The Best Basketball Socks (2020): Supplement Your Game the Right Way

Today, we’re looking at something a bit different – what are the best basketball socks you can get and actually feel a difference during game time?

Performance basketball shoes are of course the main staple in your line up of critically important gear, both for performance and safety.

However, for those who are looking to squeeze out every last cent of performance they can get on the court, investing in a quality pair of socks might be a good idea.

Let me explain why…

HOW PERFORMANCE SOCKS HELP

Alright, let’s break down the main benefits that good performance socks provide, and also take into account some other things you should keep in mind.

First things first, the comfort experience of your foot inside the shoe. Of course, that’s quite obvious to mention but certain players never really get involved in investing more than 3$ for a pair of socks, which is why the added comfort and cushion layer on certain socks can make a quite sizeable difference.

Pretty much any brand of good quality hoop socks will have a mix of materials that make your foot sit more nicely inside a shoe. Certain textures engraved in the sock increase friction, preventing sliding inside the footbed.

The Best Basketball Socks (2020): How Socks Help

Don’t forget about blisters too – we all had them, and during long hours of play, our feet are destined to get annoying blisters. Quality performance socks that are usually thicker greatly reduce the chances of this happening.

Another couple of small benefits that can be taken into account are greater ventilation and added compression.

Thanks to using less cotton and more breathable synthetics, performance socks usually provide better ventilation and reduces sweat buildup inside the shoe, compared to traditional cotton socks.

As for the compression, some higher tier socks provide midfoot and/or lower shin compression, so they act as an extra compression layer. This provides a bit more containment within the foot and makes sure your foot is sitting inside the shoe a bit more securely.

You will have to take all of these benefits with a bit of a grain of salt though. This is not a $150 shoe we’re talking about, and if someone tells you that a pair of socks can make a night-and-day difference, run away.

Every piece of performance gear does make a difference but you need to ensure that your staples, which are shoes, are in check first. Socks are designed to supplement the areas that your basketball shoes are taking care of.

Now that you’re informed, we can proceed.

Let’s see what SPECIFICALLY we need to look for when choosing a basketball sock…

SO MANY SOCKS – WHAT TO LOOK FOR?

Before we get into the actual list of best basketball socks, let’s quickly break down the main areas that you should be looking at, so you can make an informed purchase yourself, at all times.

I. LENGTH

This will be the starting point of your decision. They’re usually three types of length among basketball socks: crew cut, ankle cut, and no-shows.

The crew cut is the most widely used amongst today’s standards – they extend over your ankle and end around the mid area of your shins.

Best for those who are wearing mid or high tops to avoid friction with your shins/ankles. Also, if you’re wearing an ankle brace, I recommend going with crew cut socks, as you’ll also be avoiding unneeded friction with your bare skin.

Also, crew cut socks are the only ones that can provide some compression over your ankles.

This length is personally my go-to option.

II. MATERIALS

Most of the quality performance socks provide a similar mixture of materials: nylon, cotton, polyester, and elastane.

Make sure that cotton is not taking up the largest percentage in the mixture. Usually, it’s mostly nylon with a good portion of polyester and cotton, and a small bit of elastane.

This is pretty much the perfect combo that ensures proper breathability, ensures minimal sweat buildup, reduces blisters, and also makes sure the socks won’t wear out on your too quickly.

III. THE REST – NOT AS IMPORTANT

I’d like to point out that you shouldn’t really overthink it past this point.

If you’re getting yourself some socks from a reputable brand (Nike, Adidas, Stance, Jordan, etc.), chances are you’re already ticking all the boxes. Don’t get too caught up with all the “added compression layer” or “extra forefoot cushioning for a pillowy feel” stuff, believe me, the difference with or without these implementations is extremely minimal.

During a game, you won’t really feel much different if you lack forefoot cushioning in your socks when your shoes are already providing enough.

Stick with what’s trusted, reputable, has a good mixture of materials, fits your length preference, and that’s it!\

Now, let’s get into the list!

5 BEST BASKETBALL SOCKS


#5 UNDER ARMOUR x STANCE CREW

Materials: 61% Nylon | 22% Polyester | 14% Combed Cotton | 3% Elastane
Retail Price: $20

The Best Basketball Socks (2020): UA x Stance

A collaboration between Under Armour and Stance, this is definitely a premium sock with all the premium qualities offered.

Cushioned forefoot, toes, heel along with lateral compression, added mesh panels on certain areas for breathability. This basically has everything you’d want from a performance basketball sock.

Now the reason I’ve put these at number #5 is due to the fact that I found these to be the least breathable and probably the thickest out of the five.

I do like my performance socks to be thicker than regular socks but I think these could have been a little bit thinner – my wide feet definitely didn’t thank for that.

