Sock StylesThere are many things to consider when purchasing a new pair of socks. For some, the most important factor is how those socks will look with shoes and coordinate with the rest of an outfit. One of the sock characteristics that will determine how socks complete an ensemble is the length or height of the socks.
Knee SocksKnee socks are, just as their name suggests, socks that go up to the knees. At one time, this sock style was closely associated with girls' Catholic school uniforms, although most uniforms have progressed past knee socks today. The classic school girl knee socks are white cotton, but knee socks can come in any variety of colors and materials. Knee socks can be work with skirts or shorts in order to call attention to their style or keep legs warm, but they can also be worn underneath pants for insulation. Striped knee socks and other wild patterns are an easy way to draw attention to socks, or can be a fun whimsy to keep secret under long pants. Knee socks are even a part of many athletic uniforms, particularly soccer where they are useful for holding shin guards in place.
Crew SocksCrew socks are another popular length. The height of crew socks is not standardized across the industry, but they generally rise between 6" and 8" above the ankle. The term crew sock generally refers to athletic-style socks, although dress socks can be of a similar height. These socks can be worn for virtually any activity. Long pants will easily cover the top of the socks, but when they are worn with shorts they are certainly visible. Some runners prefer to wear crew length socks when running through rough terrain since the added height protects their ankles from brush and undergrowth.
Low Socks and No-Show SocksSometimes the term "low" or "low cut" and "no-show" are used interchangeably when in reference to socks, but in truth they are a bit different. Low cut socks have at least a small band of fabric that will show above the shoe when they are worn. No - show socks are specifically designed to be invisible once shoes are donned. Both of these types of socks are popular with athletes. For particularly vigorous exercise that involves a lot of lateral movement of the foot, like basketball or tennis, it may be better to choose low cut or even crew socks as no-show socks have a tendency to slip inside the shoe.
Slouch SocksSlouch socks were particularly fashionable in the 1990's but still have their fans today. These socks are tall, normally between crew length and knee high when they are stretched out, but they are actually designed to be slouched down around the ankle. This creates a bulky, wrinkled look around the top of the shoe. Whether to be worn as a retro fashion statement or simply because they are comfortable, slouch socks are still widely available.
Specialty SocksIn many cases, just knowing the height or length of a sock will not be enough information. This is especially true when looking for socks for a particular purpose. Specialty socks that are designed for certain activities may be made with different materials that provide maximum comfort and maximum style during the activity.
Running SocksRunning is a wonderful hobby that can improve overall health and even prolong lives. However, it can also be very punishing on some parts of the body, including the feet. This is why many runners choose to wear running socks that are specifically designed to protect feet during long runs and even improve running posture and form. Running socks can come in many different heights. Low cut running socks are appropriate for everyday jogging, and tall, knee length compression running socks can improve performance on long runs and keep legs warm and circulating during cold months. Running socks are most often made from moisture-wicking materials that draw sweat away from the foot, keeping it comfortable and dry throughout a run. The right running socks should also have some amount of cushioning and be comfortable for the runner. It may take trying a few pairs before the perfect match is made.
Toe SocksToe socks are unique in their design. Rather than have all toes of the foot together, toe socks have an individual chamber for each toe, much like a glove has for fingers. In some cases, this is done simply for the fun and quirky style. However, some yoga socks or specialty running socks also employ this design because it prevents the toes from rubbing together and causing blisters. For those looking to keep their toes separated or simply looking for a new and different way to wear socks, toe socks may be an answer.
Hiking SocksHiking is another athletic endeavor that can be very punishing on the feet. Going up and down steep inclines can make feet especially susceptible to blistering. In addition, cold conditions at high elevations can make feet vulnerable to frostbite. This is why it is important for serious hikers to consider socks that are designed for hiking. One important note when it comes to hiking socks:: most hikers will recommend buying hiking socks before buying hiking boots. Because these socks can be much thicker than typical athletic socks, they may actually affect what size hiking boots fit comfortably. Any employee in an outdoor store can help find suitable choices in socks and boots.
Dress SocksFor people that work in an office setting where business dress is still the norm, dress socks are probably their most frequently worn socks. Dress socks can feel very different from other types of socks. Generally they are made from much thinner materials like silk or nylon and feel more slippery. Dress socks also tend to be available in darker colors so that they may be matched to suits and skirts. Often, when dress socks are made specifically for women, they are referred to as trouser socks in order to differentiate them from men's socks and from pantyhose or stockings.
Novelty SocksAlthough socks may seem like a boring but necessary item of clothing, for some people socks can be a fun and interesting way to express style. There is a virtually endless catalog of novelty socks for people who like to be a bit bold on their toes. Novelty socks range from those that are decorated with favorite cartoon characters or sports teams to socks that are designed for a certain season or holiday. In fact, there are entire retail stores that are devoted solely to novelty socks. Of course, any type of sock, novelty or not, is also available online.
Sock MaterialsDepending on what types of socks are being purchased, they may be made from a variety of materials. However, not all types of socks are available in all materials. The table below describes the most common socks materials as well as the types of socks that are made from them.