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The 5 Best No

Jul 10, 2023

No-show socks are the unsung—and unseen—heroes of many a stylish ensemble.

Neatly tucked inside a sneaker or slip-on, they leave ankles breezily exposed while protecting feet from the stinky, blister-inducing indignities of going sockless.

But finding the right pair isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Subpar versions have a maddening tendency to creep down, bunch up, pinch, squeeze, and make your feet sweat.

We pounded the pavement in dozens of no-show socks, ultimately landing on five comfortable, incognito picks that suit a variety of tastes, budgets, occasions, and shoe types.

These casual, well-cushioned, cotton-blend socks don’t slip down or make feet overheat. They’re spendy, but they’re comfortable enough to justify the splurge.

These casual, well-cushioned cotton-blend socks don’t slip down or make feet overheat. They’re spendy, but they’re comfortable enough to justify the splurge.

The Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks, available in women’s and men’s sizes, are true crowd-pleasers. Their soft, cushioned material and secure fit keep feet comfy and cool all day.

Admittedly, the price per pair is on the steep side, but the mileage we logged in them convinced us that they’re worth it.

They work best with sneakers and athletic shoes. The Bombas no-show socks are pretty invisible under most sneakers, although their 360-degree silhouette doesn’t totally disappear under a lower-profile tennis shoe.

The heel of the Bombas no-show socks comes up 0.25 to 0.5 inch higher than on our picks from Stance and Idegg, so they peek out of the back of some shoes. But this also makes them more pleasant to wear—they protect more of your ankle from rubbing against the shoe.

These are the thickest socks we recommend—we like wearing them with roomier shoes. Snugger footwear may feel too tight with these socks, or get stretched out by them.

They’re plush and breathable. Testers raved about the Bombas no-show socks’ “thick, soft” material. They’re made with high-quality Supima cotton, an extra-long staple varietal known for its durability and softness.

Although this material feels substantial, it wasn’t overly hot: The breathable blend of cotton, polyester, nylon, and elastane kept our feet cool and dry.

We particularly appreciated their springy, well-cushioned footbeds—the most padded of any we tested—which offered all-day support.

They fit lots of feet. The Bombas socks are available in the widest size range of any socks we tested —from women’s 4 to men’s 16. “These socks fit like Cinderella’s slippers,” said one tester (women’s size 5, Bombas women’s small). “Most no-show socks bunch at the heel, but with these, there’s no extra fabric leaking out the sides of my shoes.”

My own foot (women’s size 8, Bombas women’s medium) was comfortably ensconced, with no pinching or bunching at the heel or toe. And our tester who wears a women’s size 11 said that the Bombas women’s large “felt like a cozy hug from a non-creepy relative.”

They stay put. Three grippy silicone strips line the inside of each sock’s heel, keeping them firmly in place as you move around or remove your shoes. When we tried to rub the socks off with our thumbs during testing, they eventually slipped down, but it took some force.

The fabric also does its part: The stretchy, resilient blend keeps the socks snug and secure on your feet and helps them retain their shape through repeated washes and wears.

They’re pricey but worth it. Some people (myself included) may balk at the idea of spending more than $10 on a pair of tiny cotton socks. But the Bombas no-show socks’ soft Supima cotton, secure fit, and cloud-like cushioning made a convert of me. Plus, for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a pair to a person in need.

Bombas socks are backed by a lifetime happiness guarantee. If anything happens to them—from regular wear-and-tear to getting eaten by your dryer (really)—the company will send you a replacement.

Material: 86% Supima cotton, 11% polyester, 2% elastane, 1% nylonSizes: women’s 4 to men’s 16Colors: 12

These thin cotton-blend socks are great for wearing with snugger shoes, and they don’t slip or bunch. They’re not as soft and smooth as our other picks, but they get the job done, and they’re priced to stock up.

These thin cotton-blend socks are great for wearing with snugger shoes, and they don’t slip or bunch. They’re not as soft and smooth as our other picks, but they get the job done, and they’re priced to stock up.

