Don’t knock socks. While countless jokes address the frustration of getting socks as a birthday or Christmas gift, socks are pretty useful – if not cool – when it comes down to it.
Choosing the right pair of socks makes a difference in how you look and feel, which is why we’re going to discuss the best socks for men, including our top choice, Gold Toe Men’s Cotton Crew Socks .
Along the way, we’ll discuss some sock-buying tips, how to care for your socks, and the socks vs. no socks debate.
Let’s get started.
- Before you buy: 4 Things to consider when purchasing socks
- 8 Best socks for men 2018
- Basics of sock care
- The great debate: socks or no socks?
- Choosing the best socks for men
Before You Buy: 4 Things to Consider When Purchasing Socks
In the grand scheme of life, buying socks certainly isn’t among the most exciting and glamorous of things. Unless you love buying socks, that is.
Then again, all good things require some effort and finding the right pair of socks for you is no different. So, instead of grabbing the first multi-sock pack you see, consider the following tips:
The material of your sock has a significant impact on its comfortability and performance. There’s no shortage of materials used to make socks, including cotton, wool, nylon, polyester, silk, cashmere, and so on.
- Cotton is comfortable and absorbent, which makes it great for soaking up the sweat from the skin. However, cotton doesn’t allow wetness to evaporate quickly. Cotton socks are excellent for short bouts of intense activity, such as a gym workout.
- Wool breathes easily (than cotton, that is) and allows wetness to evaporate. It also offers plenty of warmth in cold conditions. Wool is bulky, however, and like cotton, it doesn’t wick moisture away from the body quickly.
- Synthetic materials such as polyester and acrylic – and others – are thinner than cotton and wool and often blended with other fibers to encourage wicking.
- Silk socks will serve you well at a black tie and more formal outings, but are more expensive than other types of socks and won’t last as long as cotton or wool socks.
Socks come in a wide variety of types and these days you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a sock that fits your need. Some of the types include:
Athletic performance socks
Athletic performance socks include the simple cotton tube sock to low-cut running socks with sweat-wicking properties. You’ll even find a skiing sock that wicks moisture and traps in heat. The bottom line is that athletic-performance socks provide comfort while increasing performance during athletic activities.
No-show socks are socks that “hide” in the soles of your shoes while leaving your ankle bare. The bare-ankle look is fairly popular these days, and many sock experts believe that no-show socks are the most acceptable option when wearing shorts. However, don’t wear them with sandals, high-tops, or boots.
Dress socks come in a wide variety of materials and meant worn with a suit or nice casual clothes. They also come in just about every color you can think of, although it’s best to stick with darker colors when wearing more formal clothes.
Note: Never, ever wear dress socks with shorts – unless you want to look like that weird uncle who shows up at every family reunion.
Mid-calf (crew) socks
Ah, mid-calf socks. You should have a drawer full of them because they’re considered the “workhorse” socks for modern men. They look good with sneakers, loafers, dress shoes, and just about everything else. Moreover, they come in a thousand (well, maybe not a thousand) colors and materials.
If you really, really have to have a pair of over-the-calf socks, you’re going to need some luck finding. Few retailers carry them these days and the style is, ahem, a bit outdated.
Note: If you think wearing dress socks with shorts is a no-no, don’t even think of wearing over-the-calf socks with them. Even the weird relative with dress socks and shorts makes fun of the over-the-calf sock guy in shorts.
Not to be confused with no-show socks, ankle socks sit just below the ankle and protect your heels and ankles from chafing.
3. Size & fit
Like with any footwear, finding the right fit is essential when choosing socks. Keep in mind that most socks aren’t sized like shoes – although you may find more expensive socks that are – but a
“Medium” sock typically fits up to a size 12 in American shoe sizes. Anything above that requires a “Large,” while “Big and Tall” is appropriate for men with long or wide feet.
Also, make sure you consider the thickness of the sock and the type of shoe with which it’s worn. For example, a wool sock is very comfortable in shoes that are a touch too big, and provide an extra bit of padding, but not so good with a show that’s already a bit tight.
Traditionally, the more formal sock, the slimmer it should be, although that’s not quite as crucial today.
