The 4 best exercise balls we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • An exercise ball is perfect for working on stability and flexibility and makes bodyweight exercises harder.
  • The best exercise balls have a durable exterior, are mild flexibility, and retain air well.
  • Our top pick, the TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball, has thick walls and holds air even if punctured.

Exercise balls might seem like a boring piece of workout equipment that sits in the corner of the gym with no one using it. But that’s only because it’s an overlooked dark horse – the benefits of adding one to your workout far outweigh any perceived dullness. In fact, as a part of a home gym setup, an exercise ball has the ability to greatly improve one’s core strength while also helping hone balance and flexibility.

Whether it accompanies a daily workout routine or becomes the central focal point, an exercise ball can be an important part of anyone’s plan to keep fit and healthy. (For what it’s worth, while many used to think using an exercise ball in lieu of your home office chair was better for your spine, experts actually recommend against it now.)

To find the best exercise balls worth using, I tested an assortment of models from brands like TheraBand, DynaPro, and Wacces. The goal was to find those that fit a variety of use cases, like being portable or constructed of a thicker material that increases its durability. After spending the last several months using exercise balls as both my office chair and main workout partner, I narrowed the list down to my four favorites listed below.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some insight into what to look for in a quality ball, the exact benefits of using one, and why they’re an important part of anyone’s home gym setup.

Here are the best exercise balls:

The best exercise ball overall

exercise ball

The TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball holds air better than most exercise balls — even if it’s punctured.

Pros: Maintains its shape and holds air better than other exercise balls, includes a slow deflate technology if the ball is punctured, extremely firm, has a good surface for just the right amount of grip, offered in four sizes

Cons: Takes a long time to inflate, no inflation pump included, only one color per size

One common complaint among exercise ball fans is the inability of the ball to hold air over time. As air leaks out of the ball, it loses its firmness and becomes difficult to use. The TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball, though, is one of the thickest-walled balls you can buy, and it holds air longer than most of the competition.

Even if it’s punctured, the ball will deflate very slowly, allowing you to finish your workout. Because the Theraband Exercise Ball retains air so well, you won’t have to reinflate it that often, which is a very good thing because this ball does take quite a bit of time to inflate in the first place.

The exercise ball is available in four sizes from 45 cm to 75 cm and it comes in a few colors.

The best portable exercise ball

DynaPro Exercise Ball

The DynaPro Exercise Ball is extremely durable and will hold its air pressure nicely, but it’s also portable, thanks to its easy-to-carry hand pump.

Pros: Good price point, easy to fill while on the go because of an included hand pump, very durable material in the ball, prevents fast leaks when it suffers a puncture, available in four sizes and four different colors

Cons: Cannot fully inflate the ball the first time you use it, firmness level of the ball seems below average

When you’re looking for an exercise ball you can take with you anywhere, the DynaPro Exercise Ball is a good idea. It ships with a hand pump and inflates faster than many other balls, so you can be ready to use it within several minutes.

The ball is available in four sizes, ranging from 45 cm to 75 cm, and it features slight ribs around the circumference of the ball to ensure a steady grip. You can get it in a few fun colors, including pink, blue, silver, gray, and black.

Like many exercise balls, you can also use it for active seating in your office. Unlike most exercise balls, it’s available in gray or black, which fits in better with an office setting than a brightly colored ball. 

This is a tough, durable exercise ball, featuring a 2,000-pound burst rating. The ball also slowly deflates if it ever suffers a puncture, allowing you to finish your workout safely.

However, the ball cannot be inflated fully the first time you use it. You’ll have to inflate it fully after it’s had 2-3 days to stretch out.

The best exercise ball for bigger bodies

tall man exercise ball

The Live Infinitely Exercise Ball receives high marks for its durability and ability to stand up to tough workouts.

Pros: Excellent price point, durable and tough exercise ball that can withstand 2,200 pounds of weight, available in as large as 95 cm diameter, five color and five size options, includes a large library of online exercise guides

Cons: There is no 45 cm diameter size option in this model, difficult to fully inflate this ball

We’re not here to say what an average-sized body is or who is bigger-than-average. But if you’ve ever sat on an exercise ball before and felt like it couldn’t support your height, width, weight, or frame for whatever reason, you need a ball that is bigger and more durable so you aren’t worrying about it popping or slipping out from under you.

In fact, you want your exercise ball to correspond to your size for a few reasons: When you’re sitting on it, you want it to be durable enough to hold your weight and wide enough to hold your buttocks. When you put it underfoot in plank or, say, Bulgarian split squats, the height of the ball influences your form; too small of a ball and your feet are below your hips which can compromise the integrity of your movements, for example.

Because of this, a ball that’s right for someone who’s 5’3 isn’t going to fit someone who’s 6’8, and someone who is 350lbs needs a more durable construction than someone who is 150lbs. (Learn more about What to look for in an exercise ball.)

The Live Infinitely Exercise Ball is one of the few options that comes in five sizes ranging from 55 cm to 95 cm. You can also choose between five colors, including blue, green, gray, purple, and silver.

What’s more, it can hold up to 2,200 pounds of pressure. So while we doubt you’ll ever max out its capabilities, the Live Infinitely Exercise Ball allows you to feel comfortable and secure putting all your weight and force onto it, regardless of your size.

The best budget exercise ball

exercise ball 5

If you want an affordable exercise ball that’s also durable, the Wacces Fitness and Exercise ball is a great option.

Pros: Extremely low price point, good build quality versus similarly priced exercise balls, surface has just enough grip to prevent slippage, ribs around circumference of ball provide extra grip, offered in eight colors

Cons: Only available in three sizes, difficult to fully inflate it first time you use it, doesn’t hold air pressure as well as some models

With some low-priced exercise balls, you may feel wary about placing your full weight on them for fear of an exploding ball that leaves you crashing onto the floor. But the durability of the Wacces Fitness and Exercise Ball gives you the peace of mind you’ll need to use this inexpensive ball to its fullest.

Even though it’s less expensive than other options, this ball is still quite durable and has a good grippy surface. The biggest downside is that it doesn’t support as much weight as more high-end exercise balls.

You can pick between three different sizes, ranging from 55 cm to 75 cm. It’s also available in eight colors, including black, blue, gray, green, pink, purple, red, or yellow.

What to look for in an exercise ball

Yes, an exercise ball is a simple, large round ball that looks like every other exercise ball at first glance. There are still several key differences you can pay attention to when looking to find the right exercise ball to meet your needs.

  • Ease of adding air: Some exercise balls include an air pump, however, most of these pumps work very slowly. If you want a faster option, you should be able to use almost any type of pump to inflate your exercise ball, such as an air mattress pump, a bicycle tire pump, or even an air compressor. To determine when the ball is properly filled with air, measure its diameter.
  • Extras: Depending on the model of exercise ball you pick, you may find the ball ships with an air pump, exercise bands, a stability ring, stability legs, a measuring tape, an exercise tip guide, or handles built into the ball. 
  • Size: The size of a stability ball is determined by its diameter. Common sizes of exercise balls range from 45 cm to 85 cm in 10 cm intervals. (Ten centimeters is roughly 4 inches.) People shorter than 5 feet will have the best results with sitting on a 45 cm ball, 6-feet-tall people will want a 65 cm ball, and those 6-foot-8 and taller will want an 85 cm ball. 
  • Supported weight: Exercise balls should offer supported weight limits for static weight and body weight. Static weight refers to the weight the ball supports without bursting when the user is not moving. Bodyweight refers to the weight it can support when the user is exercising. High-end balls may support static weight limits of 2,200 pounds and body weights of 500 pounds. A stability ball placed under too much weight or stress could burst.

Exercise ball benefits

man family exercise ball

People use an exercise ball for two main reasons: to workout with and to sit on. While we fully support using this accessory in your workout, most chiropractors and physical therapists actually recommend you don’t trade your office chair for a ball. Studies have found it not only makes prolonged sitting more uncomfortable, but it doesn’t actually activate your muscles better and may in fact contribute to spinal shrinkage (aka slumping). This is all because you must keep your core engaged for optimal spinal alignment, and it’s incredibly hard to maintain perfect posture when sitting for a long time.

That being said, an exercise ball is safe and a great challenge to your body during a workout, where you’re only stabilizing against it for a few minutes at a time. Here are some of the primary benefits exercise balls provide during a workout:

  • Improved balance: You’ll naturally strengthen your abs and back muscles while using an exercise ball because you must subtly shift your weight to remain balanced. As these muscles strengthen, your overall balance improves.
  • Core strength: Athletes constantly talk about the importance of having core strength in the body, as it gives you great balance and coordination. Using an exercise ball increases core strength.
  • Muscle work: Because you have to continually adjust your weight slightly to maintain your balance on the ball, you’ll be using different muscle groups, which benefits your whole body.
  • Rehabilitation and flexibility: You’ll stretch muscles and joints while moving around. Physical therapists sometimes assign a set of exercises using an exercise ball for people to follow as part of rehabilitating a specific joint or muscle group to gain more range of motion.
  • Specific exercises: If you enjoy exercises like Pilates or yoga, you’ll gain some additional benefits by incorporating an exercise ball into the routine.

Why exercise balls are an important part of a home gym

Despite their inherent value, exercise balls aren’t typically the first piece of gear you think of when piecing together a home gym. The truth is in the application, as they work for a host of exercises requiring flexible support. Even though an exercise ball is round, it gives you a base that’s more solid than you might think and provides impressive stability.  

The balls compress when weight is put on them to create a flatter, more stable edge. It won’t be as stable as a normal chair but it’s far more solid than you’d expect — which is what makes them great for everything from active seating to working out.

An exercise ball is an amazing addition to any ab workout, as you can hold it between your feet to bump the challenge of leg raises or prop your feet on the ball during plank for more of a core challenge. You can also sit on the ball instead of a bench to activate your core during simple exercises like chest flys and overhead presses. (Learn more from our guide on the best at-home exercise ball routines.)

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The best iPad cases in 2021 for every situation

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Logitech combo touch keyboard case ipad
The Logitech combo touch keyboard case is one of the best iPad cases you can buy.

  • An iPad case should bring protection, style, and new functionality to your tablet.
  • Our favorite cases are made by ESR, Logitech, and Zugu among others.
  • Remember to look for cases that are compatible with the iPad model you own.

Purchasing an iPad is an investment, and one of the best ways to protect that investment is by pairing your iPad with a case.

But choosing the right case isn’t always simple. There are tons of options available to suit any style and need, whether you’re looking for something sleek and minimal or military-grade protection.

The best cases are both stylish and protective without adding too much bulk to your bag. We’ve collected and tested over a dozen cases to find the best iPad case for every budget and situation.

Here are the best iPad cases of 2021:

The best overall iPad cases

iPad Pro 11 2021 Ascend Trifold Hard Case in black

ESR’s lineup of iPad cases offer a variety of  styles, colors, and protection at affordable prices.

ESR offers something for everyone when it comes to iPad cases, whether it’s extra protection to go along with your Apple Smart Cover, full coverage, or a case with a built-in Apple Pencil holder. Few casemakers have this many options for price and protection. 

I’m a big fan of maximum protection, so the Sentry Magnetic Kickstand Case is one of my favorites. It features a 2-millimeter thick back cover, raised edges around the screen for maximum drop protection, and an adjustable magnetic kickstand with seven different viewing angles. 

The version for the 10.2-inch iPad costs $30.99, while the enhanced 11-inch iPad Pro models cost $68.99 – which makes this one of the most expensive cases in ESR’s lineup. The company also offers a Rugged Protection Bundle for the 11-inch iPad Pro for $70.34  which includes the Sentry case, along with a reinforced tempered-glass screen protector.

While the Sentry cases only come in two colors, many of the lower-priced cases come in multiple colorways including blue, black, pink, and gray.  The majority of ESR’s cases are made with TPU – a type of polyurethane plastic which provides a thin layer of rubber-like protection. This is normally enough to protect against bumps, scratches, and scrapes, but probably wouldn’t do so well in a bigger drop. 

The more rugged cases – like the Sentry– are made from polymer, which should do a better job at keeping your iPad safe from unfortunate mishaps.

ESR cases might not be the fanciest or the most protective on the market, but they are well-made and offer a great deal of value for those looking to find the perfect case for their new iPad. 

