Time for some fresh socks?
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll review 6 of the best basketball socks on the market in 2019. We’ll assess each option based on its comfort, durability, and value for money.
No time to waste? Use this handy table to quickly compare our top picks:
Ankle, quarter, and crew available
Best Basketball Socks
1. Under Armour Elevated Performance Basketball Socks
Under Armour have opted for a blend of 65% polyester, 24% cotton, 8% nylon, and 3% Spandex in producing this sock. As far as basketball socks go, this is a pretty high ratio of synthetics to cotton.
As a result, this product is more durable than most 50-60% cotton options out there. These socks also have a heap of features you simply won’t find on all-cotton options. For example, they do a great job wicking sweat, which helps to keep your feet nice and cool in-game. Plus, they have what Under Armour calls “dynamic arch support”, meaning these socks are incredibly easy on your sole.
Another awesome thing about high-tech socks (like these ones) is how they’re made with an athlete’s needs in mind. The toe area is completely seamless, meaning a) it’s less likely to come apart and b) there’s no annoying ridges inside the sock, meaning you can play without the fear of developing toe blisters. What’s more, they come with anti-odor technology, which helps to prevent microbial buildup.
Considering what they cost, these socks are a slam-dunk. They come in a value pack of three pairs, and also have excellent overall cushioning.
2. Nike Performance Cushion Basketball Socks
Unlike the Under Armour socks we just looked at, the Nike Performance is made up of a massive 69% cotton. But what does this mean?
Basically, these socks are incredibly soft. They’re also very breathable, and are great for athletes with sensitive skin. Plus, they’re really easy to slip on and take off.
But since Nike has also included nylon and Spandex in this sock’s composite makeup, you still get the awesome durability and superb color-retention offered by these synthetics. The natural and synthetic materials also come together to do an excellent job at wicking away sweat. The cotton soaks up perspiration like a sponge, while the nylon strands allow for superb heat ventilation.
Somewhat surprisingly, these socks are actually made in the USA, so you know they’re built to last. Despite this, they’re very reasonably priced.
Just remember that these socks run a little small, and tend to fit very tight. Consider going a size up if you’d prefer a slightly looser feel.
3. TCK Sports Elite Performance Basketball Socks
Looking for something a little different?
The first thing you’ll notice about these TCK socks is the digital camo design. There’s a massive 26 different colors to choose from, and they’re all made in the USA.
These socks are a little more expensive than the other two we’ve looked at, since they’re sold in individual pairs. However, they do a good job wicking sweat, and have a pretty effective anti-odor feature. Plus, they come with cushioning in the areas you need it most – the heel, toe, and ball of your foot. As a result, they’re a great option for those prone to blisters.
It’s not just a few areas that are padded though – on the whole, these socks are very thick. This is great for all the midwestern ballers out there – we know how cold it gets in winter! The crew length design does an excellent job keeping your feet warm.
However, there’s only so much the sweat-wicking technology can do if you’re in a climate-controlled environment. When playing indoors, they can get a little sweaty. If you’re looking for slightly thinner socks, we’d recommend Nike’s quarter-length option.
4. MadSportsStuff Basketball Socks
This is another rather unusual basketball sock. It doesn’t have a single strand of cotton or any other natural material in it. In fact, it’s mostly made of polypropylene, which is basically a really tough type of plastic.
As a result, this is an incredibly durable sock. But if you’re prone to wearing holes in whatever you buy, there’s another reason you might consider this sock.
MadSportsStuff aren’t as big as Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas. This means two things:
- They have fewer customers and therefore fewer customer complaints to deal with.
- They rely on their customer service, rather than their brand power, to keep customers coming back.
What does this mean? Even if you somehow manage to wear holes in these socks in a week, the company is highly likely to resolve your issue ASAP. Check out the customer reviews on Amazon – there are very few dissatisfied buyers.
Why else would you buy these socks? Well, they’re made in America, and don’t cost that much. They have antimicrobial and anti-odor technology, and come with a compression fit for improved circulation. Despite being well-cushioned, they’re also really light.
5. Adidas Men’s Cushioned Basketball Socks
Want a cushioned crew-sock, but prefer the dependability of a leading brand?
Like most Adidas basketball socks, this option comes with their patented “ClimaLite” technology. Essentially, this means that the sock hugs your foot, allowing it to wick away moisture as soon as you sweat. The yarns used in this sock are specifically designed to keep you cool, which is a very useful feature to have. Plus, the footbed is really well-padded, making this sock incredibly comfortable to wear.
As you’d expect from Adidas, you get a good level of arch compression, as well as antibacterial technology. These socks are also available in any length you’d like – no-show, quarter, and crew cuts are all on offer. However, they’re only sold in black, grey, and white. If you play on a team with a red shirt, you might need to look for something else (unless you’ll only be using these for training).
The only other thing we can fault these socks for is their durability. They can wear out relatively quickly, because they contain so much cotton. Considering what you pay though, they’re still great value for money.