May be out of stock

Idegg No Show Socks (in unisex and men’s sizes) are a completely serviceable no show sock—and we mean that as a compliment. They check the most important boxes: They don’t slip down, they stay hidden under most sneakers and many dress shoes, and they’re comfortable. Plus, they do it all at a bargain price.

Their thin material doesn’t offer padding or support, but it’s lightweight, breathable, and doesn’t add bulk, making these socks an easy, versatile choice.

They work best with sneakers and dressier shoes, like oxfords. The Idegg socks have a similar profile to another pick, the Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks, but they hit 0.25 inch lower on the sides of the foot and back of the heel, making this cut a bit more versatile.

The Ideggs No Show Socks are incognito under most low-top sneakers or men’s dress shoe silhouettes, but they peek out under deeper-cut shoes like loafers.

Their thin material is well-suited for snugger shoes. But their lack of cushioning means they’re not great for long, active days.

They get the job done. Made from a lightweight blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex, the Idegg socks are perhaps most noteworthy for how few complaints they elicited. “They’re pretty unremarkable, and I mean that in the best possible way,” said one tester. “They didn’t create any lumps or bumps inside my sneakers, and my feet didn’t sweat.”

They felt just right in tighter-fitting shoes; in our cushier picks from Bombas and Celersport, those same shoes felt overstuffed. (The Idegg socks weren’t as delightfully weightless as our even-thinner pick from Stance, but that pair costs five times as much.)

The Idegg socks have the highest polyester content (17%) of our picks, so they’re not as soft and smooth as the others. But once they were on our feet, we barely noticed the difference.

They fit well and don’t budge. Our testers gave the Idegg socks a perfect five out of five score for fit. “There was no excess fabric on the sides, so they didn’t ooze out of my shoes,” noted one (women’s size 5, Idegg unisex size small).

An extra-stretchy band wraps around the socks’ arches, helping them to fit snugly and stay put. Like our Bombas and Stance picks, the Idegg socks have three silicone strips inside the heel to keep them from slipping down. They didn’t budge, even when we rubbed our thumbs up and down against the back of our heels.

You don’t have to be precious with them. Idegg socks are the least expensive of our picks, they’re widely available in a broad range of sizes, and they come in packs of six. So it’s no biggie if a sock or two disappears in the wash.

Material: 80% cotton, 17% polyester, 3% spandexSizes: women’s 5 to men’s 14Colors: over a dozen

The airiest, smoothest pair we put on our feet, these socks are simultaneously thin and supportive—a rarity—and unusually sweat-wicking. They’re also available in the most vibrant range of colors and patterns—but they aren’t cheap.

Stance Cotton No Show Socks are a treat for your feet. They’re even lighter than our basic Idegg pick and much softer and smoother. (They’re also nearly five times the price.)

The Stance socks are made from a combed-cotton blend that feels airy and sleek beneath snug shoes but still provides support via light compression and subtle cushioning. Also, they’re totally seamless, so nothing bunches up in your shoes or presses against your feet.

They’re best worn with low-top sneakers, or dressier shoes like oxfords. The Stance no-show socks have the lowest heel of any sock we tested, which makes them great at disappearing behind the backs of shoes. But they’re not ideal for wearing with shoes that rub against your ankles, since they leave lots of that sensitive skin exposed.

Although the Stance socks are low on the backs and sides, they come up fairly high on the bridge of the foot; they peek out of most low-cut loafers and slip-ons. (For those types of shoes, we recommend our Eedor pick, but it only comes in women’s sizes.)

They’re so comfy, we forgot we were wearing them. The Stance no-show socks don’t merely disappear into your shoes—they feel invisible, too. “The fabric melted into my feet like butter,” said one tester.

They’re made from a light and smooth blend of combed cotton—for extra softness and durability—plus nylon and 4% elastane, which adds some nice stretchiness that helps the socks conform instantly to the foot.

Some barely there (yet deeply appreciated) cushioning is on the front third of the sock bed, plus a lightly compressive band that hugs the arch of your foot. “These socks felt supportive, without any pinching or squeezing,” said a tester.