Worth a look:

Ascend Trifold Hard Case (small)Slim Rebound Case (small)Sentry Protective Case (small)
The best iPad cases from Apple

Apple Magic Keyboard case for iPad in black

Apple’s own cases emphasize style and function, but often fall short on protection. 

Apple products usually come at a premium, and that’s no different with its iPad cases. Apple’s cases are expensive, but also sleek and functional. 

The $49 Smart Cover is a thin piece of polyurethane that protects the device’s display and connects magnetically to the iPad. It comes in a variety of colors and can be folded into different positions to create a stand for reading, viewing, and drawing. The design is simple and effective, but leaves the back and sides of the iPad  unprotected.

Those looking for all-around protection may want to consider the Smart Folio, which is similar in appearance to the Smart cover, but is made from a single piece of polyurethane that protects both the front and back of the iPad. The Smart Folio starts at $79, and is light, sleek, and perfect for those looking for an attractive case to protect against scrapes and bumps. 

Apple’s most impressive case is the $299  Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro and iPad Air. This keyboard case and trackpad combination transform the iPad into a viable laptop replacement. The case utilizes a clever magnetic design to create a one-piece stand and keyboard that is both thin and highly functional. 

The only downside to the Magic Keyboard – aside from its high starting price – is that it lacks any protection on the sides of the iPad. There are other worthy keyboard cases on the market that address this problem, but few are as well-made as the Magic Keyboard.

Worth a look:

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air (small)Smart Folio for iPad Air (4th Gen) (small)Smart Cover for iPad (8th Gen) (small)
The best iPad keyboard case

Logitech combo touch keyboard case ipad

The Logitech Combo Touch offers full tablet protection, backlit keys, a great typing experience, and is more affordable than Apple’s Magic Keyboard. 

The $199.99 Logitech Combo Touch lacks the clever design of Apple’s Magic Keyboard, but offers a similar experience while fully protecting the iPad itself. 

The Combo Touch features two parts – a protective back case, and a removable keyboard and trackpad that connects via the smart connector and also functions as a front cover. The back case folds out into a kickstand with plenty of viewing and writing angles. A magnet holds the kickstand shut when it’s not in use to maintain its flat back. 

The addition of the kickstand means that the back of the case is thick and protective – if slightly bulky. The Combo Touch adds heft to the iPad, but it is a small price to pay for such a versatile case. 

Typing on the Combo Touch is effective and fun. The keys offer a good amount of travel and are perfect for those who don’t mind portable keyboards. I found the keyboard to be a perfect size for my small hands, but those with larger hands might find it a bit cramped. I wish the trackpad was slightly taller, but I found it perfectly usable at its current size.

The gestures on the trackpad worked well, and I had no problem zipping around my iPad without ever touching the display. The addition of backlighting on the keyboard made this case a great nighttime companion, as I could clearly see the keys as I typed in the dark. 

The type cover is easy to pull on and off, which helps to make the Logitech Combo Touch great for typing, reading, drawing, and viewing. It comes in either Oxford Gray or Sand. 

Worth a look:

Combo Touch (small)
The best iPad case for protection

otterbox ipad case

OtterBox cases offer a huge amount of protection without adding too much bulk.

OtterBox is known for its protective cases, and the company’s iPad offerings don’t disappoint. OtterBox makes traditional folio cases like the Symmetry Series and the Symmetry Series 360, but it’s the Defender Series Pro that really stands out from the pack. 

The $89.95 Defender Series Pro offers the most over-the-top protection that I’ve ever seen in an iPad case. It features three layers of protection– an inner thin plastic covering over the front and back of the iPad, followed by a rubber slipcover, topped off by a hard plastic back that acts as a stand and display protector. 

This is not the easiest case to install and remove – in fact, I needed a video tutorial to figure out the processes. But my iPad seemed invincible once it was inside. Of course, it’s hard to guarantee that the Defender Series Pro will protect your iPad in every situation. But my iPad did survive a 4-foot drop from my bed to the floor without a scratch. 

My biggest concern with the Defender Series Pro lies in its hard plastic outer shell. The shell grips securely to the front iPad for protection, but also features a collapsible hinge in the center that acts as a stand for viewing and writing. 

This design is interesting, but ultimately feels clunky. There is no mechanism to clip the case into the stand; instead, the iPad rests awkwardly between the raised corners of the outer case and raised middle hinge – leaving the tablet less secure than I would want. 

The Defender Series Pro only comes in black and certainly isn’t the most fashionable case. But what it lacks in style, it makes up for in protection. 

Worth a look: 

iPad Pro (11-inch) (3rd gen) Defender Series Pro Case (small)iPad Air (4th gen) Symmetry Series 360 Case (small)iPad (8th and 7th gen) Symmetry Series Folio Case (small)
The best iPad case for watching video

Zugu iPad Pro case in black

Zugu cases feature great all-around protection and come with a magnetic kickstand that offers eight different viewing angles. 

Zugu doesn’t make a lot of different types of cases, but the ones they do make have some of the best viewing angles on the market. 

The Zugu Muse Case, which starts at $49.99, is made out of a thick layer of TPU plastic surrounded by a polycarbonate shell for enhanced drop protection. It features raised edges, a grooved folio sleep and wake cover, and a microfiber lining. There’s a collapsible kickstand on the back of the case that magnetically connects to the grooves on the cover, creating eight viewing angles for reading, watching, and typing. 

Other case manufactures have emulated Zugu’s design, but the strength of the magnetic holds makes this case stand out. No matter what surface I put it on, the Zugu case stays locked into the correct viewing angle. It performs equally as well on a lumpy bean bag chair as it does on a hard table. I can even lightly shake the iPad without detaching the kickstand – though a slightly harder shake breaks the spell and releases the front of the case. 

The Zugu is also incredibly durable. I’ve used it every day for three years and have yet to see any wear and tear. It has been dropped, jostled, shoved into packed bags, and covered in pet hair, but it still works as well now as it did when I got it. I’ve also streamed thousands of hours of content while using this case and have always found just the right angle for every viewing position. 

The only downside to the Zugu is that it adds some bulk to my iPad. Despite the fact that it comes in up to five different colors, it’s not the best-looking case you’ll find. 

Worth a look: 

iPad Pro 12.9 (5th Gen) Case (small)
Our methodology

We tested iPad cases on a variety of criteria to find our best picks. The quality and durability of the cases were judged based on the following factors: 

  • The build quality of the materials used in the case
  • How easy it is to put on and remove the case
  • How easy it is to clean the case
  • How well the case withstands jostling in a packed bag

To test durability, we placed each case in a bag filled with books, notebooks, and accessories. We then walked approximately five blocks with the bag, before removing the iPad and checking for scratches, dents, or marks on the case or the device itself. 

We also dropped each case approximately 4-feet from a bed onto a carpeted floor and inspected the case and iPad for damage. 

Additionally, we evaluated keyboard cases by the accuracy of the trackpad and comfort of the typing experience. 

Life can get messy – which is why we wanted to test how easy it is to clean the cases. To do this, we enlisted the help of our enthusiastic long-haired dog, Toby.  We used the cases to gently pet his fur, then attempted to remove any accumulation from the case following manufacturing guidelines.

What to consider when buying an iPad case

Compatibility

The most important aspect of buying an iPad case is making sure that it fits the specific iPad model that you own. It might be tempting to hand on to the old case for your previous iPad  when buying a newer model. Although many iPads share a similar design, their dimensions are often different. That’s why it’s important to buy a case for the specific model you own.

Apple currently sells five different iPad models:

If you’re not sure which model you own, open your iPad’s settings menu and tap “General.” Choose “About” and look at the field that says “Model Name.”

Features

The next question you’ll want to ask yourself is how you intend to use your case. Do you want a sleeve that’s as slim as possible just for keeping your iPad safe from scratches? Or do you often find yourself propping up your iPad while watching movies and cooking? If so, you’ll probably want an iPad case with an integrated kickstand. And then, of course, there are keyboard cases designed for those who take notes on their iPad. Think carefully about the scenarios in which you use your iPad the most before buying a case. 

Budget

Aside from buying the right case for the iPad model you own, budget is the most critical factor to consider. Basic cases can cost as cheap as $15 or less, while more sophisticated cases like those with keyboards, kickstands, and extra durable designs can cost $70 or more. There are also plenty of in-between options in the $30-$50 range that offer standard protection. The best keyboard cases, however, will usually cost around $100 or more. 

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The 13 coziest pairs of slippers we’ve tested

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Best slippers for women 4x3
  • If you’re working from home, your go-to pair of shoes are now most likely your slippers.
  • While slippers come in all shapes and sizes, yours should make your feet feel cozy and cushioned.
  • We’ve put together a list of 13 pairs of slippers that we’ve found to be most reliable.
  • If you’re looking for men’s sizing, check out our guide to the best men’s slippers.

The ongoing pandemic has changed many of our work uniforms in a big way. Many have traded in their loafers, flats, and heels for a pair of slippers that fit much better with this new lifestyle. But choosing the right pair is important. They’re meant to be comfortable, after all.

Of course material is essential to maximum comfort for your feet, but so is the design. Do your feet feel supported as you sit at your desk, move around the kitchen, and go about your other daily tasks? We’re here to help you choose by spotlighting 13 pairs of slippers that tick off all of our boxes.

Click to jump to the best women’s slippers of 2021:

The best moccasin slippers

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L.L.Bean Wicked Good Moccasins

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For many people, “slipper” is synonymous with shearling-lined, suede moccasins like the Wicked Good Moccasins from L.L.Bean.

Sizing options: 5-11

I got these slippers a few Christmases ago, and they’re just the best for keeping my feet nice and toasty in the winter. They’re shearling-lined, so they’re perfectly cozy to wear with or without socks, and they’ve held their shape nicely after plenty of indoor wear. The laces often come undone, but that’s about the only flaw I can come up with for them. They’re affordable at $79 (you can get them even cheaper during sales), they’re durable, and the women’s version comes in seven great colors and two widths. I’ve got the Neutral shade and my size 8 fits true to size. Ellen Hoffman, executive editor

J.Crew Suede faux-shearling moccasin slippers

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The poly faux-fur lining of the J.Crew Suede faux-shearling moccasin slippers gives them a fuzzy warmth that lasts. 

Sizing options: 5-12

After trying many different slippers, from slip-ons to fuzzy cloud-like ones, these have quickly become my favorite. They’re easy to slip on, and they have great grip so I never slip and slide when walking on tile or hardwood floors. The fuzzy lining keeps my toes warm and has stayed soft, even after wearing these slippers every day for a month. They fit very true to size and are an absolute steal for the price. Paige DiFiore, lifestyle and entertainment editor for Insider Life

UpWest Fireside Slipper

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The UpWest Fireside Slipper stands out with its ability to be worn outdoors along with its thoughtful, hand-stitched details.  

Sizing options: 6-10

I got these slippers and a new puppy around the same time, and I was sure she’d eventually rip them to shreds. But they’ve held up to her fascination with the sturdy ties and shearling lining. Plus, they have a rubber sole, so I can wear them for quick trips outside during potty training. Bartie Scott, small business editor 

The best slip-on slippers

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Ugg Tasman Slippers

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With a plush interior and a lightweight, durable outsole, the Ugg Tasman Slippers are a comfy choice you won’t regret wearing outside.

Sizing options: 5-12

While Ugg has a lot of slipper options, I love the Tasmans for their versatility. The brand’s proprietary wool insole is seriously plush — it feels like you’re always standing on top of a luxurious rug. This pair also comes with a particularly durable yet lightweight outsole, making them a great choice for wearing outdoors. Because they’re slip-ons and keep your whole foot covered, these are ideal for just throwing on with a pair of jeans or leggings when you’re in a rush to get out of the house. The color offerings include chestnut and black, which both match pretty much everything. Remi Rosmarin, former commerce reporter

Everlane The ReNew Slippers

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Cozy without being overly warm, Everlane’s The ReNew Slipper is perfect for folks who typically don’t love a slipper.

Sizing options: 5-11

For the longest time, I was a socks-only person. But Everlane’s The ReNew Slipper has turned me into a slipper person, a feat I didn’t think possible. Unlike most indoor footwear, the ReNew Slipper isn’t impossibly fuzzy and warm. The lining is made from a low-pile, recycled polyester that feels like a shearling, so it keeps your feet cozy without causing them to sweat. 

