Sock Types & Lengths: Best Guide for 2021 (2022)

Guide Oct 27

Written by Stephanie Patterson

Sock Types & Lengths: Best Guide for 2021 (2)

Stephanie Patterson

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(Video) 6 Types of Socks and When to Wear Them | Sock Lengths & Fabrics Explained

Table of Contents

Sock Types & Lengths: Best Guide for 2021 (3)

We all wear socks, but no one person wears them for the exact same reasons. With all the varieties that come with life, types of socks are designed in response. Whether it’s to keep your feet warm, to improve your athletic performance, provide the finishing touch for your outfit, or any of the host of reasons you wear socks, they come in so many options because of our varied lifestyles.

Sock choices are endless when it comes to styles, lengths, colors, and materials to try out. Once you familiarize yourself with all the different types of socks, you’ll be able to pick your pairs with purpose.

The 8 Major Sock Lengths

No Show Socks

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No show socksare the perfect example of a meaning contained within a name: they’re designed to be invisible. When worn with most shoes, you can’t see no shows, making your footwear and the rest of your outfit the main focus. No shows pair well with low-top shoes like sneakers, slip-ons, flats and certain short boots. These socks are ideal for everyday use in the summer or other warmer months, as they let your legs and ankles breathe.

(Video) The Best No Show Socks for Men (2021) | Complete No Show Sock Guide

No show socks can also be wornto the gym, for the same benefit of coolness. They work with any casual outfit, and are especially popular for women who wear flats to the office. No shows are a good idea to pair withboat shoesandloafers, over no socks at all, since sweat can damage shoes.

Ankle Socks

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Ankle socksare sometimes confused with no shows, since both are short in length. Ankle socks stand a couple of inches above your ankle, which makes them visible over most shoes. This style is a popular choice for athletic socks, as it offers breathability. This is one of the types of socks that can also be worn more casually withsneakers, shorter boots, and some high heels.

Micro-Crew Socks

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Micro-crew socks are longer than an ankle sock but shorter than regular crew socks. They end above the ankle and below the mid-calf. They pair well with mid or high top shoes and help to prevent chafing from occurring around your ankles. Micro-crew socks are most commonly worn during hiking. They protect your ankles from sharp objects like rocks and plants and those pesky mosquito bites.

Crew Socks

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Crew socksare cut between ankle and mid-calf length, typically ending under the calf muscle. This cut is most often used in casual socks, though athletic socks and dress socks also come in this length. Crew socks are the most common length and pair well with any boot or shoe.

Quarter Length Socks

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Sitting just between an ankle sock and a crew sock,quarter socksadd additional coverage to your lower leg. They generallysit atop the middle of your ankle bone, meaning its slightly visible above the heel collar of your shoe.They have the right length so that when you sit down, your pants don’t ride up past them to reveal bare skin.

(Video) Best CrossFit Sock In 2021 - Top 10 CrossFit Socks Review

Mid-Calf Socks

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Compared to crew length socks, mid-calf or trouser socks sit perfectly in the curve of your calf so they won’t fall down your leg during the day. Manydress sockscome in mid-calf length. Since they sit tightly around your upper calf, it makes for clean and smooth lines from the knee down to the foot.

Knee High Socks

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Knee high socks, or over the calf,reach just where you’d expect, a few inches below the knee. They’re typically worn by women who pair knee high socks with skirts, shorts, dresses, heels and boots. For men, they’re great to wear under any bottoms for an extra layer of warmth and comfort.Knee length socks generally feature stay-up technology to prevent them from rolling down.

Thigh High Socks

Also known as over-the-knee socks or O.T.K., this length is paired with skirts, shorts, dresses or longer tops. This is one of the longer types of socks that are a suitable alternative to wear during the colder months, since they cover much of the leg. Expect the elastic around the cuff to be tight since it’s working to hold up more material.