These are a great choice if your feet tend to get swampy—they have the highest nylon content (39%) of any of our picks, so they’re better at wicking away moisture.

They’re cut low, but they stay up. Despite their extra-low profile across the heel and sides, the Stance no-shows felt secure. Three silicone strips kept them firmly gripped to our ankles while wearing shoes and when taking them off. (Their stretchy fabric and the arch compression band also help the socks stay in place.)

Still, the Stance socks aren’t quite as slip-resistant as our picks from Bombas and Idegg, which have similar silicone grips, since those socks come up higher on the heel. When we rubbed the back of the Stance socks vigorously with our thumbs, they did peel down a bit, though we never had an issue while actually wearing them.

We recommend air-drying this pair. They have a higher percentage of synthetic fabric than our other picks, so they’re more sensitive to high heat from the dryer. In our tests, the Stance socks that we air-dried retained more elasticity, whereas the ones that we tumble dried got a bit stretched-out and didn’t stay up as well.

They’re available in lots of sizes, colors, and patterns. The Stance socks come in a broad range of sizes (almost as many as the Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks) and—if secretly fun socks are your thing—colors and patterns beyond the usual, including two skin-tone hues, some vibrant solids and stripes, and a few statement-making graphic prints.

Material: 57% combed cotton, 39% nylon, 4% elastaneSizes: women’s 5 to men’s 16Colors: over a dozen colors and patterns

Thin and stretchy, these are the only socks we tested that were low enough to hide beneath a deep-cut loafer and didn’t squeeze, pinch, slip, or make our feet sweat. But they’re only available in women’s sizes 5 through 10.

Ultra-low no-show socks—the type you can wear with loafers and other slip-ons—have a tough needle to thread. They must not reveal themselves while somehow managing to stay securely in place. And as these slivers of fabric grip on for dear life, they shouldn’t be so tight that they squeeze your feet or leave indentations.

The Eedor Women’s Non Slip Low Cut Socks were the only pair we tested that met these criteria. Unfortunately, they’re only available in women’s sizes 5 to 10.

They’re best worn with loafers, boat shoes, or slip-ons. Unique among our picks, the Eedor socks are cut low enough to be nearly imperceptible beneath footwear with deep vee cuts. But these socks aren’t low enough to vanish beneath, say, a ballet flat.

Though the Eedor socks hit much lower on the top of the foot than our lightweight pick from Stance, they do come up 0.25 inch higher on the heel, so they may peek out a bit from the backs of some shoes.

Since they’re made from a thin, stretchy cotton-spandex blend that doesn’t add bulk, they’re well suited for snug, dressier shoes.

They’re much comfier than other ultra-low socks we tried. The Eedor socks weren’t as comfortable as our other picks, but they were the most pleasant to wear of any ultra-low-profile socks we tried—by far. Their light, 80% cotton material is much more breathable than the sweat-inducing nylon hosiery often used in these liner-style socks.

The Eedor socks fit more tightly than the other socks we recommend, which is necessary for them to stay put—but they didn’t squeeze. Said one tester, “Some other really low-cut pairs I’ve tried were so tight that they gave my foot a muffin top. But these have more forgiving stretch, so they don’t feel like Spanx for the feet.” And, unlike other low-cuts, the Eedor socks didn’t leave behind angry indentations.

They’re surprisingly secure. This style of sock is inherently more prone to slipping down. But the Eedor socks were among the most secure that we tried. They withstood being rubbed vigorously as we tried to peel them down even better than our picks from Bombas and Stance, and just as well as our Idegg pick.

The Eedor socks owe their staying power to a grippy crescent-shape strip of silicone at the heels. Plus, their 20% spandex content makes them extra stretchy, so they conform snugly to feet.

They’re inexpensive. Teeny tiny socks are my dryer’s favorite snack, so I appreciate that the Eedor socks are priced reasonably and sold in sets of three, four, and six.