Even the most well-crafted sock looks out of place if its color doesn’t fit with your clothes. Your primary goal is to blend your sock neatly and unobtrusively into your outfit and dress like a man. If the situation calls for something a bit louder, so be it.
If you want to play it safe, the color of your socks should match the color of your pants. If you prefer brighter, bolder colors, make sure that the sock has some color that matches a part of your wardrobe.
A good fall-back option for business attire is to match the color of your socks with the color of your shoes.
Now let’s take a look at the best socks for men in 2018.
The 8 Best Socks For Men 2018
Any search for the best men’s socks wouldn’t be complete without checking out what Gold Toe has to offer. Why? For one, Gold Toe has maintained its high quality of sockwear for over 80 years – and any company with that type of experience knows a thing or two about socks.
But experience doesn’t always equal comfort, regardless of the product. Rest assured, however, Gold Toe’s Cotton Crew Athletic Sock is all about comfort. Made from the finest yarns, Gold Toe offers careful reinforcement in the toe area thanks to specially flattened seams that provide a more comfortable fit inside any shoe.
Gold Toe’s rounded heels offer gentle support and a comfortable fit, while the cotton is soft and breathable. The name suggests that it’s an athletic sock, but they’re suitable for a wide variety of activities.
The Cotton Crew Athletic Sock – like all of Gold Toe’s socks – feature AquaFX technology to keep your feet dry. While cotton isn’t the best material for wicking away moisture from your feet, the Gold Toe sock includes a blend of nylon, polyester and spandex to help the process.
Another thing you’ll like is that the sock “adjusts” to the season, i.e., it keeps your foot cool in the summer and warm during colder months. There’s so much else to like, however, including:
- The elastic around the ankles remains securely in place without constriction or binding.
- Their soft, plush materials make them ideal for all-day use without worrying about your feet becoming too hot or sweaty.
- Their cut – which is just above the ankle – makes them versatile enough for a variety of uses, whether you’re exercising or wearing casual attire.
- They’re also very affordable and among the best-priced quality socks that you’ll find on the market.
- They’re extremely durable.
Gold Toe’s cotton crew athletic socks also come in low-cut and quarter-sock sizes. Your color choices are white, black, grey, charcoal, and denim.
Type: Athletic crew sock
- Aqua Fx Moisture Control keeps your feet dry
- Reinforced toe for further comfort.
- May shrink a size in the wash
It’s hard to beat the all-around quality of Gold Toe’s Cotton Crew Athletic Socks. From comfort to durability to affordability, we think you’ll like these socks.
Another product you’ll find among the most comfortable men’s socks is Saucony’s Men’s Comfort Fit. They’re also the best no-show socks for men and certainly worthy of your attention when choosing the best socks for you.
That said, let’s take a look at what makes them so good:
- They come with Saucony’s Run Dry Moisture Management that includes ultra-wicking fibers. Moisture is wicked away and your feet stay dry and fresh whether you’re at the gym or on the road.
- The socks include mesh ventilation that creates maximum airflow to keep your feet cool and dry.
- Their arches are engineered to provide the right amount of compression to keep your arch secure and stable. They’re also designed to keep your sock from slipping and bunching up, which is never comfortable.
- The sole is lightly cushioned, but cushioned enough to provide impact protection without taking up too much space in your shoes.
- They’re no-cut and no-show, but high enough to protect your heel from rubbing and blistering. They’re comfortable enough that they’re even suitable for more formal footwear.
Saucony’s Men’s Comfort Fit No-Show Socks consist of 95% polyester, 3% rubber, and 2% spandex. The blend is lightweight, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. They’re also machine-washable.
Type: No-show sock
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Won’t cause blisters
- Can be a bit tight in the arches
If you’re looking for no-show socks, then you need to take a long look at Saucony’s Performance Comfort Socks. They’re comfortable, good for multiple uses, and affordable.
Dickie’s is in the business of producing quality workwear and their Men’s Dri-Tech Work Crew Socks certainly reflect the company’s commitment to excellence.
Made from 78% cotton and 19% polyester (there’s a bit of spandex and nylon mixed in, as well), the Dri-Tech Work Crew Socks provide comfort, dryness, and the durability to stand up to whatever you and your feet have planned for the day.