The sturdy rubber outsole helps to support my feet and the nylon outer fabric is also clutch. It’s easy to spot-clean, so should your morning coffee splash on your feet, you won’t be left with a stain. The ReNew Slippers are the coziest slippers I’ve ever worn. And the chic, quilted pattern on the exterior makes them look chic, not hokey. The one drawback? The trim isn’t elastic, so if you have a high instep, it might be a little tight at first. It took me a day of wear to break them in, and now they’re super comfortable. Maria Del Russo, style and beauty guides editor

Ugg Coquette Slippers

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Versatility shines through with the Ugg Coquette Slippers, which can be worn both indoors and outdoors thanks to the Treadlite by Ugg outsole. 

Sizing options: 5-12

These days, I’m living in two things: Black leggings and Ugg slippers. My fluffy Uggs are the first thing I slide on in the morning, and I wear them right up until the moment I’m climbing into bed. I love how cozy and warm and they are, but I also appreciate how functional the rubber lug sole is. I can wear these to check the mail or grab a package without thinking twice. The shearling lining will wear out eventually, but I don’t mind knowing I’ve gotten my full use out of this pair. Even at $120, the cost-per-wear comes out to basically nothing. Ashley Phillips, style and beauty editor

The best slipper shoes

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Birkenstock Boston Shearling Suede Leather

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Birkenstock’s signature cork footbed gets even comfier with shearling lining in the brand’s Boston Shearling Suede Leather Clogs

Sizing options: 4-12.5; these also come in regular/wide and medium/narrow options 

I was a big Ugg slipper person until the pandemic. I quickly realized that with daily wear, the shearling on the inside wore out so quickly that the slippers became too big to wear comfortably. So I purchased these as a replacement. After five months of wearing them, not only are they still the right size, but they are also warm, comfortable, and not at all worn out. I almost never take them off at this point.Jana Meron, SVP programmatic & data strategy

L.LBean Wicked Good Slippers

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The L.LBean Wicked Good Slippers come up to your ankle to keep your whole foot warm and secure in cold weather.

Sizing options: 5-11

The shearling in these slippers is moisture-wicking, so even though your feet may get a bit sweaty due to the limited breathability of the suede, they will still stay relatively dry. The shearling does get matted over years of wear, losing some of its initial fluffiness, but the integrity of the overall slipper has lasted very well. You can’t slip them on — they require at least one hand to assist you in pulling them over your heel — but they’re not going to fall off your feet as you rush around the house either. The Wicked Good Slippers don’t have a rubber outsole, so they are indoor only. The leather sole isn’t textured, and though I’ve never found them to be slippery, you may want to be careful on tile surfaces. Michelle Ullman, freelance writer

Margaux The Slipper

Best slippers for women The Slipper Ballet Margaux 4x3

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Margaux’s The Slipper is the cozy sister of the brand’s iconic ballet flats, and adds a touch of chic to your slipper collection. 

Sizing options: 3-13; thanks to the elastic, these can fit a little snug, so you might want to size up.

Given my aversion to slippers, I spent the early part of my time working from home still wearing shoes around the house. It helped me feel a little more put-together. So when I saw The Slipper, which is the perfect ballet flat/slipper hybrid, I was thrilled. They look like Margaux’s ballet flats, complete with the iconic bow above the toes, but are outfitted with a plush sole and Mongolian cashmere. They’re definitely one of the more luxe pairs of slippers I’ve ever worn. But considering they’re some of the only “shoes” I’m wearing these days, I’d say I deserve it. — Maria Del Russo, style and beauty guides editor

The best open-toe slippers

Best slippers for women Best open toe slippers 4x3

Acorn Spa Slide Slippers

Best slippers for women Acorn Spa Slide Slippers 4x3

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The Acorn Spa Slide Slippers transport you to a spa with their soft terry material and multilayer Cloud Contour footbed. 

Sizing options: S-XL; plus, wide options for each size 

It wasn’t until the pandemic that I realized I needed new slippers that could actually last. I landed on the Acorn Women’s Spa Slide Slippers because they looked cozy — and they had the word “spa” in the name. After having owned a pair for nearly five months now, I can definitely vouch for its comfort and durability. These slippers are made of terry, a fabric you can find at many spas. And unlike other slippers that eventually flatten out and lose their support, this pair has footbeds that hold shape well. Plus, the velcro straps can easily be adjusted if you want a wider, or narrower, fit. I’ve also found the rubber outsoles to be especially sturdy and slip-free, which is handy for when I’m moving around the kitchen or rushing down the stairs. My size small slippers fit me perfectly and I’m a true size 6.Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow

Ugg Fluff Yeah Slide

Best slippers for women Ugg Fluff Yeah Slippers 4x3

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The Instagram-famous Ugg Fluff Yeah Slides actually live up to the hype, thanks to their cozy interior and sturdy rubber sole.

Sizing options: 5-12

Like all Uggs, these are made with soft sheepskin. In fact, the sheepskin covers the entire shoe, save for the elastic back and sturdy rubber platform sole. That elastic back is actually pretty handy for folks who like an open-back slipper but find they slip off. And the open toe and backless silhouette ensure your feet don’t overheat — even with all that sheepskin. My favorite part, though, has to be how supportive they are for my feet. The platform is lightweight but solid, and it makes for slippers that don’t make my feet ache after extended wear. Plus, since the Fluff Yeah are technically slides, they’re more than strong enough to be worn out — even around the corner to the market. Maria Del Russo, style and beauty guides editor

Parlovable Faux Fur Slippers

Best slippers for women Parlovable Faux Fur Slippers 4x3

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The Parlovable Faux Fur Slippers make your feet feel – and look – like clouds thanks to the faux fur upper, velvet lining, and memory foam cushion.   

Sizing options: 7-10

I struggle with splurging on slippers because I know they won’t last me too long with how often I wear them. This pair from Amazon is the perfect compromise. And thanks to quarantine, they get a lot of usage. It’s a reasonably priced and comfortable buy. They fit me true to size and never slip off my feet. I’ve thrown them in the wash a few times, and it restores the slipper’s fluff. The memory foam lasted me for about five to seven months until I decided to replace them with a new pair, which wasn’t a hard sell considering the price. Jacqueline Saguin, style & beauty reviews fellow

Coface Plush Flip Flop Slippers

Best slippers for women Coface Plush Flip Flop Slippers 4x3

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Pamper your feet as they sink into the warm and wide toe Coface Plush Flip Flop Slippers.

Sizing options: 5-10

Because there’s a bin in my closet specifically devoted to fuzzy socks of all kinds, I’ve never been much of a slipper person. When I received these for Christmas, however, the game changed — and I’ve been practically living in them. They are my go-to footwear when I hop out of the shower or if I’m lounging around the house. The plush material provides a fluffy mat for your feet with a wide toe for both stability and comfort. I have the hot pink ones (to channel Elle Woods, of course), but they come in a variety of colors and make great gifts for a spa lover or anyone who gravitates toward fleece and fluff (a.k.a. me). And, for less than $20, they are a steal. Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow

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The 12 best heat protectant sprays for every hair type and style, according to professionals

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Best heat protectant 4x3
  • Heat protectants help prevent damage while heat styling, making them a necessary part of styling.
  • They work by forming a very thin film over the follicle that both prevents damage and smooths hair.
  • We spoke to professional hairstylists to identify the best heat protectants in 2021.

If you frequently use heat-based tools or dryers to style your hair, heat protectants are an absolute necessity. These sprays add a barrier that coats the hair follicle so that heat-styling tools don’t burn your strands or zap away moisture.

“Often the product will have a formula that will coat the hair shaft and offer heat protection up to 428-degrees,” says Penny James, a trichologist and owner of Penny James Salon. “Then a smoothing effect on the cuticle to give the shine.”

When you continuously use high heat on your hair, it can cause the hair’s keratin proteins to break down and the hair cuticle to crack. It can also cause all moisture to evaporate from the inside-out. For color-treated hair it can even cause the pigments to adopt an unflattering brassy tone. Heat protectants work by forming a very thin film over the follicle of the hair that acts as a protective barrier.

We spoke to James and celebrity stylist Dimitris Giannetos, who regularly works with Camila Cabello and Meghan Trainor, to find out how you should be using heat protectant sprays in order to make your style last. You can check out their tips here, but first, read on for the best heat protectant sprays we’ve tested.

These are the best heat protectant sprays in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Davines Hair Shield

Best heat protectant_Davines Hair Shield

Hair Shield (small)

This product contains dimethicone and a couple of other silicones to protect the hair from high heat. It also smells amazing and leaves hair looking super shiny. And if your hair is static-prone, you’re in luck. Davines Hair Shied really cuts down on static, so it’s a perfect heat protectant for winter. Because it’s so lightweight, this is perfect for people with thin and fine hair. It still leaves a nice, even coat throughout your strands that also help prevent humidity.

IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray

Best heat protectant_IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray

Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray (small)

I would say that Good Behavior’s heat protectant is one of the more heavy-duty formulas on the list — in a good way. It works to smooth and hold styles while protecting against heat up to 450-degrees.  This is great for all hair types, and should definitely be used during the summer. That said, make sure you aren’t using this every single day as it will create a bit of build-up. 

COLOR WOW Dream Coat Supernatural Spray

Best heat protectant_COLOR WOW Dream Coat Supernatural Spray

Dream Coat Supernatural Spray (small)

The first time I used this spray, I was shocked by how thin it is — it has the consistency of water. That said, this is a total game-changer for the summertime, and Giannetos agrees. “It makes the hair so shiny, it looks like glass,” he says.  While you have to make sure to section-off your hair as your spraying this product in order to evenly coat it, it really holds your style for days on end.

CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

Best heat protectant_CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray (small)

This is the first heat protectant I ever used. Chi’s Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray smells amazing, and it doesn’t have any buildup issues, so you can use it multiple days in a row without worry. It’s great for every hair type, but because it coats the hair so well, it can definitely feel a little damp when applying. So if you have very fine hair, it’s a good idea to wait a few seconds after applying before using your hot tools. 

Oribe Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield

Best heat protectant_Oribe Balm D'Or Heat Styling Shield

Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield (small)

This heat protectant from Oribe smells great and adds in just enough texture so that you feel like you really have some hold in your hair as you’re styling. It also produces substantial shine and softness that really lasts. This is especially great for those that have super fine or greasy hair — even those looking for a dry shampoo alternative. It really coats each hair follicle to add both texture and heat protection.

R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist

Best heat protectant_R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist

Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist (small)

Beauty fans are most likely familiar with R+Co already, but the brand has recently launched a couture line: R+Co Bleu. This mist from the line, in particular, is phenomenal. It offers heat protection up to 450-degrees and leaves the hair feeling flexible so that you can update your ‘do over the next few days. This is great for all hair types, as it coats each strand evenly and provides a texture that isn’t super drying. It also helps keep styles looking great by acting as a humidity shield. 

OUAI Heat Protection Spray

Best heat protectant_OUAI Heat Protection Spray

Heat Protection Spray (small)

Like all Ouai products, this heat protection spray smells absolutely divine. The nozzle is super effective and evenly coats the hair so well that you wind up using less product. It definitely makes the hair much shinier and humidity-proof. 

This is a perfect spray for fine to thick hair. It will add volume, shine, and a smell so divine you’ll want to spray it all over. Just make so to position the bottle at least six inches from your head as you apply — it applies pretty heavily if you don’t. 

Living proof Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray

Best heat protectant_Living proof Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray

Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray (small)

In addition to acting as a heat shield, Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray almost works as a texturizer and dry shampoo. I’ve noticed that my hair appears to stay cleaner for longer when I use it. In fact, it’s great on hair that’s greasy or working toward oily. If your hair is freshly shampooed, it might be a little drying. 

Amika The Wizard Detangling Hair Primer

Best heat protectant_Amika The Wizard Detangling Hair Primer

The Wizard Detangling Hair Primer (small)

Not only does this evenly coat your hair to protect it from heat styling tools, but it’s also great when used as a detangler as well. Make sure that you apply it to your hair when you’re fresh out of the shower, as that’s how it works best. It’s really great for all hair types — even hair that is damaged or needs a trim. Its detangling properties make it so much easier to drag a comb through, so you never feel like you’re pulling on your knots. 