They’re only available in smaller sizes. Unlike our other picks, the Eedor no-show socks are available in a disappointingly narrow range of sizes, from women’s 5 to 10. Two of our testers—one wears a women’s 11, the other wears a men’s 11—attempted to test the largest Eedor size, which is intended for a women’s 8 to 10. Though they were able to get the socks on their feet, both testers found them uncomfortable.

Material: 80% cotton, 20% spandexSizes: women’s 5 to 10Colors: four

Soft, springy, and comfortable, these ankle socks vanish beneath high tops and ankle boots while protecting skin from chafing. But they’re not the best material for running or other sweaty workouts.

Less isn’t always more when it comes to no-show socks. For higher-cut footwear like ankle boots and high-tops, you don’t want your socks on display—but you don’t want delicate skin rubbing against your shoes, either. Enter the Celersport Ankle Athletic Running Socks: They were an instant favorite with testers due to their perfect fit, breathability, and absence of slippage or bunching.

Despite their name, the Celersport running socks are better suited to everyday wear than running or heavy-duty workouts; their combed cotton is sweat-absorbing rather than sweat-wicking, which could lead to blisters.

They’re best worn with ankle boots and high-tops. The Celersport socks successfully vanish beneath ankle-height footwear, while cushiony back tabs keep those stiffer shoes from rubbing against skin.

In low-top sneakers, they stayed mostly hidden behind the tongues of our shoes, but they peeked over the sides and backs. If you don’t mind a hint of sock showing, they’ll give you a sporty look.

Though they’re not quite as thick as our cushiony Bombas pick, the Celersport socks are well padded, so they work best in roomier shoes. The cushioning on the footbed, and especially on the ankle tab, make them too bulky to wear with snug kicks.

They’re the comfiest socks we tested. Of the 32 socks we tried, the Celersport socks were, hands down, the most comfortable, earning a perfect five out of five rating from testers. (They even beat out our comfy and far pricier pick from Bombas.)

The Celersport socks are soft, made from a blend of 88.3% combed cotton plus polyester and spandex. They’re breathable, thanks to their high cotton content and mesh-knit tops. And they’re extra cushiony, with plenty of padding at the toe and heel. They also scored a perfect five out of five from all our testers for fit—one panelist called them “delightful,” adding, “they hugged my foot just right, and I didn’t notice any excess sweatiness.”

They’re slouch-proof. Their ankle height makes it easy for them to stay put, without the aid of silicone strips. No one who tried these socks experienced any slippage—and one tester even wore them on two 5-mile outings.

They’re inexpensive and available in lots of sizes. Like our picks from Idegg and Eedor, the Celersport socks are reasonably priced and a terrific option if you like to stock up. They come in packs of six and are available in a wide range of sizes, so replacing lost or worn-out pairs is no biggie.

Material: 88.3% combed cotton, 10.7% polyester, 1% spandexSizes: women’s 5 to men’s 14Colors: three

The no-show socks we recommend can be worn with casual shoes like sneakers, and some of them can be worn with dressier shoes and lower-cut shoes like loafers. We decided to forgo skimpy, toe-cleavage-exposing no-show socks, because—in our opinion—they’re simply too unpleasant to wear and don’t offer enough utility.

To select socks for testing, I considered recommendations from publications including Good Housekeeping, GQ, Glamour, and The New York Times. I perused Amazon’s best sellers and other popular sites, read countless reviews, and asked friends and coworkers for suggestions.

Based on that research, I selected 26 socks to personally test, plus six additional styles—which weren’t available in my size (a women’s 8)—for my partner (a men’s 11) to test. We wore them, washed them, dried them, and repeated.

Our collective 10 favorites underwent further testing with two Wirecutter colleagues (a women’s size 11 and a women’s size 5). Testers wore the socks with and without shoes and provided detailed feedback.

We looked for the following:

A lightweight—yet padded—pair to wear with snugger shoes: The Comrad Combed Cotton No Show Socks, in unisex sizes from S to XL (women’s 4 to men’s 15), are similar to our Idegg pick but softer and more cushiony. They don’t show under most oxfords or sneakers, and grippy silicone dots at the heel keep them from slipping down. But they had fit issues: On a women’s size 8 tester, the medium was a little too roomy, while a women’s size 11 tester found the size large excessively compressive and tight.

