Ever since I began running, I’ve been obsessed with picking the right socks for the job—thin socks for hot summer days, heavy wool pairs for bitter winter mornings, and even the occasional $15-a-pair number for long distances and races. While some people love to experiment with different shorts, shirts, or watches, I’ve been on an unending quest to find the perfect pair of socks that don’t cost as much as my shoes themselves. With that in mind, I gave the Sof Sole CoolMax Runner socks a two week test, running over my favorite dirt paths, trails, and a stress test at last month’s Queens Half Marathon in New York City. Imagine my surprise when I found a lightweight, durable sock that held up to every conditions I threw at them—all at a price that doesn’t induce cringing at the cash register.
Many runners can attest to how difficult it is to find a running sock which holds up during workouts of all lengths and intensities. Some pairs are great for short distances, but lead to blistering as runners go the extra mile; other pairs provide dependable support, but don’t allow feet to breathe during endurance running. Lastly (and most frighteningly), some models promise support and durability only to leave feet exposed to blisters, mud, and excess moisture.
Realizing that socks should be tailored to specific workouts, Sof Sole has introduced a line of offerings for runners based on their activity: trainer socks for cross-training, moisture-wicking running socks for moderate to long distances, lightweight socks for speed and high-heat workouts, and anti-friction models for runners prone to hot spots and blisters. By creating exercise-based models, runners are able to cater their footwear to their workout and can choose comfort and breathability based on activity.
During my weekly training, I found that the CoolMax Runner sock matched comfort with performance, providing adequate cushioning and support for the bottom of my feet while permitting feet to breathe. The base of the sock provided durable cushioning for long and short distances, keeping my feet as comfortable through the final meters of a half-marathon as they were at the midway point of a three-mile trail run. In addition to comfort, the model’s mesh venting promoted breathability even during the hot, humid conditions of summer. The snug yet flexible fit of the model promoted movement without reducing support—providing arch relief and reducing slippage even after hours of activity.
Put simply, the CoolMax Runner provided dependable performance when it mattered, holding up to the pressures of a half-marathon when other socks failed me in the past. Additionally, the low price point of the CoolMax runner provides a tremendous value for the quality of the product, matching the comfort and overall experience of a $15 pair of socks during comparable conditions. Priced at under $10 for a three-pack, Sof Sole has created a product which provides the benefits of an expensive sock that remains affordable enough to buy in multiple pairs.
The CoolMax Runner sock provides an excellent experience for the price. The sock holds up during trail running, road races, and cross-training—remaining comfortable during exercises of any length or duration. In a world where socks can cost nearly $20 a pair, this model stands out as an inexpensive yet incredibly reliable option for distances and terrains of any shape and size. The CoolMax Runner is a particularly well-suited option for minimalist runners, providing comfortable support without adding weight or bulk, but the model would be a great fit for runners of any persuasion. At its current price point and design, the CoolMax Runner may well put my quest for the ideal sock to rest.
we thanks the nice folks at SofSole for sending us these socks to try. This did not influence this review, written after intensely run in them!