Gisou Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray

Best heat protectant_Gisou Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray

Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray (small)

Just because this product is all-natural doesn’t mean you have to worry about it being less effective. It’s great for all hair types, but particularly for those hoping to really prevent additional damage. In addition to protecting your hair from heat styling tools, Propolis’ spray is great for staving off sun exposure on your strands, which can be drying and damaging. Make sure you spray it on when your hair is wet from the shower so that it’s fully coated as soon as you hit it with a blow dryer. 

Ghd Heat Protectant Spray

Best heat protectant_Ghd Heat Protectant Spray

Heat Protectant Spray (small)

Ghd’s spray provides such a lightweight, even coating that you’ll hardly notice it at all. It’s great at protecting from harsh hot tools — it truly feels like it even distributes the heat for faster styling. This incredibly lightweight spray is great for all hair types and protects against humidity.

Bumble and Bumble Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer

Best heat protectant_Bumble and bumble Bb.Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat UV Protective Primer

Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (small)

This is one of the best options if your hair is really dried out from past damage — or from putting off a haircut. It’s intended to be applied to damp hair, so it’s best used directly out of the shower. Like the name suggests, Bumble Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil also contains lots of oils so that moisturize your hair and keeps frizz at bay— even if you’re going to be outside or exposed to humidity. It also protects against UV rays and even works as a detangler. 

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The 5 best soft coolers we tested in 2021 that actually keep drinks cold

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Soft cooler bags are easier to carry than hard coolers, but it’s harder to find one that stays cold.
  • The best soft cooler is big enough for drinks and food, comfortable to carry, and keeps ice for days.
  • Our top pick, the Yeti Hopper M30, is large, stays cold, and is durable enough to last years.

Whether you’re going camping, to the beach, or to a picnic in the park, you need a reliable cooler. Though there’s still a time and place for a traditional cooler, soft cooler bags are a rising commodity – and for good reason. The best soft-sided coolers are lighter and easier to carry than their hard, rotomolded brethren. But they also don’t hold the cold for as long, and can’t fit as much as a bigger, hard cooler.

Because there’s so much variability, we tested the best soft coolers, including YETI soft coolers, on hikes, camping trips, fishing outings, and casual trips to the park. The best soft coolers can keep ice (and beer) cold for at least two days (realistically, if you’re opening it regularly), are comfortable to carry, and have enough room to fit all the snacks and drinks you want to take with you.

With dozens of hours spent testing, the following guide features our five favorites, all classified into categories they particularly excelled at – save for the Yeti soft cooler, which is our favorite soft cooler bag overall.

Here are the best soft coolers:

How we tested

hopperm30

Each soft cooler in this guide went through a series of tests across hikes, camping trips, fishing outings, and casual trips to the park to assess how well they stood up across these four categories: 

  • Capacity: The best soft cooler needs to have room for both all your drinks and food, as well as for the ice to keep everything cold. Some soft coolers come in dedicated sizes, which makes their capacity rating easier to judge, and also makes the shopping process simple: If you need more space, buy a bigger cooler. We also looked at how if the soft coolers offered storage for other essentials like smartphones, car keys, dry food, etc. 
  • Ice retention: A cooler bag is hardly reliable if it doesn’t live up to its namesake and keep ice for longer than a few hours. Thankfully, most modern coolers feature insulation technology that allows them to hold ice for several days — though we still put these claims to the test to see just how reliable each cooler’s ice retention actually was.
  • Portability: One of the hallmarks of a soft cooler is its portability. Be it via backpack-like straps, a pair of comfortable handles, or even a shoulder strap, it should be easy to haul around (even when full of ice, food, and drinks).
  • Value: Coolers of any variety can be expensive, and soft coolers are no different. However, the value of a soft cooler is more than just its sticker price and more so a combination of the three categories above and if it’s worth the investment. We always feel that it’s better to spend a little more on something that’s designed to last than to spend less more often on an inferior product. 

The best soft cooler overall

yetim30

YETI’s Hopper M30 tote-style soft cooler is the most durable cooler I tested (it will last years), plus it’s comfortable to carry, keeps ice frozen, and has a huge storage capacity. 

Pros: Sturdy, sleek, airtight

Cons: Heavy compared with some other picks (but that’s due to the quality insulation), stiff, expensive, may be overkill for casual day use

Some say Yeti coolers are overbuilt, and if you’re just looking for something to carry drinks to the beach a few days a year, you definitely don’t need to pay for this superior construction. But if you’ll be hauling the cooler on all sorts of outdoor adventurers, some of which will be multi-day, the higher price tag is worth it for Yeti’s durability and design.

Yes, it’s expensive, but before you scoff at the price tag of the Yeti soft cooler, let’s get something straight: Cheap soft cooler bags will keep your ice frozen but most fall apart after a few months. The Yeti Hopper M30 lasts literally years and years. 

The durability is real: I threw this cooler down a grip tape-lined set of stairs thinking it would lead to at least one abrasion. Nothing. I tipped it upside-down and left it that way for hours. Not a drip. I yanked, ripped, and pulled at the zipper in every wrong way with all my might. Not even the hint of a budge, and it was still airtight afterward.

What’s more, the brand offers a three-year warranty on Yeti soft coolers where many other manufacturers only offer one.

Aside from its durability, the Hopper also does an excellent job of keeping what’s stored inside chilled throughout the day, even in warm weather. Featuring the brand’s patented closed-cell foam, Coldcell Insulation, you can expect upwards of 15 to 20 hours of kept ice — give or take a few hours depending on how often you open and close it, if it’s left open for any amount of time, or if it’s sitting in direct sunlight.

Capacity-wise, it’s able to hold a surprising amount of both food and drink. Even when I stocked it with more cans my crew would need for a day out, there was still enough room to throw in a few sandwiches and some additional snacks. Its padded shoulder strap came is a lovely addition, making it more comfortable to carry when it’s full up and I was walking from car to campsite, hauling it down to the beach, or slinging it on my back while biking to the park. 

The bag itself is also fairly rigid and the zipper is quite tight if you’re not used to Yeti’s heavily-designed waterproof technology — so much so that you need two hands to do anything with it, which is the only remaining downside of the Hopper.

Read our full review of the Yeti Hopper M30.

The best soft cooler on a budget

aocooler

AO Coolers are less than a third of the price of our top picks, but they are still excellent at keeping food and drinks cold.

Pros: Affordable, thick insulation, durable exterior lining

Cons: Cheap zipper, inconsistencies in stitching

Budget coolers tend to have inferior insulation, weak stitching, or leakage issues, so we generally avoid recommending them. But AO Coolers buck the trend by offering relatively well-constructed options that are also affordable.

What makes its coolers particularly impressive is its 3/4-inch insulation and durable exterior lining, whether you choose the canvas, vinyl, or woven vinyl model. It’s worth noting that during testing, I could sometimes feel cool air escaping, but it wasn’t enough to cause my ice to melt at an alarming rate.

The AO Cooler size and capacity are best-suited for shorter outings like day hikes or picnics, so ice melt becomes less of an issue. That being said, if you take it on a weekend camping trip, you’ll probably need to replenish the ice once or twice — in my testing, this was especially true on hotter days.  

The stitching throughout isn’t the best and, out of the box, I noticed a few loose threads. These wouldn’t spell the end of the cooler even if they did go, but these inconsistencies and loose stitches, as well as the basic YKK zipper, do put it in a significantly lower category of durability than the Yeti soft cooler. At this price range, however, it’s the best soft cooler bag we’ve found.

If you’re just looking for a soft-sided cooler to keep sandwiches and drinks cool on your way to the beach or a picnic, this AO Cooler is the most worth your money.

The most versatile soft cooler

OtterboxTrooper

The OtterBox Trooper LT 30 is a sort of customizable Swiss Army knife of soft coolers, coming standard with an accessory mounting system while also offering a 30-quart capacity and insulation designed to keep ice for up to three days.

Pros: 30-quart capacity can hold plenty of ice and drinks for 2-4 people, padded shoulder straps make for easy transport, rugged and durable construction, accessory points allow for a wide variety of customization

Cons: May be bulky for on-the-go transport

From the brand well-known for its durable phone cases, OtterBox also makes a line of seriously impressive coolers, including a highly versatile soft cooler called the Trooper LT 30. Outfitted with accessory hooks that allow you to put everything on it from a bottle opener or dry box to tie-down loops or a hook for more gear, the Trooper LT is great for a wide variety of use cases. 

Following the brand’s standard approach for indestructible construction, the Trooper LT features a wide base that allows the soft cooler to stand on its own, a TPU-coated nylon exterior that’s puncture-proof, and a reliable clasp system that’s durable and leak-proof to trap the temperature in. The interior has a capacity of 30 quarts, which, during my testing, held a little more than a bag of ice (there’s even an ice-fill line drawn on, which I loved) plus a 12-pack of soda or beer, and a few chilled snacks. 

In my experience, carrying the Trooper LT was easy, even when full, as it comes with two padded backpack-like straps on the rear which can also turn into a shoulder strap if need be. Two exterior pockets can hold bottle openers or even a smartphone and have water-tight zippers for added security.

OtterBox lists the cooler as being able to hold ice for up to three days, which I found to be a close assessment. On a two-day camp trip, I was able to purchase just one bag of ice and it held up the entire trip, and on single-day hikes, there was very little water to drain after a few hours on the trail. 

Though I mostly used this on car camping trips or while hiking, its versatility allows it to work well while fishing, biking, or just hanging out in your backyard. It’s not exactly cheap, but this cooler isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and figures to be a durable addition to your outdoor kit for years. — Rick Stella, Health & Fitness Editor

The best soft cooler backpack

icemuleprocanvas

The IceMule Pro is lightweight, compactable, essentially waterproof, and it won’t break the bank.

Pros: Lightweight, fairly priced, stowable, features a burping valve to let out excess air, easy to clean

Cons: Insulation could be better

IceMule’s wonderfully-designed dry-bag-style coolers are insulated to the point of being just sufficiently padded to wear as a backpack without having precariously packed beer bottles digging into you. They’re also completely airtight thanks to the roll-top design, which eliminates the fail point of a zipper.

The IceMule soft cooler line has received a good deal of praise despite a few early hiccups with design, including torn inner lining, water getting between the exterior and interior linings, and a cheap, beach-ball-like air release valve.

As far as I can tell, all of these issues have been addressed and resolved, and having an IceMule Pro to zip back and forth between the dock and the apartment for fishing trips has been an absolute delight. And, when you’re not using it, it folds flat and stores easily. It also doubles well as a regular backpack.

The IceMule Pro soft cooler comes in either vinyl or canvas, and after having tested both, I feel a little more confident in and comfortable wearing the canvas. On the other hand, the canvas only comes in black, which may not be the best color for a cooler. 

Its insulation does leave a bit to be desired, though a lot of that can be attributed to how often I’d open or close the bag. IceMule rates the Pro as able to hold ice for up to 24 hours (and cold temperatures for as many as two days), but judging by how quickly the ice would melt while I used it, 24 hours seemed like a stretch. What this means is a little more water in the bag after a day’s use, and the need to re-up ice on days two and three if you’re camping.

The best multi-purpose soft cooler

REI Cooler Pack

REI’s Cool Trail Split Pack offers ample storage space for both chilled and dry food and beverages, making it the perfect day hike companion. 

Pros: An area for both chilled and dry goods, padded shoulder straps and back panel make for comfortable transport, features REI’s tried-and-true durable construction

Cons: Lacks the capacity of most dedicated soft coolers

Most soft coolers offer one area for storing and chilling your food and drinks. REI Co-op’s Cool Trail Split Pack blends the best of both worlds by featuring the ability to house both chilled and dry goods at the same time. 

It does this by splitting the pack into two sections: a cooler-like bottom for storing ice and anything that needs to be cold and a dry top for everything else (i.e. food, change of layers, smartphone, car keys, etc.). 

Because of that design, the Cool Trail Split Pack looks like a sort of boxy backpack, featuring padded shoulder straps, as well as a chest strap and a padded back panel for added comfort — something that was much appreciated while testing this on multi-mile hikes and longer-than-expected bike rides. The pack is manufactured out of recycled ripstop nylon (like what you’d find in REI’s tents) and a polyester interior, making it highly durable both inside and out.

