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The 5 Best Basketball Socks: Ultimate Guide (2023)

Today, we’re going to check out some of best basketball socks available on the market.

If you have ever gotten blisters on your feet after playing, or suffered from hot/sweaty/stinky feet, then you know the value of a good pair of basketball socks.

As NBA vet PJ Tucker simply puts it:

“Socks are super important, bro.”

– PJ Tucker, 2022

In this article, we take a look at what makes a good pair of basketball socks, and list five of the best products available:

Let’s get started!

Best Basketball Socks for Blisters: 5 Recommendations

In my opinion, here the five best basketball socks on the market right now:

Note: Hoop Dojo receives may receive a small commission if your purchase products through links on this page. It helps to support the website. Thanks!

Nike Elite Basketball Socks

Nike is the originator of performance basketball socks.

When they released their Nike Elite Basketball socks sometime back in 2007-2008, it was the first time a major brand had specifically focused on improving/advancing basketball sock design. Since then, all the other big brands (Adidas, Under Armour, etc.) have followed in their footsteps.

Even now, the Nike Elite still leads the way as one of the best basketball socks on the market.

They are supremely comfortable, fit snugly, and have everything you look for in a basketball sock:

There is extra cushioning at key points (heel, forefoot, ankle) to absorb impact; extra support around the arch; and grip on the bottom to prevent slipping inside of your shoe. The left and right foot are even specified for better anatomically fit and comfort.

The material has good thickness, and uses Nike’s trademarked “Dri-FIT” technology, which is known for being excellent sweat-wicking to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

The iconic design still looks great, and there are plenty of colorways to choose from.

Nike Elite basketball socks are available in two lengths: crew or mid

Materials: 61% Polyester, 20% Nylon, 17% Cotton, 2% Spandex

Pros

  • Good thickness, extremely comfortable
  • Extra arch and ankle support
  • Iconic style & design
  • Traction on the soles prevent slippage inside shoe

Cons

  • Pricey

Click here for “Mid” length (i.e. quarter length)

NikeGrip Power Basketball Socks

The NikeGrip Power socks are like the upgraded v2 of the original Elite basketball socks.

First released in 2017, they are the official game socks of the NBA. Nike worked together with its athletes like LeBron James and Kevin Durant to design this new sock.

Compared to the Elite socks, the NikeGrip Power are even thicker with more cushioning. In fact, they are the most cushioned sock Nike has ever created.

To counterbalance the thickness, there is a thinner mesh on top of the forefoot for ventilation to keep your feet cool.

To prevent your socks from sliding inside your shoes, technologies such as the “anti-slip” yarn, lateral side grips, as well as a “heel lock” were implemented

Everything else is sort of similar to the Elite — extra padding at key impact points around the foot (i.e. heel, forefoot, ankle); band around arch for more support; left/right specific socks for better anatomical fit.

Of course, these socks also uses Nike’s Dri-FIT material for moisture-wicking.

The only downside of these basketball socks is that they are super expensive … $30 for a pair!

Materials: 68% polyester, 16% nylon, 11% cotton, 5% spandex

Pros

  • Designed for NBA-level performance
  • Super thick; extreme cushioning
  • Multiple anti-slipping features
  • All features of Nike Elite socks

Cons

  • Super expensive ($30)

Adidas Creator 365 Basketball Crew Socks

After Nike, I would say that Adidas is the second most popular basketball brand in the world.

The Creator 365 is their answer to the Nike Elite basketball socks. In fact, they might actually be better.

They are made with Adidas’ Climalite fabric, which is super lightweight , breathable and excellent at sweat-wicking.

Polypropylene is specifically added to the heel and toe areas to wick away moisture. This helps keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. A mesh ventilation area on top of the foot further helps keep your feet cool.

There is extra cushioning and compression all around the ankle for extra protection. Compression is also found around the arc of the foot for more support.

The “Traxion” areas help keep your foot from sliding around inside your shoe (preventing blisters). Socks are specified to be worn on your left or right foot for better fit.