Because of their softness, we think you’ll appreciate the comfortable feeling you’ll get with every step. You’re free to tackle the hard work of each day without worrying whether your feet are up to the task.
Further comfort comes from a ventilated breathing channel that improves air circulation inside the sock. It also helps to take away moisture while causing it to evaporate. It’s like a breath of fresh air in your shoe, so to speak.
Durability is a must for any workwear sock and Dickie’s has you covered there, as well. Many users report wearing the socks for over a year without developing holes in the upper sides and bottoms.
Meanwhile, extra compression around the arch gives you the right amount of support without feeling tight or overly restrictive.
Type: Crew sock
- Moisture-controlling fiber
- Ventilation channels circulate air within the sock
- Socks don’t slip on your feet
- The arch takes some time to get used to
Comfort is king when you spend most of your workday on your feet and that’s why Dickie’s is a favorite of working men everywhere. They’re comfortable, durable, and won’t overheat your feet.
If you’re looking for bright, gaudy patterns copied from a 1960s psychedelia book of art, then Pantherella’s socks aren’t for you. No, Pantherella gives you nice, attractive colors that look great in any business situation – and may even help you land a job.
That’s not to say that the Pantherella Ickburgh Cotton Lisle Comfort sock is staid or boring. There’s nothing “boring” about the best dress socks for men, which combine comfort, a crisp-yet-forgiving fit, and sophistication.
It all starts with Pantherella’s signature blend of Egyptian cotton yarn and nylon for a soft but strong feel. The nylon provides plenty of stretch and grip. But none of that’s new; Pantherella has over 80 years of sock-making experience at their Leicester, England production center.
Pantherella’s socks have a ribbed pattern that’s neither too big nor too small and help keep your socks from dropping down to your ankles. There isn’t an elastic band at the top of Pantherella’s socks, as there is with many brands, which provides another dose of comfort, as well as helping you feel that you’re not losing circulation in your legs and feet.
Let’s face, another problem with the elastic band on socks is the indentations they leave on your skin. That’s not a good look to have if you change immediately into shorts at the end of your workday.
Pantherella’s socks are great for a day at the office and any business situation, but versatile enough to wear out on the town or similar social situations that allow you to show off your “style.”
And back to color: Pantherella socks come in a variety of colors, from more reserved to brighter, but they don’t come, as mentioned, in zany designs. You won’t find a Pantherella sock that has, say, a popular cartoon character within its design. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Type: Mid-calf dress sock
- Non-elastic top
- Excellent blend of cotton and nylon
- Perfect for business wear
- Not for you if you like colorful designs
The Pantherella line of socks is among the best you’ll find anywhere. From comfort to classy style to versatility, the men’s mid-calf dress sock will serve you well on many occasions.
Wool socks are unlike any other type of socks for keeping your feet warm during those cold winter days and nights. They’re also comfortable, especially if they’re not too thick or too thin like Merino’s Premium Wool Socks.
Merino’s socks consist of a blend of 71% wool, 21% nylon, 7% polyester, and 1% spandex. It makes for a plush, comfortable sock that’s breathable and well-ventilated but without sacrificing warmth.
But it’s not just about keeping your feet warm when it comes to Merino’s socks because they’re comfortable enough to wear even if you’re on your feet all day. They come with a reinforced heel and toe that provide plenty of cushioning as well as plenty of protection.
Here’s another thing: because of their blend of wool and synthetic materials, Merino’s socks wick away moisture effectively, while wool naturally reduces the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. You’ll also like that they provide more elasticity than many other wool sock brands.
While it would be a stretch to call these socks “stylish” in a pure fashion sense, their function is everything. After all, they’ll keep your feet warm even in the dead of winter while keeping your foot dry and comfortable. We think that they’re the best wool socks money can buy.
Type: Wool mid-calf sock
- Keep your feet nice and warm
- Very soft
- Delicate to wash
Enduring each year’s coldest months is a matter of practicality and comfort. You need socks that keep your feet warm and comfortable – which Merino’s Wool Socks accomplish, and more.