In terms of performance, the pack was able to keep everything stored in the cooler section chilled for an entire day spent hiking or hanging at the park in the middle of summer. Ice would begin to melt throughout the day, and especially so when the cooler section was left open while taking a short break, but I never experienced any leakage, even if the pack was laid on its side or jostling around on my back. 

One minor drawback would be that the pack is good enough for nourishing maybe two or three people as its capacity is far smaller than others on this list. But with how much it makes up for that lack of capacity by offering a spot for dry good, it’s well worth the investment. — Rick Stella, Health & Fitness Editor

How to shop for a soft cooler

The best soft cooler for you is entirely dependent on how often you’ll use it and what you’ll use it for the most. If you’re just transporting your lunch to the office or bringing snacks to your kids soccer game, you don’t need to drop more than $100 and your main areas of consideration are ease of opening, size capacity, and comfort while carrying. 

However, fishermen, frequent campers, and hikers will probably want to look for a soft-sided cooler with these three features, plus one that will last a long time (read: durable) and is well-built to keep ice frozen longer. After all, a reliable soft cooler bag is the difference between grabbing a cold beer or soda instead of a lukewarm swill; having safely-chilled meat to grill up on a camping trip; or bringing home freshly-caught fillets or those that have spoiled in the heat on your boat.

Most often, anyone looking to buy a soft cooler wants closed-cell insulation. Open-cell insulation is basically polyurethane packaging foam; it’s lightweight, airy, and the air bubbles that form the insulation are loosely arranged, which isn’t terribly effective. Closed-cell, on the other hand, is a bit heavier and pricier, since the construction has individual air bubbles that insulate far better. But it’s the best design to keep ice (and whatever else is inside) cold. This is partly what makes coolers in the Yeti and Rtic tiers so much more expensive. Of course, we can’t deny that you’re paying for the name, too.

Check out our other cooler buying guides

yeti

The best backpack coolers


The best coolers


The best lunch boxes and lunch bags


The best water bottles

 

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The 7 best bike lights of 2021 for better visibility while cycling at night

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Bike lights keep you visible in low-light conditions, alerting oncoming traffic or anyone else on the road.
  • The best should be easy to take off and put on and have a battery capable of lasting for hours of riding.
  • Our top pick, the Cygolite Streak 450 Hotshot SL, comes with a headlight and taillight and has several light modes.

Being safe while riding your bike requires more than just putting on a helmet and riding within your means – you’ll also want to guarantee you’re highly visible to those around you with a quality set of bike lights. Even if you don’t plan on riding at dusk or when it’s completely dark, bike lights are one of the most important cycling accessories to have and it’s better to have them and not use them to not have them at all.

According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “the time period with the largest frequency of pedalcyclist fatalities overall is 6 pm to 8:59 pm (21%), followed by 9 pm to 11:59 pm (17%).” Although the study was conducted year-round, and it may not have always been entirely dark around 6 pm, those numbers do paint a stark picture. The fact most of those time frames take place in low or no lighting suggests visibility was one of the main factors.

As a resident of New York City, and with my go-to mode of transportation being my bike, there aren’t many days during the spring and summer that I don’t spend at least a little bit of time pedaling around my neighborhood. I ride during all hours of the day, too, be it commuting to work or getting in a ride on the weekends, and I find myself biking in low or no light conditions often.

But just as I’d never leave my apartment without a helmet, I always make sure to pack along a set of bike lights – no matter how long I plan on being out. It doesn’t take an in-depth study to know that bike lights are an indispensable part of any cycling kit and something that can very well save your life.

Throughout my years of cycling, I’ve learned firsthand the immense value of a quality set of bike lights (and how dangerous a poor set can be). I’ve also come across my fair share of bike light variety; there are some designed to be highly portable and easy to install, while others are intended for trail riding.

Below, I’ve rounded up seven of my favorites from brands like Malker, NiteRider, and MPowerd. I’ve also included some tips on how to show for a bike light, as well as insight into the testing methodology I used in deciding which lights ultimately made the cut.

Here are the best bike lights:

How we test bike lights

Best Bike Lights Pattern 4x3

Each of the bike lights featured in this guide went through a series of tests to determine how well they compared across these four categories: Brightness, ease of use, versatility, and value. Here’s how each category specifically factored into deciding which lights made this guide:

Brightness: Judging a bike light’s brightness isn’t just about its lumen output or its actual brightness, but more so the quality of the light and what kind of settings it offers. As mentioned in the section on how to shop for a bike light, quality bike lights can vary in lumen output between 200 to 1,000 lumens, though this depends on where you plan on riding. To test for this, we looked at how effective the light was at making us visible without blinding oncoming traffic, while also providing some illumination of our surroundings. 

Ease of use: A bike light that’s hard to install, or even difficult to turn on and switch between its light settings, isn’t one that’s going to be particularly thrilling to use over and over again. If the light is easy to use, you’ll be more inclined to use it. Plain and simple. It’s also preferred that a light doesn’t require much toggling while you’re riding (or, at the very least, is easy to use).

Versatility: Being able to use a single set of bike lights on multiple bikes isn’t exactly a dealbreaker but it is nice to have that flexibility if need be. Additionally, a light that offers multiple brightness settings or a variety of light modes makes it far more valuable than just a standard, single beam light. 

Value: A bike light’s value isn’t just what its sticker price says but more so a combination of the three categories above, and how that compares to what it costs. There are plenty of valuable lights in the $15-$40 range, capable of fitting a range of budgets without sacrificing much quality. 

The best bike light overall

cygolite

For a reasonable price, the Cygolite Streak 450 Hotshot SL Bike Light Combo Set includes a bright headlight and taillight to make your early morning or late night commutes safer.

Pros: Incredibly bright, long battery life, easy to mount, several useful lighting modes

Cons: Uses Mini USB (rather than the more common Micro USB)

The Cygolite Streak 450 Hotshot SL Bike Light Combo Set comes with the Streak 450 Lumen headlight, which lasts for up to 100 hours on a single charge, and the Hotshot SL 50 Lumen taillight, which lasts for 200 hours on a single charge.

The lights charge using a Mini USB cord that you can plug into your computer or a cube. Since many electronics these days rely on Micro USB (not mini), you may want to keep a Mini USB cord with you on your rides so you aren’t stranded with dead lights. Or, if you see the low battery indicator turn on, be sure to charge the light before you go out.

The headlight has seven lighting modes: boost, high, medium, low, steady pulse, walking, and daylighting, which consists of powerful flashes that make you stand out in broad daylight. The taillight also has a lightning mode as well as five other modes of varying flash tempo and brightness. — James Brains, home & kitchen reporter

The best easy install bike light

bike light

If you’re looking for a light that’s just as easy to install as it is to take off your bike, consider picking up the surprisingly well-built and bright TeamObsidian Bike Light Set.

Pros: Affordable, adjustable beam width, lifetime guarantee

Cons: Doesn’t come with batteries, not designed for trail riding

One of the benefits you sacrifice with the low cost of the TeamObsidian Bike Light Set is usability out of the box. Batteries aren’t included. Despite having to buy five AAA batteries (I recommend getting rechargeable versions), there’s a lot to like about this set.

The headlamp produces 200 lumens of light. Both lights have three lighting modes — high, dimmed, and flashing — and are designed to withstand water, snow, heat, and dust. Installation is effortless and tool-free. And, the lights have quick-release mounts so you can take them with you and avoid potential thefts.

TeamObsidian stands behind the quality of its bike lights by offering a “100% no-hassle lifetime guarantee.” The company specifically states that it will refund your money if you’re dissatisfied for any reason. And, if the lights break, it will send you new ones. — James Brains, home & kitchen reporter

The best budget bike light

MalkerLights1

Malker’s bike lights are a great budget buy for anyone looking for a set of easy-to-install front and taillights — they even have a variety of light settings which add to their versatility. 

Pros: Easy to strap onto a bike’s handlebars and seatpost, comes with front and rear lights, has multiple light settings including a strobe function

Cons: Light modes can be hard to toggle, not robust enough for all riding conditions

These LED lights from Malker have been a go-to of mine for several years, as they’re extremely easy to put on and take off and incredibly cost-effective — I often see them on sale for under $10. The fact they come as a set of four (two standard, front-facing lights, and two red, rear-facing lights) only adds to their utility. 

Aside from their price and ease of use, what I like about these lights from Malker is how lightweight they are. I’m able to stash them in my backpack before I head out for a ride, but can also just leave them attached to my bike and they don’t take up too much space or get in the way of anything while I bike.

If I lock my bike up, their strap-on style makes it easy to just unhook them and put them back in my bag (or even a pant pocket), though it is worth noting to make sure the lights are completely off when stashing them. Several times I thought I’ve turned them off, only to find them still on but on a different light setting next time I go to use them (or the battery would just be completely sapped). 

The best bike light for trail riding

niterider

If you prefer to take your mountain bike off-road at night and you have a little extra to spend, consider the NiteRider Pro 1800 Race Light.

Pros: 1800 lumens output, long distance beam that maintains uniformity, excellent for trail riding at night

Cons: Expensive, hard to remove

What sets the NiteRider Pro 1800 Race Light apart from the other lights in our guide is that it gets brighter than your average car headlight. There are five modes: high, medium, low, walk, and flash.

The light is designed to stand up to the elements with Dupont fiberglass reinforced nylon housings and a borosilicate glass lens, which is resistant to extreme temperature changes. The eight-step power gauge tells you how much battery power is left, and you can easily swap out batteries so you aren’t left in the dark while you wait for your light to charge.

The best solar-powered bike light

LuciLight

MPowerd’s Luci Solar Bike Light is a convenient, versatile light that runs for upwards of 15 hours on a single charge and is easy to install almost anywhere on a bike’s frame.

Pros: Recharges via solar power, close to around 15 hours of use on a single charge, easy to attach all over a bike, lightweight, offers four different light modes, comes with a rear light

Cons: Full solar recharge takes close to 8 hours

It’s easy to see the versatility of MPowerd’s Luci Solar Bike Light; not only does it deliver more than enough capacity for even the longest of day rides but its ability to recharge while I ride is a wonderful perk. Add in the fact that this kit also comes with a solar-powered taillight, and this bike light package is quite intriguing.

Both lights are easy to attach via an adjustable silicone strap that works well on just about any part of a bike’s frame. The straps keep them snug, too, as I never felt as though the light would fall off, even if I was riding off-road or on a particularly bumpy street. I did think that the light’s magnetic clasp into the solar charger would come apart, but it stayed secure the entire time. 

Output-wise, the front light delivers 100 lumens while the taillight provides 40 lumens. Each has multiple light modes including a flashing option or different brightness levels, and a built-in battery level indicator lets you know when it’s time to recharge it. The lights also have a Micro-USB slot, so they aren’t only dependent on solar power for juice. 

Its $65 price tag is on the higher end for bike lights, but I do feel as though its versatility as solar-powered light makes it worth the investment — this is something that’s designed to last for several years while also being able to save you heaps of money on replacement batteries.

The best rear bike light

LezyneLight

The Femto Tail Light from Lezyne is a lightweight, easy-to-use tail light that helps dramatically improve nighttime visibility, both behind your bike and on the sides. 

Pros: USB rechargeable, easy to install, lightweight enough to pack in a backpack when not in use, 270 degrees of visibility

Cons: Strap isn’t very durable

Front bike lights are important, of course, but it can be just as vital to have something on the back of your bike to improve your visibility, as well. The Femto from Lezyne is one of the best I’ve used, as it’s light weight enough to not take up much space in my backpack when not in use and easy to install when it starts to get dark out (I can even pop it on without having to fully get off my bike). 

Although tail lights may seem like a dime a dozen (there are plenty available via Amazon), this one from Lezyne nabs this spot thanks to its wide range of visibility (270 degrees) and decent price point (I often find it for under $20). Tack on its easy-to-use mounting strap that lets you attach it almost anywhere, and you have a highly versatile rear bike light that can be used on everything from commuters and road bikes to mountain bikes and cruisers.

It’s also USB chargeable which I found to be quite useful as I could just plug these in after a few sessions of riding with them instead of looking around my apartment for or buying batteries.

The best waterproof bike light

urban bike light

The Light and Motion Urban 500 Headlight keeps you visible from the front and sides with its powerful headlight and helpful sidelights.

