these for trail running, road running, mountain biking and casually. They held up and felt great — even after multiple washes. – Dana Ferguson

Great overall sock — not fancy but a reliable go-to pair. – Kathryn Waslen

Great fit and feel and nice ankle length. Cool colors. – Calvin Zaryski

A big surprise and my favourite sock. These fit me like a glove and were awesome for every activity. – Jordan Bryden

Sockwell Plantar Ease – 85.48%

Women’s Rating 86.1% – Men’s Rating 84.8%
$23 – No Warranty, 31% Merino Wool, 31% Bamboo Rayon, 32% Stretch Nylon, 6% Spandex

Sockie Awards 2015 Top Women's Pick

Marketed in Canada by the folks at Sockology, Sockwell’s Plantar Ease has combined style and function with an ankle compression sock designed to minimize plantar fasciitis pain and reduce swelling. The cashmerino bamboo blend offers natural moisture management, odour control and thermoregulation.

  • Overall 8.5
  • Fit 8.8
  • Comfort 8.2
  • Wicking 8.5
  • Durability 8.6
  • Anti-Blister 8.5

Great sock in every way. They would likely have been my overall favourite if the heel fit me as well as the Merrell. – Jordan Bryden

Good, thin and narrow fit that I think would be great for a trail race. – Kathryn Waslen

Unfortunately, I got a blister on the first run of wearing this pair. – Justin Duncan

Love these socks. Great length and awesome comfort. – Calvin Zaryski

The chevron design is subtle, but looks great. One of the only athletic socks that actually has a nice design. I loved the tight compression fit and how soft the material was. – Dana Ferguson

Swiftwick Aspire One – 84.87%

Women’s Rating 83.9% – Men’s Rating 85.8%
$17.99 – 1 Year Warranty, Trilobal Nylons & Multifilament Olefin, Antimicrobial

Last year’s Sockies champion, the Aspire One had some tough competition this year and dropped to 6th place. The Aspire One features full-managed compression, 200 needle construction, seamless linked toe technology, and Y-heel contour. It’s breathable, wicks the moisture off your feet and is made in the U.S.

  • Overall 8.4
  • Fit 8.6
  • Comfort 8.3
  • Wicking 8.5
  • Durability 8.5
  • Anti-Blister 8.5
Swiftwick Aspire One

Loved the feel of these wicking beauties. A road favourite. – Syl Corbett

Swiftwick’s eco approach leaves me feeling socially and physically great. – Pete Estabrooks

Comfortable compression, great support. – Calvin Zaryski

I didn’t feel much compression, but it certainly was a nice fit. – Rachael McIntosh

The super thin sock helped keep my feet cool. If you go with the all white version, it will soon not be white ever again! – Dana Ferguson

Injinji Run Lightweight Mini Crew – 84.11%

Women’s Rating 81.6% – Men’s Rating 87.1%
$15.95 – 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, 29% Coolmax, 68% Nylon, 3% Lycra

Sockie Awards 2015 Best Anti-Blister

Injinji sets the standard for 5-toe socks. True to form, our runners had them rated highest to keep feet blister-free on long runs. The anatomical 5-toe design keeps toes splayed and aligned and has been upgraded with a mesh top, enhanced cuff and arch support.

  • Overall 8.42
  • Fit 8.5
  • Comfort 8.32
  • Wicking 8.09
  • Durability 8.03
  • Anti-Blister 9.11

I converted to injinji to deal with trenchfoot on super long and rainy ultramarathons. I love this lightweight, ankle version. Not the best for steep downhills though. – Nicki Rehn

I was skeptical about toe socks, but didn’t even notice that my toes were separated. Provides great blister protection. – Dana Ferguson

Worked well to minimize friction between toes. – Ian MacNairnGreat for toe dexterity without any bulk. – Syl Corbett

A little more hassle getting the socks on due to the individual toes, but they were surprisingly comfortable. – Justin Duncan

Zoot TT No Show – 82.86%

Women’s Rating 83.7% – Men’s Rating 82.2%
$19.99 – No Warranty, 72% Polypropylene, 26% Nylon, 2% Spandex

Zoot is know for its barefoot triathlon shoes, so the TT comes by  its moisture-wicking thin construction honestly. A great anti-blister sock, there is arch support to promote blood flow and reduce fatigue.

  • Overall 8.6
  • Fit 8.4
  • Comfort 8.7
  • Wicking 8.1
  • Durability 7.4
  • Anti-Blister 8.6
Zoot TT No Show

A very comfortable sock for everyday, anywhere. I would certainly wear this sock for any activity. – Rachael McIntosh

Very comfortable fit and support. No show that’s tight enough so no dirt gets into sock. Good balance between being thin and cushioning. – Katherine Gaulin

Snug arch and heel that grip the foot nicely on quicker runs. – Syl Corbett

The sock fits big which leads to blisters. Get a size smaller than normal. – Kathryn Waslen

Wicked wicking in this wone. – Pete Estabrooks

CEP Dynamic No Show – 82.69%

Women’s Rating 85.5% – Men’s Rating 79.3%
$19.99 – 6 month Warranty, 89% Nylon (Polyamide), 11% Spandex, Antimicrobial

The masters of full-length pro-grade compression, CEP sent their no-show style for testing and reviews were mixed. Heptathlete Rachael McIntosh loved this sock so much she scored CEP with the Sockies’ first 10s across the board. Ultra-runner Ian MacNairn was less impressed when he developed “nasty blisters.”

  • Overall 8.2
  • Fit 8.4
  • Comfort 8.3
  • Wicking 8.2
  • Durability 8.7
  • Anti-Blister 7.7
CEP Dynamic No Show

Very comfortable and durable sock. Great value. CEP is a brand I frequently purchase and will continue wearing these socks for a long time. – Rachael McIntosh

I tested these socks on a 55K mountain run and loved them. The slight compression around the foot is really comfortable. – Nicki Rehn

CEP has been doing it right for years, but not much has changed to keep up with new innovation. Still a great fit. – Jordan Bryden

Poor fit for me resulted in nasty blisters. – Ian MacNairn

Light and tight! – Pete Estabrooks

Darn Tough Vertex No Show Tab Ultralight – 80.86%

Women’s Rating 85.5% – Men’s Rating 79.3%
$18 – Lifetime Warranty, Merino Wool, Antimicrobial

Darn Tough suffered a drop from third place in the 2014 Sockies, failing to grip the imagination of our test runners. These ultralight no-shows weigh only 13 grams, and drew its highest praise for durability. A lifetime warranty backs up that notion.

  • Overall 8.2
  • Fit 8.4
  • Comfort 8.3
  • Wicking 8.2
  • Durability 8.7
  • Anti-Blister 7.7
Darn Tough Vertex No Show Tab Ultralight

Love Merino wool but the fit was strange before washing. After washing, much better. – Calvin Zaryski

Bulk in the heel just doesn’t make it feel/fit right. – Kathryn Waslen

Super resilient despite light weight. Perfect for snappy trail runs. – Syl Corbett

I wore them on a 6-hour off-trail terrain run and they performed really well. Comfortable and wicking. – Nicki Rehn

Darn warm. Going to be a favourite winter sock. – Pete Estabrook

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