Sock LengthAverage Height
No show1’-1.5”
Ankle2”-3”
Micro-crew2-5″
Quarter length4-6″
Crew6”-8”
Mid-Calf10”-12”
Knee high17.5”-18”
Thigh high24”-32”

Casual Socks

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Casual socksare designed to be worn on a regular day. Socks are all the rage now and you can get pretty much anything you want on them, even your pet.Do a quick search online and a sea of colours, patterns, styles and lengths will be at your disposal with casual socks.Since there is a wide selection for casual socks, they come in just about any length. Standard cuts for casual socks are ankle, crew, calf length, knee high, and over the knee.

Dress Socks

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(Video) ⭕ Top 5 Best Thick Socks 2021 [Review and Guide]

Dress socks, as the name implies, are designed for wearing with dress shoes and formal attire. You can also wear them in more laid back settings, where dress socks can elevate your casual outfit. You can go for subtle sophistication with neutral dress socks, or you can choose colors and patterns to add flair to a basic business casual look.

The ideal length for dress socks has fluctuated throughout the years, dating all the way back to when exposed skin was seen to be scandalous. A good dress sock usually comes in mid-calf length, while knee high is offered if you want more coverage or comfortability. You should never wear a dress sock that is below the calf. The shorter you go, the more you put yourself at risk for bare skin to show.

Athletic Socks

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Athletes require socks that will support them at their peak performance. Foot problems that commonly affect athletes, like joint irritation and athlete’s foot, could be caused by wearing the wrong types of socks.Athletic socksact as a cushion for the feet to prevent irritation and work to repel extra force the body creates when it’s jumping, running and bouncing around.

These socks are designed with moisture-wicking capabilities, so that moisture can be trapped and transferred, leaving the feet dry.Athletic socks come in a variety of lengths, based on activity requirements. Let’s take a look at which socks go best with certain forms of exercise:

  • Running: A good pair of high moisture-wicking socks will defend against athlete’s foot
  • Cycling: You won’t need extra padding when cycling, so opt for a thin pair of socks to prevent chafing
  • Hiking: For shorter hikes, focus on wicking capabilities; for those who like to hike further, socks with padding to keep your feet warm, such as micro-crew
  • Lifting: To protect your legs from weights, it’s recommended to wear higher socks like mid-calf or knee highs

Compression Socks

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Compression socksare in a special category, distinct from the types of socks we’ve looked at so far. Compression socks are built to addresses issues with circulation. They place targeted pressure to help push blood and fluid out of your legs, enhancing circulation by creating a pressure gradient. They fit tightly around your ankle, gradually decreasing in pressure toward the top.

Compression socks are recommended for people who spend prolonged periods of time sitting or standing, which causes blood to pool in the legs. They also assist in post-exercise recovery and in treating mild to severe venous issues.Compression socks are commonly available in knee high and thigh high lengths. Refer to ourfull guide on compression socksfor details.

Most Common Sock Faux Pas

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(Video) Socks Guide: Types, Where to buy & How to style| How to buy the right socks for your style

Now that we’ve gone through types of socks and the lengths they come in, let’s get to the style part. It can be difficult to keep track of shifting fashion standards. Trends come and go, but you know what stays? Socks. Thankfully, sock faux pas are pretty set in stone, so this will be easy to remember.

  1. Socks with sandals: You’ve probably seen this one a lot. Maybe out on grocery runs, on campus or maybe you’re the one sporting this deplorable duo. Sandals are meant to be worn with bare feet andwithout any types of socks.
  2. Rolling or folding: For the people out there who roll and fold their socks down while wearing them, please stop. The best solution to this problem is to just keep them pulled up. It’s the way they were intended to be worn, so keep them that way.
  3. Socks with shorts: Keep your shorts short and your socks even shorter when pairing the two together. A large and visible sock line is not a good look, so choose no show socks or ankle socks if you need to.
  4. Wearing *any* types of socks with dress shoes: Dress socks and dress shoes belong together. End of story.