Champion has an excellent reputation for designing and creating activewear for men and women. Their Men’s No Show Socks uphold that reputation.
Made of 74% cotton, these socks are super soft and comfortable and also have built-in moisture management thanks to its additional blend of polyester and spandex. They’ll wick away sweat, control moisture buildup, all while keeping your foot cool and dry even if you’re in the midst of an intense workout.
The Champion Men’s No Show Socks come with special arch support and inbuilt padding that provides additional comfort and flexibility. They’re also resistant to outer damage and very durable, and sweat and odor resistant.
Champion’s socks also feature “zoned” cushioning to help limit impact shock and soreness that may result.
Type: No-show socks
- Wick away moisture
- Sweat and odor resistant
- Excellent cushioning
- Sizing may run a bit small
Champion’s Men’s No Show Socks garner a lot of excellent reviews – from customers and through peer reviews. There’s too much about this sock to like to not give them a try.
The style is supreme when it comes to Alpine Swiss’s ribbed argyle dress socks. After all, you have plenty of colors and patterns to choose from and you’ll stand out from the rest of your office mates who’re wearing plain-colored socks.
That’s not to say that Alpine Swiss dress socks are more of a novelty than anything else. Far from it. These socks are comfortable and lightweight and hold up well to the rigors of everyday life, including the kind of life in which you’re on your feet a lot. In many ways, they rank among the best everyday socks you’ll find – especially when compared to other dress socks that feature bright colors and patterns.
The Alpine Swiss socks come in come in six bold, colorful patterns that will stand out no matter what type of trouser you’re wearing. Whether you’re at work, home, or at a casual evening social event, these socks will fit the occasion.
You’ll also like how they feel. The socks consist of 73% cotton, 26% polyester, and 1% elastane (a polyurethane material often used in close-fitting clothing), all of which helps make them breathable, comfortable, and lightweight.
The elastane provides just enough elasticity to make them comfortable for all-day wear, while the elastic at the top of the sock keeps the sock secure without feeling like a tourniquet on your calf.
Another plus is that these socks come at a very affordable price. It’s a price well worth it for socks that represent a fashion statement in many ways.
Type: Dress socks
- Bold colors and patterns
- Material is a bit thin
Some men prefer to add a bit of splash and dash to their wardrobe and the Alpine Swiss men’s dress socks will help them achieve their desired look. Not only do these socks stand out in a crowd, but they’re also comfortable enough for everyday use.
Hanes has its act together when it comes to innerwear. Underwear, t-shirts, you name it, and its Hanes’ mission to make you “feel good all under.”
The Hanes reputation gets a further boost from its Active Cool Ankle Socks, which are certainly among the best men’s ankle’s socks you’ll find.
The Active Cool Ankle socks consist of 53% polyester, 44% cotton, as well as a small blend of rubber and spandex. They also include X-temp cooling technology that’s designed to respond to your body’s temperatures and cool things down, if necessary.
Meanwhile, Fresh IQ advanced odor protection technology protects against odor-causing bacteria to help you stay fresh all day. The blend of cotton and polyester provides further comfort, as does a half-cushion foot bottom that takes the stress off of your feet even if you’re on them all day.
You’ll also love the comfort toe seam that’s smooth and not at all restrictive. These socks are also machine washable, another plus.
Type: Ankle socks
- As-expected Hanes comfort
- X-temp cooling technology
- Cushioned foot bottom
- Fit may be small
Comfort is king and Hanes is all about comfort. The Active Cool Ankle Socks keep your feet cool and comfortable whether you’re on your feet a lot or not.
The Basics of Sock Care
If you don’t give a lot of thought to sock care, no worries. After all, you’re not alone. But if you want to get the most life from your socks, and help keep them cozy and comfortable on your feet, there is a right way and wrong way of sock care. Here’s a quick look:
- The best way to wash socks is to machine wash them. For ideal results, wash them in cold water with a mild detergent. Also, set your machine to a gentle cycle.
- Keep sharp objects away from your socks. Sounds obvious, but sharp objects include long toenails – so keep your nails trimmed and tidy. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing irreparable damage to your favorite pair of socks.
- Don’t scald your socks – a tip which goes hand-in-hand with the first tip about washing them in cold water.