6. Nike Dry Elite 1.5 Basketball Socks
These are some of the more expensive socks on the market at the moment. In return for the extra cash, you get a comfortable, durable sock engineered with basketball in mind.
The Nike Dry Elite 1.5 contains only 17% cotton – instead, the company has used mostly polyester, which makes up 61% of each sock. Nike have achieved a nice balance here. The cotton provides a little bit of softness, but there isn’t too much of it – this is a very durable sock.
Plus, the cotton also helps to soak up excess sweat. This moisture isn’t going to hang around in your sock for very long though – the synthetics wick it away in no time at all. End result? These two materials work in tandem to produce one of the driest socks on the market.
Each sock is custom-fitted for either your left or right foot, allowing for better arch support and a snug fit around the toe area. This means fewer blisters and less distractions on the court, allowing you to play to your full potential.
Despite being a crew-cut sock, the Dry Elite isn’t too warm. It’s also available in a heap of different colors, making it suitable for pretty much any basketballer.
Basketball Sock Buyer’s Guide
Not quite sure what to pick?
In this section, we’ve outlined some key things to consider when buying basketball socks.
Different sock materials
Most basketball socks are made of some combination of cotton, polyester or nylon combined with a small amount (less than 10%) of Spandex. While 100% cotton socks are common, especially in department stores, elite athletes prefer composite cotton/polyester/nylon socks. This is because they keep their shape better, provide better footbed support, and help to prevent moisture buildup.
Natural fabrics are warmer, but synthetic options are far more durable. A tighter sock with a comfortable stretch should have at least 5% Spandex, which is especially important when wearing anything higher than an ankle sock. Spandex allows the sock to stay in place in-game without stretching or falling down.
Finding the right fit
This is the ultimate rookie sock buying mistake. Before you pick a sock, you’ve got to know your size. Be sure to take measurements and always double-check the size guide before you buy. Sizes vary by brand, so don’t assume that you’re the same size across the board. The last thing you want is your foot slipping inside your sock while you’re trying to beat an opponent in a 1v1.
Last but not least, remember what we said about cotton? The higher the percentage of cotton, the greater likelihood the socks will shrink a little bit. Keep that in mind when selecting the perfect basketball sock.
Yes, there is such a thing as sock science! It involves developing and testing features that will help improve an athlete’s performance. Here are the three things that are actually worth investing in:
- Socks with excellent arch support/a well-padded footbed tend to be more comfortable to wear.
- The now common “Y-stitched heel” and “seamless toe” help socks stay in place for longer and can help to prevent blisters.
- Sweat-wicking fabrics draw moisture away from your feet, keeping you cool in-game.
Does my sock color matter?
Before buying, ask yourself:
- What will my teammates be wearing?
- What colors am I allowed to wear?
- What do I look and feel most comfortable in?
If you’re not sure what’s required of you, ask the coach. Most high school basketball teams like to coordinate their look, whereas at a pick-up game what you wear is totally up to you.
Different basketball sock lengths
Let’s quickly break down the three most common basketball sock cuts:
- Ankle-length socks (sometimes called “no-shows”) are for those who don’t want their socks to be seen. They typically finish just below or at the top of the shoe opening.
- Quarter-length socks go slightly above your ankles. This can help to prevent heel blisters.
- Crew-length socks provide at least six inches of height, for protection from the elements. If you’ve got a basketball hoop in the yard or play pick-up games in winter, crew-length socks are probably your best bet.
Why buy expensive socks?
It might seem silly to spend big bucks on something that goes missing as often as socks! But if you’re going to be using them for sport, it’s definitely worth the investment.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Expensive socks from leading brands are (for the most part) more durable, and do a better job wicking sweat. They also tend to be more comfortable, which is incredibly important for basketball. Being distracted by painful blisters is the last thing you want when lining up a game-winning buzzer-beater.
The thickness you need boils down to personal preference, but there are some key things to look out for. A super thin dress sock is not ideal for basketball, as your foot will slide around in your shoe, which can cause blisters. On the other hand, a sock that’s too thick will be really uncomfortable to wear, and may provide too much warmth.
In general, the more cotton there is, the thicker the sock will be. Try to find something which achieves a good balance – and remember, thicker socks tend to be more durable.
If you’re shooting hoops outdoors in colder climates, you’ll want to look for a sock with a higher percentage of cotton to keep your feet warm. But if you’re playing indoors, a lightweight synthetic sock will help your feet to breath, keeping you cool and comfy.
At the end of the day though, you should get a sock that feels great to wear. Comfort is your #1 priority when choosing socks for basketball.
That’s the end of this buyer’s guide!
Hopefully you found the right basketball socks for you or your son/daughter.
If you’re still unsure what to buy, leave a comment below and we’ll get right back to you!
About the author
Matt is the newest face on the Lift Your Game team.
He’s a former college football player, and also played soccer and tennis in high school.
In his spare time, you’ll either find him at the gym, or on the couch playing Madden!