I’m an extreme sock-wearer.
What exactly do I mean by that?
Sometimes I look in my drawer and all my socks have holes in the toes and heels. I go through them like it’s nobody’s business. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary—my feet are just designed to break socks.
Over the years, I’ve been hunting for a sock that can hold up to my daily routine.
I need comfort in the gym and padding for long walks through the city. And when I take my shoes off, I don’t want to have my big toe sticking out. Is that too much to ask?
I figured it was finally time to address my sock issue once and for all. In my quest, I came across Strideline.
They claim to make the most comfortable sock on Earth. But I need more than just comfort—I need something that will hold up throughout the year. I need something that works just as well in running shoes as it does in Chelsea boots.
I’ve been wearing Strideline socks for the past few weeks, and let me tell you—I have opinions.
What is Strideline?
What started as a niche sock company has transformed into a sports-world darling. Strideline was founded with $700 in high school graduation money back in 2013.
Two buddies, Riley Goodman and Jake Director had an obsession with starting a company since their first failed attempt as third graders. What they couldn’t achieve as eight-year-olds, they were able to get right when they were eighteen.
As lacrosse players, brightly colored performance crew socks were the style, but there weren’t many options available.
So Goodman and Director decided to create a performance crew sock that would look great while keeping the blisters at bay.
Being from Seattle, they designed their first line of socks featuring the iconic city skyline. And the design was made in Microsoft Paint. Yes. Microsoft Paint.
They sent off their graduation money to the first manufacturer they found online. A few months later, they had a run of 1,000 socks. They sold out in weeks.
Over the years, they continued to grow their business while staying in a fraternity at the University of Washington. In the six years since founding the company, they’ve landed licensing deals with the NBA, NFL, NCAA, MLB, and MLS. So, yeah, if you want socks from your favorite sports team, look no further.
While they’ve always maintained a strong footing in the sports world for their style, they’ve turned their focus toward performance.
That work has paid off too.
Word has gotten around that Strideline makes the best socks for basketball. No blisters, no stinky feet. Just pure comfort.
I may not be a baller—I can’t hit a sky-hook, I don’t have downtown range, and I can only sink about 60% of my layups. But I can wear the heck out of some socks.
Strideline Socks Review
Strideline sent me a wide variety of their socks to try out, namely:
Strideline’s sock-tech in all of the above is mostly the same. There are a few design differences, which I’ll point out, but the following holds true no matter which style you pick up.
The first thing I look for in a performance sock—even if it’s just for casual wear—is compression. Now, Strideline doesn’t make compression socks, so these aren’t the same style that some marathon runners use to help their blood flow and circulation.
But the brand uses a mixture and Spandex and rubber in their mostly-cotton sock to keep some compression. Putting on these socks gives me the same feeling I have whenever I get home from a long walk and I kick my feet up.
There isn’t a compression rating on these socks, but the grip was surprising, especially around the arch of my foot. I don’t have foot problems like plantar fasciitis or flat feet, but I can see where the added support along the arch would be a huge win.
Strideline doesn’t just add extra padding to the heel of their socks.
There’s padding in the ball of the foot, the toe, the heel, and even the ankle. It may not seem like much, but that extra thickness means a lot when I’m out for a run or just trekking through town.
I have less-than-stellar running shoes. I’ve found that, while these socks don’t make up for the comfort issues I have with my shoes, they certainly help—especially around the ankle.
When it comes to padded socks, most brands I’ve tried are all-or-nothing. The whole sock is made of super-thick cotton for that padded-effect. But then it’s not breathable and gets soggy after a quick workout.
Rather than padding the whole sock, Strideline keeps the thickness to the important areas and leaves the rest light and breathable.
Speaking of breathable, I haven’t had any issues with soggy socks while working out with these. I usually do a solid mix of cardio and weight lifting, and my routine gets the sweat flowing. I’ve always been pretty grossed out when I take off my socks (if they’re not completely stuck on my feet).
Strideline has added air vents along the top of their sock just below the ankle and above the ball of the foot for increased airflow.
I was surprised to see how much this little bonus breathability reduces foot sweat. These socks are mostly cotton, and cotton’s biggest issue is the amount of liquid it holds on to.
While these vents don’t solve the sweat problem, they certainly tone it down.
Once they get soaked, your socks can start to rub and cause blisters. A lot of basketball players love the brand for this reason. They can still make those quick cuts (must be nice) without worrying about tearing their feet up.
My previous sock-haul before Strideline was fine, but I noticed that my socks were always pooled around my ankles. Unacceptable, I say.
These socks stay up all day, and they don’t do that weird thing where they twist around your calf. Even when I finished a run, I didn’t have to readjust my socks.
I’ve only been testing my new socks for a few weeks, so I can’t say how well they’ll hold up over time. But if the first few washes are any indicator, I think they’ll be just fine.
I’ve worn and washed each pair of socks twice and there’s been no pilling or what I call “sock bacon.” You know, where the sock gets all washboarded out and looks terrible? Thankfully, I haven’t run into that problem here.
No Show Performance
The only negative I could find with Strideline socks was that the no-shows weren’t meant for very low-cut shoes like loafers.
The no-shows worked great and didn’t slip off my heel when wearing standard shoes, like these brogues.
As you can see—or can’t see—the no-shows stay tucked away and out of sight.
But I’m still looking for an extreme low-cut sock that doesn’t show when I’m wearing loafers. These no-shows from Strideline didn’t do the trick.
My Overall Thoughts on Strideline
What I Like
The compression effect on these socks is great. They feel like little hugs on your feet.
Extra padding around the heel and ankle makes for extra protection while running. A great bonus if you have sub-par shoes like me.
These held onto my calves all day. I didn’t have to pull them up or readjust them once—even during a few pretty intense runs.
I wish I asked for some SF Giant socks. They have an awesome sports-themed selection
What I Don’t Like
The no-show socks did show when wearing my low-cut loafers. That being said, they didn’t fall off the toe or heel and hid perfectly underneath regular shoes.
Where’s all the San Francisco State University Golden Gators gear? If you went to a school that doesn’t have a sports team to speak of, you likely won’t find your college. Strideline is sport-focused.
Strideline engineering and reengineering have led them to create a truly comfortable sock.
The last basketball game I played was a faculty-student game (where I rained threes on my students—just ask anyone). Having these socks made me want to get back on the court.
Normally, after a run, my socks are soggy all the way through. It’s not a pleasant moment to be around me. But with Strideline, there isn’t nearly the same amount of moisture soaked into the sock. It’s like I’ve got baby-powder on my feet.
While I can see saving these for my high-performance days like runs and heavy gym days, the price is right. I’m just going to stock my drawer up and wear these year-round. They’re just as good inside a Chelsea boot as they are a pair of Jordans.
While the no-show sock is a bit too high-cut for shoes like loafers, Strideline strikes the right balance between performance and comfort to make great socks for both athletic and casual wear.