A well-cushioned sock similar to our Bombas pick, but cheaper: The Mack Weldon Everyday No Show Socks, available in men’s sizes only (7 to 13), are just as plush as the Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks, for a slightly lower price. They’re made from a comfy combed cotton blend, with ample padding from heel to toe, and are cut just right for sneakers. But the substantial heel grips in the back—which keep them from slipping down—add more bulk than the slimmer silicone strips on the Bombas socks and may cause fit issues with some shoes.

The Skims Everyday Ankle Sock pair was very soft, but they’re only available in women’s sizes 6 to 10, and they pilled in the wash. The Falke Cool Kick Unisex No Show Socks also pilled, and they slipped down our heels after laundering.

The Nice Laundry Performance No Show socks fit comfortably but made our feet clammy.

The Lululemon Women’s Power Stride No-Show Sock with Active Grip 3 Pack and the Allbirds Trino Hiders both had bunchy, overly structured heel cups.

The Bombas Lightweight No Show Socks, Leotruny Unisex No Show Socks, Saucony Women’s Invisible Liner Socks, and Wander Men’s No Show Socks all fit poorly at the heel. The Stance Performance Tab Socks had excess fabric at the toes.

The Ondo Organic Cotton No Show Socks bunched at the heel and toe. We also had heel-to-toe issues with three of the worst-fitting pairs we tried, the Quince Everyday Lightweight Cotton No-Show Socks, the Vans Classic Super No Show Socks, and the Amazon Essentials Women’s Cotton Lightly Cushioned No-Show Socks.

Most ultra-low-cut styles were overly tight and sweat-inducing, like the Peds Women’s Low Cut No Show Socks. The Wernies No Show Socks felt like shapewear, and when we took off the Jormatt Men’s No Show Socks, it looked like our feet had been garroted.

The Fruit of the Loom Men’s Dual Defense Cushioned Socks, Adidas Men’s Superlite No Show Socks and Under Armour Performance Tech No Show Socks all slipped down our heels and showed over sneakers.

The ankle-cut Hanes Women’s No Show Socks, Reebok Women’s Cushion Low Cut Socks, and Saucony Men’s Comfort Fit No-Show Socks were fine, but not as comfy as our Celersport pick.

This article was edited by Ingela Ratledge Amundson and Jennifer Hunter.

Zoe Vanderweide

Zoe Vanderweide is a staff writer reporting on style and accessories at Wirecutter. She has been wearing things for over three decades, and she has spent years covering streetwear, luxury, art, and design. Off the clock, you can find her painting the town rainbow with her (devastatingly stylish) daughter.

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They work best with sneakers and athletic shoes. They’re plush and breathable. They fit lots of feet. They stay put.They’re pricey but worth it. Material: Sizes:Colors: They work best with sneakers and dressier shoes, like oxfords. They get the job done. They fit well and don’t budge. You don’t have to be precious with them. Material: Sizes:Colors: They’re best worn with low-top sneakers, or dressier shoes like oxfords.They’re so comfy, we forgot we were wearing them. They’re cut low, but they stay up. They’re available in lots of sizes, colors, and patterns. Material: Sizes:Colors: Eedor Women’s Non Slip Low Cut SocksThey’re best worn with loafers, boat shoes, or slip-ons.They’re much comfier than other ultra-low socks we tried. They’re surprisingly secure. They’re inexpensive. They’re only available in smaller sizes. Material: Sizes:Colors: Celersport Ankle Athletic Running SocksThey’re best worn with ankle boots and high-tops.They’re the comfiest socks we tested. They’re slouch-proof. They’re inexpensive and available in lots of sizes. Material: Sizes:Colors: They fit well. They feel comfortable. They don’t show. They stay put and don’t slip down.They hold up for (at least) a season’s worth of abuse.They deliver valueA lightweight—yet padded—pair to wear with snugger shoes: A well-cushioned sock similar to our Bombas pick, but cheaper: Mack Weldon Everyday No Show Socks