One thing I really love about running (and I love a lot of things about running) is that you don’t need a whole lot to do it.

Sure, many of us runners love decking ourselves out from head to toe in fancy gear, from stay-put sunglasses to a high-tech GPS watch to compression sleeves for aching shins. But all you truly need to run are some sneakers and—depending on your parts—a sports bra.

I’m here to add one more thing to that list of running essentials, however: an amazing pair of socks. Fine, shopping for socks may not be as exciting as unboxing a new fitness tracker or slipping on a new pair of leggings. But the perfect pair makes a bigger difference, something I only realized after years of running.

I used to run in any old pair of socks that was clean. But discovering Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks ($13, changed everything. Now, they’re my absolute favorite socks to run in.

For starters, the plush sole makes these the cushiest socks I’ve ever slipped on, but the mesh upper construction keeps them from feeling hot or heavy. You know how the first few weeks of running in new sneakers can feel like running on clouds? These socks make running in months-old shoes feel almost as good.

The structured fit throughout keeps the sock snug to your foot, helping avoid dreaded blisters, and the cushioned heel tab not only keeps the sock in place, it protects against uncomfortable Achilles rubbing—while still maintaining a sleek, no-show profile.

I have two sets, and I’m always a little disappointed when I’m heading out for a run and realize both are in the dirty laundry. Considering there are a whopping 17 color options currently available on Amazon, I’ll be stocking up on a few new pairs for summer runs.

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