With the meteoric rise of athleisure and the technological advances that have been made over the last few years, getting dressed for a workout class has never been more fun. Instead of just grabbing whatever clean spandex I’ve got handy, I now have the pleasure of putting together an actual outfit for a sweat sesh. I’m a big believer that feeling good in what I’m wearing makes me work out harder, and science (sort of, kind of) supports that theory, so I’m sticking with it. While my sports bras, sneakers, and leggings get all of the credit for looking cute, though, there’s one part of my gym outfits that I don’t think about enough: my socks.
I know, I know: You can’t even really see workout socks—especially the low-rise, invisible ones that are all the rage these days—so who the F cares what they look? Visibility aside, the socks you’re wearing to your workout are actually just as important as the sneakers they’re hiding inside. “You want something that’s going to have an incredible grip, keep you in place, keep your feet safe and allow you to push your workout,” says Kirsten Hansen, marketing director of workout sock brand Tavi Noir, noting that different activities require different socks for peak performance. “For barre and Pilates, a grip sock is essential for balance, hygiene, and added performance on a ballet barre or Pilates reformer. For spinning, HIIT, strength training, running, or boot camp, you’ll need a sport sock.”
And while it may be tempting (especially on laundry day), it’s important to use actual workout socks for your workouts instead of expecting your everyday pair to work double duty. “A sport sock should be made out of a moisture-wicking fabric and have vents to keep the sock breathable,” says Hansen, noting that this is particularly important for HIIT, cardio, and strength training workouts. And as any barre or Pilates class regular knows, mat-heavy workouts require those little grippy dots on the bottom to help you stick your landings.
Ready to restock your sock drawer? We rounded up the best “secret” workout socks (because, let’s be honest, no one has wanted to rock the high-rise version since the late ’80s) to help you step into your fitness fashion-meets-function future.
No-show socks for running, spinning, and strength training
No-show socks for pilates, barre, and yoga
Spice up your shoe game, too, with the 10 best sneakers for your feet. And if you’re investing in a fancy new pair of grippy socks, we’ve got a genius way to use them outside of the Pilates studio all winter long (hint: they’ll make wearing heeled boots a lot more comfortable).
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