elevationminds

Are these pricey running socks worth it?

When I open my sock drawer, I never find anything exciting — just a few no-show black-and-white socks that I bought in a Target value pack years ago. While I love to wear them with sneakers for a quick, casual errand, they don’t cut it for intense workouts. When I wear them for long cardio sessions and HIIT classes, I always end up with wet socks and sore feet. And I’m tired of it. 

That’s where Feetures socks come in. While I was unfamiliar with the world of performance socks prior to Feetures, I was intrigued about this luxurious alternative to my daily cotton pair. 

Below, I’ll share more about my experience trying Feetures performance socks over the course of six months and how they compare to others on the market.

SKIP AHEAD What is Feetures? | How I tried Feetures | My experience with Feetures socks | Are these no-show socks worth it?

What are Feetures socks?

Feetures sells performance socks, which are socks that have technical fibers to manage moisture, according to the brand. They also typically have a seamless design and have properties that keep them from moving or slipping in your shoe. Feetures has six sock styles for women and men: invisible, no-show, quarter, mini crew, crew and knee high, which won an NBC Select Wellness Award for best compression socks

I’ve been wearing Feetures’ no-show socks for six months; I had two of my colleagues also test them out over a two-week period during the spring. Feetures sells nine variations of its no-show sock — four distinct styles, all of which come in three three cushion options, including max, light and ultra-light cushions. The four styles include Elite ($18; targeted compression performance socks), Plantar Fasciitis Relief ($25; intense compression to alleviate foot pain), Merino 10 ($20; keep feet warm, dry and odor-free) and High Performance ($15; non compressive but supportive.) We tried the Elite Max Cushion style, which the brand sent us as a courtesy to test. 

Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab Socks

These $18, no-show compression socks are made from a moisture-wicking blend of polyester, nylon and spandex. They’re designed to support your feet through targeted compression and conform to the shape of your foot to reduce blisters, according to Feetures. We opted for the maximum cushioning available to protect our feet from impact when moving.

The Elite Max socks come in women’s (4-13) and men’s sizes (6-15.5) and are available in 13 colors, including Blue Crystal, Cosmic Purple and Gravity Gray.

How I tested Feetures socks 

I’ve been wearing these performance socks for almost six months beginning in winter through the start of summer.

I wore the no-shows from Feetures as I ran errands and walked around my neighborhood, as well as while working out at HIIT classes and during cardio and strength training sessions. NBC Select reporter Harry Rabinowitz and NBC Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin also tested these socks alongside me during a two-week span in the spring in New York City when temps were averaging around 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Rabinowitz wore his socks mostly for leisurely walks and runs and while hanging out at home. Malin wore hers during her daily five-mile runs indoors and outdoors.

Alvarez wearing a pair of white Feetures no-show socks on both feet without any shoes
I wore these socks for six months for different workouts and activities, including runs and walks.Courtesy of Bianca Alvarez

During our testing periods we noted how they held up during wear, and after washing them. We each tried them with shoes we wear frequently so we could accurately account for how the socks felt. We also considered how they compare to other brands’ standard no-show and performance socks.

My experience with Feetures socks

When I initially received these socks from the brand, I could tell they were going to be different from my everyday socks. At first, they seemed thick and plush — something that initially made me nervous. I don’t like having sweaty feet, so I was a little skeptical about putting them on. That said, all my fears were pretty immediately put to rest. After wearing them, I started noticing that my socks were actually giving my feet support as I moved as compared to just creating a barrier to protect my feet from my sneakers. Below, I go in depth about what I like about the Feetures socks and some potential drawbacks you should keep in mind. 

What we like

Cushioning

I first wore these socks while breaking in new boots in London as I walked around for hours. Rabinowitz wore his walking around the park and Malin wore hers running. Despite our different initial testing circumstances, our first impressions were all the same. I thought wearing no-show socks in boots for miles would result in blisters and aching, but I was wrong. My feet felt like they were in tiny cloud-like pockets, and I could have kept walking for an additional five miles. By the time I took my socks off, my feet looked completely normal and didn’t have any marks or redness.

I also wore them during regular gym sessions where I spent 30 minutes either running or walking at an incline and or during my weekly one hour HIIT classes. Overall, the toe-to-heel cushion made walking and running so much easier. It’s not too thick where it elevated me off the floor or gave me extra height, the cushion added an extra few millimeters that made moving around much more comfortable than what I was used to. For example, my bargain cotton socks sometimes make me feel barefoot like there’s nothing but a thin layer or cotton separating my feet from the floor whereas these do the exact opposite.