Treat your socks like the accessory that they are. Just like you would with a nice belt or jewelry, use them to complete your outfit. Now that you know all the types of socks, choose the right pairs to make the most of your day.

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FAQs

What length should my socks be? ›

Find Socks that Fit You

But there are some guidelines for those of you who like numbers. The circumference of your socks should be about one inch smaller than the measurement around the ball of your foot. From heel to toe, your socks should be about one inch shorter than the length of your foot.

What are the different types of sock lengths? ›

The 8 Most Popular Sock Lengths
  • Toe Topper/Half Socks.
  • No-Show Socks.
  • Ankle Socks.
  • Quarter-Crew Socks.
  • Crew Socks.
  • Mid-Calf Socks.
  • Knee-High/Over-the-Calf Socks.
  • Thigh-High Socks.
13 Apr 2022

What type of sock is best? ›

Best sock materials for every need
NeedBest sock material
Comfort and cushioningCotton, Wool, Merino, Cashmere, Bamboo
DurabilityCotton, Bamboo, Polyester, Spandex, Nylon, Polypropylene
Sweat and wick moistureBamboo, Cotton, (some) Polyester, Polypropylene
Insulation and warmthWool, Merino, Cashmere, Cotton
2 more rows
8 Oct 2021

What length are crew socks? ›

Crew. One of the most classic styles of socks, crew length is anywhere between the ankle to mid-calf. A cut that can be featured in casual socks, dress socks, and athletic socks, crew socks work all year round and are very versatile in terms of use.

How do sock sizes work? ›

The length of your foot in inches —from the heel to the tip of your toe—is what actually determines your sock size. So when you see socks labelled “sock size 9-11” or “sock size 10-13”, just note that this is in reference to your foot length in inches, not your shoe size.

How do you make perfect socks? ›

Denser socks wick more moisture and provide cushion for a longer period of time. They support the feet better, and they often last longer. Find socks that can resist abrasion, or they will wear out quickly. Look for socks with reinforced heels and toes, as these are the areas that wear out the fastest.

How do I know what size socks to buy? ›

Feel free to measure your foot length with a measuring tape or just check your shoe size. If your shoe size is between size US 5-10 or European 36-41, you can easily wear 9-11 sock size. And if your shoe size is US 10+ or European 42+, get men's socks of size 10-13.

What are the different kinds of socks called? ›

Types of Socks
  • No-Show Socks. No-show socks just cover your feet, leaving your ankles and calves bare. ...
  • Liner Socks / Extra Low-Cut Socks. ...
  • Ped Socks / Low-Cut Socks. ...
  • Quarter Socks / Anklets. ...
  • Mid-Calf Socks / Crew Socks. ...
  • Over-the-Calf Socks / Executive Socks / Trouser Socks. ...
  • Knee-High Socks. ...
  • Over-the-Knee Socks.
17 Sept 2020

Are there different types of socks? ›

There are different types of socks for varying occasions, from formal hosiery to boot socks for hiking.

What socks are best for feet? ›

Considered the best materials today for wicking properties are Merino wool, Olefin or polyester; blends of these can be expensive but tend to provide better comfort and performance for sports fanatics.

What are the best socks for standing all day? ›

PRO Compression has the best socks for standing all day. We offer a wide array of styles, from casual to dress to fun. Additionally, our socks come in all different lengths including low, mid and over-the-calf. You'll find a wide range of compression levels available as well.

What sock material is best for sweaty feet? ›

“Moisture-wicking fabrics include polyester, merino wool, and nylon [and they] allow the sweat to evaporate so the socks can dry faster.” Other moisture-wicking materials include lycra and CoolMax technology fabrics, which are a combination of spandex, wool, or cotton.

What is an ankle length sock called? ›

Also known as low-rise, low-cut, or quarter socks, ankle-length socks cover your feet right up until your ankles. Longer than no-show socks but shorter than crew socks, these types of socks aren't designed to be invisible; instead, they show just a little bit above your shoes.

