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10 Best Tennis Socks | In-Depth Player's Guide for Men & Women

10 Best Tennis Socks

In-depth Player’s Guide for Men & Women

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By Jon Crim
TennisCompanion

There was a time when I paid little to no particular attention to my socks when playing tennis. I’d use whatever was in my top drawer and wouldn’t think twice about their performance and if it even mattered.

If you can relate, that’s perfectly normal. However, as I learned, there’s a distinct difference between socks for casual everyday wear and those designed specifically for tennis, and they’re worth the investment.

I’m pickier than ever about my tennis socks, so I’ve pulled together this guide to share everything I’ve learned to help you select a quality pair that provides optimal performance and maximum comfort.

I cover everything you need to know, from styles to materials, my favorite brands, and tips for choosing your own. I’ve also narrowed down and reviewed my picks for the best socks, which you can use as a jumping-off point for selecting a pair that fits your needs. Let’s get into it!

SockAvailable Styles
Thorlos TX Max CushionLow Cut / Ankle / Crew
Nike EliteCrew
adidas Alphaskin Max CushionCrew
New Balance PerformanceCrew
Nike Everyday CushionedCrew
Bombas Performance TennisAnkle / Crew
Feetures High-Performance CushionNo Show / Ankle / Crew
Fitsock CF2Low Cut / Ankle / Crew
Lasso Performance CompressionLow Cut / Crew
Cuater Baja PerformanceCrew

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Styles

Tennis socks come in various styles giving players plenty of options to choose from when selecting a new pair. However, beyond their looks, each type offers unique benefits that are worth noting.

No Show

Tennis Sock Styles - No Show

As the style implies, no-show socks are extremely short, making it appear like a player isn’t wearing any socks. Although a popular option off the court, these come with more drawbacks than benefits for tennis.

For starters, they don’t cover your ankles, leaving them open to excessive rubbing and addition from the collar or the portion of your tennis shoes that rides your ankle to provide support.

Another drawback is that you’re more likely to get dirt and debris into your socks, causing discomfort and disrupting focus. It’s a serious consideration if you play on clay courts, but the same issue is present even when playing on hard courts.

Finally, no-show socks are prone to sliding down the back of your heel, which, left unchecked, can lead to uncomfortable blisters.

For those reasons, I don’t recommend no-show socks for playing tennis, but some players will still wear them because they prefer the clean look and want to limit tan lines at all costs.

Low Cut

Tennis Sock Styles - Low Cut

The shortest socks I’d recommend for tennis are low cut. These are some of the most popular for women, and you’ll frequently see professional players on the WTA tour wearing them.

Instead of falling below the line of your shoes, they’ll sit right at your ankles. Although visible, they don’t draw much attention to the eye, so they’re an excellent option for those who prefer a clean look.

They’ll also limit tan lines from riding too high up on your legs and provide adequate coverage to protect your ankles. Some shoes ride higher up the ankle like the Asics Court FF 2, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Players looking to keep cool may also gravitate toward low-cut tennis socks because they limit coverage on your legs, which some players find hot, especially in warmer climates.

Quarter, a.k.a, Ankle

Tennis Sock Styles - Quarter Ankle

Quarter socks provide full ankle coverage. As a result, the sock line will ride above your ankle, which is another popular option.

These deliver optimal coverage for your ankles without riding up too high, which benefits players by keeping them cool.

Some find the length of quarter socks awkward, while others enjoy them because they offer a nice balance between low cut and crew. From a performance standpoint, these socks are well-rounded.

Crew, a.k.a., Long

Tennis Sock Styles - Crew

Most popular among men, crew tennis socks are the tallest options that you’ll find regularly worn on tennis courts.

Depending on where you buy them, you may find companies offer mid-crew, which rides just below your calf, and standard crew socks that sit about halfway up your calf.

Regardless of which you find, crew socks deliver maximum coverage, which players wear for various reasons. Here are the most common:

  • Style
  • Comfort
  • Protection
  • Sweat absorption
  • Block dust and debris

These are the type of tennis socks I prefer, and I wear them for all of the above reasons. It’s worth noting that tennis socks present another branding opportunity for sponsors for the pros, so this is another reason why you see many players on the ATP tour wearing them.

Their biggest drawback is heat, especially if you’re used to wearing lower cut socks. However, on cooler days, their added warmth is a benefit that allows you to wear shorts while providing a bit of added coverage.

If warmth is a concern, opting for a lighter color is ideal because it’ll reflect the heat rather than absorb it.

Materials

Tennis Sock Materials

One of the main distinctions between high-performance tennis socks and those for everyday use is the materials.