Design

Malin wears blue socks with her back foot arched to show the design of the sock, including the tab and no-toe seam
These socks, which have a tab for additional comfort and to prevent blisters from forming, hit right below the ankle so that you can’t see the sock from your shoe.Courtesy of Zoe Malin

As someone with an active lifestyle involving running and strength training, design elements like the no-toe seam and no-show tabs helped minimize irritation when I’m wearing running or training shoes. Malin had a similar experience: “The back ankle tab prevents my shoe from rubbing up against my skin and creating a blister,” she says. “There’s also a little tab on the front of the sock, which protects the front of my ankle from blisters or chafing.”

Material

The socks are made of a polyester, nylon and spandex blend. After reporting on the best workout leggings, I learned polyester and nylon are moisture-wicking fabrics and help with overall breathability, while spandex helps stretch and move with you. 

While they have a thicker material, I never feel stuffed or as though I’m overheating when wearing them. The sock also didn’t take up any extra wiggle room in my shoes — wearing them didn’t change how my foot felt inside sneakers I wear regularly. 

I’m an intense sweater from head to toe, and I hate taking off wet socks after working out; these never come out soaking after a workout. My go-to socks would absorb all my sweat, staying wet until I was able to throw it in my washer; these stayed dry and only got slightly wet over time. 

Durable 

Between each use, I threw my socks in the washer and dryer along with the rest of my clothes. I made sure to follow the brand’s directions — I washed them inside out, in cold water and without bleach or fabric softener. They came out looking as good as they did when I first wore them. “They keep the same smoothness and don’t get itchy or stiff over time,” says Malin. Even after wearing them multiple times for different activities and being tousled around my washer and dryer, they held up. “I couldn’t see any signs of wear and tear or loose fabric strands,” says Rabinowitz. 

Rabinowitz holds up a navy blue pair of the Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab Socks in his hand.
After wearing these socks on different occasions and washing them after each use, these socks stayed in great condition. Courtesy of Harry Rabinowitz

Potential drawbacks to keep in mind

Compression

I’m not used to wearing a compression sock so I was a bit nervous that they’d be too tight especially in the area between my toes and arch, but I was wrong. Initially, it was a strange feeling. I typically wear socks with a loose fit and I’m used to having more room to expand my toes and wiggle them around. These felt like shapewear for my feet. But after a while, I got used to the hug-like feeling it gave me. Malin, who typically runs five times a week, wears a lot of compression socks. “These socks, in particular, have a noticeable compression that prevents my socks from moving around and supports my arches, which makes me want to wear them more,” she says. 

If you’re not used to wearing compression socks, the feeling may be too much at times or in specific areas. “They have a slightly tight feel around the toes, at least for me,” says Rabinowitz. If you don’t enjoy that compression, you may want to consider a different version of these socks, like the brand’s High Performance Max Cushion No Show Tab.

Price

Since I was unfamiliar with the world of performance socks, I never realized how expensive they can be. The socks we tried retail for $18 for one pair — a much steeper price than the 10-pack of socks I typically buy for the same price. For context, they’re priced similarly to other competitors on the market, including Bombas’ All-Purpose Performance Ankle Socks ($16.50), which is an NBC Select Wellness Award winner, and Swiftwick’s Maxus Zero Tab socks ($16.99).

“Feetures socks felt a little more breathable than the Swiftwick and Bombas ones,” says Rabinowitz, who recently tried all three socks in addition to five other brand’s performance no-show pairs. This could be because the Feetures socks have a higher polyester percentage (74%) compared to Swiftwick (52%) and Bombas (64%). 

If you like a sock that has a higher percentage of moisture-wicking fabrics but don’t love the price, consider value packs, which typically bundle multiple pairs for a lower overall cost. For example, Lululemon’s Power Stride Tab Socks (95% elastane and 5% lycra) come in a pack of three for $38, with each sock retailing for less than $13. 

Are these no-show socks worth it?

If you have an active lifestyle and tend to like a thick, no-show sock that can absorb sweat and offer compression support, then despite the price tag, I think these are worth the money. 

They’re not the only sock to have in your drawer, I still wear my other cotton socks for nonintensive activities like walking around my house or to work at NBC headquarters, but I like wearing Feetures when I’m feeling more active or need support that I don’t get from other socks. “These are good no-show socks, among the best I’ve tried,” says Rabinowitz, who typically prefers crew-length socks. If you’re hesitant about no-show socks, I recommend trying brand’s ankle socks or crew-length socks instead.

Why trust NBC Select?

I’m an associate reporter for NBC Select covering skin care, hair care and gift guides, including recent stories on body washes for sensitive skin and eye creams. For this story, two of my colleagues and I tried the Feetures Elite Max Cushion No-Show Tab, which the brand sent us for testing. We paid particular attention to the sock’s performance, design, durability and material and compared it to our experience with other socks, including performance and daily cotton ones.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date. 

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.