- Don’t tumble dry your socks. The average dryer kicks out a ton of hot air and the spinning motion combined with hot air pulls out small fibers in your socks. If you do tumble dry your socks, do so at the lowest heat setting. Excess dryer heat also causes the elastic in the top band of socks to break down, which stretches them out and shortens their lifespan.
- If you don’t tumble dry your socks, you can hang them on a clothesline until they’re dry.
- Never bleach your socks or use other chemicals that may cause them damage.
- Washing your socks inside-out will keep excess lint from accumulating on them. Trying to get the white lint out of your darks socks is never fun. That said, you want the inside of your sock accumulating lint, the outside of it. If you want to avoid lint, you can wash your socks separately from other items – but not every man is willing to go to those lengths.
- Never iron your socks.
The Great Debate: Socks or No Socks?
With summer fast approaching, the debate among men – and fashion experts up – about whether to wear socks or no socks is sure to heat up like the weather. If you live in a warm-weather climate, the debate probably is heated enough.
Going sockless is a look favored by many men today, albeit a look that lends itself to a variety of opinions worldwide. While Americans like to think they invented the look, the fact is that men in Europe have worn shoes without socks for ages. It is, however, a look that’s gained momentum in the U.S. in recent years.
So, what gives? Is there a right and wrong in this debate?
The answer, in large part, depends on the circumstances, what you wear, etc.
Pros of wearing socks
- If nothing else, you have to admire socks for their versatility. They’re a great accessory for pulling an outfit together, but also have multiple uses depending on the type of sock.
- They keep your feet dry – in most cases, especially those of the wicking variety, and keep your feet warm when temperatures drop.
- They provide cushioning, can help prevent blisters and, well, we could go on and on.
- Socks are often comfortable, and their warmth provides welcome relief the temperatures start their descent in late fall.
- They can add a bit of splash to your wardrobe, or a more sedated look of sophistication.
Cons of wearing socks
- Some shoes just don’t look good when worn with socks. Boat shoes for example, or sandals, although the socks with sandals look isn’t quite the no-no it used to be.
- Socks can bunch up
- They can become too warm.
- They may make your feet sweat
Pros of wearing no socks
- Going sockless on a warm day keeps your feet cooler.
- It can also create a sophisticated look that lets people see that you know what you’re doing fashion-wise – at least if done appropriately.
Cons of not wearing socks
- Walking around in a leather shoe all day without socks is asking for sweat-induced trouble.
- Not wearing socks increases your risks of blisters and other irritations for which socks provide you protection
- Not wearing socks with certain footwear or situations may make you look uncouth.
Which leads us to our next question:
When is it OK to go without socks?
There are a few rules to follow when it comes to wearing shoes with no socks, at least according to fashion experts.
- When wearing shoes with no socks, it’s best to wear slim-fitting pants or jeans.
- Your pants and jeans should finish above the ankle.
- Going without socks may make you look more sophisticated but keep in mind that certain formal situations require you to wear socks with your dress shoes.
- Break in your shoes before going sockless in them. Doing so helps prevent blisters.
- You need to do more than just washing your feet before going sockless or you risk never-welcome foot odor. So, scrub your feet vigorously and then line the insides of your shoes with baking powder, baby powder, or anything that keeps bacteria and fungus at bay.
- Loafers and boat shoes are great options if you prefer to go sockless. Some even argue that you should choose loafers for your first foray into the world of no socks. It’s safe and it looks good.
Choosing the Best Socks For Men
It’s safe to say that your buying choices aren’t limited when it comes to socks. Socks abound and you can find them for sale in many, many places. For our purposes, so many choices mean doing a lot of research in selecting products that we think stand above the rest.
Choosing the best socks among a mountain of socks available in every style imaginable, came down to a few important things for us: comfort, how well they handle moisture, what type of clothing they best go with, and durability.
As always, we took into account the reviews, of others, particularly the reviews of those who’ve worn the socks on a daily basis. Price is always a consideration, as well, although not an overriding concern in our reviews of the best socks.
Do you have a favorite pair of socks? If so, why do you like them? And, have you worn any of those listed here? We welcome your comments and suggestions!