Depending on the kind of socks you buy, you may find different materials or blends woven together to deliver a specific performance attribute.

For example, most normal socks will feature higher amounts of natural materials like cotton, while those for athletic uses will rely more heavily on synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. As a result, you’ll pay more for athletic socks because of the materials, which influence performance.

The most common materials for tennis socks include:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Cotton
  • Spandex
  • Acrylic

Here’s a sample of popular tennis socks and the material blends they’re using to deliver optimal performance for tennis.

Nike Elite Crew

  • 61% polyester
  • 20% nylon
  • 17% cotton
  • 2% spandex

Thorlos Maximum Cushion Crew

  • 85% THOR•LON® Acrylic
  • 12% nylon
  • 3% elastic

Features High-Performance Cushion Crew

  • 72% Polyester
  • 25% Nylon
  • 3% Spandex

Bombas Performance Tennis Calf Socks

  • 60% Polyester
  • 22% Nylon
  • 15% Cotton
  • 3% Spandex

Nike uses the following materials in one of their lower-end athletic socks, which you may find helpful as a point of comparison.

Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned

  • 61-67% cotton
  • 30-36% polyester
  • 2% spandex
  • 1% nylon

The higher percentage of cotton isn’t ideal for tennis, so keep that in mind when looking for your next pair of socks.

Brands & The Pros

Tennis Sock Brands & The Pros

Apart from the big name brands in tennis, several other companies manufacture quality socks that are well worth checking out.

Whether you’re doing some research or looking to find your next pair today, here are a few companies I’d encourage you to explore.

  • adidas
  • Asics
  • Babolat
  • Bombas
  • Cuater
  • Ellesse
  • Falke
  • Features
  • Fila
  • Fitsok
  • K-Swiss
  • Lacoste
  • Lululemon
  • Lasso
  • Lotto
  • New Balance
  • Nike
  • On
  • Prince
  • Solinco
  • Thorlo
  • Wilson

In particular, I’d encourage you to check out some of the brands you’re not familiar with, as many of the best come from lesser-known companies.

As for the pros, here are the socks that you’ll see some of the top tennis players on the ATP and WTA tours wearing.

ATP

PlayerBrand
Roger FedererUniqlo
Novak Djokovic
Rafael NadalNike
Carlos AlcarazNike
Alexander Zverevadidas
Stefanos Tistipasadidas
Daniil MedvedevLacoste
Andre RublevNike
Matteo BerrettiniBoss
Grigor DimitrovNike

WTA

PlayerBrand
Serena WilliamsNike
Iga SwiatekAsics
Paula BadosaNike
Anett KontaveitLacoste
Ons JabeurLotto
Aryna SabalenkaNike
Danielle CollinsNew Balance
Garbine Muguruzaadidas
Coco GauffNew Balance
Emma RaducanuNike

Keep in mind that players sometimes change sponsors, so I’ll do my best to keep this list up-to-date for you.

Sock Comparisons

Tennis Sock Comparisons

Although you can technically wear any socks to play tennis, some are better suited for the sport. With that in mind, here are some of the most common sock comparisons that I see players question.

Tennis vs. Running

The goal of tennis and running socks is the same; keep you comfortable and protect your feet from injury. However, the sports are vastly different in their movements, so the socks require different designs.

For running, it’s crucial to have adequate padding in critical areas where an athlete’s feet strike the ground under your heels and forefoot. In addition, companies emphasize the toes to help prevent blisters and runner’s toe, which results from repeatedly hitting the tip of your toes against the front of your shoe.

In tennis, lateral or side-to-side movements and quick starts and stops are common. As a result, a quality pair of tennis socks will provide sufficient padding around the toes and forefoot to ensure comfort and prevent blisters that regularly occur for players in these areas.

However, there are also many similarities in that socks in both categories strive to deliver comfort, durability, moisture-wicking, and resilience for long-lasting performance.

Ultimately, companies modify their socks’ design, padding, and materials to cater to athletes participating in these two sports, so where possible, I’d encourage you to opt for those specifically for tennis.

Tennis vs. Compression

Socks designed for tennis provide your feet with enhanced comfort and protection for participating in the sport. Tennis socks will be more than adequate for most players, especially if you’re coming from standard cotton socks.

However, some players may consider compression socks for added support, stability, and improved circulation that can help reduce swelling and improve recovery times. Although numerous people debate these claims, and there’s not much scientific evidence supporting them, many athletes who use compression socks swear by them.

Compression socks like those you can find from Lasso apply pressure against your feet, arches, and ankles to provide their benefits. They’ll also incorporate padding for comfort and features like moisture-wicking to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters.

