Following up on a recent post on ToeSox Ultralite socks, I got to thinking about the many pairs of socks I use for various activities and weather conditions. While many people prefer going sockless when running or exercising, I almost always wear socks. I find it keeps me from getting blisters on longer runs and helps keep funky odors at bay longer than if I went without. In this post, we take an “up close” look at a number of toe and toeless socks to see how they line up, and I’ll share my preferences on how I use each sock.

For comparison’s sake, I took photos of several socks I had laying around the house. In each of these I asked my wife to stretch them over her thumb so we could get a good look at the thread and knit/weaving patterns.

So with that, let’s jump in!


Injinji Performance Series – Lightweight Crew — ($10)

Extremely thin and sheer. These are perfect for hot weather when you need maximum breathability with the protection of a sock.

ToeSox – Ultralite Ankle ($10) & Ultralite Crew ($11)

Very similar to the Injinji Lightweights in terms of “sheer-ness” and breathability. A great warm weather sock if you want a toe’d Injinji alternative.

Injinji Performance Series – Original Weight — ($12)

Tight knit and bit bulkier weight thread. These are my “workhorse” Injinjis which perform well in most all conditions. I generally go between these and the above Lightweights for most of my spring/summer/fall running.

Injinji Ex-Celerator/Compression Toesock — ($38)

Tightly knit and stretchy—exactly what you want in a compression sock! As compression socks go, I’ve found these to be my absolute favorite in terms of overall squeeze and durability. I love lazing around the house in them after a hard workout, or even wearing them to sleep. As a bonus, in the winter months I can wear these with shorts as an alternative to running tights.

Injinji Performance Series – Midweight Padded/No-Show — ($16)

Pretty thick, huh? I don’t like wearing these in the summer, but they are cut too low for much outdoor winter use. For me, they are more of a casual-wear sock that I pair with jeans/long pants.

Injinji Outdoor Series- Original Weight Quarter ($16)

Also pretty thick. As part of the “Outdoor” series, I believe these are aimed at the hiking market. As a running sock, they work pretty well in cooler temperatures.

Non-toed socks

Balega Hidden Comfort — ($11)

These are my favorite normal (toeless) sock for everyday and active wear. The padded bottoms and super soft synthetic material used is incredibly comfortable. They even come in “Zesty Lemon” if you need a sock to match to your Lime Green New Balance Minimus Zeros.

(The close-up photo is taken of the seam where the sole meets the top of the foot.)

Defeet Aireator — ($10.99)

My favorite brand and model of cycling sock. They are super thin and great at wicking on hot days. And if you’re looking to get custom socks made for a club or team, Defeet is definitely worth checking out.


So as you can probably tell, I have a sock for just about every temperature and condition and that works really for me. But, if I had to have just one sock model to wear for the rest of my life to fit all purposes, I’d probably choose the Original Weight Injinjis. They are comfortable, fit well all around, and I’ve had several pairs over the years and found that they are quite durable and have held up under rigorous running regimens.