Socks are often an entirely overlooked part of the soccer player’s kit. Most of the time they’re only viewed as a part of the uniform, something where the color needs to match. However, anyone who’s ever had a pair of socks that bunched up in the heel, gave them blisters, or didn’t hold their shin guards in place knows that not having the best soccer socks can ruin your whole day.
When putting together a soccer kit, one of the first things you will probably look for is a pair of cleats (or “boots”). Soccer is almost completely about your feet, so that’s understandable. But what connects your foot to your boot?
Don’t ignore the socks, as they can make the difference between being comfortable or having blisters. In addition, a good pair of socks for soccer will hold your shin guards in place, preventing the pesky and annoying constant of pulling them up.
True to Size?
Adidas Copa Zone Cushion
XS - L
Copper Compression Socks
S - XL
Soxnet Acrylic Soccer Cushion Socks
5 - 13
TCK Sports Elite Digital Camo Calf Performance
S - XL
Adidas Rivalry Field OTC
XS - L
Trusox Mid-Calf Crew Cushion Socks
S - L
The adidas Copa Zone line of socks has been a mainstay in the soccer world for a long, long time. Everybody knows that the iconic “three stripes” folded just below the knee make a bold statement. The Copa Zone Cushion III Soccer Socks (also known as the Copa Zone Cushion III) is the most popular of the line. There is a newer version, the Copa Zone Cushion IV, so be on the lookout for our review of that product.
These soccer socks have multiple areas of focus with different purposes. The toes and heels are padded, the arch and ankle are supported, and there is a cooling toe channel.
As you can tell by the name of these socks, the primary emphasis of the Copa Zone Cushion III is its cushioning. There’s a substantial (but not bulky) amount of padding around the heel and toe of each sock. This helps out in a few different ways to make your time on the field more comfortable.
Compression areas around the arch and ankle provide an additional layer of support. This stability isn’t up to the level of a dedicated brace (and it’s not meant to be), but the difference is plain when you put them on. Both the ankle and the arch are places where your average sock starts to show signs of sagging, and the added compression areas on the Copa keep your soccer socks in the right place.
This may sound like a silly bit of hype, but I know from personal experience that it works. There is a slight channel in the toe area of the Copa III made with a different weave that allows for more airflow. In general, walking around town you wouldn’t notice it as much, but in a match where you’re running hard for 90 minutes, that extra airflow makes a difference.
Adidas uses a proprietary climalite® fabric. This blend of nylon and spandex does a fantastic job of wicking moisture away from your skin, helping your legs and feet keep cool and dry. The lightweight nature of this material allows these soccer socks, even with padding, to keep a close fit that doesn’t bother you on the pitch.
An iconic staple of soccer history, focused technology and padding make these the best soccer socks for most players.
Arch and ankle compression for added stability, cushioned foot provides protection from impact
They might not be the most obvious choice for soccer, but these Copper Compression Socks have some nice features that your everyday soccer sock may not.
Compression-specific socks have been on the market for quite a while, and for good reason. The increased blood circulation and oxygen flow gained from compression is known to help in both performance and recovery for athletes. Some of the on-field benefits gained from these socks can include reduced cramping, fatigue, and swelling.
The copper material in these socks, aside from claims of electrical conduction, actually has some positive factors in its favor.
Copper is a natural antimicrobial agent, which will help keep your socks, feet, and shoes from getting too smelly. In addition, the fibers themselves help keep the socks from stretching out after repeated wear.
The material and weave of these compression socks are strong, durable, soft, flexible, and very breathable. They are also great at wicking the sweat away so you don’t have to deal with soggy toes.
Something to keep in mind - the material on these socks is fairly thin. If you’re used to cushioned soccer socks, keep this in mind. If your boots (shoes) are the slightest bit loose with cushioned socks, they may feel too big when wearing these.
Strong fabric for durability, prevents cramping, keeps feet dry, 7 pairs
Let’s face it, sometimes you just need a pair of cheap soccer socks.
Whether you just started going to a new pickup game for your lunch break on Wednesdays, you play 5 days a week and need some backup socks, or your dog just ate a pair and you were wanting a different color anyway, we’ve all been there.