Although a new pair of quality socks might feel like they hug your foot snugly, they don’t provide compression, hence the difference.

In my experience, compression socks don’t offer the same level of protection as tennis socks because their designs cater to sports more broadly. Unless you have a meaningful reason to consider compression socks, I’d encourage you to opt for socks explicitly for tennis.

Wearing Two vs. One Sock

If you look closely, you’ll see many tennis players wearing two pairs of socks instead of one, which I’ve done for years.

I’ve found doing so provides me with optimal comfort and the best blister protection, and that’s why many other players wear two pairs. However, it’s entirely a personal preference, and it doesn’t work well with all socks.

I prefer two pairs of socks that aren’t quite as thick, which increases padding, takes up a bit of extra space in the shoe and provides me with better feeling support. However, some socks provide so much padding that it would be awkward and uncomfortable to wear two pairs.

If your shoes are snug, you’re likely going to find wearing two pairs of socks crowds your feet. However, if you’re between sizes, you might opt for the bigger size and wear two pairs of socks to help make up some of the difference, another perfectly valid reason to wear two.

Men’s vs. Women’s

The only fundamental difference between men’s and women’s tennis socks is their sizing. Other than that, they’re identical in most cases.

With that said, styles often differ. Men tend to gravitate toward crew socks, while women often opt for low cut or quarter socks. Of course, we’re simply talking about preferences.

There’s nothing wrong with men wearing low-cut socks or women wearing crew socks. It’s simply less common.

Tips for Selecting a Pair

Tips for Selecting a Pair of Tennis Socks

Selecting a pair of tennis socks isn’t exactly rocket science, but having purchased many, I thought I’d share some tips for you to consider when buying your next pair.

Consider Court Surfaces

When buying your next pair of tennis socks, keep the court surface you’re playing on in mind. You’ll likely want to opt for a sock that provides more coverage, such as ankle or crew socks if it’s clay.

These styles will help prevent dirt and debris from sticking to your sweaty legs and getting into your shoes.

You may also want to consider the color. As clean as a fresh pair of white socks look, they’ll get super dirty, and you’ll likely find they’re difficult to wash clean, so your new socks will quickly look old. Instead, opt for a darker color that won’t show the dirt as much.

Opt for Speciality Socks

Many of the biggest brands like Nike and adidas sell general or everyday athletic socks that don’t offer the same protection and comfort as a specialty sock designed specifically for tennis.

If you’ve been disappointed with your socks in the past, this is likely the culprit. Yes, a specialty pair from a reputable brand like Thorlos will cost more, and you may end up buying one pair at a time vs. a six-pack, but you should expect more from them, and you won’t be disappointed.

Thick vs. Thin

Many of the best sock companies offer varying degrees of padding, which I’ve found is entirely a personal preference.

I’ve often opted for thicker socks when my shoes don’t provide much cushion, i.e., Nike Air Zoom Vapors. However, if you’re shoes provide adequate cushion, then a thinner pair may do the trick.

You’ll also want to keep in mind warmth. First, if you’re playing in a warmer climate, you may find thicker socks uncomfortably hot. However, the breathability of your shoes can also play a role. If they offer excellent ventilation, you may find you can comfortably wear thicker socks.

Ankle Braces & Socks

If you wear an ankle brace, like the Aircast A60 that Andy Murray uses, you may want to consider wearing higher crew socks to add a layer between your foot, ankle, and leg and the brace for comfort.

Replace Your Socks Frequently

It should go without saying, but you’re asking for trouble if you’re not regularly replacing your socks. Over time, they’ll lose their cushion and resilience, leaving you open to unnecessary discomfort.

The cheaper the socks you purchase, the more often you will need to replace them as they will take a beating playing tennis. However, that’s one of the main reasons I spring for premium options.

Not only do a quality pair of tennis socks provide better comfort and protection, but they’re also more durable and last longer.

Try Wearing Two Pairs

I’m a big fan of wearing two pairs of socks and have found it delivers the best performance. Unsurprisingly, many players have never even considered wearing two pairs.

If you’ve never tried it before, I’d encourage you to give it a go. It’s an easy experiment to run, and although it’s not for everyone, you might be surprised that you prefer the feel.

Best Tennis Socks

The best socks deliver optimal comfort while protecting your feet from the harsh impact they experience playing tennis.

The following socks are a selection that I’ve tested that meet those criteria and my thoughts on their performance.

Thorlos TX Max Cushion Crew

Thorlos stand out from the crowd with some of the highest quality and most comfortable athletic socks available.

I’ve tried a handful for tennis, and my favorite is their TX Max Cushion, which is available in crew, ankle, and low-cut styles.