Pros: Has sidelights, 500 lumens, lightweight and compact, easy to remove, two-year warranty

Cons: USB port cover falls off easily

When mounted just right, the Light and Motion Urban 500 Headlight has two amber safety sidelights that make you visible to drivers on your sides. There are four light modes: high (500 lumens), medium, low, and pulse.

On high, the battery lasts for about 90 minutes, and on pulse, it lasts for up to 12 hours. The light mounts right onto your handlebars and has a quick release feature so you can take your light with you. It charges using a Micro USB charging cable. And, Light and Motion backs the quality of this product with a two-year warranty.

How to shop for a bike lights

When choosing a bike light, look at the number of lumens it’s capable of producing, as this tells you how bright the light is. Many models give you this number right in their name and, based on our testing, the advertised lumens rating is accurate for the best units, though the brightness may dwindle as the battery loses juice.

For headlights, the number of lumens you need depends on where you’ll be cycling. For riding trails at night, you need at least 1,000 lumens. For urban roads where there are streetlights, 200 lumens will do. And, taillights should produce between 40 and 100 lumens of output since they are mainly there so others can see you.

Do be careful not to use extremely bright flashing headlights while cycling, too. This can disorient drivers and make it harder for them to see you.

Also, anything above 300 lumens could potentially blind oncoming traffic. So, consider dropping down to a dimmer setting when cars are coming — much like you might use the high beams on your car. If you’re concerned about drivers seeing you from behind, consider installing two rear lights: One that flashes and one that remains steady.

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The 9 best dehumidifiers in 2021

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

white frigidaire dehumidifier in a living room between an armchair and coffee table
  • Dehumidifiers help remove excess moisture from the air to prevent mold and remove allergens.
  • The best dehumidifiers are from Frigidaire, HomeLabs, and Honeywell.
  • We also include budget-friendly, portable, and small-space options.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The purpose of a dehumidifier is to remove excess humidity from the air, keeping your room dry and helping prevent mold and mildew growth.

You might need a dehumidifier if:

  • Your room feels stuffy and humid
  • You see mold and mildew, and the area smells musty
  • There are wet spots or condensation on the windows and walls
  • You or your fellow inhabitants experience upper respiratory problems like sneezing and coughing

You can also use a hygrometer to directly measure humidity levels in your house. “We recommend keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30-50%. High humidity can increase ground-ozone levels, dust mites, and mold – all of which can be allergy or asthma trigger[s],” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

We found the best dehumidifiers for rooms of various sizes and different needs. See the FAQs section for information on how to shop for a dehumidifier, how to clean your unit, and more.

Here are the best dehumidifiers of 2021

Our methodology

white homelabs dehumidifier on the ground next to a bicycle

In our first major rewrite of this guide, we consulted allergy, skincare, and HVAC experts to learn more about how a dehumidifier can help your health and what features to look for. We spoke to Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA); John McKeon, CEO and founder of Allergy Standards Limited (ASL); Jeanine Downie, MD, FAAD, Director of Image Dermatology PC; and a spokesperson for The Home Depot

Using their insights, along with our own research and knowledge of the space, we picked a few dehumidifier options per category. Down the line, we plan to personally test these dehumidifiers to choose one best pick per category.

The best dehumidifiers overall

white frigidaire dehumidifier in a living room between an armchair and coffee table

Our best dehumidifiers are quiet, efficient, Energy-Star certified, and look sleek rather than clunky.

High-Efficiency 50-Pint Dehumidifier with Built-In Pump (medium)Dehumidifier (medium)TP50WK Dehumidifier (30-pint) (medium)
The best dehumidifiers for small spaces

small vremi compact dehumidifier on top of a table next to vases

Whether you have a closet or small bathroom that smells musty, small dehumidifiers can efficiently remove moisture from the air without taking up too much space.

Small Dehumidifier (medium)Compact Dehumidifier (medium)
The best dehumidifiers for large spaces

ivation large-capacity dehumidifier on the floor next to an armchair

Large basements and living rooms will benefit from the following dehumidifiers. Large dehumidifiers also often have the perk of more advanced features like custom settings or auto-shutoff.

70-Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier (medium)70-Pint Dehumidifier (medium)
The best portable dehumidifiers

small white eva-dry wireless mini dehumidifier in a cabinet in front of spices

“For smaller spaces or rental units, I recommend including portable dehumidifiers to keep the space feeling fresh,” said a spokesperson for The Home Depot. Portable dehumidifiers are also great for small closets, cabinets, traveling, and gym bags.

Wireless Mini Dehumidifier (medium)Mini Dehumidifier (medium)
FAQs

Why do you need a dehumidifier? 

A dehumidifier helps maintain the optimal level of humidity in your room so it’s not too humid. It reduces the growth and incidence of mold, mildew, and dust mites.


Dehumidifier vs. humidifier: what’s the difference and which do you need? 

A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to the air. 

If your room feels stuffy and you see condensation or mold, you need a dehumidifier. It’s commonly used in bathrooms, basements, closets, boats, and RVs, but you can use it anywhere else in the house, too. 

If your room feels dry and your skin is irritated, you need a humidifier. We tested the best humidifiers here.


What to consider when buying a dehumidifier 

Dampness level: Dehumidifiers come in different sizes depending on how much moisture they can remove in 24 hours. Here’s what size to buy based on how humid your room is:

Dampness level Characteristics Dehumidifier size Room size
Moderately damp Musty aroma in the area during humid weather 25-39 pint capacity Small (closets, small bathrooms)
Extremely damp Always damp in the area regardless of season 40-59 pint capacity Medium (bedrooms, small basements, large closets)
Wet Visible condensation on ceilings and walls 60+ pint capacity Large (large basements)

How the unit removes moisture: It will either have a built-in pump or a direct drain. “A dehumidifier with a built-in pump allows you to run the drain hose up to a window, sink or elevated drain. A unit with a direct drain will funnel the water directly into a sink or basement drain,” said a spokesperson from The Home Depot. 

Energy performance: To get maximum efficiency out of a unit, look for those that are Energy Star-certified.

Automatic or useful features: Look for a unit with an adjustable humidistat, which will automatically turn your unit on and off to maintain the preset humidity level. Other useful features, according to The Home Depot, include:

  • Automatic shutoff: Turns your unit off once the tank is full 
  • Digital display: Shows the relative humidity level and other settings
  • Filter sensor/indicator: Tells you when it’s time to replace the filter
  • Programmable timer: Lets you run the unit only at certain times of the day
  • Auto-defrost: Keeps your unit from freezing in cold temperatures 

It’s also worth pointing out that many AC units have built-in dehumidifiers. If your AC unit is in your desired room, check first to see if it has a dehumidifier and whether it works well. We tested the best air conditioners here.


How does a dehumidifier work? 

A dehumidifier works by blowing moist air over coolant-filled coils, causing the moisture to condense into water droplets. The condensation then drips from the coils into a receptacle. The collected water is directly drained out or pumped into another area like a sink, depending on the unit you have.


Is a dehumidifier good for your skin?

“Dehumidifiers decrease the incidence of dry skin,” said Jeanine Downie, MD, FAAD, Director of Image Dermatology PC. They also reduce irritation due to allergens like dust mites and mold. If your dehumidifier removes too much humidity from the air, however, it may dry out your skin. 

“It’s important to note that if the humidity starts to drop below 30% it can have a negative impact on health, including drying out of the eyes and mucous membranes,” said McKeon. “Very dry air can also result in dry skin, worsening of eczema, and irritation of the airways.” You should continue to monitor humidity levels and how your skin feels as you use your dehumidifier.


How do you clean a dehumidifier? 

There are two parts to focus your attention on: the air filter and the tank. Clean the air filter under your faucet often (once a week). Wipe down and dry out the tank after every use to reduce mold and mildew growth within your dehumidifier.

Check out our other home-climate-control guides

best air purifier 2021 lead
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The 5 best gaming routers of 2021

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Collage of gaming routers, including Netgear, D-Link, and TP-link on blue background 4x3
  • Having a solid wireless router is one of the most important aspects of online gaming.
  • Some of the best gaming routers offer support for the latest version of Wi-Fi, multiple bands, and more.
  • Embracing these new technologies can give you the edge in just about any online game.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Most people are content to use the routers provided by their internet service providers. Those devices rarely support the most advanced networking technologies, such as tri-band mesh and more powerful processing, however, and some can barely keep up with everyday activities such as streaming video. Anyone looking to improve their online gaming experience should probably start by replacing that ISP-provided equipment with their own gaming router.

But it can be hard to figure out what router to buy. Does it have to support the latest version of Wi-Fi? What is the most recent version of Wi-Fi, anyway? How important is the number of Ethernet ports, wireless bands, or antennas? It’s no wonder so many people end up using whatever router their ISP provides when answering all these questions can be so overwhelming.

Preference also comes into play. Someone who wants to be on the leading edge of wireless networking has very different needs from someone who just wants to have a better time gaming online without breaking the bank in the process. There is some good news, though, and it’s that there are many routers capable of serving a wide variety of needs. These are some of the best wireless routers for gaming.

Here are the best gaming routers of 2021

The best gaming router overall

Netgear Nighthawk Pro AX5400 WiFi Gaming Router (XR1000)

The Netgear NightHawk XR1000 offers high speeds, great bandwidth, and a variety of customization tools.

Pros: High data transfer speeds, extensive controls

Cons: Tedious setup, companion apps are slow to load

The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 boasts a variety of features—Wi-Fi 6 support, Quality of Service (QoS) controls, and a companion mobile app—that should allow it to appeal to PC, console, and mobile gamers alike. It’s not the most powerful router on the market, but it’s a versatile device that offers an affordable way to improve your network’s performance.

Wi-Fi 6 offers several improvements over previous generations of Wi-Fi, including longer ranges, increased bandwidth, and improved transfer speeds. In my tests, the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 stays close to the maximum 100 Mbps download speed afforded by my network from up to 45 feet away despite multiple obstructions. (It offers better Wi-Fi 5 performance than my existing router, too, which would be worth the upgrade by itself.)

Many of the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000‘s features are enabled via the DumaOS 3.0 software. The QoS controls allow you to prioritize the performance of specific devices on the network, which means you could automatically limit the bandwidth someone else is using to stream Netflix while preserving the quality of your gaming PC’s connection, for example.

Netgear also offers details about connections between the Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 and other devices on its network via the Netgear Nighthawk mobile app. Unfortunately that app is more of a necessary evil than a valued companion. I find it slow to load, occasionally unresponsive, and somewhat vexing, but it is also the easiest way to update the router’s firmware. 

The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 does have a few shortcomings, however, such as the inclusion of just four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one USB 3.0 port. This should be fine for predominantly wireless setups, but the limited number of wired connections might prove frustrating for some.

Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 (button)
The best budget gaming router

D-Link DIR-867-US

The D-Link DIR-867-US is a step up from ISP-provided routers that doesn’t break the bank.

Pros: Affordable, offers basic quality-of-life features such as MU-MIMO support

Cons: Doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, lacks USB input

The D-Link DIR-867-US is an affordable router said to offer speeds up to 1,750 Mbps when a device is connected to both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It also boasts multi-user, multi-input, multi-output (MU-MIMO) support and Quality of Service (QoS) controls. The former provides better transfer speeds when connecting to many devices, and the latter offers controls to prioritize the traffic of some devices over others.

The DIR-867-US‘s wireless connectivity is complemented by four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports that can offer a stable wired connection to compatible devices. The router doesn’t feature any USB ports, however, which means peripherals such as printers and other office equipment will have to rely on Wi-Fi or Ethernet to join the network. That means those four Ethernet ports could fill up faster than you might have expected.

There’s no denying that other routers offer many benefits over the DIR-867-US. It doesn’t support the latest version of Wi-Fi, it’s limited to just two bands, and its wired connectivity is lacking compared to other options. But it still offers better performance than many ISP-provided routers, and its low price makes it more accessible to people who are gaming on a budget.

DIR-867-US (button)
The best gaming router for enthusiasts

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 on a white background

The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is a next-gen router with support for Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5GbE, and a variety of tools meant to improve in-game performance.

