A Men’s Guide to Lengths and Styles of Socks

A Men’s Guide to Lengths and Styles of Socks

The average men’s sock drawer (or woman’s for that matter) tends to look like a jumble of indiscriminate fabric, and only if you’re extremely lucky do all of your socks have mates. We’d humbly like to impose some method onto this madness, explaining the different lengths and styles of socks in the hopes that you’ll better be able to organize and make use of your own and maybe find a few styles you need to invest in. While some tend to put socks low on their priority list (maybe because of their low position on the body), choosing the right style, length, and quality of sock can vastly improve your comfort level and style and help you to live out each day to the fullest, from head to toe. Here’s a basic sock primer to get you rolling.

The No-Show Sock

Starting with the bare bones, the no-show sock is your go-to when you’re wearing a low-rise sneaker or loafer and want to keep your socks from being seen. They give you the best of both worlds, offering the carefree and casual sockless look, with all the comfort of a sock on the inside. These are great for spring or summer weather when you’re wearing slightly cropped men's pants and want to feel the air on your ankles, or show them off a little. We generally opt for a thin or padded cotton blend for our no-show socks since they’re breathable for the warmer weather while still offering comfort and support no matter what.

The Ankle Sock

These socks are super useful for anyone who wants a similar look to the no-show sock, with a little extra padding around the heel and ankle. Great for sports like running and tennis in the warmer weather, or just everyday wear with your sneakers. We go through these almost every day in the summer, so we tend to stock up. These come in ultra-thin as well as thicker varieties, which you can pick and choose according to what works best with your specific footwear and the weather. Cotton or modal are great options for this kind of sock.

The Quarter-Length Sock

A little higher than the ankle sock but not as high as the classic crew, the quarter-length sock is a great option for any athletic activity, offering a little extra protection to the ankle, which can be helpful in colder weather. These are usually made in a tight knit that stays up, so no matter what you get into, you know they’ll support you. A wool quarter-length sock is a great choice for any cold-weather outdoor athletic activity, like running or hiking, as it will keep you extra warm. Wool socks can be a bit pricier than cotton, but they’re going to last longer, too. Consider these options when deciding how much to invest in your sock styles.

The Classic Crew

Also known as calf-length socks, the classic crew sock is the most popular style of sock, likely making up the bulk of anyone’s sock collection, male or female. Hitting most people at the bottom or middle of the calf, the classic crew sock is what you’ll find yourself wearing with sneakers, men's boots, or any everyday shoe. Their length protects the foot and calf, keeping it warm and allowing us to wear ankle-length shoes, like a Chelsea or lace-up boot, without worrying about the shoe chafing against our skin. A cotton crew sock is as classic as it gets, but we also love a wool sock for colder weather, or to wear around the house to keep warm.

The Mid-Calf Sock

A little bit higher now. These are the go-to socks for people in business, wedding party members, and anyone looking to up the ante a little bit on their sock game. Coming up to the middle or top of the calf, the mid-calf sock, also known as the trouser sock, goes particularly well with suit pants and dress shoes, and is often made in a thin but high-quality silk fabric. But if you’re not going into the office, we also love a mid-calf sock that plays with prints—plenty of folks wear this length sock no matter the occasion.

The Knee-High Sock

Great for when it’s cold outside, or for when you just want a little extra coverage. The knee-high sock used to be the average length for men’s socks, when they were prone to fall down due to looser weaves in the fabric. Now, a knee-high sock is great for a cold day outside, or a cozy day inside. We’ll opt for a knee high wool sock when we’re on a long hike, or whenever the temperature drops. Add a pair of men's slippers for even more warm and cozy coverage.

From athletic to dressy, from everyday to formal occasion, there’s a sock for everything. Find more tips and tricks from Lands’ End!


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