What are tall socks called? ›

Over-the-Knee Socks

For extra-tall socks, look no further than OTK or thigh-high socks. Sometimes these socks are called stockings, especially when they are held up by garters. These super-long socks look great with boots either pulled up or scrunched slightly around the knee.

What is the difference between low cut and ankle socks? ›

Low cut socks are minimally visible under the shoe, hitting below the ankle bone. Quarter length socks rise above the shoe and typically cover the ankle bone. Ankle socks are a few inches shorter than quarter length and also cover the ankle bone.

What size is XL socks? ›

Overview of All Sock Sizes
US
M:medium7 - 8
L:large8½ - 10
XL:extra large10½ - 11½
XXL:extra extra large12 - 13½
3 more rows

What is medium sock size? ›

Size and Care
Sock SizeUS Men's Shoe SizeUS Women's Shoe Size
Small4-6.5
Medium6-8.57-9.5
Large9-1210-13
X-Large12.5-15.5

How do you measure your foot for socks? ›

To measure your foot for socks, measure the length from the heel of your foot to the tip of your longest toe. The measurement in inches correlates to your sock size. For example, if your foot is 10 inches long, a sock size 9-11 should fit you comfortably.

What kind of socks do I need? ›

A: Proper sock thickness depends on the fit of your footwear. If you have a low-volume foot, you'll probably want thicker socks; high-volume feet usually require thinner socks. Always try on socks with your shoes to make sure they fit comfortably.

Are thick socks better for walking? ›

Are thick socks better for walking? Thick walking socks generally have more cushioning than thin socks, so they may feel more comfortable when you're walking. However, thick socks may cause your feet to overheat and sweat in warmer weather, so very cushioned socks may not be a good choice for summer walking.

Why are white socks better for your feet? ›

Most of us were taught by our mothers, and grandmothers, to always wear white cotton socks. White cotton socks were considered to be the gold standard for protecting our feet from moisture, infection and blisters.

What does OS mean for size? ›

On our site, “one size” or “OS” is usually used when an item only comes in one size. Occasionally something will come in a “one size” or a “plus size,” but most likely if something comes it multiple sizes, they'll be clearly denoted as small, medium, large, etc, as determined by the brand that produces them.

What size is a 10 12? ›

General Size Guide
AgeNumber SizeHeight
9-1110/1253-57 inches
10/12S55-58 inches
10/12H55-58 inches
12-1314/1658-63 inches
10 more rows

How much do socks add to shoe size? ›

Sock size is the measurement of your foot from heel to toe, plus the thickness of the sock. For example, if you wear a size 10 shoe, you would wear a size 10 sock. But, if you wear a thick sock, you may need to go up a size. For example, if you wear a size 10 shoe with a thick sock, you would wear a size 11 sock.

What are knee length socks called? ›

Thigh High Socks

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about thigh high socks is Scottish men and women wearing them with their knee length skirts. Perfect With – Running or sports shoes and boots. Meant For – Both men and women.

What are those thin socks called? ›

What are very short socks called? Ultra short invisible socks are called no show socks or loafer socks. Short (but not invisible) socks are called ankle socks.

What do you call thigh length socks? ›

Thigh-highs are women's socks which come to mid-thigh. So are StayUps. Men's Long Anklet is the same sock as one called Mid-Calf. Women's Knee-Highs are the same as Men's Over-the-Calf ... except for gender.

What is a crew style socks? ›

Crew socks are worn pulled up and scrunched down to the ankle, with the longer length adding extra flexibility. They come in different materials, colours, textures and styles to fit into your daily life, whatever you are doing. They can be worn with sportswear, jeans, business suits, casual wear – the list goes on.

How do you wear calf length socks? ›

Grab the middle of the sock (around your calf) and gently pull them down just a little bit so they are no longer stretched (the key is you do not want to see any of the patterns / lettering on your sock stretch or look distorted). Wait for the compliments to roll in about how fresh your calves look.