Aside from the price (10 bucks or less for 3 pairs at the time of this article), these socks have additional features that make them worth a look.
A cushioned sole helps prevent blisters along the bottom of the foot, and protects from impact on a hard surface.
There is a slight amount of added compression in the middle of the foot which will aid in keeping the socks in place, as well as supporting your arch.
Available in a large selection of colors and sizes, these soccer socks will perform well enough for the price and last for a long time. If you have any problems, they offer a quality guarantee.
Cushioned sole and arch support, tons of colors, good idea to have cheap backup soccer socks.
TCK Sports Digital Camo Over The Calf Socks are another pair of non-sport specific athletic socks that work well for soccer.
I have a pair (in purple!) that I’ve used for soccer, but I normally wear them in the gym. They’re have really good calf compression, hold up well on the pitch, and frankly they look awesome.
Don’t think that the multiple colors and great digital camo print running up the back of the calf are the only reasons to buy these socks, they also have some great features.
The material is stretchy, but just stiff enough that you feel the compression all the way through your lower leg.
If you are not interested in the compression and your foot size is at the higher end of their size chart, you may want to order the next size up to make sure your shin guards will fit comfortably.
The footbed, toes, and heel of these athletic socks have a decent layer of cushioning. This helps protect from blisters and impact with the ground, a soccer ball, or your opponent. Arch compression is also present like other recommended soccer socks. The breathable antimicrobial mesh help keep your feet and legs cool while fighting against smelly shoes.
The double welt top is a nice touch; these socks aren’t meant to roll down below the knees, so the double welt helps to keep them from sagging.
Bright colorful socks with high quality performance
I’m sure you’ve noticed that these soccer socks are also made by adidas and most of the specs are the same, but the main difference is in the material.
While the Copa Zone Cushion III is made of mainly nylon, the base of these are primarily polyester. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but these socks will be slightly less breathable.
Arch and ankle compression is about the same, and a cushioned foot protects against blisters and hot spots.
If you’re looking for a lower priced pair of soccer socks with adidas quality, these are an excellent choice.
Climalite cooling, arch and ankle compression for added stability, cushioned foot provides protection from impact
While outside of the price range of your everyday player, the TRUSOX Mid-Calf Crew Cushion Socks are in my opinion the best soccer socks available on the market. They have an original concept that sets these socks apart from the competition with their unique non slip sole, and the amount of comfort that the cushioning provides makes them an all-around winner.
Both the inside and the outside of the TRUSOX are covered with INEXtech pads, slightly tacky pads which secure your foot to the sock, and the sock to the shoe. This secures your foot completely to the shoe, enabling you to change direction quicker and more explosively because of the direct transfer of power.
The pads also:
Thinking about a lot of pads against your skin might make you assume that these socks are uncomfortable, but I can tell you from personal experience that they aren’t. When you’re wearing them, the only difference you feel is that your foot has stopped sliding around the inside of your boot. That small change makes a big difference in your confidence level when pivoting and cutting on the pitch.
In addition to the INEXtech pads, these socks have a moisture-wicking fabric and cushioning that runs from heel to toe.
Since this is a premium product, be sure to follow the washing instructions. Wash in cold water, no bleach, and keep them out of the dryer. Hang drying is the way to go with these socks.
Confused by the short length of these socks? Please see the additional notes on soccer socks below.
Unique anti-slip pads, overall comfort, high quality, wicking material
It is very important to purchase the correct size soccer socks. The best way to find your size is to try on different pairs of socks. However, if you’re buying online, here are some good tips to get you the right pair.
In general, Small fits kids sizes up to 5, Medium fits men’s shoe size from 6-9, Large from 9-12, and X-Large from 12-15. For women looking at unisex or men’s sizes, a good rule of thumb is to add 1.5 and round up (from the above example, Medium would fit women’s size 6.5, but we would move up to a Large for women’s size 7.5). Every manufacturer is different, so take your shoe size and compare it to the manufacturer’s size chart.