Pros: Wi-Fi 6E support, optional 2.5GbE connectivity, many features

Cons: Expensive, not as many Ethernet ports as some models

The ASUS GT-AXE11000 is the best gaming router for enthusiasts because it includes support for Wi-Fi 6E, which allows the router to offer faster speeds (up to 11,000 Mbps), improved bandwidth, and increased security compared to its predecessors. The router will have to be paired with other devices that support Wi-Fi 6E to provide all these benefits, of course, but anyone looking to experience the future of wireless connectivity should appreciate this offering.

In addition to Wi-Fi 6E, the ASUS GT-AXE11000 includes four Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports for local networking and two options for connecting to the internet. The first option is a 2.5GbE port that’s said to unlock Wi-Fi 6E’s full potential. The second option is to use two GbE WAN ports with WAN Aggregation to achieve a similar result. (Which option is right for a given network mostly depends on the ISP.) There are also two USB 3.0 ports that can be used to connect peripherals to the network.

ASUS crammed many quality-of-life features into the GT-AXE11000 as well. It supports Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, offers similar Quality of Service (QoS) features as other routers, and includes parental control settings. ASUS claims the router also offers “triple-level game acceleration,” which gives priority to devices connected via the dedicated gaming port, favors those devices over others on the network using adaptive QoS, and includes a 90-day free trial to the Outfox gaming network that claims to offer the fastest connection to many game servers.

ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 (button)
The best gaming router for wired gaming

TP-Link Archer AX6000

The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is the best router for wired gaming because of its bevy of Ethernet ports and 2.5GbE WAN connection.

Pros: Offers many Ethernet ports, supports Wi-Fi 6, includes common quality-of-life features

Cons: Somewhat expensive

The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is the best router for wired gaming because it offers eight GbE (LAN) ports in addition to Wi-Fi 6 connectivity enabled by a 2.5GbE (WAN) port. Having that many Ethernet ports should make it easy to provide a wired connection – which is generally more stable than even the best wireless connection – to almost every gaming device nearby. (To say nothing of improved streaming on set-top boxes, a better Wi-Fi network enabled by multiple wireless access points, and other benefits enabled by setting up a wired connection.)

TP-Link says the Archer AX6000 offers maximum transfer speeds of up to 4,804 Mbps via the 5GHz band and 1,148 Mbps via the 2.4GHz band for a combined total of nearly 6,000 Mbps. Those are under ideal conditions, of course, and you’ll only enjoy those speeds outside your home network if your internet service provider supports them. Performance will also vary based on how many devices are connected to the network, but integrated Quality of Service (QoS) settings should make it easier to prioritize gaming hardware over other devices.

The Archer AX6000‘s other handy features include a mobile companion app called Tether that can be used to set up the router, parental control software, the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, and built-in security tools. The router also features two USB 3.0 ports (one Type-A port and one Type-C port)that can be used to connect peripherals to the network.

All of those features, combined with the multitude of GbE ports and Wi-Fi 6 support, should make the Archer AX6000 a compelling option for people seeking reliable performance who don’t necessarily want to break the bank to buy a router with leading-edge technologies.

Archer AX6000 (button)
The best gaming router for wireless gaming

Linksys Hydra Pro

The Linksys Hydra Pro is the best router for wireless gaming because it offers Wi-Fi 6E support as well as mesh networking enabled by the company’s Velop technology.

Pros: Wi-Fi 6E support, 5GbE (WAN), mesh networking support

Cons: Expensive, limited wired connectivity

The Linksys Hydra Pro is the best router for wireless gaming because it complements its support for Wi-Fi 6E with a 5GbE port that should make it easy to take full advantage of the most powerful internet connections. Linksys says it can handle more than 55 connected devices at once with a maximum coverage area of 2,700 square feet and transfer speeds up to 6.6 Gbps. You probably won’t enjoy those speeds at the edge of the router’s coverage area, but Linksys says its Velop Intelligent Mesh technology is “designed to deliver gigabit WiFi speeds to every corner of your home or business,” so even far-flung devices should have fast connections — assuming you’ve built a network of Wi-Fi satellites.

This router’s main downside is its limited wired connections. It only offers four GbE (LAN) ports and a single USB 3.0 Type-A port. That should be enough to connect a few devices  — presumably the PC or console you’re planning to play games on — but it does mean you’ll have to be strategic about which devices will enjoy the full benefits of a wired connection. The same goes for the single USB port; whichever peripheral is connected to that slot better earn its spot. If you aren’t planning to connect very many devices to this router via Ethernet, however, its support for Wi-Fi 6E and mesh networking should more than make up for its lack of ports.

Linksys also offers a companion mobile app to manage the Hydra Pro, and the router’s security features can be used to automatically install firmware updates, manage parental control settings, and establish a guest network. With just four external antennas, the router is also less ostentatious than some of the other members of this list, which could be an added benefit for people who don’t want their networking equipment to detract from their decor.

Another considerable downside of the Linksys Hydra Pro is its price. It doesn’t cost quite as much as the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, but it’s pretty close, and both routers cost hundreds of dollars more than the rest of the entries on this list. Whether or not Wi-Fi 6E is currently worth the premium over Wi-Fi 6 will likely be a matter of the Wi-Fi 6E-supporting devices you have or plan to connect to the network in the near future. If you want the best wireless performance possible, however, there’s no denying that Wi-Fi 6E is the way to go.

Hydra Pro (button)

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The best shoe polishes to revitalize your leather footwear

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Otter Wax Cream
  • Conditioner, shoe cream, and wax polish work hand-in-hand to keep leather footwear looking its best.
  • Don’t skimp on your leather-care routine if you want your shoes and boots to last.
  • Think of these leather-care products as skincare for your shoes.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

I still vividly remember the time when a TSA agent told me I needed to shine my shoes as he watched them pass through the scanner at the airport. I was mortified. I’m notoriously hard on footwear, so keeping them looking their best is a constant battle. Thankfully, there are some great products out there to help in this Sisyphean effort.

The three product categories covered in this guide are cream polish, wax polish, and conditioner. I also spoke to Tony Pecorella, the owner of Manhattan’s Modern Leather Goods, a storied leather care and repair business that’s been around since the 1940s, who explained to me what each product is good for. Conditioner and shoe cream both moisturize the leather, but the cream polish leaves a thin layer of cream that helps blend scratches and scuffs and gives the shoe a medium shine. Wax polish is the best at covering scuffs and scratches and leaves a higher shine, Pecorella said. For more on our conversation, see the FAQ section below.

To narrow down the best shoe polishes, I did some testing at home with products that have gotten high marks from experts and customers. I used them on a single boot or shoe as a before-and-after snapshot to see what kind of coverage, shine, and conditioning power they had. Other considerations included price, ingredients, and range of colors. Note that these products are for smooth leather, not suede or nubuck.

The 5 best shoe polishes in 2021:

The Best Leather Shoe Conditioner: Saphir Renovateur

Saphir Renovateur

Saphir Renovateur revitalizes shoe leather. It comes with a premium price tag but is well worth the money. 

Sizing options: 75 ml and 250 ml 

Modern Leather Goods almost exclusively uses Saphir products and it’s not alone. Of the many guides I’ve read on shoe care by various industry professionals, nearly all of them list Saphir as the top leather product company and the brand’s Renovateur as the best conditioner. I put it to the test on a pair of old cowboy boots I’ve had for 20 years that have seen a lot of wear and tear, and much less care. The leather greedily soaked in the Renovateur and I could see the results quickly. The leather had a more regular color, a light shine, and took on a richer brown. 

According to a company rep, Saphir, a French company founded in 1920, continues to manufacture its products in the same way it did when it was first founded. The ingredient list (and the smell, which is quite pleasant) is closer to what you might find in a skincare product than what you’d expect to rub on your shoes. The list includes lanolin, beeswax, and mink oil.  

While expensive at more than $20 for a 75 ml jar, a little goes a long way and it doesn’t need to be applied that often, perhaps once a month. If you’ve invested a chunk of change in your leather footwear, the Renovateur is worth the cost to help keep your shoes and boots looking their best. 

Pros: Conditions beautifully, works quickly, and imparts a light shine. 

Cons:  None to speak of

Renovateur (small)
Best Wax Polish: Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe

Saphir Medaille D'or 1925 Pate De Luxe

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe instantly revives the color of your shoes and provides a high shine with little work. 

Sizing options: 50 ml and 100 ml

Saphir is a hard brand to beat and this is especially true with its wax polish, the Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe. I used it on a pair of dress shoes I haven’t worn in a long while that were desperately in need of some TLC. The color had faded so badly I thought I might need to use shoe dye. I applied the Pate de Luxe as directed and the polish immediately revitalized the faded color, and didn’t require a large amount of product to achieve coverage. Saphir uses a higher concentration of pigment in the Pate de Luxe than other brands, and it shows. 

According to the company, you can achieve a high gloss or mirror gloss with the Pate de Luxe and can be used with the Renovateur and a cream polish. Like the Renovateur, the ingredients list mostly reads like a high-end face cream — jojoba, almond, and macadamia oils — plus beeswax, and natural solvents like turpentine oil. I was able to buff the shoe to a high shine with little effort. 

I tried it against the Leather Spa Luxury Wax Polish and found it had better coverage and didn’t require as much product to achieve similar results and costs about the same price. You can buy a 50 ml tin of the Pate de Luxe for about $12 on Amazon, depending on the color. It comes in 12 colors. 

Pros: Beautiful coverage, revitalizes faded color, achieves a high shine, several color options

Cons: None to speak of.

Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe (small)
Best Color Polish: Tarrago Cream Polish

Tarrago Cream Polish

Tarrago Cream Polish has a huge range of colors, provides excellent coverage, and gives a medium shine. 

Sizing options: 50 ml 

Tarrago is a Spanish brand that’s been around since 1940 and was the first company to offer water-based polishes back in the 1960s. (It’s now owned by the same parent company that owns Saphir, Alma FRC.) The brand offers a range of nearly 100 colors in the cream polish. The wax polish comes in seven color choices. 

I used the Tarrago cream polish on a pair of gray leather sneakers that were badly scuffed. The thick cream quickly soaked into the leather and easily covered the various scuff marks. After it dried, I buffed it to a medium shine. If you’re looking for a high shine for your colored shoes, your best bet is to use the Tarrago Cream Polish, followed by a neutral wax polish that can achieve a higher shine. 

The Tarrago Shoe Cream is available on Amazon for $7. Not all the colors are available on the site. For more color choices, Myshoesupplies.com also carries it for $3.05, but you’ll pay a $4.29 shipping fee for orders under $60. 

Pros: Huge range of color choices, good coverage. 

Cons: Doesn’t provide a high shine.

Cream Polish (small)
Best Budget-Friendly Polish: Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream

Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream

Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream provides a light shine, comes in a good range of colors, and is a great value. 

Sizing options: 1.55 ounces

Moneysworth & Best is a family-owned Canadian company that started out as a Toronto shoe repair shop in the 1980s. The Shoe Cream is made in Spain from all-natural ingredients, including lanolin, and various oils, waxes, and pigments. The product comes in more than 30 colors.  

I used this on two different pairs of beat-up vintage boots. The shoe cream had decent coverage, but it wasn’t able to hide some staining. The product has a creamy consistency and soaked into the leather quickly. After buffing, I was able to get a light shine. While it didn’t completely cover the issues on the boots, it did give the leather a more even, smoother appearance and definitely made me feel comfortable wearing the boots in public again. That said, I’d recommend this product for shoes or boots that are still in good condition and don’t require a lot of pigment. 

It’s available for $2.99 for a 1.55-ounce jar. For more colors, Amazon also carries Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream, but be warned that the pricing varies, with some colors costing around $7 or more. 

Pros: Good coverage, better price. 

Cons: I could only achieve a light shine, won’t cover all blemishes and stains

Shoe Cream (small)
Best Self-Shining Polish: Tarrago Self-Shining Kit

Tarrago Self-Shining Kit

The Tarrago Self-Shining Kit is perfect for reviving your shoes in a hurry while also helping to nourish the leather. 

Sizing options: 50 ml 

Tarrago’s Self-Shining Kit provides a quick and easy way to revive your shoes with very little time or effort. It contains a sponge applicator on the top that you simply dip into the cream polish and apply to the leather. I used it on a pair of my wife’s boots that were moderately scuffed and hadn’t been shined in several months. One pass across the leather was all it took to bring them back to life. It easily covered the scuffs and scratches and produced a medium shine with no buffing. 