Are thick socks better? ›

Thin socks dry more quickly than thicker socks, wicking moisture away from your skin and keeping you comfortable. This decreases the risk of developing blisters on your feet. If you have tight spots in your shoes caused by wearing thick socks, you may experience health problems due to restricted blood flow.

Is cotton or polyester better for socks? ›

Polyester can make your body sweat tremendously, because it's a great insulator. Your skin will not breathe nearly as much as with cotton. You'll sweat more than you would wearing cotton. Polyester isn't the best choice of fabric during the summer, since you'll perspire quite easily.

Which socks are most breathable? ›

Cotton is the most breathable fabric, but it also retains heat, which can accelerate sweating. Merino wool is another popular material for socks due to its breathability, cushion and moisture-wicking functions.

Are compression socks good for when your on your feet all day? ›

Compression socks are a safe way to encourage healthy blood flow and circulation in the general population. But compression socks for sitting all day or standing all day can be especially helpful for those in the following career fields: Medical professionals such as nurses, doctors, and dentists.

Are compression socks good if you're on your feet all day? ›

Whether you have a desk job or are on your feet all day, compression socks can benefit everyone. Studies show that sitting for 90 minutes or more can cause blood flow below the knees to decrease by 50%, significantly increasing the chance of blood clots and reducing the amount of freshly oxygenated blood to your legs.

Should you wear compression socks if you stand on your feet all day? ›

So, for the prevention of edema, it's ideal to put on the compression sock at the time of day when the leg and ankle are the least swollen. For most people, legs will be least swollen in the early morning. Compression socks may be worn throughout the day, but must be removed in the evening before bed.

Are bamboo socks good for sweaty feet? ›

Bamboo is a natural material with strong absorbency and thermal regulating properties. Bamboo socks are great for keeping sweating feet dry, environmentally sustainable and really light and comfortable to wear, whatever their length.

Are bamboo socks good? ›

Bamboo fabric helps wearers keep pleasantly dry feet thanks to the hollow structure of the fibres which makes it super-absorbent. This means that the material effectively wicks moisture away from the skin. Bamboo is very breathable and far better in this respect than cotton or wool socks.

What are Quarter socks used for? ›

Quarter Length Socks

Unlike ankle-length socks, quarter-length socks cover your ankle completely and reach just below your calf. These socks are worn with business suits and while attending formal events. They give your feet good coverage and prevent blisters and shoe bites.

Why are no show socks popular? ›

They absorb the unwanted sweating which can give bad smell and odor. The no show socks decrease the foot flavor with 90%. The socks simply soak up the perspiration and it is quite difficult for bacteria to grow and give the bad odor.

Are low cut and quarter socks the same? ›

Low: Low-cut socks offer a modest rise above the shoes heel collar and usually stops at the middle of the anklebone. Quarter: Quarter socks rise from the shoe to usually cover the anklebone entirely.

Why do people wear knee-high socks? ›

Many athletes wear knee-high socks in various sports, as part of a team uniform, or as a natural choice for performance and comfort. Not only do knee socks serve as a protective shield for the calves, ankles and feet; they come in a huge range of colors and styles to match your team's jerseys/uniforms.

Why do people wear long socks? ›

People that live in areas prone to having more ticks throughout the year, wear long socks because they can protect their legs from them. It is a lot easier to wear longer socks than spending the time to remove them later. Lastly, long socks can protect runners during the cooler, winter months.

Why do men wear knee-high socks? ›

Knee-high socks with a compression fit can increase the blood flow to your feet and legs, which improves performance and may even decrease recovery time. A knee sock can add extra warmth and protection on cold days — if you're a guy with cold feet, they are a no-brainer.

What is special about diabetic socks? ›

Socks for diabetics are made without top elastic that can cut off circulation and restrict blood flow to the feet. Length. Diabetic socks come in a variety of lengths from ankle to over the knee. The higher length is ideal for those with circulatory issues while other lengths are fine for everyday wear.