We’d recommend if you’re at the top of the scale (for instance, if size L is a 9-12 shoe size, and XL is 12-15), go for the XL. Socks have a tendency to shrink after a while so you’re better off with a larger size.
If the socks are too small, the curve of the sock will be in the wrong place. This ends up creating a lump of misplaced material under your heel. If the socks are too big, there will be extra material that bunches up around the toes, the heel, or both.
Growing up, most of the soccer socks I had were provided by my team. These were usually acrylic or blends that would stretch out by the end of the season. For practice I wore basic white cotton socks (sometimes two pairs at a time if I had a new pair of shoes that I was supposed to grow into) that bunched up and absorbed any moisture from the grass or my feet.
The materials and designs available today make such a huge difference it’s ridiculous.
Fabrics blended from man-made materials like nylon, polyester, and spandex have breathable and moisture-wicking properties that keep your socks from getting bogged down from moisture.
They maintain their shape better over time than older materials and hold up better (for the most part) to washing and drying. Additional antimicrobial properties can be included to prevent bacteria growth.
The automation of new weaving techniques has made the addition of multi-zoned socks possible. Older socks may have had a difference between the foot and calf area, but newer socks have many different zones with features focused on specific areas.
The most common feature is soccer sock cushioning. This is focused around the toe, heel, and sole of the foot. Because the material is thicker, it’s important that it is placed next to another area that breathes well. The Copa Zone Cushion III is an excellent example, with an included channel in the toes for additional breathability.
Cushioning can help with preventing blisters and absorbing impact from the ground, ball, or other players.
Anti-slip panels are a recent feature that have been added to many premium soccer socks (including the TRUSOX Mid-Calf Crew Cushion Soccer Sock recommended above). These lock your foot into the boot to improve directional changes without sliding around. In addition, they reduce the chance of blisters my preventing hot spots normally caused by your fleet slipping back and forth inside of your cleats.
The classic soccer socks reach up to your knee, and sometimes above it. They are this long so they can comfortably cover and hold up your shin guards, while also adding a bit of extra protection. If your socks reach above your knees, the normal fix is to fold them down, from just below the knee, back over your shin guards and calf. My preference is to roll them down to just over my kneecap.
Some soccer socks, identified as crew socks, only come up to your calf and won’t cover your shin guards. These are great for training when you don’t have to worry about shin guards, but this length of sock isn’t appropriate for use in a game. You may be wondering, why are crew socks recommended above as the premium choice for soccer?
If you’ll notice from watching professional and international soccer players, a lot of their team-issued socks are cut off just above the ankle. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has strict regulations for team uniforms. Socks fall under these rules and the entire team must match.
What do soccer players do when they have different preferences in socks from the pair that the team issues? They will cut them off around the ankle and slide them over the socks that actually go inside the shoes. This keeps the uniform consistent while the player has the comfort and satisfaction of their preferred socks.
When you play soccer more than once a week, sometimes it’s hard to remember to wash all of your kit after every time you put it on. Washing your socks should be the most important part of your post-game or practice ritual. Don’t leave them in your bag!
When you leave any clothes in a closed, moisture-rich environment, it provides excellent conditions for bacterial growth. Even though a lot of newer materials have antimicrobial features, that won’t completely stop bacteria from multiplying when left in the right environment (like in a gym bag). They will start to smell, and can also be dangerous to your health if you have any cuts or open sores on your feet.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for washing your soccer socks. Different material blends require different care. Some can be washed and dried normally with the rest of your clothes, but some will need to be washed in cold water and hung out to dry.
“One can never have enough socks.”
― Albus Dumbledore
One of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life was wearing a pair of socks that were too big for me during a soccer tournament. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. By the 3rd game I had already taped up a few blisters when one of the coaches gave me an extra pair of thinner socks to wear underneath them. That saved the rest of the day, but I wish I had never been in that situation to begin with.
With today’s materials, design, and innovation nobody should ever end up in that same position. I hope the above information will help you find a pair (or more) of well fitting, great looking, perfectly performing soccer socks to make your days on the pitch as comfortable as they can possibly be.