For most men, socks are an afterthought: whichever Value-Pak (removing “c’s” saves on printing) satisfies the lowest cost/unit will do.
Unfortunately, all that Value-Pakaging means something else had to give. In this case, it’s both the looks and the quality.
The most important rule when it comes to choosing the right socks to an outfit is to keep the formality the same. For instance, you wouldn’t wear gym socks to a night out or visa versa. It may seem ridiculous, but a lot of the time socks can tie an outfit together.
What’s The Best Material For Socks?
Wool: In general, the material that’s best for socks is wool.
This is because wool has the ability to wick moisture, control temperature, and stay very durable while doing so.
When looking for wool socks you want to opt for fine or ultrafine wool blended in with other materials. This is because some people find more coarse wool to get itchy at times.
This is usually a problem with low quality wool, which is why it’s important to get wool socks from a good and trusted brand.
Merino wool: comes from a specially-bred variety of sheep, and when spun, feels noticeably smoother than lambswool (or for that matter, pretty much everything).
If you need to present a polished image, details matter: make sure that same level of refinement applies to your socks.
Cotton: We recommend you stay away from cotton socks and here is why.
The problem with cotton when it comes to socks is that the material is naturally moisture absorbent. This means if your feet are hot and sweaty, the socks will absorb all of it and cause it to smell terrible.
Cotton is also a lot less durable than wool, so even though cotton socks might be cheaper, they’ll get destroyed a lot faster. Keep that in mind.
Blended Materials: Blending of materials is excellent for socks!
Basically, you’re taking the best attributes of a certain material and blending it into a sock, which makes a superior product.
If you’re interested in all the different blends materials you can add to socks check out this excellent article on sock fibers.
Types of Socks
There are 5 main categories most socks fit into, these are: dress socks, crew socks, ankle socks, no show socks and hiking / outdoor socks.
Dress Socks: Most dress socks are made from either fine cotton blends or a special strand of wool called “merino.” While nearly every menswear brand produces “dressier” socks, heritage men’s labels have both the pedigree – and the quality – to make the best dress socks for men.
Crew Socks: The athlete’s choice.
With the exception of highly-specialized, sport-specific options from brands like Nike Basketball, most gym socks follow a simple pattern: take ribbed cotton sock, print brand logo, price accordingly.
With the options below, shop based on whatever brand you prefer. Then please wash on “Hot.”
Ankle Socks: These are perhaps the most common type of sock that you probably wear in your day-to-day life. They come right up to the ankles, and should ideally be made to be soft and breathable with moisture wicking material. Perfect socks to run in, or work out in.
No Show Socks: The sockless look without the sockless stench. Perfect for summer.
Also known as “loafer socks,” no-show socks are designed to provide a layer of washable anything between your sweaty feet and your porous, pliable insole.
These socks are often made from cotton blends, but always cut low enough to slip under the surface of even the sleekest sneaker.
Outdoor / Hiking Socks: The only socks tough enough for both Rocky Mountain hikes and fights over the Thermostat. Perfect to go with your boots.
Hiking socks are heavy duty socks designed with performance, durability, and warmth in mind.
In short: what some may lack in delicate style, all redouble in sheer utility.
If you spend lots of time on your feet or live anywhere within one Tropic of your hemisphere’s snow line, hiking socks are an essential.
How To Properly Care For Socks
Washing / Drying: If you’re investing in a pair of high quality socks that you want to keep in tip top shape for a very long time, we always suggest hand-washing and hang drying. This maximizes the life of your socks.
Other wise, you can simply machine wash (warm) and tumble dry (medium) most socks.
Storing Socks: It’s always recommended to fold or roll your socks. Here is a ton of examples.
9 Tips For Wearing Socks
An important aspect of choosing the right socks is keeping in mind a few general rules.
With these tips you’ll step your sock game up ten fold.
- Black socks only with Black shoes
- Casual? Go with No Show socks or Ankle socks
- Professional? Opt for Calf socks or Dressy socks
- Match your sock color to the color of your pants NOT shoes
- No show socks work great with shorts
- Never wear white socks unless you’re being super casual or doing sports
- If you find yourself getting blisters, opt for socks that have extra padding on the heels
- wear high socks with boots, or else you can find your feet getting irritated
- No show socks work great with boat shoes / summer shoes
6 Best Socks For Men
We’ve gathered a list of the 6 best socks for every occasion.
Best Dressy/ Statement Socks: Uniqlo Men’s Argyle Socks
For a more formal event over-the-calf, full length, or “executive” socks are the way to go.
They are less likely to bunch up or show any visible skin.
Choosing either the same shade or one shade darker than your pant leg will give the illusion that your leg is extended across the sock, or giving a natural shadow both of which will make you appear taller.
Another simple style tip is to compliment the color of your socks to the color of the pant leg.
This way you can pull the entire outfit into a more consistent look. If you are particularly bold you can chose a patterned or unique sock as a bold statement piece.
These argyle socks are a classic pattern that is easy to pull off but can boost the outfit an extra level.
Best Crew Socks: Adidas Originals: 3 Pack of Mid Cut Socks
Mid-calf, crew, or half-length socks are another option that can be either dressed up or down.
Our pick for the best crew sock is from Adidas. For the most part, these socks work for a more casual “athleisure” look or just for working out.
Plus, since these socks are made from moisture wicking fabric, the will also help control the temperature of the ankles and mid-calf.
Sneaker Socks: Adidas Men’s Low Cut Sock
Ankle or “sport” socks are usually for sneakers or going to the gym. Material is important for every sock, but especially if you are working out.
Avoid cotton at all costs, as it is a moisture absorbent material. This will only make your feet hotter and make you unnecessarily uncomfortable.
The Adidas socks are not only made of a moisture wicking blend, to keep your feet cool and comfortable, but they are also cushioned.
They are easily one of the best sneaker socks on the market today.
Best Wool Socks / Hiking Socks: Darn Tough Merino Wool Hiker Socks
Instead of the cheap cotton material, try looking for a good quality ultra-fine wool or wool blend.
Both of these materials which will control the scratchy texture you might associate with wool.
Wool is the best bet for sock material because it is moisture wicking which allows for the best temperature control.
These hiker socks are perfect for a work boot as they are both cooling, and resistant to slipping, the best socks for outdoor activity.
Best No Show Socks: Uniqlo Men Pile Low-Cut Socks
Lastly, unseen socks are to keep your foot from getting too sweaty while remaining invisible.
These look good with a loafer or any shoe that you want to show off ankles. The Uniqlo socks are made to last.
A danger in the invisible sock is the possibility of slippage, but these socks are structured with a contoured wide heel and added non-slip grips to keep that from happening.
Additionally, they are fitted with anti-microbial and anti-odor properties to your feet comfortable and fresh.
Best Designer Socks: Off-White High Socks
These types of socks drift more towards showing off the brand and aesthetic of the sock, rather serve a specific function.
When wearing designer socks, that are usually high socks, you want to be wearing either shorts, tapered, or cropped pants.
The reason being is that you want to show off the socks and the brand you’re wearing, and if it’s the main focal point, you need a way to show it.
There are hundreds of designer socks, and maybe you have a favorite designer brand.
Off-White has an amazing design and the brand name clout to pull off a designer sock.