Overall, the Adidas Creator 365 are excellent basketball socks. Many customers actually prefer them to the Nike Elites. They are available in all the basic colors — black, white, grey, blue, and red.

If you’re a big fan of the three-stripes brand, then these may be the best basketball socks for you. They are very reasonably priced for performance socks at just $13/pair.

Materials: 60% polyester, 17% polypropylene, 12% cotton, 8% nylon, 3% elastane

Pros

  • Excellent moisture-wicking
  • Superb ankle support and cushioning
  • Good stability (non-slip) within shoe
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Not much; only available in “crew” length

Under Armour Playmaker Mid-Crew Sock

Steph Curry single-handedly made Under Armour relevant in the basketball world.

Despite only having one real NBA superstar, Under Armour still releases some great basketball products.

Overall, these socks from UA are on par with the Nike Elite and Adidas Creator socks listed above. It has all the necessary features of performance basketball socks:

The sweat-wicking material keeps your feet dry and cool. The non-slip area (i.e. “ArmourGrip”) at the front of the foot keeps your foot from sliding around your shoe.

There is support around the arch, and cushioning all around the ankle. There is also extra padding at all the high impact areas of your foot (i.e. toe, heels, forefoot).

Like all the top basketball socks, they also specify left and right foot for better fit.

The socks are a bit thinner compared to Nike Elites. This can be good or bad depending on your preferences.

One downside is that they are a bit pricey, costing around $20

Materials: 74% Polyester, 13% Cotton, 9% Nylon, 4% Elastane

Pros

  • Excellent non-slip feature to keep your socks from sliding around shoe
  • Comfortable with lots of cushioning
  • Great sweat-wicking material

Cons

  • Little bit pricey

Thorlos Max Cushion Basketball Socks

If you’re not a fan of logos on your socks, then check out the brand Thorlos.

You may have never heard of Thorlos before, but the company has been developing and selling performance sports socks since 1980! Their entire business is dependent on engineering socks, so you know they must be pretty damn good.

In fact, NBA veteran PJ Tucker swears by them.

Thorlos’ main selling points are its material and padding. The company has developed their own proprietary yarn specifically for developing socks. It uses 0% cotton, and is probably the best moisture-wicking of all the products on this list.

Their padding has been clinically tested to protect your feet from blisters and discomfort. Their basketball socks have extra padding specifically added around the toes, and the heel/Achilles for protection and comfort.

One downside of the Thorlos basketball socks compared to the others on this list is that they do not feature any compression around the arch of your foot.

Other than that, these are some of the best basketball socks on the market. If you don’t mind the grandpa style, and just want some high-performance plain looking socks to hoop in, then you should definitely consider Thorlos.

These are also the only socks on the list with multiple lengths available for sale — ankle, crew, and over-the-calf (i.e. knee-highs).

Materials: 86% THORLON® acrylic, 12% nylon, 2% elastic.

Pros

  • Ultimate moisture wicking fabric
  • Excellent padding / cushioning
  • Multiple lengths available (ankle, crew, knee-highs)

Cons

  • No arch compression/support
  • Just as pricey as Nike, Under Armour, etc.

Click here for knee-high versions.

Also consider Thorlos max cushion running socks. They’re technically for running, but very similar.

How to choose the best basketball socks?

Here are the main factors you should look for when choosing basketball socks:

  • Material / Fabric
  • Cushioning & Support
  • Thickness
  • Length & Size
  • Style & Color

Material / Fabric

Good basketball socks are typically made with some blend of synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, nylon, Olefin/polypropylene and spandex.

Dri-FIT is polyester

These materials offer good breath-ability and have moisture-wicking properties to help keep your feet dry, cool, and comfortable. For example, the popular “Dri-FIT” material from Nike is polyester.

Materials like spandex also helps add stretchiness / elasticity, which allows for a more snug and secure fit.