The product contains a high amount of carnauba wax, which provides the instant shine. The wax is derived from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree. It’s sustainably harvested as the trees aren’t damaged during processing. 

While the Self-Shine kit doesn’t come in nearly as many colors as the company’s regular shoe cream (there are only about a dozen options), it’s a great choice for when you’re in a hurry and need to get your shoes in order. I wish I would have used this before I headed through the TSA line all those years ago. The kit is $7.99 for a 50 ml jar. 

Pros: Fast, easy, good coverage, and a medium shine. 

Cons: Not as many color choices as Tarrago’s Shoe Cream.

Self-Shining Kit (small)
Best Cream Polish: Leather Spa Cream Polish

Leather Spa Cream Polish

Leather Spa’s Cream Polish nourishes leather, ably hides the scrapes and scuffs of everyday wear, and provides a medium shine. 

Sizing options: 1.4 ounces 

Leather Spa, the famous New York City-based leather care and repair business, also makes shoe care products, including a shoe cream. Leather Spa has its origins in France and that’s where the company’s shoe cream is produced using all-natural ingredients. It doesn’t contain any silicone or petroleum products that can end up damaging leather over the long run. 

I used the cream polish on a pair of my wife’s boots. The cream very quickly soaked into the leather, giving it a nice sheen. It had very good coverage, evening out the color, and hiding the scuffs. It didn’t quite cover a small divot in the leather, but as Tony Pecorella stated, a wax polish is better at hiding those kinds of blemishes. I buffed the boots and was able to develop a medium shine. Leather Spa’s Shoe Cream is $8.95 for a 1.4-ounce jar. It comes in 34 different colors, which is a major plus for matching shades other than the typical black or brown.

Pros: Moisturizing, evens out the color, hides scuffs and small scratches, many color options. 

Cons: Can’t hide larger blemishes like divots in the leather.

Cream Polish (small)
What else we considered

best shoe polish

Lexol Leather Conditioner

Lexol’s leather conditioner is billed as a conditioning product but imparts a nice glossy shine to leather. In a head-to-head comparison between it and the much pricier Saphir Renovateur on a pair of my father’s 1960s ankle boots, Lexol did well, except that it required a much longer drying time. The Saphir product dried in a few minutes. Lexol took several hours. For the price, around $7, it’s a great product, but not the best choice if you’re in a hurry. 

FAQs

Otter Wax Cream

What other products do I need to polish my shoes?

Besides conditioner and polish, there are a few basics you’ll need to do the job right. A horsehair dauber brush, which typically has a round head that tapers down to the handle, is good for applying saddle soap to clean the shoes before polishing. Some people also use this type of brush to apply polish. Kiwi makes a good one. 

A horse hair brush is important for buffing your shoes once you’ve applied the polish and have let it dry. The brush helps bring out the shine. Kirby Allison makes an outstanding version. 

Some people like to use a microfiber cloth for applying conditioner and polish and for a final buff for a higher shine. I personally use old cotton T-shirts cut into strips to apply polish, a trick I’ve seen professional shoe shiners use.


Do I need to clean my shoes before polishing them?

Yes. You can take a damp cloth and wipe away any visible dirt. If they’re very dirty or have stains, you can use saddle soap, like Fiebing’s, that can be applied using a slightly damp dauber brush. Rub the brush in the soap until you get a light lather and then apply on the shoes. Wipe away with a dry cloth. Now you’re ready to condition the shoes followed by shining them.


How often should you polish your shoes? 

“That’s the age old question,” Pecorella said. “It differs by person and wear. If you wear the same shoes every day, once every two to six weeks. If you alternate shoes, maybe once a month to two months. It really is based on the eye test and nobody knows your shoes better than you do.”


When should I use a wax polish versus a cream polish? 

According to a Saphir rep I spoke with, cream polish is more for nourishing and recoloring, while wax polish is for creating a high shine. It’s mainly for dress footwear where you want a high gloss.


Can wax polish damage my shoes? 

Tony Pecorella warns that wax polish, unlike cream, doesn’t moisturize the leather and can build up over time and dry the leather out. Cream polish won’t harm the leather, even if used frequently. 

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I tested no-show socks to see which pairs are actually invisible and don’t slide off – these 5 made the cut

Best no show socks roundup 4x3
  • No-show socks are notoriously known for slipping down your feet throughout the day – until now.
  • A good no-show sock fits snugly, is comfortable and breathable, and doesn’t bunch up in your shoes.
  • After testing, these five socks are the pairs we’d recommend.

Let us start by saying that no-show socks can be seriously hard to shop for. You might think you’re getting the best bang for your buck by buying some generic no-show socks in bulk online – only to find them slipping halfway down your feet after an hour or so of wearing them. Not to mention, some socks are self-proclaimed as “no-show,” but they’re still really visible. So, what are “no-show” socks, really? For this guide, we’re going to define no-show socks as ones that don’t rise above your ankle (excluding tabs) – but that’s not the only factor we’re taking into consideration.

To make it onto our top-five no-show favorites list, these socks had to pass some rigorous on-foot testing to make sure they are true to size, comfortable, slip-free, and meet some other must-have qualifications. If you’re interested in learning about our full testing methodology, you can read about it here. Just want to cut to the chase and upgrade your sock game, like, yesterday? You can totally do that, too. That said, after testing 11 different no-show socks, these five take the cake for being the best you can buy.

Here are our top picks for no-show socks in 2021:

Maye-Williams Flexforce No-Show Socks

Maye-Williams Flexforce No Show Socks

Maye-Williams’ Flexforce No-Show Socks are comfortable, soft, breathable, and don’t slide down while you’re wearing them.

Sizing options: Women’s 5-10 and Men’s 6-12

Maye-Williams might be a newcomer in the activewear world (est. 2018), but this company knows how to make high-quality, durable no-show socks. That said, please welcome Maye-Williams’ Flexforce No-Show Socks. Available in 3-packs of both women’s and men’s sizes in white, black, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange, and blue, these checked off every box for us. They’re super comfortable, soft, breathable (97% Polyester and 3% Spandex), and the best part: They don’t slide down while you’re wearing them.

My boyfriend tested out the men’s socks and I tested out the women’s, and our results were pretty similar. Neither of our socks ever slipped down during our walk and they even stayed on while we were sleeping (which is revolutionary, if you ask us). The only downsides? Although the men’s socks say they fit a size 6-12, my boyfriend, who is usually a size 11, found his to be a little too tight and pretty thin. There also doesn’t seem to be any other sizes to choose from, which might limit some people if they don’t fit within that size range. Otherwise, we both rate Maye-Williams’ Flexforce No-Show Socks as deserving of five out of five stars.

Flexforce No-Show Socks (3-pair) (small)
Allbirds Trino Sprinters No-Show Socks

Best no-show socks - Allbirds Trino Sprinters No Show Socks

Allbirds’ Trino Sprinters No-Show Socks are super low-cut and made of soft, breathable, carbon-neutral material all while minimizing odor and wicking away moisture. 

Sizing options: S-XL

If you’re looking for a sock that’s super no-show, Allbirds’ Trino Sprinters No-Show Socks will definitely fit the bill. Besides being available in three colors, Seafoam, Malibu, and Pacific, and in sizes S-XL, these socks have tons of other features that make them notable. They’re made of a super-breathable eucalyptus fiber and merino wool mesh knit material, which keeps your feet cool (despite the wool), they have a reinforced heel and toe, are made with totally renewable carbon-neutral materials, they help minimize odor, and they wick away moisture.

So, when I tested them out, the first thing I noticed was the compression in the arch and how soft they were. After walking around in them, the compression made them feel extra snug (but in the best of ways) and my feet stayed cool the entire time. No slipping down, either! The only downside: I did notice a small, loose string coming off of one of the socks, and since they’re pretty thin, I’m a little worried about how long they’ll last. Regardless, these passed the test for being one of the best no-show socks you can buy — bonus points for Allbirds offering a variety of sizes!

See our full review of Allbirds’ Trino socks here

Trino Sprinters No-Show Socks (small)
Swiftwick Aspire Zero No-Show Socks

Best no-show socks: Swiftwick Aspire Zero No Show Socks

Swiftwick’s Aspire Zero No-Show Socks are great for compression, running, never budging, and having an overall “barely-there” feel.

Sizing options: S-XL

What’s really great about Swiftwick is the brand really takes the time to go through the details of what makes its socks stand out from the rest. I tried out a few different types of Swiftwick’s no-show socks, but the Aspire Zero No-Show Socks are what sold me. But before we jump into why, we need to talk about Swiftwick’s slogan, which is “The best socks you will ever wear guaranteed.” With something like that written on the socks’ packaging, my expectations were pretty high. Turns out, those high expectations were met. These socks tout a thin, contoured compression fit (AKA no awkward bunching or blisters), moisture-wicking fiber, a breathable “barely-there” feel, and the company follows totally sustainable practices to boot. 

I tried out the White Navy color and I got tons of compliments from my friends on how chic and nice my socks were. (How often do you get complimented on your socks?!) I especially love the firm compression, how they hug my feet perfectly, and how they didn’t budge once. In other words, I definitely understand why these are Swiftwick’s most popular running socks. The only downside? These rise a little higher than some of the other no-show socks I tested out, but they still don’t rise above the ankle (tab excluded), so they work!

See our full review of Swiftwick’s running socks here

Aspire Zero No-Show Socks (small)
Lululemon Power Stride No-Show Socks with Active Grips

Best no-show socks: Lululemon Power Stride No Show Socks with Active Grips

If you’re looking for something that’ll stay put while running and training and provide some extra arch support, these Power Stride No-Show Socks with Active Grips from Lululemon are a game changer. 

Sizing options: S, M, L

The last thing you want to worry about while running or training is needing to pull up the sock that’s bunching up in your shoe, which is why Lululemon made a serious effort to make these Power Stride No-Show Socks with Active Grips totally athlete-friendly. These socks are extra stretchy, provide micro-cushioning, and have super-stay grip tabs on the backs, all while providing awesome arch support. You can buy them in packs of three in White, Black, White/Blue Linen/Black, or White/Heather Grey/Black.

It was a little chilly out while wearing these, and they actually helped keep my feet warm — but definitely not hot. They’re very breathable and lightweight, so I was surprised at how comfortable the micro-cushioning is. Despite being light, you can tell they’re made of durable material that will make them worth their price. And the arch support? It felt like my feet were being gently hugged the whole time wearing them. The only “downsides” I could find are the slightly awkward fit at the bottom of the heel and the slightly tall grips — but I had to try pretty hard to find any cons at all, so these no-show socks rank pretty high up there. 

Power Stride No-Show Socks with Active Grips (small)
ToeSox Casual Dash No-Show Socks

Best no-show socks - ToeSox Casual Dash No Show Socks

Tired of sliding socks and blisters? We have a solution, and it comes in the form of ToeSox Casual Dash No-Show Socks.

Sizing options: S, M, L

You can consider blisters a thing of the past with ToeSox’s Casual Dash No-Show Socks. These ultra-soft casual no-show socks are available in the colors Black and Carbon. They have a snug spot for each of your toes to fit into so they won’t rub against each other or generate too much heat or moisture. Plus, the silicone grips on the backs of the socks help keep them in place, so you can focus on what you’re doing throughout the day instead of being inconvenienced by your sliding footwear. Bonus points for them being made of organic cotton!

That said, I’ve never been a fan of socks with spots for your toes — until now. These are awesome and way more comfortable than I thought socks with spots for your toes would be. They fit snugly on my feet and toes and didn’t fall down once while wearing them. Although the initial process of fitting my toes into each spot took a little longer than I’d like, once they were on I didn’t want to take them off.

Casual Dash No-Show Socks (small)
Our testing methodology

To test each of these no-show socks, I walked around the courtyard at my apartment building twice while wearing the same sneakers each time and taking note of how comfortable, breathable, and supportive each pair of socks was. The most important thing, though, was making sure they didn’t slide down my feet.

As someone who owns several pairs of no-show socks that all slide down while wearing them, I was so ready to find some that don’t budge. After taking a walk, I wore each pair for a few more hours to see how they held up while sitting at home and lounging, then I created a pros and cons list for each of them.

That said, the reasons why some of the other socks didn’t make this list are because they slid down, fit awkwardly, were uncomfortable, left behind red marks, or were too tall to actually be considered our definition of “no-show.”

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