What are liner socks? ›

What are Liner Socks? The basic definition of a liner sock is one that's meant for layering with a thicker pair of socks. You'll hear a lot about liner socks from your hiker friends - often hikers will wear a lightweight liner sock under a thicker hiking sock, especially on long hikes.

How high do ankle socks go? ›

What is the length of ankle socks? Just as the name suggests, ankle socks sit just above your ankle, reaching a few inches above the top of your shoe.

What shoe size is sock size 9 11? ›

02Women's Sock Sizes

Women's socks are sold with the label US “size 9-11”, which translates to women's European shoe size of 36-41 and US shoe size of 5-10. Feel free to measure your foot length with a measuring tape or just check your shoe size.

What shoe size is sock size 7 9? ›

FITS® Sock Size Small = Shoe Size 3½ - 5½ men's and 5 - 7 women's. FITS® Sock Size Medium = Shoe Size 6 - 8 men's and 7½ - 9½ women's. FITS® Sock Size Large = Shoe Size 8½ - 10 men's and 10 - 11½ women's. FITS® Sock Size Extra Large = Shoe Size 10½ - 12½ men's and 12 - 14 women's.

How do you measure your foot for socks? ›

How to Measure Your Foot for Hand Knit Socks - YouTube

What sock size is shoe size 9? ›

Size and Care
Sock SizeUS Men's Shoe SizeUS Women's Shoe Size
Small4-6.5
Medium6-8.57-9.5
Large9-1210-13
X-Large12.5-15.5

What age is sock size 9 12? ›

Socks:
Roy's Boys Size RangeAge (approx)US
UK 9-12 (Child's)3-6 yrs10-13
UK 12.5-3.5 (Child's)7-10+ yrs13.5-4.5
UK 4-7.5Adult5-8.5
UK 8-11Adult9-12
3 more rows

What is sock size to shoe size? ›

Sock Size vs. Shoe Size. There are two main sock sizes. Sock size 9–11 fits about a women's shoe size 5–10 and sock size 11–13 fits approximately men's shoe size 8–13.

What size socks for mens size 11 shoe? ›

Men's sock sizes
US sock sizeGeneral sock sizeUS men's shoe size
9-11Small4-7.5
10-13Medium8-12.5
14+Large13+
15 Feb 2022

What size is XL socks? ›

Overview of All Sock Sizes
US
M:medium7 - 8
L:large8½ - 10
XL:extra large10½ - 11½
XXL:extra extra large12 - 13½
3 more rows

What size is a 10 12? ›

General Size Guide
AgeNumber SizeHeight
9-1110/1253-57 inches
10/12S55-58 inches
10/12H55-58 inches
12-1314/1658-63 inches
10 more rows

How long should the foot of a sock be? ›

You should choose a size that is 10% smaller than your foot or ankle circumference. Adult socks – should have 1″ / 2.5 cm negative ease in the foot and calf circumference & 0.5″ / 1.5 cm shorter than the foot length.

How long is a size 7 sock? ›

The finished sock circumference depends on how stretchy the stitch pattern you choose for your sock is. As a rule of thumb, stockinette socks should be made with approximately 10% of negative ease.
...
Women.
Shoe size (US)Foot length (inch)Estimated foot circumference (inch)
69823
79139
89239
910912
5 more rows

What is a sock ruler? ›

The Sock Ruler is an innovative measuring tool for sock knitters that allows the sock to lie flat for accurate measuring.

What does OS mean for size? ›

On our site, “one size” or “OS” is usually used when an item only comes in one size. Occasionally something will come in a “one size” or a “plus size,” but most likely if something comes it multiple sizes, they'll be clearly denoted as small, medium, large, etc, as determined by the brand that produces them.

How do you buy socks? ›

How to Buy Socks - YouTube

What size is large socks Nike? ›

Featured
Sock SizeKids' Show SizeMen's Shoe Size
S3Y-5Y
M5Y-7Y6-8
L8-15
XL12-15

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4. Compression Stockings Reviewed & Explained by a Lymphedema Physical Therapist
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