Avoid socks that are made of 100% cotton or wool, as these materials absorb moisture. Obviously, this is not good for basketball (or any other sports), as your feet will be releasing sweat and heat. Wearing 100% cotton or wool socks will result in more blisters and fungus on your feet! Your feet and shoes will also stink after playing.

Cushioning, Compression and Support

Sock construction breakdown
Basic sock construction

The next most important factor is the actual construction of the sock. This includes design features like cushioning/padding, compression and support.

Well designed basketball socks have extra cushioning in parts of the foot that take more impact when running/jumping/cutting. Focused cushioning around the ankle and Achilles also helps protect your skin from rubbing against the cuff of your shoes.

Other construction details like compression around the arch of your foot provide a snugger fit, and better support. This is especially helpful for people with flat feet or lower archs.

The best basketball socks often specify separate left and right foot designs to provide a better anatomical fit and comfort. Grip/traction on the bottom or sides of the socks prevent your feet from sliding around inside your shoe. Less movement means less friction, which means less blisters.

Thickness

Many NBA players wear double socks for added thickness

Thicker socks help provide more cushioning. The choice of thickness often comes down to a player’s personal preference and shoe fit.

If you typically wear thick socks, then suddenly wear thin socks, your shoes are going to be a bit loose. Your feet will probably feel like they’re sliding around a bit (causing blisters). If you typically wear thinner socks, then wear thick socks, your shoes may feel too tight, and perhaps uncomfortable.

The main benefits of thicker socks would be extra cushioning, and preventing blisters.

You may notice some NBA players (like Kevin Durant) actually wear two pairs of socks (or sometimes more) on top of each other for increased thickness.

Length & Size

Basketball socks come in multiple lengths. Choice of length just comes down to personal style, and perhaps whether your shoe is low or high cut.

When I was younger, ankle socks were cool (at least I thought they were). Nowadays, it’s cooler to wear quarter or mid length socks (i.e. “crew”) that show off the design and logo.

The Jet wore knee highs

You could also go all out, and get some knee-high socks like James Posey or Jason Terry back in the day. Some recent players like Kevin Porter Jr. also rock the knee-highs.

Just remember to get socks that are appropriate for your shoe size. Socks are usually not “one size fits all”. If your socks are too large, they will scrunch up in your shoe, causing discomfort when you play.

Style & Color

You may want your socks to match your shoes / uniform / backpack, etc; or you may want your socks to stand out a bit. I personally prefer some plain ass socks, but there are tons of crazy colorways and designs to choose from these days. It just comes down to your personal preference.

You may also need your socks to be a certain color, depending on the team or league you play in.

FAQ

What socks do most NBA players wear?

Nike has been the official oncourt apparel provider of the NBA since 2017-2018, so NBA players are required to wear Nike socks in games.

This means that most players will wear either the Nike Elite, or NikeGrip Power socks.

Before Nike, the NBA used socks made by company For Bare Feet for 15 years, and Stance for a couple of years.

How does Steph Curry wear his socks?

closeup of steph curry's shoes, socks, and ankle braces
Steph Curry’s socks are hidden under his ankle braces

Steph Curry reportedly typically wears quarter length socks under his ankle brace.

Are thick socks better than thin socks for basketball?

Most players prefer thick socks, as they provide more cushioning and are thus better for preventing blisters. Many players actually wear two pairs of socks over each other for added thickness.

In the end, the decision comes down to personal choice.

Is cotton socks good for basketball?

No, you typically want to avoid socks that are made of 100% cotton or wool.

Cotton absorbs moisture, which will cause more blisters, smelly feet, and foot fungus!

You should look for socks made with polyester, or other sweat-wicking materials.

(See materials section above).

Final Thoughts

The five products on this list tick all the boxes of what you should look for in the best basketball socks.

They provide support and cushioning at key areas around your foot (heel, toes, ankles). They also use sweat wicking fabric that keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable so you can play for hours on end without getting nasty blisters.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which of these five basketball socks would you buy?

Or, maybe I didn’t list your favorite product.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below!

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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.