balega socks on stump

Thinking back over the years, I can’t recall buying socks from a running socks company. All my running socks were from companies that made my favorite biking and hiking socks.

The one exception now is Balega. They make running socks. You go to their website, you see running. Their tagline is, “the leader in run.”

Apparently they only do running socks. Some are taller, some are different colors, but they’re all running socks.

I tested a couple different models this past summer, and while the socks didn’t make me a better runner (or make me enjoy running any more,) my feet loved them!

balega ultralight sock on my foot

Balega Ultra Light No Show Sock (Style 8924)

The first one was this “ultra light” model, which can be seen on their “second skin fit” page.

From a distance, it looks like a regular running sock. But once you look closely, you can see how much engineering went into it! They have a variety of mesh side panels which will aid ventilation, numerous elastic supports in both the arch and the heel, reinforced sections on the toe and heel for durability, and a “triple-Y” heel pocket that my brain doesn’t understand but my heel loves.

They put all that together in a way you’d never know it wasn’t one single, soft piece of fabric. It almost makes the $12 price tag sound like a bargain.

As if that’s not enough, though, the socks are marked for Left and Right feet.

And it’s not just to be funny. Balega actually uses a “Left/Right construction method” to ensure the perfect fit.

balega socks for left and right feet

It’s rare for a regular sock like this to be asymmetric. I’ve never seen it! My only other socks specific to my left or right foot are my CEP compression socks. But those are $60 socks. And when you’re talking compression, those little anatomical differences really matter.

So props to Balega for bringing this technology into regular, affordable running socks!

You actually feel this technology on your feet! It’s sort of crazy. You’ve got the soft and flexible spandex pieces, then tighter bands exactly where you need support, all blended into one amazing sock.

The socks were so comfortable I found myself wearing them around the house day after day. Running in them was excellent, too. Without realizing it, I found myself choosing these socks more often than others!

And so far, they still feel nearly new after each washing.

balega socks hidden dry yellow

Balega Weightless Hidden Dry Sock (Style 8948)

What’s lighter and thinner than “ultralight?”

“Weightless.”

You don’t know thin socks until you’ve tried these “hidden” socks. I’ve never seen a sock this thin, nor imagined that such a thing could exist.

Yet, even though the sock is tiny, it has the heel tab to prevent it from slipping down into your running shoe. (You may remember my less than pleasant experience with some other ultra-low socks. Speaking of which, those were really thin too, but not even comparable to these in terms of comfort.)

These neon yellow socks were much more comfortable than expected for the thickness.

Here’s the catch. My first day wearing them, I had them on for about an hour (hadn’t even left the house,) I snagged one on my fingernail clippers. DOH! The sock lost a piece of thread, and by later that day, the snag turned into a dime-size hole right on the ball of my foot!

Out of all the old crappy socks I have that I don’t care about, and the Darn Tough socks that would laugh at moderately sharp objects, I had to snag my brand new, superlight, ultrathin Balega socks!! $11 down the drain. Apparently these socks are not for clumsy people.

I wore them anyway. I first tried them for cycling, and they were actually too thin to use with my current riding shoes. If your shoes are super tight, these socks would probably be a good choice. But I bought my shoes to fit with standard thin cycling socks, not ultrathin.

So next time, I went trail running. This was problematic as well. While the socks felt great on my skin, they felt slippery within the shoe. On downhills and around switchbacks, and all the other posture changes you do when trail running, my feet would slide around within the shoe.

I stopped and tightened the shoes up a lot more than I normally would, which didn’t bother me (I could likely size down a 1/2 size if I consistently wore socks this thin,) and that made the run in these socks so much nicer! No more sliding!

balega socks quality team

The socks still felt slippery, though. I guess these really aren’t my style. They’d be best if you like your shoes small and tight, and snug, but don’t want blisters. They’d be totally awesome socks, actually, if you like your shoes like that.

Or if you are a road runner, these socks are probably fine even with a roomier shoe, due to the consistent terrain.

Inspected by #34

One thing you won’t find on a Balega sock is one of those impersonal “inspected by #34” stickers.

Each one has this type of sticker instead. The socks are made (and hand-inspected) by real people in Cape Town, South Africa.

What about wool?

Have no fear – you can get some of the Balega socks in wool, too! Still only $12.

My final verdict is…

These days, I seldom find a sock that’s uncomfortable or lets me get blisters. There are plenty of good running socks out there, and the best choice depends on exactly what you want. But if you’re still searching, or not super excited about your socks, Balega socks might be just what you need!

These are probably the best-fitting socks I’ve ever worn. Some say they are the best running socks, ever!

Official website: www.Balega.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com


Product Review Details
Company: Balega Socks
Product: Balega Ultra Light No Show Sock
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2014-09-27
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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