#4 NIKE DRY ELITE 1.5 CREW

Materials: 61% Dri-Fit Polyester | 20% Nylon | 17% Cotton | 2 % Spandex
Price: $15

The Best Basketball Socks (2020): Nike Dry Elite 1.5 Crew

One of the more common choices amongst players, as it’s widely available on lots of major retailers, and it’s got a reasonable price tag.

Technically, these don’t have as many features or implemented technology as the ones above, but as I’ve mentioned earlier in the article, that simply does not tell the whole story.

These have Nike’s Dri-Fit technology equipped polyester material which mainly improves ventilation and greatly reduces sweat buildup & blisters.

I like these a lot since I literally experience zero blisters while playing in these. These are also slightly thinner than the UA x Stance ones above. I think the total package comes down to being a bit lower profile, lighter and more breathable, which is personally a better experience for me while playing.

#3 NIKE DRI-FIT Elite CREW

Materials: 92% Dri-Fit Polyester | 4% Nylon | 3% Spandex | 1% Cotton
Price: $24

The Best Basketball Socks (2020): Nike Dri-Fit Elite

Very similar to the Dry Elite Crew 1.5 socks above, these are basically a Dri-Fit version on steroids. Most of the sock is made of Nike’s knitted Dri-Fit polyester, so in result, we got an even more breathable and flexible sock.

In a nutshell, these are almost the same sock. However, I chose these over those is purely because of how much more flexible and mobile these felt.

#2 STANCE CREW

Materials: 77% Combed Cotton | 19 % Polyester | 2% Nylon | 2 Elastane
Price: $18 | Get on Amazon

The Best Basketball Socks (2020): Stance Crew

Back in the day, Stance was the official NBA sock provider, no wonder why these are so good ’till this day.

As for number five, these ones also have all the premium components of a quality performance sock – reinforced heel and toe areas, targeted cushioning, arch support.

However, unlike the number five, I feel like these are a bit thinner, more comfortable, and mobile, provide better ventilation, and just straight up feel more secure inside the shoe. Something as socks, you really have to go for the feel, as the specs on paper won’t tell you much. I feel like these feel really really nice.

#1 PICK – NIKE ELITE VERSATILITY CREW

Materials: 58% Nylon | 29% Dri-Fit Polyester | 9% Cotton | 4% Spandex
Price: $17 | Get on Amazon

The Best Basketball Socks (2020): Nike Elite Versatility

A lot of you probably seen this way coming, but Nike’s NBA Elite Versatility socks are truly the pinnacle of performance socks out there.

Dri-Fit is once again present here, an ankle support system is implemented thanks to the sock’s compression threading, heel & forefoot cushioning, dynamic arch, textured grip for more traction… You name it, these got it.

This is the prime example of a sock done right and even for my wide feet that I throw around like crazy on the court, I think still feel the best amongst the dozens I’ve tried. These are not the thinnest, not the thickest out of the bunch but I feel like these fit the best.

Very breathable too, I’ve experienced the least sweat buildup out of all I’ve tried and the textured surface of the sock actually really made a difference in terms of providing extra traction inside the shoe.

Surprisingly, these do not go for that expensive – you can grab them at around 17 bucks give or take on most stores.


Be sure to check out my list of the best basketball shoes for flat feet as well!

If you’ve picked your socks but still having trouble knowing what’s the best shoe for you, I invite you to check out my basketball shoe buyer’s guide.

Alright, that’s it for today’s list! I hope you found the guide and list useful! As usual, if you feel like you have any questions, want to share your own experience, or just want to chat,

Leave a comment down below and I will get back to you as quickly as I can!

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2 thoughts on “The Best Basketball Socks (2020): Supplement Your Game the Right Way

  1. Very interesting information! This definitely gave me things to think about.

    One question I had was about the materials used. I always assumed that cotton was one of the best materials as it allowed breathability, whereas nylon and others did not. Why do you recommend less cotton in the makeup of the socks? I’m guessing it has to do with performance but am curious.

    Also, are dyes a problem for the foot area of socks? I’ve always preferred white for the foot area as I remember years ago that some socks would “bleed” when they got sweaty.

    1. Cotton is an all-natural material that is good for most cases from breathability and feeling to your skin standpoints, but when it comes to performance and playing an actual game for two hours inside of a shoe, too much cotton will result in an abrupt amount of sweat buildup inside the shoe.

      Plus cotton by itself, or a lot of it in the mixture will cause the sock to be less flexible than it should. Nylon used right (which means just a bit of it usually) makes the sock much more flexible and comfortable to wear during quick movements.

      As for dyeing, you can forget about that – most quality performance socks these days will never do that, gone are those days pretty much 😉

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