Balega vs. SmartWool – What’s the Difference?

This article compares the Balega vs SmartWool running socks.

It first gives a review of the two sock models and states the difference between as it relates to blister prevention and overall durability to help you make an informed buying decision.

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Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair) (2017 Model), White/Ink, X-Large

Blister preventing

Mesh construction for added ventilation

Cushioning for impact resistance

5 of 5 Stars

Balega Running Socks:

Balega is a leading manufacturer of performance socks in the running market. It’s a subsidy of the Implus brands family. The company designs and manufactures technical performance socks for different runners with unique needs.

The company runs production facilities in both North Carolina and South Africa, making it an American-South African initiative. The firm uses premium yarns produced in the U.S to process its range of performance socks.

Balega is dedicated to technical excellence and delivering superior quality and performance with every socks it manufactures.

The brand’s socks are popular for their ultra-comfort and superior fit. It prides in its commitment to enriching the lives of the less fortunate through community projects.

Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair) (2016 Model)
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
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$14.00
$18.95
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
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$14.00
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
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Rating
-
Reviews
-
Price
$18.95

​Smartwool Running Socks Brand

On the other hand, Smartwool builds impressive technology into its range of performance socks. It invented the 4 Degree Elite Fit System that encompasses a shred shield, an ankle joint flex zone, and an Indestructawool construction boost.

They keep your toenails inside the toe box, transition smoothly at the ankle joint, and improve sock comfort and durability, in that order.

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Mini Socks - Men's Wool Performance Sock

The company is popular for its light socks with enough padding at the heel and ball areas of your foot to protect against impact whenever your foot pounds against the running surface.

The company has been producing top quality running socks for many years, making them popular among runners worldwide.

This article compares the Balega and Smartwool brand of performance socks on the market. It reviews one of the best-selling socks from each brand to help support the comparison.

Read on to find out which of the two is ideal for your unique training or running needs, and foot form.

Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Prime
Rating
-
-
Reviews
-
-
Price
$14.00
$18.95
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Prime
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Price
$14.00
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Prime
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Price
$18.95

The Balega Enduro VTech Running Socks

The Enduro VTech socks feel thicker than most athletic socks, and just like a pair of new cotton socks. Unlike the SmartWool Ultra-Light running socks, the Balega Enduro VTech feel thick on touch.

They feel soft on the foot just like cotton socks. The added socks thickness also makes them feel tighter than usual when worn with your shoes.

Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
  • U.S. made Drynamix moisture management fibers
  • Non constricting compression bands
  • Sensitive rib top and extra deep heel pocket
  • Mesh construction for added ventilation; cushioning for impact resistance
  • Medium volume construction

Although they have good sweat and moisture absorbing properties, runners into thin socks may not like them. They’d feel uncomfortable and impair runs.

The thickness is good for cold weather runs, but only for runners with a preference for thick performance socks.

The socks feel extremely comfortable upon wearing them, but may be unsuitable for some runners when it comes to actually running in them.

Pros

  • ​Thick, soft and comfortable for the right persons
  • ​Absorbs moisture and sweat well

Cons

  • ​The sock is of moderate quality for ultra-runners
  • ​May be too thick for runners with preference for thin running socks

The SmartWool PhD Run Light Elite Socks with Ultra-Light Cushioning

SmartWool socks are more expensive than other brands on the market, but worth each extra penny you pay. The Merino wool socks come in grey and black, among other appealing colors.

The socks differ in feel from standard athletic socks by Puma, Adidas, etc.

The SmartWool material they’re made from is generally more elastic and has a smooth texture of wool (52%). It’s also made from elastane (3%) and nylon (45%).

The great elasticity on the socks hugs feet for a snug fit to prevent slip downs inside your running shoes. Although the elastic grip is felt throughout the sock, it doesn’t hold your foot too tight that it feels uncomfortable. Instead, it hold the socks in place around your foot while running.

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks - Men's Run Elite Wool Performance Sock

You’re likely to be cognizant of the tightness of the socks upon wearing it for the first time, but that’s soon forgotten. You eventually get to focus on your runs only.

The woolen material used on the sock is an excellent moisture and sweat absorbent, making it ideal for summer or hot weather runs.

Therefore, the socks keep your feet dry and cool for added comfort. Apart from its moisture-wicking properties, the grippy socks dry better than the Balega socks and other brands on the market.

This is despite the prevailing trail or weather condition.

If you’re an ultra-runner, you’ll love the dry feel of the sock on your foot whenever you go for long runs.

What’s more, they dry in minutes in direct sunlight after taking them off your feet.

Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
  • WARM INSULATION: Experience durability at its peak with the Smartwool Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks. These socks are built for performance in the highest degree, making them ready for any adventure on your list.
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: The Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks feature a 4 Degree Elite Fit System for a dialed, performance-oriented fit with a flex zone at the ankle joint and Virtually Seamless toe for enhanced comfort.
  • DURABLE YET BREATHABLE: The Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks are designed with Indestructawool technology for exceptional durability and comfort. The body-mapped mesh zones featured on these socks offer added breathability for all-day wear.
  • LIGHT CUSHION: The lightly cushioned bottom on the Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks allows you to wear these performance socks on various trails and road terrains without discomfort. These socks will provide you with padded comfort during any season.
  • CARE INSTRUCTIONS: Comprised of 56% Merino Wool, 41% Nylon, and 3% Elastane, the Women’s PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks should be machine washed inside out in warm water and tumble dried on low. These socks should not be bleached, ironed, or dry cleaned.

The midfoot area of the SmartWool PhD Run Light Elite Sock has a snug fit without losing elasticity during runs. The heel and ball areas feature material for increased softness and underfoot protection.

The extra padding also enhances the durability of the sock when running on high-abrasion trails or roads.

Unlike synthetic performance socks, the Merino wool used on the socks give it odor-resistance properties. This means that the socks don’t exude bad smell even after wearing them for many hours of sweating.

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Sock - Lightly Cushioned Merino Wool Performance Sock for Men and Women

Although wool socks tend to wear out fast, the low percentage of nylon and elastane integrated in the sock increases its durability. The socks hold strong for years without develop holes or other signs of wear and tear.

However, some uses reported that socks had signs of pilling externally after a few washes. But, it didn’t impact the performance and functionality of the running socks.

The SmartWool performance socks come with a 2-year 100% satisfaction guarantee for confidence in your purchase.

This means your performance socks are bound to last a few years before you can think of replacing them. However, they still can’t beat the lifetime guarantee on Darn Tough’s Merino socks.

The thin (but thicker than other brands of the same level) nature of the socks make them ideal for a close connection with your running shoes, especially when going for long runs. Most runners often pair them with up-tempo, racing, or technical trail running shoes.

Pros

  • ​Soft and padded for comfort
  • ​Fast-wicking properties absorb sweat
  • They dry fast in just minutes in direct sunlight
  • The materials used on the sock are durable
  • Comfortable for long runs under different conditions

Cons

  • ​Some users reported external pilling after a few washes, but it doesn’t affect the performance of the socks.

Factors to Consider When Buying These Running Socks

Socks are important running gear just like your running shoes. Several fabrics are interwoven tightly together to create socks.

The result is a sock with moisture-wicking and friction-resistant properties to fit all kinds of sizes and shapes of feet out there.

The need to purchase the right pair of performance socks goes without saying. Cotton absorbs moisture, making your feet wet and prone to hot spots, blisters and fungal infections. Therefore, avoid running socks made from 100% cotton.

However, cotton socks are cheaper than synthetic and woolen socks. Expect to pay anything from $12 to $20 for a good pair of running socks.

However, compression socks can cost up to $60 for a pair.

Various factors can help you assess various socks on the market to help you choose the best running socks for you.

Socks for running come in various thicknesses such as ultra-thin, thin, thick, and ultra-cushioned, among others.

Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Prime
Rating
-
-
Reviews
-
-
Price
$14.00
$18.95
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), White, X-Large
Prime
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Price
$14.00
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Micro Frosty Green XL (Men's Shoe 12-14.5)
Prime
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Price
$18.95

Balega vs. SmartWool - What’s Sock Brand Protects Against Blisters Better?

Choose the right thickness based on your personal preference. However, the right socks thickness matches you running shoes for optimal performance.

Thin socks are ideal for hot days because they breathe better and fit tighter. You also create a better and closer connection with your running shoes.

Thin running socks are also perfect for technical terrains and fast runs on roads. Opt for thicker socks for a soft, cushioned feel.

Also consider the combination of fabrics used on the socks, a snug fit for no-slip use, and height. The latter include no-show, knee-length, crew and mid-crew lengths.

No-show socks are ideal for running in cold weather. Whichever socks you opt for, pick the right brand and make sure it fits your foot size for comfortable runs.


Conclusion

Balega and SmartWool are top manufacturers of performance socks in the athletics industry. They design and produce a range of running socks to meet the unique needs of different runners out there.

Balega Enduro VTech socks are ideal for regular use while the SmartWool PhD Run Light Elite are made for ultra-runners.

Opt for Balega Enduro VTech running socks for comfortable runs in cool weather or the SmartWool Run Light Lite for a closer connection with your shoes.

Last update on 2020-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API