These socks are ultra-thick and provide exceptional coverage around the toes and on both sides of your forefoot to protect your feet during abrupt lateral movements and quick starts and stops.

At the heels, you’ll also find extra cushion for impact resistance and added protection at the back of your heel and Achilles. As far as feel, they’re super soft and provide a secure fit.

If your feet are often sore after playing tennis, I’d start with these. They’re an excellent option for maximum comfort.

Materials

  • 85% THOR•LON® Acrylic
  • 12% nylon
  • 3% elastic

Nike Elite Crew

A more expensive option from Nike, their Elite Crew socks are well worth the extra expense and are one of my favorites. Although marketed for basketball, I find they work super well for tennis.

The Nike Elite Crew delivers targeted cushion for your toes and heels, but they’re on the lighter side, especially when compared to a sock like Thorlos TX Max. I’m also a fan of their Dri-Fit technology, which these socks use for excellent moisture control.

These socks also feature a dynamic arch band that wraps your foot and responds to your movements for optimal feel and a locked-in fit, and they come explicitly labeled for your left and right foot.

My favorite part about these socks is their feel, which Nike achieves by blending polyester, nylon, cotton, and spandex. If you’re okay with a sock that’s on the thinner side, these are worth checking out.

Materials

  • 61% polyester
  • 20% nylon
  • 17% cotton
  • 2% spandex

adidas Alphaskin Max Cushion Crew

Like Nike’s Elite Crew socks, adidas promotes its Alphaskin Max Cushion primarily as a sock for basketball, but they’re also excellent for tennis.

Alphaskin limits unnecessary seams for maximum comfort and contours closely to your skin for a snug fit, which feels great. These socks also integrate Climacool to help prevent overheating and keep your feet dry.

If you’ve ever worn crew socks, you’re likely familiar with the annoyance when they start to droop down as they stretch out. These hold up better than any others I’ve tried with anti-slip yarn at the cuff, which helps the socks stay put and is one of my favorite parts about them.

For a close fit that matches the unique contours of both feet, adidas designs its Alphaskin Max Cushion socks with a left and right, so you get the best fit every time you wear them.

Overall, I find these to perform very similar to Nike’s Elite socks. They’re a bit thinner, but they provide adequate cushion and quality all-around performance that I find works great for tennis.

Materials

  • 36% polyester
  • 29% acrylic
  • 26% nylon
  • 6% natural latex rubber
  • 3% elastane

New Balance Performance Crew

The New Balance Performance Crew is a quality tennis sock that offers moderate cushion and solid all-around performance at an affordable cost.

I especially like these socks for their comfort. They’re generous throughout, with added cushion at the heel to prevent premature wear, and their polyester and spandex material makes for a great feel.

Regarding moisture control, the New Balance Performance Crew socks are solid and hard to beat for the price. These are an excellent option for those looking to wear two pairs of socks as they’re not too bulky.

Materials

  • 95% Polyester
  • 5% Spandex

Nike Everyday Cushioned Crew

These are a decent backup option if you’re considering the Nike Elite Crew socks but can’t quite get over the price.

However, it’s important to note that they have a different feel because cotton is their primary material compared to the Nike Elite’s, which features more stretchy polyester.

They offer mid-ranged comfort, incorporate Nike’s Dri Fit technology to help keep your feet dry, and a band that wraps your foot to help maintain a secure fit to deliver well-rounded performance at a reasonable price.

Because they’re thinner, I find these are a solid option if you’re looking to test out wearing two socks.

Materials

  • 61-67% cotton
  • 30-36% polyester
  • 2% spandex
  • 1% nylon

Bombas Performance Tennis Crew

When it comes to socks with rich features, the team at Bombas has thought of every last detail. The Performance Tennis Crew is a premium midweight sock built to handle the rigor of tennis.

These socks offer strategic cushioning at key zones, including the toes, forefoot, and heel. There’s even a blister-preventing tab around the heel, and the Hex Tec fabric ensures the socks are breathable and wick sweat to keep your feet dry.

The toes are seamless for comfort, a honeycomb arch support system wraps the midfoot, the heel is y-stitched for maximum comfort, and their stay-up technology prevents the socks from falling. Finally, you’ll find each pair is contoured specifically for your left and right foot.

As a bonus, Bobmbas is on a mission to give back, providing a free pair of socks to those in need when you purchase yours. To date, they’ve donated over 50 million clothing items.

As far as performance, these socks are excellent and one of the more comfortable pairs I’ve worn with an ideal weight that feels right. I’ve found them to be super durable, and their 100% Happiness Guarantee is one of the best in the business. If you run into any issues with your socks, get in touch, and they’ll be happy to help out, which is refreshing.

Materials

  • 60% Polyester
  • 22% Nylon
  • 15% Cotton
  • 3% Spandex

Feetures High-Performance Cushion Crew

Another premium offering, the Features High-Performance Cushion Crew, is one of the company’s best socks and their original design.

High-density cushioning delivers extra comfort and protection for the heel, forefoot, and toes, crucial for a quality tennis sock.

For comfort, there’s no irritating toe seam, the top of the sock is mesh for maximum ventilation, and iWick fibers help keep your feet cool and dry without sacrificing durability. You’ll also find the socks provide a bit of added support and a snug fit with Lycra power bands that hug your foot.

I found Feetures High-Performance Cushion crew to be one of the better-ventilated socks, which provides excellent support that’s a cut above the rest on this list, giving them a custom feel. Their well-rounded performance and excellent feel make them one of the best for tennis.

Plus, Feetures socks come with a lifetime guarantee, so if you run into any problems, they’re more than happy to help out. Considering you’re buying a premium sock, it’s nice to know they stand behind their product.

Materials

  • 72% Polyester
  • 25% Nylon
  • 3% Spandex

Fitsock CF2 Crew

Another brand you should check out that’s not designed explicitly for tennis, but that works well for the sport is Fitsock.

My favorite is their CF2 Crew which uses Shadow Yarn to disperse moisture and heat throughout the sock for the lowest possible concentration, resulting in thermal balance for comfort.

As you’d expect, these socks offer comfort in high-wear areas, ventilation to keep your feet dry and cool, and a support band through the mid-foot for a snug fit that feels great.

I found these socks to perform well, and they do an exceptional job at keeping my feet cool and dry. Beyond that, they don’t stand out in any area, but they don’t disappoint either.

Overall, these are well-balanced socks, and their Shadow Yarn, which uses hydrotech polyester, is one of the more unique offerings.

Materials

  • 78%Hydrotec Polyester
  • 20%Nylon
  • 2%Spandex

Lasso Performance Compression

If you’ve never tried compression socks for tennis and want to try them, I recommend you start with Lasso.

Most tennis players interested in compression socks are exploring their options for adding additional support for their feet and ankles without the bulk of ankle braces or the need for taping, which can be frustrating.

Lasso fills that gap with their Performance Compression socks, which hug your feet with 15-20 mmHg of compression that delivers a range of benefits, most notably ankle, foot, and arch support.

Added benefits of compression include reduced muscle fatigue and soreness and faster muscle recovery. Like other quality socks on our list, Lasson’s offers plenty of cushion in high-impact areas and moisture-wicking fabric to keep your feet cool and dry.

I hadn’t explicitly needed compression socks, but I purchased a pair of Lasso’s because I wanted to experience compression first-hand. Their compression is ideal and offers added support without feeling restrictive.

Their unique feel takes some getting used to, but they’re surprisingly comfortable. Playing most of my tennis on hard courts, where your feet can take a beating, I found them to provide relief where others don’t, and their support is easiest to notice once you return to standard pair.

At this stage, I wear them anytime my feet are feeling extra fatigue to provide additional support. I’ll also throw them on for a few hours at home after playing sometimes and find my feet feel better the next day.

Although I’m not dealing with a recurring injury or chronic foot pain, I can see the benefits from using them, and I think they’re well worth a look if you’re struggling with discomfort yourself.

Materials

  • 62% Polyamide
  • 29% Tempcontrol™ Polyester
  • 9% Lycra Spandex

Cuater Baja Performance Crew

Cuater is a TravisMathew’s brand, which caters primarily to men and has strong ties to golf, but their athletic socks crossover nicely to tennis.

My favorites among their range are the Baja Performance Crew, a stylish option that checks all the right boxes.

Like other socks on our list, they feature added cushioning at the toes and heel to help improve comfort. The socks also have breathable panels on top of the foot to help keep your feet dry, anti-microbial details to reduce odor, and an elastic arch to provide extra support and a secure fit.

The socks are super comfortable and durable, so they last, although they’re on the pricier end of the spectrum. The cushion is moderate, so they’re not too thin or overly plush. Overall, they’re another quality option providing additional style options for the court.

Materials

  • 89% Polyester
  • 6% Nylon
  • 5% Spandex

Wrapping Up

Vastly underrated, a quality pair of tennis socks can go a long way to enhance your comfort and protect your feet.

Hopefully, this guide helped provide some helpful insight into the benefits and considerations of wearing a specialized pair of socks while exposing you to some brands worth exploring when buying your next pair.

If you have any questions about the topics I covered, or you’d like to share your experience with any socks you’ve tried, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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